Thursday, December 31, 2009

Loaves and Fishes Chili Sale

(submitted by Shannon Core)

Loaves and Fishes Ministry, Inc., a nonprofit organization, Chili Sale is Friday, January 29 and Saturday, January 30.

The mission of Loaves and Fishes is to serve as an extended family to a group of at risk children through long-term, individualized support so the children succeed in school and society.

Please order your quarts of meat or veggie chili, $10,00 per quart in freezer containers, by January 17, 2010. There is a cap on the amount available so place your orders early with Shannon Core, 846 0902, or on the sign up sheet on the Coming Events bulletin board in the hallway or e-mail Shannon (address in church directory). Pick up your chili at Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church, 4921 Six Forks Road. Pick up Friday, January 29 (3-7 PM) or Saturday, January 30, ( 9-11 AM).

I have been a volunteer with Loaves and Fishes twenty plus years and have witnessed the success of this valuable program .

Friday, December 25, 2009

Recording of Christmas Eve Service Now Available

The complete recording of the Christmas Eve service (5 PM) is now available on the music portion of the Media Projects area of the CUCC website. In previous years we had a "family service" primarily for children at 5 PM, and an adult service at 11 PM. This year the two were merged, and everyone seemed to like the intergenerational focus. An abundance of musicians participated in the service, and this recording captures the spirit of the evening. You can enjoy the service in its entirety, or you can pick and choose among the labeled selections. In addition to the beautiful music provided by a great variety of performers, there's a Christmas story written by Sheila Barrick and read by Sue Cottle, and the pastoral remarks of Pastor Steve Halsted.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dr. Seuss explains Copenhagen

Dr. Seuss explains Copenhagen

hilarious take on a serious topic.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Celebrating the Babies of 2009

Epiphany - the day we remember the story of the wise men's search for hope, discovered in a child.

Epiphany Sunday, January 3, we'll celebrate the hope incarnate in the children born to us in 2009.

Join us after traditional (10:30) worship for Epiphany cake as we thank God for Jesse and Ruth Ann.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Did you miss the Christmas Party?

Take a look at the fun and fellowship we had at this year's Christmas Party (3 short videos) and then put it on your calendar for next year (2nd Saturday in December). Or if you did make it to this year's party, enjoy a quick reminder of the fun and celebration. (Photos are available via the Photo Gallery link on the home page at

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thank you, Senator Hagan!

I just noticed that Senator Hagan has signed on as a co-sponsor of S.1524 , The Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act of 2009.  This is the bill for which we made a Bread for the World offering of letters in May.  Please send Senator Hagan a quick note of thanks.
Have a few extra minutes?  Contact Senator Burr, asking him to join as a co-sponsor.  This bill has bipartisan support because it truly seeks to build accountability for tax dollars spent and to make sure our foreign assistance helps people in need.

Is your business LGBT-friendly?

CUCC is a founding member of the new LGBT Center of Raleigh.  The Center is inviting LGBT-owned and LGBT-friendly professionals and business owners to be listed for free on their website's Community Resources section. Contact the Center at

New Members

The new members who joined CUCC on December 13. From left: Ida Klages, Annemarie Evans, Marsha Tai.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

CUCC Christmas Pageant Video

The video of the Christmas pageant presented by the children of CUCC on Dec. 13 is now available. (There's also a link to it in the "Current Events" box on the home page at

In keeping with the higher bandwidth that is now commonly available to most Internet users, we're ramping up the quality of the video that will be delivered in the media section of the CUCC website. This video of the 2009 Christmas pageant is higher resolution than we've opted for in the past and supports fullscreen viewing. The 30 minute video is about a 170 megabyte download, but for viewers with standard DSL or cable service, the video should play without significant delay and should play smoothly without stoppages. It does a reasonably recent version of Adobe Flash, but that version is now ubiquitous on PCs and Macs. And Flash now has the ability to display the high resolution videos that Apple's Quicktime has long supported. So the same video may be viewed via Quicktime if that is the user's preference. If you have problems viewing the video, contact Lavon Page.

Also featured from the Dec. 13 worship is the violin and piano duet performed as the prelude by John Robertson and Doug Barrick.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Adults Only ASP Weekends in February and March

If weatherizing and repairing homes is a ministry you'd enjoy, but you aren't wild about a week with teens, consider one of the Adults Only Weekend trips.  Read more below from our friends Bill and Rosemary Pate from The Prince of Peace Episcopal Church (Apex) - our ASP partner congregation.  Jane Smith can give you their contact information if you have questions.  The Pates are wonderful- caring, organized, witty, passionate about justice.        "Please mark your calendars and save the dates for the following Adult ASP trips. We leave on Thursday morning and return on Sunday afternoon. The cost is $105 per volunteer - scholarships are available.

February 4-7, 2010 to the Guyan Valley Center in Brenton, West Virginia  This trip occurs two days after Ground Hog Day and regardless of the ground hog prediction, we are sure that it will be cold in West Virginia for this weekend. Come and see how people in substandard housing survive the cold winters in Appalachia. Volunteer to make a home warmer for a family in West Virginia. Please let us know ASAP if you plan to go on this trip.
March 18-21, 2010 to the Jonesville Center in Jonesville, Virginia  This trip coincides with St. Patrick's Day, the first week of daylight saving time, the beginning of Spring (vernal equinal equinox on March 20), and the first round of March Madness (we will find a place to watch some of the night games). Celebrate all of these events by volunteering to make homes warmer, safer and drier. We expect a large group for this trip so please let us know ASAP if you plan to go on this trip.  (Note from Jane:  Imagine unwinding after a hard day of work, flopped on leather couches in a log cabin-style great room in front of a roaring fire!  Jonesville center has real beds and hot showers!)
       Prior to these trips we will send out more information and will meet for dinner to finalize travel plans. Circulate this information to neighbors and friends who may be interested in volunteering to repair homes in Appalachia."

Julia Robertson - Teacher of the Week

Link to video at WRAL.:

Advent Computer Fun for Children

The UCC has created a weekly Advent game sheet to print and has links to six simple on-line games that might be fun to explore with your child or grandchild this Advent.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Childcare Available Dec. 13 - And help CUCC Youth!

(posted for Santi)

Need some time to Christmas shop without the kids? CUCC youth (7th -12th graders) are providing childcare to CUCC children on December 13. For a donation to the youth program (whatever amount they choose), they can receive childcare following worship from 12:00-2:30 p.m. on December 13. We will order pizzas for lunch, play outside (weather permitting), and watch a Christmas video (The Little Drummer Boy). Parents, please contact Santi by email or 919-961-8814 to RSVP with the number and age of children requesting care. Please RSVP by Monday December 7. Also, Santi will need adult helpers if anyone is interested.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Congregational Meeting

I want to remind church members that there is a Congregational Meeting next Sunday, December 6 immediately after the main church service. Please plan to attend.

What should I buy for our Meals on Wheels friends?

The Retirees will again this year be collecting and wrapping Christmas gifts for Meals on Wheels recipients. The deadline for contributions is Sunday, December 13.  Drop-off boxes to collect the items are in the narthex and outside the Bradow room.
Fleece throws
Household products (dish-washing liquids, window cleaners, paper towels, toilet paper etc.)
Toiletries (hand lotion, shampoo, soap, tissues, and bathroom hand towels)
Food items (hearty cans of soup, instant coffee, hot chocolate, popcorn, crackers, cookies, individual wrapped candy: both holiday and hard candy)
Puzzle books (large print)
Umbrellas, radios
Postage stamps
Gift cards of small denomination (gas, Walmart, any of the fast foods)

Tonight - story on the Congo on "60 Minutes"

"60 Minutes" will air a story on conflict minerals in the Congo TONIGHT, 7 PM.

The Enough Project is encouraging people to watch the show and to invite friends.  John Prendergast of Enough traveled with the crew to eastern DRC when they filmed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Christmas Gifts: Love in Action

Be sure to check the excellent organizations at CUCC's Marketplace of Meaningful Gifts as you consider your Christmas gift list.  Community Outreach has vetted these organizations and been impressed at the excellent work they do on our behalf.
I enjoy shopping at Marketplace, but occasionally don't find the match I need for someone.  If you find yourself in that predicament, consider Global Ministries Alternative Gifts .  You'll find ten ministries from around the world with a description of how your donation would be used (scroll down the page to find the ministries).  You'll find gift ideas from $2.00 to $3000.00.  These could be just the thing for family and friends who enjoy travel or have a connection to one of the countries.

