Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Good start for Lenten series on economy

Last night (Tuesday, Feb. 23) Don and Shirley Birt kicked off the 5-week session on the economy which has been labeled "A Christian Response to the Recession." A lively crowd of 19 people participated and even stayed around to chat after the session officially ended.

This series will continue every Tuesday evening (7:30-9 PM) through March 23. Feel free to drop in on whatever sessions you can even if you can't attend them all.

Monday, February 22, 2010

"Fuse" - Movie Night Selection for March 12


The once-a-month foreign film series continues on March 12 at 7:30 PM with "Fuse" (2004) from Bosnia. Jo's recommendation of the Czech film "Kolya" for Feb. 12 proved quite popular, so I'm going with Jo's advice again in March.

This is one of only two Bosnian films that I've seen, and both of them were in some way related to the war in Bosnia that took place in the 1990s. The other one ("No Man's Land") was black humor at its blackest, whereas "Fuse" is much lighter but still includes some biting satire. "Fuse" is not a war movie. It's set in the years after the war when President Bill Clinton is using a visit to a small Bosnian town in the war zone to showcase the success of the West's intervention in the war. Here's the way that Neflix describes the action ...

In the days leading up to a postwar visit from President Bill Clinton, the denizens of a Bosnian town try desperately to make it look as if everything's fine, despite the fact that the community is teeming with graft. While a local gangster (Senad Basic) is forced to pretend his cathouse is a cultural center, the unhinged former police chief (Bogdan Diklic) is hatching a plan to avenge his son's death by abducting Clinton.

Imagining God's Spirit


We hope you are inspired by these wind catchers which symbolize that God's love is everywhere even though we can't see it, just like the wind.  The artworks were made in church school on February 21.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A day tending creation to begin Lent...

Lena led a team of about 20 friends from Community UCC and Good New Church congregations as we tended our grounds on a gorgeous winter day.  Under blue skies we raked, weeded, and washed windows.  Thanks to Mitzi who taught us good pruning techniques (thin as you take off height and width, allowing new shoots to fill out from within).  Enjoy more photos.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lenten Services

Ash Wednesday
February 17 – 7:00 p.m.
Taize style worship with Ash ritual

Youth Sunday
March 21, 10:30 a.m. worship

Palm Sunday
March 28, 10:30 a.m. worship
Palm processional from Courtyard (gather at 10:15)
One Great Hour of Sharing Potluck

Maundy Thursday
April 1, 7:00 p.m.
Tennebrae candles and Handwashing ritual

Easter Sunday
April 4
6:30 a.m. Sunrise Service
10:30 a.m. Flower Cross and Resurrection Service

Friday, February 12, 2010

"A Christian response to the recession?" begins 23rd of February

Get ready for this excellent five part discussion which begins Tuesday, February 23!
(We thank the News and Observer for listing the series in their Thursday section, but want to be sure people know it does NOT begin on the 16th.)

Forum: Feb. 14

"Why a change in the Wake County School Board was necessary"
Barbara Walsh, parent and neighborhood activist

We've been hearing a lot about proposed changes in the Wake County Schools after the October 2009 election of four new members of the Board of Education. These new members are now part of a majority advocating for changes to policies of student assignment, mandatory year-round schools, etc. We hear terms like neighborhood schools, diversity policies, mandatory year-round, re-segregation, and forced busing in the often heated dialogue in the community and at the meetings of the Board.

This Sunday we will hear from an activist who has worked for changes in the Wake County School Board. Barbara Walsh is an active parent in her children's schools in Cary and will talk about what led her to become a neighborhood activist pushing for changes.

In preparation for Sunday's session, you may want to review the websites of some of the following organizations representing different approaches to the issue:

Wake CARES, a group that was formed specifically to address mandatory year-round assignment policy.

Wake Schools Community Alliance, a group formed in 2009 advocating for changes.

Great Schools in Wake Coalition, an organization formed in 2009 through WakeUp Wake County with the vision that "all children in Wake County, regardless of income, race, ethnicity, or residence, should receive the highest quality education possible."

Wake Education Partnership, a 26 year-old non-profit "dedicated to creating world-class schools in Wake County through business and community involvement." A recent report, "Assigning students to their closest school," summarizes how the approach might effect individual schools. http://www.wakeedpartnership.org/news/TopicReview02082010.html

WakeEd Blog, where you can search by topic.

