Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Praying for Relief

This poem Praying for Relief was penned by Nancy Callaham on June 6, 2011. I'm sharing it here with her permission. It requires no explanation or commentary, and exhibits the strength of Nancy's continuing ministry shared with all of us.
God of the Sea,
Who meets us at the waters edge;
Rolling waves of pain come at us;
Tight tendons, sore muscles immobilize our bodies and make us stiff;
Upset stomachs, varying reactions foster discomfort and  make us sick;
Heightened anxiety, nervous tension, give us unwanted stress;

Many people suffer from disease and illness,
We ask you to bring them relief at the waters edge;
You led Moses to water when the Israelites lips were parched and split;
You blessed people through Baptism with the healing water to cleanse;
You calmed the roaring sea for the disciples
With a command from Jesus for the wind to cease;

In the midst of a sea of raw emotion
You are mighty and full of compassion;
To those who live with pain,
We pray for relief to come at the waters edge;
The Rev. Nancy Callaham
June 6, 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Eve Service

As I usually do at Christmas time, I made an audio recording of the entire Christmas Eve Service (5-6 PM) held in the CUCC sanctuary. This year's program was diverse, with quite a number of participants and numerous musical selections interspersed with scripture readings, candle lightings, etc.

The complete program is found in our media archive in the "music" portion of the archive:

You have a choice of listening to the entire program (edited only to remove the long periods of shuffling of feet that take place between segments of the program) which runs for 45 minutes, or to listen to and browse among the 13 musical selections by a wide variety of performers. Enjoy! And while you're there you might also enjoy browsing a bit among our musical celebrations from previous years.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Skip's Children's Time

Skip's prayer concluding today's children's time caught my imagination.  He said I could print it here:
Dear God,
Thank you for making our wonderful planet Earth in such a special way that we have day and night, and a year with four different seasons to enjoy.  Help us all to do what we can to protect our planet so it will always be wonderful.  And God, even though it is true that Jesus was born in the Northern Hemisphere and it was winter for him and Mary and Joseph, we also know that his birthday comes in the summertime for many people.  Whether Christmas Day happens in the summer or winter, let's remember that is always the perfect time for a very special birthday celebration.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Meals on Wheels gifts project

The Retirees will be wrapping your gifts on Monday, December 12, from 10:00am to 12 Noon. Anyone who is available at that time to help wrap would be warmly welcomed! Bring a sandwich and join us for lunch; dessert will be provided.

Meals on Wheels Wish List for Christmas
All gifts are requested to be new. Any monetary contribution will be used by the Retirees to purchase gift cards, which are really appreciated.
Small denomination gift cards (Target, Walmart, fast foods), gloves, hats, scarves, stamps and note cards, Christmas chocolates/candy. Any gift appropriate for an older person.  NO SOCKS this year.

Monday, November 21, 2011

SIS November topic announced

SIS (Sisters in Spirit) will be gathering at 7 PM on Tuesday night November 29th for pot luck and discussion.

Have you ever doubted that you could master a task but then learned to do it in spite of your doubt? If so, you might list these situations (up to 10 of them) and bring them to share with others. We can learn to navigate the learning curve. All women of the church are invited to join in.
- submitted by Marty Lamb
A Gathering of Friends event

Have you sent Jane Smith your emergency contact info?

Have you given Jane Smith your emergency contact information? We'll use this information to make sure you are okay in the unlikely event of a regional emergency (hurricane, evacuation, flu quarantine). If you consider yourself part of the CUCC family (whether or not you are a member), we’ll want to know you’re okay.


 Names of people (or pets, if you like) in your household (even if they aren’t associated with CUCC)

 Phone # to reach you in an emergency

 Email to reach you in an emergency (the one you will check frequently)

 Contact person who is likely to know where you are & phone # (Please let this person know you have our permission to contact them about you)

 Did you have any changes in your everyday contact info during 2010? (address, phones, email)

What is the Sunday Morning Bible Study studying these days?

I asked Ellen Beidler what they have been reading in the Sunday morning Bible study.  The group is about to switch during Advent (Nov. 27 through Dec. 18) to The First Christmas: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus's Birth   by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan.

The group will be resuming Deuternomy in the new year.  Here is what Ellen wrote about the Nov. 13 Deuternomy discussion. 
"We decided to try to keep going in Deuteronomy. Yesterday, Sue, Kathy and I decided it is worth it to keep reading. We read through chapter 15 and found the "reformed" Mosaic law pretty interesting. Do you realize that the Lord your God wants you to tithe so that you can afford a great feast in God's honor? Also, the deal is that the Lord your God will make yours a great nation IF you take care of the poor and dispossessed in your community?  The Lord your God wants you to set your slaves free after 7 years with goods enough to get them started in their new life. If the slave does not want freedom, you are to nail his or her ear to the door with an awl, presumably to discourage him from staying a slave. Because you know how it feels to be a slave, you are to treat the slaves with compassion the way the Lord your God has treated you. Pretty eye opening, huh?"