Forum Announcement

Forum will NOT meet this Sunday, November 29.



Numbers to think about this Thanksgiving (from NC Policy Watch):

Fitzsimon File
Monday numbers
By Chris Fitzsimon

49,000,000—number of Americans who could not afford food some time during 2008 (USDA, Household Food Insecurity in the United States, 2008)

16,670,000—number of children who went hungry at some point in 2008 (Ibid)

49,056—Number of households in North Carolina who could not afford food in 2008 (Ibid)

12.2—percentage of U.S. households who could not afford food in 2008 (Ibid)

13.7—percentage of North Carolina households who could not afford food in 2008 (Ibid)

3.9—percentage that food insecurity in North Carolina grew from 1996-2008 (Ibid)

1—rank of North Carolina in fastest growing food insecurity from 1996-2008—tied with Maine and Missouri. (Ibid)

24—percentage increase in monthly food stamp participation in North Carolina from August 2009 to August 2009 (State Health Facts, Kaiser Family Fund)

33—percentage of people in North Carolina eligible for food stamps who do not receive them (USDA Food and Nutrition Service)

874,000,000—–pounds of sweet potatoes produced by North Carolina in 2008 (U.S. Census Bureau News)

1—–North Carolina’s rank in U.S. production of sweet potatoes (N.C. Agricultural Statistics, NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services)

39,000,000—number of turkeys raised in North Carolina in 2008 (U.S. Census Bureau News)

2—-North Carolina’s rank in U.S. in raising turkeys (N.C. Agricultural Statistics, NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services)

6—rank of North Carolina in number of migrant farmworkers. (N.C. Farmworker Institute Fact Sheet)

125—number of buckets of sweet potatoes a farmworker must pick and haul to earn $50 (Ibid)

2—weight in tons of 125 buckets of sweet potatoes. (Ibid)

5—-percentage that farmworkers inflation-adjusted wages have fallen in the last decade. (Ibid)

8—percentage of farmworkers covered by employer-provided health insurance (Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Demographics, National Center for Farmworker Health)

5—percent of seasonally-employed farmworkers covered by employer-provided health insurance (Ibid)

5—number out of every 10 farmworkers who cannot afford enough food to feed their families. (Ibid)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Celebrate! 20 Years ONA

By unanimous vote on December 17, 1989, the CUCC Congregational Meeting adopted a Resolution on Being an Open and Affirming Congregation.  Over the years, our life together has been blessed by that decision and by the gifts and friendships it engendered. 

On Sunday, December 20, we'll celebrate!  Following 10:30 worship join us for cake and conversation.  With this celebration, we are renewing our commitment "to continue to look for ways to address the needs and advocate the concerns of lesbian, gay and bisexual people." 

Let us "[j]oin together as a covenantal community, to celebrate and share our common communion and the reassurance that we are indeed created by God, reconciled by Christ and empowered by the grace of the Holy Spirit."

Adult Christmas Party, December 12

Imagine twinkling lights, holiday greenery, animated conversation with an overlay of laughter.  Enjoying friendships new and long-held.  A break from shopping and Santa, traffic and cooking.
Saturday, December 12, 6:00 PM

Heavy hors d’oeuvres and entertainment

RSVP to the office
If you'd like, dress in your Christmas finery, whether a red vest, a wreath sweatshirt, or a taffeta gown.  Contribution for wine requested.  If you would like childcare, please call the office BY DEC. 5.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Forum: November 22

Program for Sunday, November 22:

Tammy Martin, Chair of the Wake County Commission for Women.

Helping NC Conservation Network

You can support the NC Conservation Network and get some early holiday shopping done by bidding on some items on their Holiday Auction. Bidding ends Friday, the 20th.

Thanks for your support

Many thanks to all of you who have supported Jo and her family during the long illness of Jo's beloved sister Linda Tavernise who passed away at 4:30 AM yesterday morning with Jo by her side. Your thoughts, prayers, hugs, love, and e-mail have nourished Jo throughout this journey.

In keeping with my habit of working through my own loss by making a video of the beloved, I've done so for Linda. While this is primarily for the family, please share with us in the celebration of Linda's life if you are so inclined.

Quicktime version:

Flash version:

(In the pictures of the three sisters, Jo is the youngest, Linda is the oldest, and Cindy is the tallest after they get to be 10-12 years old. There are also several pictures of Linda that include their only first cousin Marcella who is 4 years older than Linda and who is also now under hospice care and in her final days.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Details - Conflict Minerals Trade Act of 2009 (HR 4128)

(from today's Raise Hope for Congo email):

Why is this a useful bill?  "Legislation in the US alone will not end the conflict in eastern Congo, but this bill would provide a crucial step toward the creation of a practical and enforceable means to ensure that the trade in Congolese minerals contributes to peace rather than war. This bill would also serve as a useful precedent for other countries to develop legislation for holding to account companies in their jurisdiction who may be fuelling the conflict in eastern Congo."
"What will this bill do?
This bill demands greater transparency and accountability from those companies whose products contain these mineral ores or their derivatives. The U.S. government would identify those commercial goods that could contain conflict minerals, approve a list of independent monitoring groups qualified to audit the worldwide processing facilities for these minerals, and eventually restrict the importation of minerals to those from audited facilities. Importers of these goods would have to certify on their customs declaration that their goods “contain conflict minerals” or are “conflict mineral free” based upon this audit system. The audits would determine the mines of origin for processed materials, verify the chain of custody and verify information provided by suppliers through investigations in the DRC and other countries.
Importantly, the bill would also direct the State Department to support multilateral and U.S. government efforts to break the link between the trade in minerals and armed conflict in eastern Congo."
Who else supports this bill?
"A coalition of international nonprofit organizations - including the Enough Project, Human Rights Watch, World Vision, Oxfam America, and Global Witness, among others – today released a joint statement of support for the Conflict Minerals Trade Act of 2009 in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill also received support from various stakeholders in the electronics industry, including the Information Technology Industry Council and HP."

In the Senate, Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) has introduced "Congo Conflict Minerals Act of 2009" S.891, a counterpart to the House bill.  Neither North Carolina Senator is a co-sponsor at this time.

Thank you, Rep. McDermott!

Rep. Jim McDermott today introduced a The Conflict Minerals Trade Act of 2009.  This bill would help halt the use of conflict minerals from the DRC, starting a certification system and working to assist the victims of conflict mineral violence.  You can read information from his website.

I wrote an email to Representative Brad Miller encouraging him to co-sponsor this bill.   I know Mr. Miller has a deep connection to human rights in the DRC and has shown leadership on human rights in the region, so I hope he will co-sponsor.

Would any of you from Rep. Etheridge's or Rep. Price's districts be willing to write to them to encourage them to co-sponsor?  Follow the link to their contact pages.

If any of you would be interested in exploring creative ways to encourage passage of this legislation, please let me know.

Why support this legislation?  God's creation - the minerals of the Congo - is being abused and God's children are being wounded and killed as a deliberate tactic to keep the minerals/money flowing.  And if we can prevent the sale of conflict minerals, we can help to create the breathing room needed by the people of the DRC to build their future.

Movie Night Cancelled for Nov. 20

Because of the death this morning of Jo Perry's sister Linda, movie night for Nov. 20 is cancelled. Lavon and Jo will be spending the next few days with family

News from the DRC: OGHS offering

We met Sandra Gourdet and her husband when she spoke at Forum on Palm Sunday about the work of Global Ministries in the DRC.  As Africa area executive, she is leading a trip with Susan Sanders, team leader of the UCC One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS), Amy Gopp, director of Week of Compassion (WOC) and Eyamba Bokamba WOC board member. They will be visiting projects supported by OGHS and WOC in the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. She arrived in Mbandaka on November 14.  You can read about her trip and how our OGHS donations are being spent. 

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Bible Study, Anytime, Anywhere

This winter join us as we try a new format for spiritual growth – an online Bible study using the lectionary readings for the week and “conversing” during the week through a blog.

How will we do this online study?
This online study is an experiment.  Taking a look at  CUCC Lectionary Study might be the easiest way to understand what will happen. Here is how we will “meet.”
1) At a time convenient to you during each week, read Rev. Kate Huey's reflection on the United Church of Christ lectionary readings for that week.
2) Ponder prayerfully what you have read.
3) Engage in our conversation by writing an insight, asking a question, suggesting a reference.... Throughout the week, read the comments of others in the study and respond.

