Saturday, April 25, 2009

Our 15 Minutes of Fame

Kudos to Betty Anne Ford and the mix of folks from Covenant Community, CUCC, Loaves and Fishes, and elsewhere who planned and participated in the "Act for Darfur" worship service last Sunday evening at CUCC. (See the April 23 post below.) As of today, our video of that event is prominently displayed on the home page for the online showcase for the project:

Since these pages change frequently, the link above may well be showing something else by the time you see this post, but an archived snapshot of what the page looks like as of this writing is available by clicking this link. If you scroll down the page you'll see that the video made at CUCC is the 2nd one in the display. Recognize the Vaughan Wing?

Friday, April 24, 2009


Join the Forum discussions in May. Remember - we take the summer off!

May 3 - "Discussing the Ineffable - The Place of Religion in Mass Media." Frank Stasio, the host of WUNC's "The State of Things."

May 10- An open and participatory discussion of beliefs in God. Led by Ed Klemmer

May 17 - "Working for Social Justice in North Carolina." Barbara Goodmon.

May 24 - Viewing the film "The Fog is Lifting, part 1 (Islam in Brief)"

May 31 - Milawi Mosquito Net program. Eve and Tom Vitaglione

FORUM: April 26

April 26, 2009
9:15 to 10:15 am

"Earth to Plate"

Daniel Whittaker
Managing Partner
Green Planet Catering

Green Planet Catering is a unique catering company whose philosophy is to give back to the community and the world through sustainable catering solutions. This includes the use of locally grown foods that are pesticide and hormone free and meet their high standards of quality.

Managing Partner Daniel Whittaker will share with Forum his enthusiasm for sustainability in business as well as his personal life. He will provide us with insight and real ways that we as individuals and a congregation can become more sustainable as we celebrate the week of Earth Day.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Climate Change event postponed

The All Things Congo: Climate Change event scheduled for May 17 has been postponed. Watch this blog for the rescheduled date.

Friday, April 17, 2009

How Bankers Seized America

The Bush and Obama administrations both have addressed the financial crisis by bailing out Wall Street and putting Wall Street "experts" in charge of federal policies. An interesting critique of this approach is provided by an article in the new issue of the Atlantic Monthly by Simon Johnson, Professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management and Chief Economist at the International Monetary Fund during 2007 and 2008. The title is How Bankers Seized America. To entice you here's a tidbit ...
If the U.S. were just another country, coming to the IMF with hat in hand, I might be fairly optimistic about its future. Most of the emerging-market crises that I've mentioned ended relatively quickly, and gave way, for the most part, to relatively strong recoveries. But this, alas, brings us to the limit of the analogy between the U.S. and emerging markets.

Emerging-market countries have only a precarious hold on wealth, and are weaklings globally. When they get into trouble, they quite literally run out of money—or at least out of foreign currency, without which they cannot survive. They must make difficult decisions; ultimately, aggressive action is baked into the cake. But the U.S., of course, is the world’s most powerful nation, rich beyond measure, and blessed with the exorbitant privilege of paying its foreign debts in its own currency, which it can print. As a result, it could very well stumble along for years—as Japan did during its lost decade—never summoning the courage to do what it needs to do, and never really recovering. A clean break with the past—involving the takeover and cleanup of major banks—hardly looks like a sure thing right now. Certainly no one at the IMF can force it.

In my view, the U.S. faces two plausible scenarios. The first involves complicated bank-by-bank deals and a continual drumbeat of (repeated) bailouts, like the ones we saw in February with Citigroup and AIG. The administration will try to muddle through, and confusion will reign.

Boris Fyodorov, the late finance minister of Russia, struggled for much of the past 20 years against oligarchs, corruption, and abuse of authority in all its forms. He liked to say that confusion and chaos were very much in the interests of the powerful—letting them take things, legally and illegally, with impunity. When inflation is high, who can say what a piece of property is really worth? When the credit system is supported by byzantine government arrangements and backroom deals, how do you know that you aren't being fleeced?

Our future could be one in which continued tumult feeds the looting of the financial system, and we talk more and more about exactly how our oligarchs became bandits and how the economy just can't seem to get into gear.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

FORUM: April 19

"The situation in Israel and Palestine"
Andrew Silver and Steven Edelstein

Come and participate in this discussion led by two community leaders and activists for human rights, peace and justice.

Andrew Silver is a long time activist who refused induction in the US army in 1966 and fled the country. He eventually became an Israeli citizen and served in the Israeli active military reserves for 8 years but found that he could no longer serve as a matter of conscience. He left, lived in Thailand for 8 years, and then returned to the US in 1989. Silver is planning to return to Israel upon retirement this summer to work for peace.

Steven Edelstein, also a long time activist, is an attorney with Edelstein and Payne, a law firm that focuses on issues of disability, industrial accidents, workers' rights and civil rights. A first generation Jewish American, Edelstein is a member of Stop Torture Now and Jews for a Just Peace North Carolina.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Newcomers' Brunch May 3

Enjoy brunch while you learn a bit about Community United Church of Christ, and we learn a bit more about you! Please bring an appetite and curiosity.

May 3, noon-1:30
Hoffmann Room

RSVP to CUCC office by April 27
787-6422 or
Please tell us if you need childcare (ages) and if you have any dietary restrictions.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

All Things Congo - April 22

How is your reading progressing?

There is still one copy of Operation Bunia available in the church office. This book of stories (history, mourning, and hope) will inform and inspire you.

I'm finding King Leopold's Ghost painful reading, but here, too, there are people who inspire me with their struggle for justice.

Looking forward to our book discussion April 22, 7 pm. Child care will be provided.

All Things Congo - April 5

Hope you are looking forward to this Sunday's day of Congolese feasts (for mind, spirit and body) as much as I am.

Forum: Our guests Sandra Gourdet and LeMarco Cable from Global Missions fill us in on UCC work in the DRC. 9:15-10:15; Abby's doing child care.

Worship with our friends from the KCC church: Expect music, scripture in French and English, and messages from Pastor Apostle Claudio Ngudi and Sandra Gourdet from Global Ministries; 10:30-11:45.

Congolese feast - 'nuff said. noon