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Art of Praise: A Spiritual Encounter

(submitted by Vandy Bradow)

Yavneh: A Jewish Renewal Community & St. Mark’s Episcopal Church invite you to experience

The Art of Praise: A spiritual encounter under the guidance of Rabbi Shefa Gold

A shared fundraiser for our spiritual communities

Wednesday, November 30, 7:15 pm
at St. Mark’s, 1725 N. New Hope Road, Raleigh, 27604

Perek Shirah is an ancient Jewish text praising the Creator. All of Creation has a voice in this celebration: the Heavens, the Earth, all Flora and Fauna contribute their songs of praise.   Together, we will unlock the secrets of Perek Shirah, through chant, silence, imagination, study, movement, and stillness, until we, too, are swept up into this holy chorus.  Spend an evening with us discovering a spiritual activism sourced in love.

No donation is required to attend, although we invite you to consider
the following donation categories in support of Yavneh and St. Mark’s:

Heavenly Hosts, $360; All  land-based life, $180; All life of the waters, $90;
Birds of the Air, $54; The Human Family, $36; The Open-Hearted, $18.

Thanks to generous underwriters, 100% of donations will benefit our congregations.

Please make reservations at and send contributions to Yavneh, 4030 Wake Forest Road, #300, Raleigh, 27609

Rabbi Shefa Gold is a leader in Aleph: the Alliance for Jewish Renewal and the director of The Center for Devotional, Energy and Ecstatic Practice in Jemez Springs, New Mexico. Shefa composes and performs spiritual music, has produced ten albums, and her liturgies have been published in several new prayer books.  She offers workshops and retreats on the theory and art of chanting, devotional healing, spiritual community building, and meditation.  Shefa combines her grounding in Judaism with a background in Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, and Native American spiritual traditions, uniquely qualifying her to celebrate the shared path of devotion. She is the author of Torah Journeys: The Inner Path to the Promised Land, and In the Fever of Love: An Illumination of the Song of Songs.


This year our children have pledged 40 stockings to the Salvation Army. Please help us fill the stockings. This year the need in Wake County is even greater than last year. Unwrapped gifts may be donated in the Christmas box in Anne Bailey's classroom. We will stuff the stockings at the family advent workshop on December 4th a 5 pm. Join us!!!

Stocking Stuffers for boys and girls

Infant-2 years
sippy cups/bottles

3-6 years old
coloring books/crayons
hats & gloves
bubbles, play-doh, stuffed animals
dolls, cars, balls,
dress up accessories, jewelry
card games

7-8 year olds
jump ropes
hats & gloves
markers, pens, pencils
stuffed animals, dolls
bouncy balls
pocketbooks, jewelry
model cars, flashlights 

10-12 year olds
cards, games
toothbrush, toothpaste
watches, flashlights, radios
pens, pencils, markers
jewelry and hair accessories
nail polish, lip balm
perfume, cologne, lotion

- info from Anne Bailey Zschau

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Frozen River - Movie Night for Dec. 2

Show Time: 7:30 PM, Friday, Dec. 2, CUCC Fellowship Hall

Okay, so it's a bit of a stretch to insert "Frozen River" into a foreign film series. (It's filmed on the Canadian border with the U.S., so the setting for the movie is a mix of U.S., Canada, and the Mohawk reservation that straddles the border.) But I've had requests for weirder exemptions. For example, one person recommended a "made in Texas" movie for the series, and I had to explain that no matter how bizarre Texas politics is, I can't really consider Texas to be a foreign country.

Admittedly, this is another "dark" movie, but it's one where I see the darkness as necessary to set up the redemptive ending to the movie. (And there's an underlying Christmas theme.) Frozen River is a low-budget independent film. Such films are often more creative than the big studio productions.  Here's the Netflix spin on the movie ...

On a Mohawk reservation on the Canadian border, Ray Eddy (Melissa Leo, in an Oscar-nominated turn) teams with widowed tribe member Lila Littlewolf (Misty Upham) to smuggle illegal immigrants into the United States. Though the work provides the women with much-needed money, each trip puts them in peril. Charlie McDermott and Michael O'Keefe also star in this riveting drama nominated for multiple Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Feature.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Loss of Personal Contact: Thanksgiving and Christmas

Lavon, your post couldn't have been more timely.  Yesterday at the Welcoming, Fellowship and Growth Ministry meeting we decided to extend an invitation to CUCCers who might want to eat together on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day. 