When will we do this online study?
I’m asking you to consider committing to participating for the six weeks from Epiphany (January 6) to Ash Wednesday (February 17). Then mark your calendar for a soup supper before Ash Wednesday (Feb. 17) evening worship. We'll meet face-to-face to reflect on our experiences in this virtual study and decide whether to continue. Then we can conclude this series by joining the rest of the congregation for Ash Wednesday worship.

What do I need to do to get ready?
1) Now is the time to contact the church office with your request to join the group. I’ll send you an invitation (an email from Blogger). Follow the directions to join. There are two steps (both free). You will join Google (who hosts our blog) and then join our specific blog.
2) Practice writing a message. You’ll find step-by-step directions on the blog.
3) If you like, request that you be sent an email anytime someone writes a new message, helping you stay connected. Enter your email address in the Subscribe box and respond to the email from Blog Alert so they know you requested this free service.
If you have any unease about figuring out how to do these steps, you are welcome to call me and we can go through the process over the phone.

Who can participate?
This study is open to anyone who is interested in participating respectfully, has regular access to the Internet, and can communicate in English. You are welcome to mention it to friends and family. The study could be especially meaningful for people who are isolated from a church family at this time. Remember, the Internet is international.

Construction on Wade Avenue

Wade Avenue is being resurfaced at our church's intersection.  Be sure to allow yourself extra time to get to church activities.  Also, you won't be able to turn left across traffic into the Wade Avenue parking lot.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bring a Food Pantry Donation to the Turkey Dinner Tonight

Our turkey dinner supports the ministries of this congregation, so your donation tonight is most welcome.  You can amplify that gift by also bringing a food item for the Urban Ministries Food Pantry.  Bring one of the following:
canned beans (not green; yes - kidney, black, pork n beans, baked beans, etc)
dried beans
canned carrots
canned fruit
canned tomatoes
powdered milk
peanut butter
mac & cheese

Sunday, November 8, 2009

How to post on this blog

As Carolyn and John requested, here are some simple steps to posting on either of CUCC's blogs.  If any of you try them, let me know if they work or if I need to make changes to make them clearer.

Thanks for participating in today's "Social Networking & CUCC 101" workshop.  Your questions pushed me to clarify my thinking on how we'll participate in social networks in our ministries.  Looking forward to running into you at Whole Foods or Facebook!

CUCC Members to Hear Common Woman Chorus Concert

You are invited to join others from CUCC who are carpooling to Durham to hear the excellent Common Woman Chorus.  If you were among those fortunate to hear the Chorus sing at our worship this summer, you know the concert will be amazing.  Our own Joan and Gretchen are singing (Gretchen has a solo in Arabic!).

November 21, 8 pm, Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Durham, General Admission:  $10.00

Donations will be collected to benefit the  Animal Protection Society and Durham Food Bank.

If you would like to carpool, call Carolyn King.  If you are willing to drive (there are a few folks going who don't drive at night), Carolyn will help you connect. 

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Remember your lunch!

If you are staying for the Sunday, November 8, after worship "Social Networking & CUCC 101" workshop, remember to bring your lunch!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Zelary - Movie for Nov. 20

The next film in our foreign film series, scheduled for November 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall is Zelary, a 2003 film from the Czech Republic. Here's the storyline as provided by Netflix:

This gorgeously shot World War II drama tells the story of a clash between two different worlds and two different people. Eliska, a nurse in a city hospital, donates her blood to save the life of injured mountain-dweller Joza, and the two form a strong bond. When the resistance group Eliska belongs to is discovered by the Gestapo, she's forced to seek refuge with Joza, leaving her urban life behind and starting anew in the remote mountains.

This film is "R" rated and is (like our first film, The Lives of Others) a bit gut-wrenching. But this film, like the first, is also a very uplifting film that illustrates how unexpected blessings can arise from apparent tragedy.

Last year after John and Joan Little watched this movie at our house, John commented to Joan a few days later that they should see more foreign films. Joan said, "The problem with foreign films is that you have to read the subtitles."

"But that didn't bother you the other night when we watched ‘Zelary’," John replied.

"Oh, but that was in English," answered Joan. (Joan became so engrossed in the film that two days later she didn't recall that the film was in Czech with English subtitles.)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Taking care of each other during flu season

  • If you have the flu, stay home.  Take care of yourself.  Protect the person who would be sitting next to you and might be immune-compromised.
  • Call Steve Halsted to tell him you have the flu so that we can offer help (and also let your CUCC friends know the flu was in their midst).
  • Check this blog to see if anyone could use your help with a warm meal or a few errands.  (We won't post names - just needs.)  Pray for those who are sick.
  • Check this blog before going to a CUCC event in case of cancellation.
For more details, read Taking care of each other during flu season.

Workshop: Social Networking at CUCC 101

Sunday, November 8, noon to 1:00
Bring your own lunch.
Have you wondered why anyone would want to be a Facebook friend?  Does "blog" sound like something Oliver Twist was forced to eat?  Do you remember when only birds tweeted?  And what in the world is a social network?
Join Jane and Lavon for a one hour introduction to how Community UCC is using these social networking tools in ministry.  For the first half hour you'll have the opportunity to see our church's social networking tools.  During the second half hour, Jane and Lavon will help you sign up for a social network if you would like to try one.
This event is planned for the curious.  You will not be pressured to join any of these social networks.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Flannery O'Connor Resources for Monday Lunch Group

Excerpts from Sally Fitzgerald's book of Flannery O'Connor's letters, "The Habit of Being" (pdf). This will be distributed in print at Monday Lunch Group on November 2.

Time Magazine's review of Sally Fitzgerald's "The Habit of Being"

A Good Man is Hard to Find (text)

The Life You Save May Be Your Own (audio)

Photos of Andalusia, the farm where Flannery O'Connor spent her life

Emory University unseals the 274 letters written by Flannery O'Connor to Betty Hester. Emory's announcement of the celebration.

Monday Lunch Group Schedule
  • Nov. 9 -- Read ahead of time the excerpts from Sally Fitzgerald's book which will be distributed on Nov. 2. Also read the Jonathan Yardley bio and the Time Magazine Review of Fitzgerald's book, and read the links about Betty Hester so you'll understand who the mysterious "A." is in Fitzgerald's book.
  • Nov. 16 -- Sue Cottle will do a reading of "The Artificial Nigger." This is my favorite work of Flannery O'Connor, and Flannery herself indicated a similar preference for this story. Also read the article above on the banning of this work in a Catholic parish in Louisiana.
  • Nov. 23 -- Read Flannery O'Connor short story "Good Country People". (We may choose to add another story to this assignment as well.)
  • Nov. 30 -- Film viewing in Fellowship Hall. "Wise Blood" was O'Connor's first major work and her only novel. In 1979 the acclaimed director John Huston made a film version of "Wise Blood". Below is an excerpt from Vincent Canby's review in the NY Times in 1979.
Wise Blood, based on Flannery O'Connor's 1952 novel about an inside-out religious fanatic of the rural South, is one of John Huston's most original, most stunning movies. It is so eccentric, so funny, so surprising, and so haunting that it is difficult to believe it is not the first film of some enfant terrible instead of the thirty-third feature by a man who is now in his seventies and whose career has had more highs and lows than a decade of weather maps.

Five Reasons Why We Don't Care About Climate Change

Interesting article. On most counts I think she hits the nail on the head.

Five Reasons Why We Don't Care About Climate Change

1. First, from an evolutionary perspective, we are not programmed to take future threats as seriously as immediate ones

2. Second, it costs money to do some of the right green things.

3. Third, we have become so distanced from nature

4. Fourth, many of us no longer believe we can make a difference in the world.

5. Finally, we think we never have enough time

Friday, October 23, 2009

setback on climate change

details of new poll here:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Great Conversation and Food Despite Cold, Blustery Day

Is it any surprise that our fall picnic fell on a blustery day?  It followed Winnie the Pooh's birthday by a mere four days.  Inside picnics can be just as much fun as those outside as our 30 revelers discovered.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Picnic moved to CUCC Grounds!

