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

HEALTH CARE REFORM

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. "

Potluck

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.
Why?
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
and
to celebrate collecting the Neighbors in Need offering.
Sunday, Sep. 13, noon
Bring a dish to share.