Thanksgiving Day:  If you'd like to eat a meal with others, call the church office.  Carol will put you in touch with others with the same interest and together you can decide whether to go out to a meal, do a potluck in one of your homes, or perhaps gather for a dessert potluck.

Christmas Day:  How about eating Chinese food and going to a movie?  Call Gray Woodard if you'd like to join a group going to a restaurant/movie.  Out-of-town family members are welcome.

A Gathering of Friends

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Loss of personal contact?

Do you ever feel that with today's emphasis on social media, e-mail, text messaging, and even cell phones, we are losing our face-to-face communication skills and habits? Does this sometimes seem dehumanizing? Does the quote below speak to you?

... the electronic culture ... is making a new world and a new man. Mass communications are drawing us together in a universal embrace. Privacy is dying, and with it the private person ... we are becoming a unified global family. The developing worldwide electronic network is shaping the world into an "electropolis." The possibilities of this are both frightening and hopeful. This is frightening because that which relates men in "Electropolis" is not necessarily love. The global village isn't necessarily a "brotherhood."

The gender based language here probably gives it away, but the concerns seem remarkably 21st century. This is Pastor John Lackey writing in the March 1971 CUCC Newsletter, more than 40 years ago.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A musical evening at Christmas

The "Gloria" by John Rutter, is a short, three-movement work for choir, brass, tympani, and organ. The CUCC choir will be combining with the choir at Fairmont Methodist Church to perform this on Sunday, Dec. 18th at 6:30 p.m. at Fairmont Methodist on Clark Ave.  It will be presented during their evening Advent service.  The Fairmont Choir director, Eric Grush, will be conducting the combined choirs.  All CUCC folks are encouraged to attend this presentation of this magnificent work to help usher in Christmas week. 

Listen to a taste of the "Gloria."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Lunch Group Schedule for the rest of 2011

Bring your lunch for intercessory prayer, study, and great conversation.  Come one Monday or every week, 12:15pm.  Here's what is planned.

Nov. 7  Bill Lamb leads discussion of Norman Wirzba's Living the Sabbath.  Read part I.
Nov. 14  Bill Lamb leads discussion of Norman Wirzba's Living the Sabbath.  Read part II.
Nov. 21  Steve Halsted and Tama Eller talk about the Earth Sabbath Celebrations as we continue to explore living the sabbath.

Nov. 28  Discussion of Job.  Read the whole book before you come.
Dec. 5  View a Job-like comedy, "Adam's Apple."

Dec. 12  Writing Christmas cards to missing friends.
Dec. 19  Christmas Luncheon
Dec. 26  We'll meet, but topic TBD.

Family Advent Workshop, Sunday, Dec. 4, 5pm

Children and youth, bring your parents and grandparents to this advent tradition.  Along with the usual fun, we'll practice for the Christmas pageant (Dec. 11) and share a pizza dinner.  Remember to bring cookies for the cookie exchange.

Stuff a stocking for the Salvation Army - Dec. 4

The children's church school has voted for our fall charity, selecting the Salvation Army Christmas stocking project again this year. Last year we pledged 25 stockings which we filled with YOUR help. This year the children have ambitiously pledged 40 stockings so we are once again asking for your help. A donation box wrapped in Christmas paper will be in our classroom. Please donate

small toys, coloring books, crayons, bubbles, toothbrushes, etc.

We appreciate your support!!! We need your donations by Dec. 4.  We will use our Sunday School offering to help purchase items for the stockings.

Signs and Windows

Which glass do you prefer to the new sanctuary windows?  Samples of window glass is exhibited in the fellowship hall windows so that the congregation can see and evaluate them. Please take time to view the windows in daylight so that you can express your opinion on November 13..

New front lawn sign coming:  A thank you goes to
Joan McAllister and Lena Gallitano for their work with a company to design a sign and to the Property Ministry and Growth Committee for their input in deciding on the choice. The sign has now been ordered and is due for installation in January.

November Property workday has been cancelled.

Calling all artists

To any, and all of you artistic beings in our congregation: The Art Wall (across from the Hoffmann and Bradow rooms) is available for photographs, paintings, fiber art, and/or anything you would be willing to hang. Artists of any age are welcome.  If you're interested, or need coercing, please contact Linda Baker

Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service

Wednesday Nov. 23, 7:30pm
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, corner of Clark and Brooks Avenues

Join with long-time friends from other neighborhood congregations as we express our thanks to God.  Our choir will join with the others for a massed presentation that is always a delight.

Amazing Faith Dinner Dialogues

Thursday, November 17, 6:30pm
Sponsored by the Triangle Interfaith Alliance
Held in neighborhood homes with a simple vegetarian meal followed by sharing of people’s faith perspectives by selecting different user friendly questions to speak to. To sign-up go to their web site and you will be assigned a home to visit for a wonderful evening with neighbors from all the major faith traditions.