With temperatures predicted in the low 50's, brisk winds, and cloudy skies, we're moving our fall picnic to the CUCC grounds.  Eat inside or out. 
Games are still planned for the lawn, Joan has a song to teach us, and we might even have a campfire!
Bring your dish to share.  Come even if you didn't sign up.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fall Picnic Rain or Shine

Sunny day:  Jaycee Park
Rainy day:  Fellowship Hall (we'll set up some tables and spread our picnic blankets on the floor)

October 18, after worship
Come even if you didn't sign up!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Parking at the Fall Picnic, Oct. 18, after worship

Our shelter at Jaycee Park is midway up a gentle, grassy slope.  Nimble footed folks should park at the upper lot (above the shelter).  When you enter Jaycee Park at the sign, take the drive to the left.  Pass the recycling containters, the ball fields, and the volleyball courts; you are driving the left half of a circle.  Folks who prefer firmer footing should park at the lower lot (below the shelter).  This lot is directly in front of you when you enter by the Jaycee Park sign.  The grass is in good shape and there is only the tiniest slope.

Remember to bring:  Your dish to share, an activity you enjoy, and a friend.
Optional:  folding chair or blanket, your own place setting (so you don't have to use the disposables)
We'll provide:  water to drink, picnic tables, paper products & plastic cutlery.
Sunday, Oct. 18, noon until you feel like leaving (but before 2:30)
Sign up on the bulletin board or the poster in the fellowship hall or call the church office so we bring enough supplies.

If it rains, we'll picnic inside at CUCC.

Wooden Chairs for Sale

CUCC is looking for good homes for our excess wooden church school chairs.  Price:  $5/chair for CUCCers; $10/chair for your friends and neighbors.  The money will be used in the general budget.

Here is how to order.  In the preschool room (the one with the play kitchen) you'll find samples of each of the four models.  On each chair is a sign up sheet telling how many of that model are available.  Just sign up, giving your name, contact info, and how many of that style you want.  Jane Smith will get in touch to arrange your pick up.  Checks are made to:  CUCC.

Younger Elementary model - 4 chairs
Older Preschool model B - 9 chairs
Older Preschool model A - 13 chairs
Younger Preschool model - 10 chairs

If anyone is interested in painting a chair and donating it to the church auction, sign up to get a free chair.  Also, there are slightly wounded chairs which you may take for free - no sign up necessary.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Stillspeaking Daily Devotionals

Stillspeaking Daily Devotionals make a nice resource offered by the UCC. These are written by a variety of folks, so you never know exactly what to expect. But I find it a good way to jog myself into a different gear when I'm "stuck" at some point during the day. Subscribe here to get these daily via e-mail.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Secrets and Lies -- Oct. 23 on Movie Night

The second film in the foreign film series sponsored by the Welcome, Fellowship, and Growth Ministry will be the acclaimed British Film (1996) "Secrets and Lies" which was nominated for 5 Oscars. There may be disagreement as to whether this film is accurately classed as a comedy, but it is uproariously funny at times. Others might claim, however, that its poignant insights into race and class issues puts it on a different level from a movie that's simply funny.

We had an excellent audience for the showing of "The Lives of Others" on Sept. 18. But we announced then that we were saving the popcorn for the more light hearted offering to come in October. So put the date on your calendar: 7:30 PM, Oct. 23, in the fellowship hall for "Secrets and Lies." You're bound to enjoy it. Even though the film is entirely in English, the blue collar Cockney accents are pretty tough to follow in places. So we'll probably choose to show the English subtitles during the movie.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Good Samaritan and Healthcare Reform

The heated dialog about healthcare reform often divides Christians. For the past 40 years the abortion issue has done the same thing. There's an interesting switch in polarity now, however. When it comes to abortion, Christians on the "conservative" (whatever that means) end of the spectrum think they know what is right and are ready to force their conclusions on everyone else. Christians on the left advocate "choice" and have used slogans like "keep your hands off my body." Polarity is reversed in the healthcare culture wars. Now it's the left that knows what everybody needs and is pressing for the government to do it. And it's the right end of the spectrum that's squawking about choice and "keep your hands off my healthcare."

Amidst all the hubbub, a curious story turned up on ABC Evening News last night. It was about groups of Christians who have organized their own "health care co-ops". The basic idea is that everyone participating in the plan agrees to pay so many dollars each month to help pay the medical bills of someone they choose who is sick. So basically you throw out the insurance companies, throw out most of the paperwork, throw out most of the overhead, and have people helping people. (Not all overhead is eliminated. There's a central agency that processes "claims" from people with medical expenses and validates them, and which "publishes" the list of those who need help so that participants can pick whom to send their checks to.)

Participants in the group are quick to point out that this is not "insurance." There are no guarantees. After all, it's all based on "faith."

I recommend that you watch the segment on Youtube. Just for laughs if nothing else. It can't possibly work, right? Better to let the government take care of it. After all, governments know how to manage things. (Like financial institutions.)

Some people are just plain impractical. They believe in foolish things like loving their neighbors and giving away wealth. We present-day good Samaritans know better. We just ask the government to do it. Jesus was just born too early. If he had arrived in the 20th century he'd know better than to tell such fairy tales.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Climate Change Resource List from Sam Mozley

Thanks to Dr. Sam Mozley for his presentation today on climate change with specific reference to impact in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Dr. Mozley provided us with a list of resources so we could read more about climate change and things we can do.

Look for more action ideas we can take together in the coming months. All Things Congo and the Justice in a Changing Climate Steering Committee will be meeting and you are always welcome to join us. Meanwhile, keep working and encouraging each other!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fall Picnic, Oct. 18

Now on CUCC grounds!
Brrr - it's chilly.
We've moved the picnic to the fellowship hall and grounds.  Eat inside or out.  Games still planned for the grassy area and we might start a campfire in the firepit.
Come to the CUCC after-worship picnic potluck.
Noon to 2:30, Oct. 18

What you should bring:
a dish to share
decks of cards or lawn games
a friend
If you prefer, your folding chair or a blanket.
What we'll provide:
water to drink
picnic tables
paper products & plastic cutlery
Feeling green? Bring your own cup, plate & cutlery.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sisters in Spirit Calendar, new meeting date

Sisters in Spirit (SIS) is Community UCC's monthly gathering of women for friendship, fun, and exploration. SIS is changing its meeting times to the 4th Tuesday of each month, generally at 7 PM. Mark your calendar; bring a friend. The event/topic of the month will appear in the newsletter.

Oct. 27
November 24
December 22
January 26
Feb. 23
March 23
April 27
May 25

Green Midwinter Reunion Sept. 27, 12:15

*“*A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.*”*

—Greek proverb

A reminder to come for "Green" Chat at 12:15ish Sunday September 27th in the Bradow Room at CUCC where we'll eat grapes and peanut butter sandwiches. We'll be discussing
  • CSA's,
  • metal roofs,
  • personal example of home audit with what gets done in one and what gets changed,
  • detoxing carpeted floors,
  • "Green" reading we may be doing,
  • doing an exercise together described in Sally Bingham's new book, and
  • other "green" information you may wish to share or ask ideas about.
If there are subjects you'd like to put on agenda for inclusion or if you can RSVP, that would be nice but not required... Happy green reunion and feel free to bring friends!

Posted on behalf of Marty Lamb

Friday, September 18, 2009

FORUM: Sept. 20


This Sunday we'll discuss health care reform through a panel discussion led by Bill Wilson, Assoc. State Director of Advocacy, AARP, and our own Lavon Page who has weighed in on the topic on this blog.

Come and share your own perspectives. As usual, Forum meets in Vaughan Hall, 9:15 to 10:15am.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Newcomers' Supper, October 2

Let us treat you to a light supper and good conversation on Friday night, October 2. Designed for newcomers to Community UCC, this evening will give you a chance to ask questions about the church and allow us to get to know you better. Come after work or school, starting at 6:00pm with appetizers. Supper will be served at 6:30pm and we should be done by 8:00.

To make sure we prepare enough food, RSVP to the church office by September 29. Tell Carol if you have any food restrictions. We'll arrange for child care if you would like to bring your children (spaghetti is on the menu).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Changing with the Times

On behalf of the Communications Committee and the Welcome, Fellowship, and Growth Ministry, Jane Smith and I have been endeavoring to modernize our internal and external communications. We've had help from Cynthia Ball and Jennifer Wells. The purpose of this effort isn't to be modern or trendy, but to make the best use of present opportunities for both outreach and staying in touch with each other. But we recognize that old ways are often comfortable, and that sometimes change is hard.

Others in the UCC have had similar experiences. Our own Southern Conference is undergoing change in its communications efforts. The present printed issue of "Southern Spirit," the newsletter of the Southern Conference of the UCC, is to be the last. The print medium is going extinct.

