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.
REQUESTED ITEMS:
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)
Socks
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.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Thanksgiving

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
cereal
grits
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.)