Congregational Meeting November 20

We call for a Congregational Meeting on Sunday November 20, after worship, to review the proposed budget and nominations report for 2012 and any other business suggested by the Church Council.

Copies of the proposed 2012 CUCC budget will be available on the 13th, for those who would like to study it in preparation for the congregational meeting.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cy King Speaks on the social action history of CUCC

At 10:30 worship on Oct. 30, Cy King gave a presentation on the history of social action at Community UCC. This video (35 minutes) was made during that presentation. You can view a higher quality version of this video on YouTube:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Money Talks schedules second discussion

We have scheduled a second discussion on "Money Talks" on Sunday, October 30 at 12:15pm in the Hoffman Room.  The focus will be on changes we have made (or may consider making) in how we use our money. You may want to bring a bag lunch or snack. We hope that you will be able to join us.
- posted for Shirley Birt
A Gathering of Friends event

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Adam's Apples -- Movie Night Selection for Oct. 28

The Friday night foreign film series continues on Oct. 28 with the showing of "Adam's Apples", a Danish film from 2005. The contrast between this film and last month's "Of Gods and Men" could hardly be more striking. We move from a deeply sincere and poignant story about a monastery to a delightfully outrageous comic film noir which is an allegory on the Book of Job.

Now anyone with a touch of sanity is going to ask just how well the Book of Job lends itself to a comic rendition. And that question illustrates why this movie fits into no known genre of films. Usually when publicizing a film for this movie series, I include the summary of the movie given at the Netflix website. However, in the case of "Adam's Apples", I find that description so woefully inadequate that I'm omitting it. So all I can say is come to this film with an open mind and no preconceptions and be prepared to laugh. But you'll leave with a fresh interpretation of the Book of Job that is not only thought provoking but powerful.

Monday, October 10, 2011

October Forum: Environmental Sustainability

Beginning October 16, Forum (Sundays, 9:15-10:15 am) will focus on environmental sustainability and related issues.

October 16 – "Green" presentation: "Qu'est que c’est? Does THIS Contribute to Sustainability of thePlanet?" Marty Lamb will present pictures taken this summer in Belgium, France and Spain of different objects and we’ll determine: Does the item contribute to sustainability of the planet? If so, how?

October 23 – Carl Sigel will be a guest speaker who will inform Forum of North Carolina Interfaith Power and Light initiatives.

October 30 – In the third session of Sunday morning forum sponsored by the Justice in a Changing Climate Committee, a panel will discuss ways we can contribute to sustainability of the planet through gardening. If you (a) have never gardened but would like to begin as you try to green your lifestyle (b) if you've wondered about those thriving vegetable plants we've had at our church and how they are being used or (c) if you've wondered about community gardening and what others in Raleigh are doing, THIS is the session for you! We'll have representatives from other community and church gardens as well as our own to share their experiences and what they think they are doing right. Whether you wish to become involved in the movement or just increase your knowledge base about what's going on, come join us to learn. "

A pilgrimage through CUCC Stories

"With so many witnesses in a great cloud on every side of us..."*
Imagine a crowd cheering you on as you move toward your goal.  How much easier it is to keep going when we aren't alone.

At CUCC, our building and grounds are spangled with tangible signs of CUCC-members past and present who incarnate love in action.  Witty, curious, courageous, generous, creative, tenacious and very human.  We can draw strength from our CUCC cloud of witnesses.

Learn their stories on All Saints Day,** November 6 after 10:30 worship.  During Fellowship, take a self-guided tour of the building and grounds, discovering the signs and learning about the lives behind them.  Just for fun, we'll have a scavenger hunt for clues.  Because we want you to stay a bit longer this Sunday, we'll provide nutritious snacks to sustain you on your pilgrimage.  A family-friendly event.

*Hebrews 12:1
** Yes, we know All Saints Day is actually November 1 and remembers those who have died, but we're being inclusive of the living!

CUCC hikes in Umstead Park November 13

Work off your turkey dinner from Novemberfest! by joining others on one of three walks through Umstead Park on Sunday, November 13. McCray Harris has charted a stroll, a walk and a hike; we'll all begin at 1:00, then peel off as we choose the length that suits us.

Come spend a leisurely Fall afternoon walking/hiking the Inspiration Trail (an easy short 0.3 mile loop) and based on ability, continuing down to the Old Company Mill Site on Crabtree Creek [Option to return the way we came in for a short (2 miles) hike or the more adventurous may complete the Old Company Mill Trail loop (moderate 5.8 miles)]

Friends are welcome.  Bring a bag lunch to eat at CUCC after worship before we head over to Umstead.  Or, stop for a quick restaurant meal and meet us there.
- A Gathering of Friends event

There's a Spirit Coming Down

The Sisters in Spirit (SIS) beach retreat explored this theme during a gorgeous weekend at the NC beach.