Two old-timers in the Conference reflect poignantly on this change in this final printed issue. They are Vertie Powers, Associate Conference Minister, and Irwin Smallwood. If you find the move toward electronic communications in any way unsettling, I highly recommend a quick read of Vertie's and Irwin's points of view. The change is coming, ready or not.

You can find Vertie's column on page B2 and Irwin's on page B3 of the online version of the Southern Conference newsletter (PDF).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Community of Disciples of Christ in Congo Appoint First Female District Minister

Our partner denomination at Global Ministries, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), has a close working relationship with Disciples-originated congregations in the DRC. We celebrate with the Community of Disciples of Christ in Congo the appointment of Rev. Likafo.

"The Reverend Likafo Ifonge Marie Louise was appointed to serve as the Supervising Minister of the Kinshasa District during the 22th General Assembly of the Community of Disciples of Christ in Congo (DRC) held in Mbandaka this August, 2009. Likafo is the first woman in the Disciples' church to serve in this capacity, and probably the first woman to hold this position among the approximately 70 member churches of the ecumenical body of the Church of Christ in Congo. "


Please remember that our Welcome Back Sunday Potluck will be held this Sunday, September 13, immediately after worship. Please bring a dish to share.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Climate Change/Congo followed by potluck

We want to invite you to hear a presentation on Climate Change and the Congo with Dr. Sam Mozley. The event will be Sunday, September 27, at 3:30pm at Community United Church of Christ. (directions)

Dr. Mozley, retired Associate Professor of Zoology at N.C. State University, was trained by the Climate Project in Nashville, TN, in October 2008 to present an updated and re-framed version of the slide show Al Gore used as part of An Inconvenient Truth. His presentation will include new information on global clikmate change and special perspectives on the expected impacts of climate change on central Africa, in particular, the Congo River basin. The presentation will last about an hour.

After the presentation we will have a potluck dinner starting at 5 pm. Bring a friend and a dish to share to the talk and stay for dinner.

This is a joint project of Community UCC and The Good New Church's All Things Congo series.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

health care & Facebook

"No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day."
I, too, have joined those who posted this message as my Facebook status. I've also posted this on the Community United Church of Christ page for comments by the group.
On Swampland: a blog about politics (my first time reading there), bethnva said that the problem with the current debate is that we've forgotten this obvious truth because the news coverage is focused on the sensational falsehoods and side topics. And latinasoccermom pointed out that all the Facebook posts won't make any difference if we don't contact our legislators.
So, once again I'm going to contact my legislators, this time with the simple phrase above. Because keeping things the way they are is simply not acceptable. They hear from the folks who don't like this plan or that provision. What they need to hear loudest of all is that we want health care for our families and our neighbors more than we fear the plan that Congress chooses.
Add my voice...
No one should die because they cannot afford health care,
and no one should go broke because they get sick.

Steve's sermon on prayer

I found my imagination captured by the questions at the end of Steve's Aug. 30 sermon on being present to the Spirit. I plan to use them for reflection over the next few weeks. Steve gave me permission to post his notes in case any of you are interested, too. Do keep in mind that these are his notes, not the sermon as he preached it.

If any of you decide to use the questions, too, I'd love to know of any insights that come to you. Perhaps we could "meet" here on the blog....

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

health care solution to end medicare/medicaid as we know it

My proposal to slash medicare and medicaid programs. Hopefully not too simplistic.

Everyone hates how medicare and medicaid costs are rising so fast. The way to eliminate them is to shift the risk to *private* insurers - and to spread it out over a larger pool of people. That way insurance can act like insurance.

1 in 6 americans doesn't have health insurance. This may be their "choice", but if they get really sick - who are they going to turn to? The american taxpayer.
One solution is to have armed guards at emergency rooms preventing heart attack patients who cannot pay from entering. But there is a better alternative.

The key question is: why should taxpayers shoulder the risk without also getting the benefit?

It is in our own financial interest to have universal *private* health insurance. This way the taxpayers are not shouldering the risk. Insurance can act like insurance. The pool is large enough to handle the risk and the taxpayers are not on the hook for the bill.

Then medicare and medicaid stop being medical reimbursement agencies altogether. Now, they would however need to be premium payers for the poor and indigent. Paying premiums only - and not shouldering the risk - would be an incredible cost reduction on the current system.

Politically this is probably a non-starter. Seniors vote in numbers that would prevent anyone from changing medicare. They enjoy their socialized medicine and consistently vote to keep it that way. We could do this for medicaid however.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Possibilities for Hope in the DRC

Invest an hour to understand the current situation in the DRC after the recent visit by Secretary of State Clinton. Not simplistic - deep discussion of a complicated situation.
Gain insights into these questions
What did Secretary Clinton promise and what is her level of commitment?
What should be the role of the US (and other countries which benefit from DRC natural resources)?
What is the larger geopolitical context which will influence what the US might choose to do?
What models that have been used elsewhere might be effective in the DRC?

The Diane Rehm Show, August 13, 2009
"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calls the sexual violence in eastern Congo 'one of mankind's greatest atrocities.' An update on the security crisis and what the U.S. and other nations can do to help stabilize the Democratic Republic of Congo."
Guests: Mvemba Dizolele, national fellow, Hoover Institution; John Prendergast, co-chair of the ENOUGH Project, an initiative to end genocide and crimes against humanity (CUCC's All Things Congo group receives updates from the ENOUGH Project.)

"These are not hopeless situations...there are solutions." John Prendergast

Potluck: Welcome Back and Neighbors in Need

Time to catchup after the summer
to celebrate collecting the Neighbors in Need offering.
Sunday, Sep. 13, noon
Bring a dish to share.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Kids say the darndest things!


3-year-old Reese:
'Our Father, Who does art in heaven, Harold is His name. Amen.'
A little boy was overheard praying: 'Lord, if you can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it. I'm having a real good time like I am.'
After the christening of his baby brother in church, Jason sobbed all the way home in the back seat of the car. His father asked him three times what was wrong. Finally, the boy replied, 'That preacher said he wanted us brought up in a Christian home, and I wanted to stay with you guys.'
One particular four-year-old prayed, 'And forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets.'
A Sunday school teacher asked her children as they were on the way to church service, 'And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?' One bright little girl replied, 'Because people are sleeping.'
A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin 5, and Ryan 3. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. 'If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, 'Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.' Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, ' Ryan , you be Jesus !'
A father was at the beach with his children when the four-year-old son ran up to him, grabbed his hand, and led him to the shore where a seagull lay dead in the sand. 'Daddy, what happened to him?' the son asked. 'He died and went to Heaven,' the Dad replied. The boy thought a moment and then said, 'Did God throw him back down?'
A wife invited some people to dinner. At the table, she turned to their six-year-old daughter and said, 'Would you like to say the blessing?' 'I wouldn't know what to say,' the girl replied. 'Just say what you hear Mommy say,' the wife answered. The daughter bowed her head and said, 'Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?'


Hope you have had a nice Summer!

After the Summer break, the CUCC Forum resumes this Sunday, Sept. 6, and we hope you will participate in the programs.

The September schedule:

September 6 – Cy King, “The Peace Movement: A Little History”

September 13 – Chris Fitzsimon, “The NC Budget: Realities & Inequities"

September 20 – Health Care Reform (panel to be announced)

September 27 - Joan McCallister, "Links Program: the needs of our Youth as they transition out of foster care”

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Crop Walk

CROP Walk is Sunday, October 4

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How does your faith inform your views on health care reform?

1) Pray. The United Church of Christ is calling us to P.U.S.H. - Pray Until Something Happens to bring health care to all Americans.
2) Be a public witness. One opportunity: Health Care Can't Wait rally to support affordable, quality health care for all Americans. This Saturday, August 29, 10:00-11:30am, State Capitol Building. (Look for Gary to join the CUCC contingent.)
3) Sign the Vision Statement for inclusive, affordable, accessible, accountable health care either online or after worship this Sunday.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Movie Night: The Lives of Others -- Sept. 18

The acclaimed German film "The Lives of Others" (Das Leben der Anderen) will kick off the foreign film series beginning this fall at CUCC. Each month beginning in September we'll have a Friday night film. Dates and titles will be announced at least a month in advance and will be posted under "Upcoming Events" on the front page of the church website, as well as in the newsletter and on the News and Chat blog. All movies will begin at 7:30 in the Fellowship Hall.

"The Lives of Others" is set in the 1980s in East Berlin and won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film of 2007. This is a remarkably redemptive and moving film. Come and enjoy it with others.