Hope you'll come and join the dialogue.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

RSVP - emergency call list

Haiti reminds us that emergencies happen. We want to be able to take care of one another and to be sure all
CUCC members are okay. Please send the office the following information by February 17.
_______ The best phone # for reaching you in the Triangle. Indicate if this is home/cell/business. If you have an alternate phone number we should try, list that one second.
_______ The best phone # for reaching a friend or family member out of town who would know where you have gone in case of evacuation. Remember to tell us who this person is and his/her relationship to you.
_______ The email address you would check during emergencies.
_______ Your emergency contact information might be different from the contact information you'd prefer CUCC use for regular communications. What is your preferred means of contact for regular communications?
_______ Please confirm your current phone #, email address, and mailing address.

Diversity Workshop Feb. 21 after worship

Come together as we explore what the next steps in extending God's extravagant welcome might mean for CUCC.  We welcome the Rev. Sekinah Hamlin, Minister for Anti-Racism and Reconciliation for our sister denomination the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and faculty member at Guilford College. Many of us were inspired when Rev. Hamlin spoke at Forum as part of our ongoing Sacred Conversation on Race.  While "diversity" sometimes indicates inclusion of people of many races, Rev. Hamlin will help us explore a broader understanding of diversity.  Expect to be filled with hope, energy for action, and a vision for renewal.

Here's the schedule for Feb. 21, Sunday.
10:30 worship:  Rev. Hamlin will preach to us
noon:  Eat the brown bag lunches we have brought from home
12:30-2:30pm  Rev. Hamlin leads a Diversity Workshop  

Send a valentine for climate change preach-in, Feb. 14

CUCC is participating in the Interfaith Power and Light Preach-In on Sunday, February, 14.  Steve's sermon will address the important issues of climate change and our faith response as stewards of God's good earth. It is the National Council of Churches hope to have thousands of churches across our nation lift up a powerful call on that Sunday to unite people of faith to work for energy conservation, energy efficiency and a strong renewable energy program for our nation.
You can join the day by sending a Valentine to Senators Burr and Hagan encouraging Senators to love their neighbors by passing a strong climate bill.  The address:  Senator ..., U.S. Senate, Washington, DC  20510

Consider reading this... a book that might change how you understand

I just finished reading the book Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles by journalist Richard Dowden. It is available at Cameron Village Library. Dowden worked as Africa correspondent for London's The Independent and The Economist for 10 years each. The book paints his impressions of sub-Saharan Africa after years of trying to understand the cultures he covered. Most of the chapters focus on one country at a time; the DRC has a chapter. He mixes impressions of the landscape, anecdotes about people, and his journalistic coverage of the crises. But the book is more than travel log or memoirs. It is a reflection of his life-long yearning to understand what he experiences in Africa. While the chapters focus on a country, they often double as an exploration of a specific challenge or phenomenon he encountered throughout the region. So you'll find chapters on the rising influence of China, the role of oil, the "Big Man" phenomenon, corruption, the role of culture, the role of religion, pros & cons of foreign aid, HIV/AIDS crisis - each told through the lens of a particular country.

I learned more about Africa in one book than in anything else I have read. And I should add his writing is excellent. Even though some of the information is hard to hear, I always felt his respect for people. He is a very good storyteller.
I can't recommend this book highly enough to those of us who hear about Africa but have never been.  It has already influence how I understand news from Africa.  Do you know how when  you travel somewhere the place becomes more complex, interesting, and multi-dimensional?  This book has had that effect on me.  Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Haiti Contributions Deductable on 2009 Taxes

The IRS has been instructed by President Obama to allow people to take deductions in 2009 for contributions made after Jan. 11, 2010 and before March 1, 2010, for relief due to the earthquake in Haiti.  To see the details, check the IRS site Ten Facts About Claiming Donations Made to Haiti.

Prayer Relief for Haiti

If you missed Steve's powerful sermon calling us to respond to our sisters and brothers in Haiti, you can read Prayer Relief.  (As always, remember these are the notes from which he preached, not a transcript of the sermon.)
The Social Justice Ministry is doing intensive research into the call to forgive Haiti's debts.  We want to be sure that our response will be truly helpful and will not cause suffering those in need.  We'll be recommending action to the congregation at the soonest possible time.  If you are interested, contact any member of SJM to be included in the email conversation.