SIS has posted their schedule for the coming year; in general, they plan to meet on fifth Tuesdays.
November 29
January 31
March 29 (Thursday)
July 31
Sept. (tba beach retreat)
Oct. 30

- submitted for Marty Lamb
A Gathering of Friends group

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Packing Church World Service Kits

The emergency aid packages (Church World Service Kits) that folks contributed items for during the past few months were packed by the Wider Outreach Committee following worship on Sept. 11. See the photos of the packing here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Neighbors in Need Offering is October 9

Two-thirds of Neighbors in Need supports program initiatives and direct grants offered by the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries. Small but essential grants are made throughout the year to congregations and organizations engaged in community organizing, public policy advocacy, and direct service. Although grants are made to address a wide range of justice priorities, a significant portion of these grants are made to address issues of hunger and poverty.

One-third of Neighbors in Need supports the work of the UCC's Council for American Indian Ministry, which is the voice for American Indians in the UCC. The Council for American Indian Ministry supports the work of local churches and their pastors; encourages youth and young adults; supports persons preparing for Christian ministry; empowers American Indians who are members of non-Indian congregations; and advocates for justice on issues affecting American Indian life. Historically, the NIN fund supports the forebears of the UCC established churches with the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arickara, and Ho-Cak in North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Northern Nebraska. Today, there are 19 UCC congregations on reservations and one urban inter-tribal congregation in Minneapolis. In addition, there are more than 1,000 individuals from dozens of other tribes and nations scattered in nearly every conference in the UCC. Our contributions to Neighbors in Need directly impact the UCC's ability to support American Indian ministries and congregations.

The Just Peace Appeal is now part of Neighbors in Need. Through Neighbors in Need, the UCC remains strongly committed to ministries of peacemaking, violence reduction, conflict resolution, federal budget priorities, and global solidarity. With CUCC's long-standing commitment to the Just Peace Appeal, we are encouraged to continue our support for this vital ministry by strengthening our support for Neighbors in Need.

– submitted by Jo Perry
Neighbors in Need (NIN) is a special mission offering of the UCC directed to ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. NIN funds go to the Council for American Indian Ministry and the Justice and Witness Ministries to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects. CUCC will collect its Neighbors in Need offering on October 9.

Informational tour of Hospice Oct. 10

Retirees and their friends will meet (or go separately) in CUCC’s parking lot at 10:30 a.m. on October 10 to carpool to Hospice. Michael Blanchard and the staff of Hospice of Wake County will conduct a tour of the campus at 5930 Trinity Road. We will visit the new Palliative Care Center at 250 Hospice Circle. Bring a bag lunch – we’ll eat around 12N in a meeting room at Hospice. Drinks and dessert will be provided.
Programs are open to all members of the church and their friends. Retirees especially - don’t miss this program.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


It DOES take a village to raise a child. Sometimes it helps for parents to get together to grow as a community, practice "goodness", trade notes, enhance skills. From time to time in the history of our church parents have sometimes formed such groups that they have found quite beneficial. Is now a time to wonder about forming such a group again among parents of kids at CUCC? Let's see. If you think you might be interested in meeting together ONCE to learn a little about the history of parents' groups here and hear of some models and possibilities, please call the church, 787-6422, and leave your name, contact information, and when would be good times for you to meet with others.

– submitted by Marty Lamb

Fall Planting and Clean-up Day

October 15, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM 
Families Invited, Lunch Provided! 
Share your garden with CUCC!!

This workday will focus on the CUCC grounds with these objectives:

  • Add landscaping plants to improve the appearance of the Dixie Trail parking lot
  • Plant a fall/winter vegetable garden with the children and youth attending
  • Weed the children’s playground and the bank along Wade Avenue
  • Pick up branches and pine cones on all of the CUCC grounds

If you have plants to share from your garden, please divide them now and re-pot them so they will have time to form some roots and be ready for planting on October 15. Please let Lena know what you’ll be bringing.   Can’t garden? Can you make phone calls or help with lunch? Just let Lena know how you’d like to be involved. SEE YOU OCTOBER 15.

Novemberfest! Save the Date & Reserve a Spot!

This year, our Novemberfest! feast and celebration returns to a turkey dinner format. Contact the office to reserve your spot for dinner. 

November 12, 6 p.m.
Turkey with all the fixings 
A vegetarian option will be available.
Tell the office if you want child care.

This is a FUNDRAISER for the ministries of Community UCC.  Open your wallets wide OR bring that check book so we can continue to
  • meet basic needs of those in the community, 
  • advocate justice to public and private institutions,
  • share God's welcome and love with one another and with folks often shunned by society,
  • care for our staff who help us grow, worship, and work, and
  • care for the bit of creation which God has entrusted to us.