This film series is a project of the Welcome, Fellowship, and Growth Ministry. The purpose of the series is fun and fellowship. The series will include films from Germany, Netherlands, Great Britain, Czech Republic, Hungary, China, and South Africa.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Health Care Reform

Interesting posts on health care reform. Thought I'd weigh in.
I am a free market democrat and so I am opposed to a government plan. But I am in favor of universal coverage. How can this be done?

Right now there is no free market for health insurance. I am self employed and I basically have one choice - blue cross advantage. If I was a large employer, then I would have options. But for individuals there is not a well-functioning market.
In addition, there would not be a free market for health insurance even if I worked for someone else. Of all the jobs I've had over the years, my employer has only offered me one and only one health care option (I don't count an adjustment in the deductible as "choice"). Want a different health insurance plan? Then you must change jobs!
Even further, if on my present plan I decide to "choose" my doctor, and they are on my plan - then I pay through the nose (retail). So the insurance company determines who my doctors are.

No free market for coverage individually. No free market for coverage at employers. No free choice of doctors. That is what we have now. (And the right keeps saying they want free choice and not socialism - I just don't understand the logic).

But the government is not the answer. They don't know health care any more than they know how to make automobiles. Stick with what you know. I don't do brain surgery. The government shouldn't do health care.

The answer is to decouple health insurance from employment.
Create a free market for insurance.

Then require everyone to have coverage. (which also means no one can be turned down). This is the fundamental problem - spreading the risk. By having it employment based, we have lots of little tiny pools of risk. But spread the risk over 300 million people and insurance starts to look like actual insurance. You would of course need to have a fund for those who cannot afford it as we have now under medicaid.

I would not only apply this to the private sector. The public sector - including the military - will be required to get their own insurance on the free market.

Free market for insurance. Everyone is covered. No single payer. No government doctors. Case closed.

(p.s. Another "slightly unrealistic" solutions would be to have a "fat tax" where people pay for coverage based on their physical weight. Except perhaps smoking, isn't that the most behavior-based, changeable, controllable factor affecting the cost of everyone's health care? Pay by the pound and watch obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and health care costs all drop precipitously.)

Friday, August 21, 2009

More local folks sound off on healthcare reform

When I wrote yesterday's post Musings on healthcare reform, I thought I was out of the mainstream. Today I wake up and see that others are thinking more or less the same thing. So maybe there's a groundswell here.

Today's If only we had to keep costs in mind column in the N&O is written by a local emergency room physician. While strongly supportive of reform, he starts out with ...

I'm furious with President Barack Obama. When he got elected last fall, I thought we finally had a leader who was willing to tell us the truth about health care: It's just like everything else in life. If we want meaningful reform, we have to realize that we can't all have everything we want, at any hour of the day or night, always paid for by somebody else.

Don't get me wrong. I think universal coverage is an idea whose time has come, within limits. In a wealthy advanced society like ours (current economic woes notwithstanding) everyone must have access to some essential set of services. We can argue about what that basket should include, but basic health care for everyone must be a right in any just and fair society. Our current exclusion of one-sixth of our population is an embarrassment.

And right beside that piece is one written by a professor at Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy called We simply must spend less. In his piece he observes ...

The "bad" bad news is that we say we want to save money, but then we are horrified when we realize that saving money means actually spending less (especially if it affects us and not "them"). All of the approaches noted above mean that less money will flow through the system, thereby reducing someone's income and reducing the amount of care that someone receives. The biggest roadblock to reducing costs is not technical, and it is not the politicians. It is "we the people."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

If you support a public option for health insurance ...

Here are two websites where you can sign a petition in support of a public option for health insurance ...

Musing on Healthcare Reform ...

I listened to all of the healthcare conference call yesterday. It left me with the impression that I've been developing for quite some time. There's not going to be any healthcare reform this year, and probably the best thing we can hope for at this time is no bill at all from Congress. If anything resembling the bill that's now festering in Congress passes, we're going to take longer to recover from its ramifications than will be required to start all over again on a reform effort at some point in the future.

You see, my friends, what is emerging from all this is the sad fact that the problem is us. It's not the President, it's not Congress, it's not the insurance industry, and it's not the pharmaceutical companies. It's us, the American people. And by that I mean that what we say we want isn't attainable.

Now admittedly part of the problem is the brokenness of political institutions. (How long has it been since Congress actually did something constructive as opposed to diddling around the edges with "feel good" legislation?) But the other part of the problem is that the wish list for healthcare reform which has been endorsed by President Obama and echoed widely elsewhere is mathematically impossible. The numbers just don't add up.

Here's what I'm hearing when I piece together all the speeches yesterday:
  • universal healthcare
  • a single-tiered system with no limits on access or procedures
  • no "discrimination" in insurance, i.e. everyone gets insurance at the same cost no matter what the person's health
  • no rise in premiums that people are currently paying
  • everybody gets to keep their present insurance if they like it
  • no "death panels" to decide whether an end-of-life patient qualifies for every conceivable treatment that could possibly work
  • no changes to Medicare coverage
There's something uniquely American about this wish list. It's egalitarianism run amok. Other countries don't engage in this kind of wishful thinking.

We've become a society that loves the "blame game." In the conference call yesterday, one of the speakers lamented a friend or relative who had died from brain cancer that had spread to many organs. The speaker said matter-of-factly that the acquaintance died because the insurance company denied treatment in a timely fashion. No, friends, the patient died of cancer. The insurance company may have behaved outrageously, and the delay in treatment may (or may not) have been a factor in the death. But death does happen, and our fantasy that every death is preventable if we just seek out the proper treatment is one of the main reasons that end-of-life healthcare costs in the U.S. dwarfs that of other countries.

Often we hear it said, "If other countries like Canada and the UK can have universal health care, why can't we?" Well, we of course could have a system like the UK or Canada has, but that doesn't match our wish list. While in the UK last spring I observed that every subway car in London is plastered with ads for private health insurance. The private system runs alongside the public system. It's a much better system than we have in the U.S., but it's a tiered system. The people who buy into the private system get access to care that isn't available to people only in the public system. And that doesn't fit our national myth.

I think the system in the UK is superior to what we have now in the U.S. But to get from here to there, we have to give up some of the things on our wish list. My own opinion is that the most feasible approach is to forego changing the private system and instead build tax-paid "almost free" clinics alongside. Doctors would be on salary, and paperwork would be reduced dramatically. Yes, it would be costly, and yes there would have to be new taxes of some sort to pay for it. But the critics are right in that there's no such thing as a free lunch. And there's something in this for everybody. For the uninsured, it would provide basic medical coverage at minimal cost. And taking the uninsured out of our emergency rooms would benefit hospitals, free up emergency rooms for actually dealing with medical emergencies, and reduce hospital costs for everyone else.

When government lies to the people it's usually because the people don't want to hear the truth. That's just as true in the present healthcare debate as it was with the Iraq war. We didn't want to be told that victory in Iraq would have huge social or financial costs. We even now don't want to be told that we can't clean up the environment while maintaining dirt cheap gasoline prices. (So our government fumbles along trying to have it both ways.) And we don't want to be told that we can't have everything on our wish list as far as healthcare reform is concerned.

Read the excellent article by Bob Herbert of the NY Times if you haven't already. It appeared in the N&O today, but I saw it in the NY Times yesterday.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Health Care Reform

(submitted by Jim Smith)

This is from a friend of mine who has a lot of knowledge of the healthcare system and who I respect tremendously.

I wanted to send you all this forward from The Institute for Healthcare Improvement. I have been involved with IHI for the last decade or so and they have made significant strides in enhancing the quality of care in the US. This particular article from yesterday highlights the success of multiple communities who have reduced the escalation in Medicare Costs through regional assessment of practice patterns and the restructuring of healthcare delivery in accordance with need.

The President's agenda includes enhanced incentives to embrace the adoption of health information technology, provide coordinated care and assess health outcomes. The reasoning behind these initiatives is due to the overwhelming evidence that persons who are treated within the structure of a Medical Home Model where Mistakes are Minimized, have healthier lives and spend less money on healthcare. The folks that are opposed to our agenda don't know it but they are opposing physician visits where their doctors and other providers will actually be reimbursed to spend more time with them addressing their health needs.

These same people are also unaware that the high number of MRI's in the US is less associated with increased pathology rates than fear of malpractice lawsuits.