A Variety Show will follow the dinner.
If you have an act with which to entertain our audience, that would be wonderful! Please contact Śānti Matthews with variety acts. Stay tuned - details to follow!!!

VOLUNTEERS are needed to help with any and all aspects of Novemberfest!! Please contact Skip Stoddard or Fawn Pattison. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

An Echo from the Past

Today's Raleigh N&O includes an obit for Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan environmentalist who became the first African woman to earn a Nobel Peace Prize, and the first East African woman to receive a Ph.D. The article reminded me of the occasion several years ago when a visitor at the CUCC forum identified himself as her ex-husband. He related that he had visited CUCC while a student in the U.S. in the 1960s, and that he had fond memories of CUCC and the people who had welcomed him then.

In order to verify my memory, I checked the bio for Wangari Maathai found at Wikipedia. It would appear that she and her husband had a very tortured relationship, but the facts there appear to verify my memory. So I'm posting this information so folks will be aware of a small connection between our church and a very remarkable African woman.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Zeitoun discussion begins Oct. 3

Throughout October the Monday Lunch Group will begin discussing Dave Eggers'  book "Zeitoun" under the leadership of Vandy Bradow.  Betsy has copies of the book from the Wake libraries you may borrow.  Sign out a book from the church library with your name and the book #.  Vandy recommends you plan to complete the book by Oct. 10.  See you at 12:15.  Bring a bag lunch if you like.
A Gathering of Friends event

What's next for Open and Affirming?

Join the conversation as we discern how we might continue to extend God's extravagant welcome to our LGBT sisters and brothers.  Many ideas are on the table, including preparing for the May 8 vote on the constitutional amendment, a PFLAG safety-from-bullying initiative to LGBT students in Wake Schools, new banners for the sanctuary, and having a table at the Equality NC conference Nov. 12.

Imagining another world is possible

Every fall, CUCC holds a special collection to support Neighbors in Need, the United Church of Christ's program to support ministries of justice and compassion in the United States.  This year, we'll be dedicating our offerings on Sunday, October 9.
You can read more about Neighbors in Need at .  Thanks for supporting this work which allows us to reach beyond our walls and our neighborhood to neighbors in our country.

Rev. Brenda Baker to preach this Sunday

We welcome the Rev. Brenda Baker from our sister congregation, St. Paul's Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) on October 2.  She'll be preaching and celebrating communion on World Wide Communion Sunday at the 10:30am worship service.

Brenda Baker has lived and worked in North Carolina since 1975. She has her Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education and was a NC public school teacher, predominantly in Wake County, for 25 years. While teaching Brenda received her call to Ministry and attended Shaw University Divinity School to begin her studies. Upon retiring from teaching in 2007, she began her studies full-time at Andover Newton Theological School and graduated in May of 2010. Brenda is associated with the Alliance of Baptists and the Disciples of Christ and was ordained earlier this year. She is currently in the search and call process.

Friday, September 23, 2011

CROP Walk 2011

The Raleigh CROP Walk 2011 is Sunday, October 30. Every year, CUCC and surrounding churches join forces to raise money to provide food for the hungry. The proceeds are used both locally and globally. The event begins and ends at the Marbles Kids Museum. Registration and fun festivities for the entire family begin at 1:00 and the walk kick-off is at 2:45. Event organizers are hoping to make this year’s event better than ever, offering kids’ activities prior to the walk. They are also encouraging walkers, young and old, to come wearing Halloween costumes. CUCC had fewer than ten walkers last year, so let’s set a goal of twenty walkers this year and make our presence known! Fund-raising materials will be available in the Narthex prior to the 10:30 service two Sundays in early October. For more information, see Amy Jensen or Mike Schafele, or check out the Crop Walk website at

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Readings for Wednesday Matins

Bill asked me to post the readings for the Wednesday Matins.  Here they are, Bill.

Sept. 21
Psalm 105:12-15
Micah 1:1-9
Matthew 9:27-34

Sept. 28
Psalm 135:3-7
Jonah 1:1-7a
Matthew 12:22-32

October 5
Psalm 25:6-10
Jeremiah 37:3-21
James 3:1-12

October 12
Psalm 62:6-9
Lamentations 2:8-15
II Corinthians 1:23-2:17

October 19
Psalm 96:7-10
Ezra 6:1-22
II Corinthians 7:2-16

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wish you could swap ideas with others about how we use our money?

MONEY TALKS: Join us for a sharing of experiences, questions and issues about how we use our money on Sunday, October 2, in the Hoffman Room at 12:30. Bring a bagged lunch. Explore the relationship between our money and our values.

A Gathering of Friends and Economic Justice Task Force Event

CUCC friend the Rev. Dr. Ursula Schmitt-Pridik to preach Sep. 25

What a joy to welcome "home" Ursula Schmitt-Pridik.  Ursula was an intern at CUCC several years ago and we're always happy when she makes a visit to the US so we can renew our friendship with her.  She is now a minister in our sister denomination in Germany.  We look forward to her sermon this Sunday at 10:30 worship.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Want to carpool to Hunter's ordination?

On October 9 at 3:30pm, our friend Hunter Thompson will be ordained at Samora Lebanon Christian Church where he has been serving as pastor.  Hunter was "in care" at CUCC and we enjoyed having Pam, Oliver and Rachel as part of our church family.  If you would like to carpool to the ordination service, contact the church office.  The church is about 1 1/2 hours from CUCC.
Samora Lebanon Christian Church, 349 CUNNINGHAM RD , SEMORA NC 27343

Feeling Distressed?!

Today in his sermon, Steve reminded us that God created us with biological mechanisms for responding to stressful situations.  When the stressor is experienced first-hand, our biology kicks in so we can do the "fight or flight" thing, putting our stress response to good use.  But when the stressor is second-hand (like watching news about 9/11, or the economy, or the legislative vote on the anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment) or stressors pile up, we have a tougher time channeling the stress in healthy ways.  I tried to jot down his suggestions for stress-relief in my bulletin; I'm sure I missed a few.

  • exercise
  • deep breathing, connecting to the Breath of Life
  • reconnecting to the rhythms of your life
  • picking a mantra to remind yourself to let go of what is "not helpful", steering clear of unhelpful input
  • reading (fantasy literature or inspiration biographies, for example)
  • prayer
Add some of your own stress relievers here as a comment or on the Community United Church of Christ Facebook page.
- from Jane

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Why don't people have jobs? Is all the work done?"

On Labor Day, Shirley Birt's Ministry Moment spoke of the challenges facing working people.  Then, on behalf of the Economic Justice Task Force, she encouraged the congregation to engage "in the issues in whatever way works for you" by staying informed and joining forces with excellent groups working for solutions.

You can read Shirley's  Labor Day Ministry Moment and consider specific actions you might take.

Supporting our LGBT friends and family in these painful times

Preparing Signs for NC Pride:  On Sunday September 18 you are invited to bring your ideas and/or artistic skills to the Vaughan Fellowship Hall to make signs for the Pride March September 24.
Being a sign of love and acceptance - come to NC Pride:  Since many of our youth will be involved in the Cycle for Hope event, it is even more important that our CUCC members come to participate in the September 24 event, which runs around 11 am to 5 pm. It is on the Duke East Campus, off Swift Avenue in Durham. We will need help staffing the table (in the shade) and talking with visitors who want to know more about UCC. We will need WALKERS to walk the parade route (about 1.5 miles) We will need people to help set up in the morning and take stuff down in the late afternoon. Please come and be a part of this event. The LGBT community desperately needs to hear that churches exist who are loving, accepting, embracing. Especially now.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Saturday, September 24, 2011
A fundraising event for The Hope Center
(Helping people overcome the many barriers associated with homelessness and make a
new start in their lives.)
Join the CUCC Youth Group and friends as we participate in the Cycle for Hope.
  • Registration begins at 8:00 a.m., but the 12 mile ride can register by 9:00 a.m.
  • Enjoy a 12-mile greenway tour through NCSU and past Lake Raleigh; starts at 9:30 a.m.
  • Embark on a 40-mile tour that includes a stop at beautiful Lake Wheeler Park; starts at 9:00 a.m.
  • After your ride enjoy refreshments and live music.
Both rides begin at The Hope Center, Pullen Memorial Baptist Church1801 Hillsborough St.Raleigh. Registration is $35 per rider. Register online ASAP at The Hope Center Web site:
CUCC adults will be accompanying CUCC youth. If you need help getting yourself and/or your bike to Pullen, or if you need help with the registration fee, please let Santi know:  or 961-8814.
A Gathering of Friends event

(We realize this conflicts with the NC Pride Parade (In future years these two events will not conflict!)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Why matins?

[from Jane as Jane, not with my CUCC hat on]  When I was a teenager, I began going to the Episcopal mass with my neighbor. She and I played guitar in a tiny 18th century sanctuary which smelled of old wood and incense, light filtering through stained glass windows. That was my introduction to the richness of “high church” liturgy. Over the years, I continued to delight in the liturgies of the Roman Catholic and Lutheran traditions and, as much as I love CUCC, I find I miss those rhythms of worship. Gary and I participated in Matins at Grace Lutheran Church when we first moved to Raleigh. That brief service and time for coffee and chatting, repeated each week with roughly the same small group of people, was an important part of keeping us energized for the hard work of doing justice. The CUCC Deacons have graciously said “yes” to our request to try it for six Wednesdays at CUCC.