The communities in our own nation that have accomplished such significant improvements have all adopted a multi-prong approach to healthcare including: Reestablishing the primary care physician relationship, reforming the methods used to assess the quality and cost of healthcare at a local level and investing in technology. All of this coupled with incentives to do the right thing, provide the right care at the right place at the right time.

Please see the article below which is data driven and concise. If we can somehow communicate these successes to the opposition in addition to our accurate interpretation of the Bill, we might actually change some minds. Many who do not change their minds are -in my opinion- using the healthcare reform issue as an excuse to disagree with the current Administration due to many other conflicting issues that we cannot sort out in this debate.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

World Council of Churches visit to the DRC

This press release on the Living Letters trip gives info on work of the churches outside of the eastern conflict area. I appreciated widening my understanding of the background and focus of some of the work which would be supported by our money via Global Ministries.

The WCC site also has a paragraph on the history of some of the churches in DRC (including the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) affiliate) as well as a list of the WCC connected denominations there. This is the best description I've seen anywhere.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

New Grandnephew

Jo and I are pleased to announce a new grandnephew (the first after 4 grandnieces). Born to Niko and Shara in Peekskill NY this morning. No name yet. Birth was at home with help of a midwife.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

More Info on Church School

Fall Church School Begins August 23

All 5th-12th graders are invited to leave worship with the children, after the children's message, for church school every Sunday, except for the first Sunday of each month. First Sundays, we do not hold church school classes, and we encourage all 5th-12th graders to attend worship, and either sit together, or with their families. There are rare exceptions to this pattern, advance notice will be given. One such Sunday is September 27, which is Arts in Worship Sunday; all 5th-12th graders will remain in the sanctuary for this creative worship experience.

5th-12th grade church school Sundays break down as follows...
  • Some Sundays, classes combine for Stand Up for Your Rights curriculum led by Santi Matthews, upstairs in the Pilgrim House, otherwise...
  • 5th and 6th graders form the Journey class, led by Santi Matthews: Beloved Community curriculum: Pilgrim House
  • 7th-9th graders form the Confirmation class, led by Sue Cottle and Mike Evans: Confirmation curriculum: Bradow and/or Hoffman Rooms
  • 10th-12th graders form the Leaders class, led by Maggie Stoddard: Faith Experiences in Time of Transition: Youth Room
Youth will be escorted from the narthex to their appropriate classes by their teachers. After worship, to avoid confusion, parents are asked to meet their 5-12 graders in the Fellowship Hall.

Youth Group

The CUCC Youth Group is comprised of 7th-12th graders (5th-6th graders are invited to join us every 5th Sunday, and for special event planning). The group is led by Santi Matthews. Youth meet to live out our faith by getting together for meals, service projects, retreats, worship planning, lock-ins, games, and fun. We will meet regularly this year every 2nd and 3rd Sunday from 12:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m. for lunch and activities, and at other times as planned. On Sunday, September 13, we'll join the church wide Welcome Back Sunday Potluck, and then play four square and Uno, and on September 20, we'll share a youth lunch and activity.

Calendar Items:
  • August and September church school for 5th-12th graders:
  • August 23 and 30: 5th-12th Graders meet together for Stand Up For Your Rights curriculum.
  • Sept. 6: There is no church school for 5th-12th graders; Join together in worship.
  • September 13 and 20: Journey, Confirmation, and Leaders classes will meet.
  • September 27: There is no church school for 5th-12th graders; join together for Arts in Worship.
Mark your calendars with these two October walks, and then stand up, show up, and walk for the rights of others:
  • Join the Crop Walk, on Sunday, October 4, and walk to take a stand against hunger in our world. Raise awareness and funds for fighting local and international hunger.
  • Join the Walk for Hope, on Sunday, October 11. Promote research and support effective treatment for those who suffer from mental illness. Contact Santi Matthews or Suzzette Roach if you have interest or questions about the Walk for Hope.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Church School and Youth Activities for August

The youth will have church school August 2, 16, 23, and 30. No YOUTH church school on August 9.
In September, we will be back to our regular school year pattern pattern of youth church school meetings every Sunday except 1st Sundays, when youth are encouraged to remain in worship with their families. (There will be some exceptions to this pattern, advance notice is always given).

The CUCC Youth Group (7-12 graders) will meet from 12-2 for lunch and activities after church on August 2 and August 23. In September, we will return to our regular school year pattern of Youth Group meetings every 2nd and 3rd
Sunday from 12-2. On 5th Sundays, the youth group invites 5th and 6th graders to join in and share lunch and activities from 12-2.

August 14-15 is a creativity retreat for our rising seniors (Anna and Abby) at Cedar Cross Retreat Center, led by Santi Matthews and Margaret Hilpert.

Rising 7th and 8th and 9th grade youth (Carson, Jackson, Rachel, and KL) are invited to build the campfire and provide smore's for the churchwide campfire on August 15 at 8PM. Please remind everyone you see to come to this fun event! Steve is bringing his guitar and we'll be singing camp songs.

August 30 is a 5th Sunday, and Heather has organized a pool party at her pool for all children, youth, and their families. Immediately after church, we'll all go to Lake Park Pool (, located near Leadmine and Lynne Road. We'll have a simple finger food potluck, and swim until about 2:30.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Good news from DRC

Remember Rev. Sandra Gourdet who visited our congregation on Palm Sunday as part of our All Things Congo series? She is the Disciples of Christ minister who works with Global Ministries on our behalf in the DRC. I just received this update (including photos) on progress in the construction of Bolenge Hospital, a pediatric hospital in the DRC. I believe Bolenge is near the large city of Mbandaka in the northwest wetlands area of the DRC. With so much sad news from our friends in the DRC, I wanted to share this bit of hope with you.

Community Connections: A quick survey

The Board of Deacons would like to hear your ideas about how we as a church can provide opportunities for members and guests to get to know each other outside of church. Please fill out this survey, adding your ideas as well! If you think you or other members of your family would be interested in one or more of these types of activities, please send your survey to the church office.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Church School Kickoff

Mark your calendar for August 23 when our children and youth start a new year in church school. If you have any questions about your child's class, talk to Anne Bailey (pre-, elementary, and middle schools) or Santi (high school). There is always something fun planned for the first day, so don't miss it! General church school information.

Campfire, singalong, & smores

Come to the CUCC patio at 8:00 pm on Saturday night, Aug. 15, to enjoy the evening and the glow of a campfire. Steve will lead us in camp songs and Jennifer is bringing the fixings for smores. If you have a favorite roasting stick, bring it along. Better yet, bring a friend or two or three!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Twitter is now being tested for church use

Want to share with EVERYBODY what you're doing or planning for CUCC? Try out the Twitter Chat that now appears on the front page of the CUCC website. Not for private info (obviously), but a good choice for a simple news blurb or comment about what you're doing or thinking that's church related.

Now you see them, now you don't

Great post on clothelines by Jane. My approach in MacGregor Downs (Cary) is a "now you see them, now you don't" one. I have ropes on an unused portion of our back deck at a level where they can't be seen when not in use. I also make heavy use of a trick suggested by Betsy Towler, i.e. a rod over the washer and dryer on which I use coat hangers to dry shirts and other things that easily fit on a hanger. Together with a small collapsible rack by the laundry room, I actually dry most loads indoors. This requires very little handling, and the heat in winter and AC in summer speeds the process. These tricks enable us to limit dryer use to maybe half a dozen times per year. (For 25 years at our previous house we didn't own a dryer.) I really enjoy drying clothes "the natural way".

Barb Pfaff, the friend who ran the lodge in Pindale WY where Jo and I always stayed (and who used clothelines for all the laundry for the lodge) once said, "Where do people think all the lint in their dryer comes from? That's their clothes."

Clotheslines, great neighbors, and humidity

Rep. Pricey Harrison sponsored a bill which would preclude municipalities for enacting ordinances against using an outdoor clothesline (neighborhood associations could still covenant against them). Unfortunately, the NC Senate Commerce Committee shot down her bill (see News and Observer editorial, "Hang ‘em high").

WRITE TO YOUR SENATOR TO MAKE YOUR OPINION HEARD. SEND A NOTE TO THE NEWS AND OBSERVER (click on "comments" at the editorial on the N&O webpage). Bans on clotheslines punish those who need to count their pennies and hurt the environment. Shouldn’t people be allowed to choose?

A few helpful hints after two years of experimenting

Which style? Umbrella style works well for us. I can fit three large loads on it and could hide undergarments in the center if our power goes out. We spent a bit more for a very sturdy pole (wet jeans and sheets are heavy) and haven’t regretted it. Another great feature: the pole can be removed from its soil-level base which has it’s own cap; we’ll be able to take down the pole easily for the next NC hurricane and could mow over the base if we take a while to get the pole back up.
Positioning and being a good neighbor. We have a corner lot and hence no backyard. I consulted our neighborhood association chair about placement; she suggested a fence (yikes) or at least some screening plants. So we put the pole near our house tucked behind a giant butterfly bush. The umbrella is still visible, but "modest." Then I talked to our neighbor who would be getting a great view of our pole from her deck. I showed her the site, asked if she had any suggestions, and said I planned to keep my undergarments in the house. Wonderful person that she is, she pointed out that she hangs her beach towels between their trees (I never noticed!) and thought the umbrella was a great idea. I’d recommend consulting your neighbors – they might have some good ideas and they appreciate being asked. But make it clear you aren’t asking their permission, just seeking advice on placement.
Timing and being a good neighbor. Who wants to have a party with someone’s t-shirts adorning the view? I’ve offered to keep my clothes inside when the neighbors have a party planned. And I try to keep my Sunday clothes drying to a minimum (our immediate neighbors are Christian, so Sunday is the day).
Positioning and laziness. I knew I’d never use the pole if I had to walk too far from the door. Know thyself!
Crunchy unmentionables. Some items don’t benefit from sun-dried crispness. I still use my dryer for socks, knickers, and towels. And lingerie dries softer hung indoors than out. I run one dark and one light load in my dryer each week; another five loads are hung outside.
Timing. In the warm months, a load hung before noon will be dry by supper. I usually hang a load at breakfast which my daughter "harvests" before supper – an easy school-year schedule.
Cold humidity. I’ve given up hanging out clothes in the cold months. My experience is that when the temperature stays below 50 degrees, a load hung at 7 am is still wet at 4:30 pm.
Motivation. My grandmother had a clothesline in the basement of every home she owned. I grew up "helping" her as she pegged clothes. Today, I use her clothespin basket and many of her pins and pegs. Each load is a connection to love and memories. Consider using an heirloom or creating a container with family or friends for a boost with each load you hang.
Be gracious to yourself. I’m glad we’re reducing our carbon footprint. I’m glad we’re saving money. But one of the things I learned through this process is that it is sustainable because I’m not legalistic about it. I hang clothes when I can, I use the dryer when life requires it.

Post your clothesline stories - humorous and otherwise.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Coalition for Peace With Justice

(Posted at the request of Peggy Rafferty by way of Pastor Steve)

I have reconnected with the Coalition for Peace With Justice Chapel Hill and am happy to announce that UK free lance Journalist, Ben White will be speaking at Quail Ridge Books on Monday July 27th. He covers Palestine/Israel and the Near East. He is in America on a book tour. He has written a Primer on Apartheid and will Present that at Quail Ridge. Please join us on Monday, July 27, at 7:30 pm.

We greatly appeciate your support and your tremendous leadership in peace with justice issues.

Peggy Rafferty

Beat the Heat Movie - Wall-E

Sunday, July 26
2 pm
Bring your friends and family for movie and popcorn.
This movie is adult-worthy and child-friendly.
Erin and Judy Kiel will be your hosts.
IMDb Review

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Economic Justice resolution passes at General Synod

The following is excerpted from an email written by Rebecca Bowman Woods, June 30, 2009
Synod adopts economic justice covenant resolution
General Synod delegates adopted the measure Tuesday morning....
Introducing the Economic Justice resolution was Seth Carey of First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn, Ill., who chaired Committee 2. He noted that the committee deleted specific examples of sustainable practices and instead asked that a task force, called for in the resolution, provide a list of those practices.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Response to Letter on Economic Justice

At the May 31 Congregational Meeting the congregation voted to send a letter of support for a resolution titled: An Economic Justice Covenant, which will be brought before the UCC General Synod in late June. We have received the following response from the Office of General Ministries.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Welcome, Ruth Ann!

Congratulations to Fawn Pattison and Grady McCallie on the birth of Ruth Ann.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Getting to know Raleigh

I enjoyed reading this brief history of Moore Square which was published in Chris Riley's City of Raleigh Enewsgram. (If you don't receive this summary of recent Council and government actions, it is well worth the read. You'll also find details on upcoming events, road closings due to races and parades, environmental news, and citizens who are making a difference. Chris has an engaging style and you'll learn things not readily available on TV or in the papers.) I couldn't find the Enewsgram published on the City's website or would have linked directly to Chris's work.

With the Moore Square redesign competition in full swing, reading about the history of the Square is timely.

[To receive the Enewsgram newsletter, contact Senior Public Affairs Specialist Chris Riley at 919-996-3008 or]

Monday, June 15, 2009

The sound accompanying a watermelon seed soaring to victory?

P2e, of course!

Plan to linger after worship on July 5 for our annual watermelon seed spitting contest. Prizes are offered for distance in different age groups and by gender. So get busy practicing your technique.

see more P2e 2008 photos

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Game Night and Sundaes on Friday

Bring your friends, your favorite game, and a sundae topping to CUCC's Game Night, this Friday, June 12, at 7 pm in the Vaughan Fellowship Hall. All ages welcome!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

May 31 Congregational Meeting Vote

At the Congregational Meeting to be held after worship on May 31, the Social Justice Ministry is seeking a vote by the congregation to send a letter of support for a resolution titled: An Economic Justice Covenant, which will be brought before the UCC General Synod in late June. The resolution was drafted by the United Church of Chapel Hill and endorsed by the Southern Conference. Please read over the resolution and join us at the meeting on May 31.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Vanguard Funds genocide resolution on proxy

If you hold shares in any Vanguard Funds, the Social Justice Ministry asks you to prayerfully consider voting in favor of this shareholder resolution:

Shareholders request that the board institute procedures to prevent holding investments in companies that, in the judgment of the board, substantially contribute to genocide or crimes against humanity, the most egregious violations of human rights.
This resolution is relevant to the conflict in Darfur and, of course, to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Your proxy information will give the rationale behind the shareholder resolution and Vanguard's response.
I checked with Save Darfur to seek insight into Vanguard's claim that the resolution is redundant to their current practices. I found their link to this 4/21/09 Huffington Post article to be helpful: Don’t Trust Vanguard: Vote For Genocide-free Investing .

Monday, May 11, 2009

What is it like to pray on-line?

Surprising! I logged onto the UCC's Prayer Chapel out of curiousity and logged off nourished in much the same way I am after Taize. I thought it would feel cold, techno, forced - I was a sceptic. But I'll go back. Here is what happened.
To log on (the services are at noon weekdays or 9 pm any day), I simply typed in a user name (I typed "Jane") - there was no joining or other info required. Because I was a minute early, I saw a gray blank square which became a white message box when the service began. On the left was a list of all "in" the Chapel (just two of us that day) and at the bottom was a place to type what I wanted to say (do keep it short). Just above that I saw "Euphonne is typing" which told me that someone was about to "speak." I was greeted by the worship leader, Euphonne (her leadership name). Not knowing what to do, I typed in my prayer request. Euphonne greeted me personally, asked if I was new. She explained that she'd lead me through the experience, which she did in a clear and reassuring way; she also gave me her "real" name which I appreciated. The service was much like a regular service; Euphonne would type instructions and leave long pauses for silence. In fact, much of the time was spent in silence. She typed, line by line, a scripture reading, leaving time for meditation. Then she called for intercessory prayer, offering two prayers placed in the Prayer Chapel Forum and inviting me to include prayers. There was silence after each and she would sometimes add a reassuring comment or allow me time to do that if I wanted. We moved to the Lord's Prayer and then she offered a benediction. It all took 20 minutes.
I was surprised at how sacred the experience was - just two of us connected electronically, me at my kitchen table, her in Iowa. My breathing slowed and I found that reading the short phrases as Euphonne typed caused me to focus deeply on the words in much the same way the Taize chants do for me. The pauses were long enough to allow me to enter the prayer, but not too long that my mind wandered. I felt safe and, most important, in the presence of the Spirit. Amazingly, I felt connected to Euphonne and to those for whom we prayed; the experience reminded me of our Prayers of the Church at 10:30 worship.
I invite you to try this. This could be an excellent way to worship when you are traveling or homebound or simply need to be in prayer with someone else. Let me know what you think. Maybe I'll "see" you there.submitted by Jane Smith