What is matins? Matins is the early morning prayer service in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox liturgies of the canonical hours. Around the world, Christians begin their day with roughly this format: greeting, song, scripture of the day, prayers of the community, Lord’s prayer, benediction. Whether you enjoy formal liturgy, are curious, or simply want to start your weekday with prayer and friendship, consider Wednesday Matins, 7-7:45 am.

We’ll be adapting the matins from a new book, Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals, which was written by participants in the “new monastic” communities: Shane Claiborne (Simple Way, Philadelphia), Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (Rutba House, Durham), and Enuma Okoro (Duke University).

Where: Bradow room (the room with the comfy furniture
When: Wednesdays, 7-7:45 am (Sep. 14 to Oct. 19)
I hadn’t planned for childcare, assuming those with children will be busy with school routines. Let me know if you’d like to come but need childcare and I’ll see what I can arrange.
Friends are welcome!
A Gathering of Friends events

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Newcomers' Supper, Friday, Sep. 16

You are invited to the Newcomers’ Supper on Friday, September 16, 2011. 
Appetizers at 6:00 PM; Dinner served at 6:30 PM
Unwind after a busy week, ask questions about Community United Church of Christ, and enjoy meeting new people!  Please bring an appetite and curiosity.
RSVP to CUCC office by Monday, September 12:  787-6422 or
Please tell us if you need childcare (ages) and if you have any dietary restrictions.

Mike Schafale to speak, Mon., Sep. 12, 10:30am

Retirees and their friends will meet in the fellowship hall to hear Michael Schafale, a member of CUCC, and the author of the recently published book, Wild North Carolina, will discuss the creative process in writing the book. He is the Community Ecologist for the NC Natural Heritage Program.  Bring a bag lunch to eat around 12 noon.  Drinks and dessert are provided. You need not be retired to attend and friends are welcome.
A Gathering of Friends event

Explore foods from around the world

Ethnic foods potluck, Saturday, Sept. 17, 5:30pm
Our second dinner group potluck - open to anyone
Bring a dish to share & the recipe
We'll gather in the fellowship hall at 5:30 pm to set our tables, then enjoy a friendly meal together, cleaning up together before we head home. This is the second in our series of potluck dinners for those who enjoy good food and conversation. Friends are very welcome!
A Gathering of Friends event

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"Of Gods and Men" is feature on Sept. 23 Movie Night

The foreign film series restarts on Sept. 23 with the acclaimed 2010 French film "Of Gods and Men." Many regular attendees for the movie series are active in Monday Lunch Group, so I generally consult with Monday Lunch Group when scheduling a film. This film receives rave reviews from those in Monday Lunch Group who have seen it.

As usual, the film will begin at 7:30 in the Fellowship Hall, and refreshments will be available during the movie. Feel free to bring a friend, and please arrive on time so that the feature (just over 2 hours) can begin promptly at 7:30. This will allow us to have a little discussion afterwards and to be out by 10 PM. Following is the description of this film found at Netflix ...

Awarded Grand Prix honors at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, this compelling historical drama relates the ordeal of seven French Trappist monks in the mountains of Algeria who are taken captive by Islamic fundamentalists. Before the monks' abduction, they have ample reason to believe they may be in danger, but their assumption that there can and must be common ground between Islam and Christianity leads them to remain at the monastery.

Monday, August 29, 2011

"Once Upon a Mattress" CUCC Night, Oct. 1

Our Appalachia Service Project team invites you to join us as we support our teammate, Mark Taranto, who is performing in this Cary Players production.  We'll meet at the Cary Arts Center at 7:15 to distribute the tickets; you can pay Jane then.

If you'd like Jane Smith to order your tickets (and possibly get the group discount rate of $15), email or call her BEFORE SEP. 10.   I need to know how many tickets you need from each category:  adults ($18), seniors - 55+ ($16), or student ($16), (price if we can't get the group rate).  By ordering a ticket you are committing to paying for it whether or not you can attend.

This is a family friendly play. Here's the description from the Cary Players.
"Be a part of history when Cary Players produces the very first musical to hit the stage of the brand new Cary Arts Center in downtown Cary! This 399-seat state-of-the-art theatre will quickly become Cary's hottest cultural gathering place, and you can be there at our first production - the beloved musical Once Upon A Mattress! Think you know the story of "The Princess and The Pea?" You may be in for a surprise! Carried on a wave of wonderful songs, this rollicking spin on royal courtship provides some side-splitting shenanigans. You'll never look at fairy tales the same way again!"

A Gathering of Friends Event