Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tornado - what I saw

I was working in the neighborhood near Powell Elementary (not too far from Grady & Fawn's).  The tornado seemed to follow a path along a creek, taking out the houses on both sides all the way up the ravine.  This must have been a gorgeous wooded area.  I saw trees blown over, their roots in the air, the trunk diameter more than 3', more than 100' tall.  Lots and lots of trees this size.  The pines that remained were generally snapped off, maybe 75' in the air.

Imagine an area from Dixie Trail to Meredith College, from Wade to Hillsborough.  Now imagine that 1/4 of the houses are completely devastated (sliced in half, crushed, knocked over).  Another quarter have the roof bashed in; maybe they can be salvaged.  Another quarter have giant trees in their yards, maybe the carport is gone or a back shed.  I saw the damage from Fran; this is worse.  There simply aren't words.

Swarming over this area are professional tree removal groups, police, firefighters, and hundreds of people wearing orange vests - the volunteers.  I worked alongside a couple who drove down from Michigan, a mother and her two kids from Enloe, and six friends and the homeowner.  Eight people had already been working 3 hours by the time the family & I arrived.  We worked another  1 1/2 hours.  All that work and one house - one - was free.  And its only damage was a tree on the carport and the storage shed (oh, yes, and foundation damage).  Now multiply that by hundreds in this one neighborhood!

Go, spend an hour or two.  It will break your heart.  It will fill your heart.  Death and resurrection.

Tornado helpers needed - no skill required

Today I spent two hours picking up branches and small limbs as others used chainsaws to free the homes from trees.  Consider spending a few hours over the next few days joining the work.

Where to go:  Today the sign in center was at Lion's Park, but it might move.  Call Raleigh Community Services at 996-6100 to confirm the new sign in location.
At the sign in center, you give your name, address, etc. & sign a release form; those under 18 have to have a parent with them to sign.  They will give you a map to the coordination center.  Today's center was at the Food Lion on Raleigh Blvd.  This is where I left my car.  A shuttle will take you to the work neighborhood.  At the shuttle drop off point, the staging crew will point you down a road.  Walk until you hear chainsaws, then start dragging debris to the curb.

What to bring:  work gloves, a hat & a bottle of water.  Wear closed-toed shoes (I wore work boots & was glad I did; there is some broken glass).  Slather yourself with sunscreen.  Consider sticking something salty or a candybar in your pocket.  Don't bother bringing rakes, saws, etc.  There are roving bands of chainsaw guys (3 cheers); you are needed more to move debris.

Minimum health requirements:  You'll need to walk several blocks from the shuttle drop off to the house where you work.  You'll be picking up limbs & branches, so you need to be able to bend repeatedly.  And you need to know your limits - this is hot work under emotional stress; take breaks frequently and STAY HYDRATED.

Great support:  Cold water bottles are readily available from circulating trucks & the shuttle bus tours the neighborhood so you can stop whenever you want.  If you decide to work over lunch, grab the shuttle back to the coordination center; I heard that today's meal was Chik-fil-A.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

CUCC goes to Durham Bulls, May 20

Join other baseball fans for an evening cheering for the Durham Bulls.  Order your ticket by calling Robert Parrish.  We'll carpool from the CUCC parking lot.

Movie Night: Brother Sun, Sister Moon

You are invited to view this biographical movie which describes the life of St. Francis of Assisi.
Friday, May 20, 7pm, Fellowship Hall
The evening is being sponsored by the "Chasing Francis" Lenten study group.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Children's bake sale to support Make a Wish - May 1

On Sunday, May 1 we will hold a bake sale to support The Make a Wish Foundation. This is the charity the children selected to support in January. We will donate our Sunday School offering and proceeds from the bake sale. We will be collecting funds until the end of August. Please plan to support us if you are here on May 1.
- submitted for the children's church school via Anne Bailey Zschau

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Celebrate the resurrection.
Sunday, April 24

6:30am   Greet the resurrection at sunrise.  We will worship with neighborhood congregations, gathering on the lawn at Fairmont United Methodist Church.  Dress for the weather.  Our own Rev. Robert Parrish will deliver the Easter message at that service and Rev. Steve Halsted will assist with Rev. Steve Hickle and Rev. Joe Ward in serving communion. 

10:30am worship   Family-friendly worship in the sanctuary, followed by a reception
Bring a flower or greenery for the Easter resurrection flower cross

Yard sale to benefit Appalachia Service Project

Rain or shine
Saturday, April 30
7:00 to 11:00am

Funds raised will pay for construction materials and the transportation and living expenses of the 21 youth and adults going on this home repair mission.

What's for sale?
Here's a link to a list of some of the items we've collected so far.

 Two pictures, perhaps dating from 1860's
 Folding metal curio shelf
4' x 2' mirror
Hatrack mirror

Brass lamp, 3' tall

CUCC Family Fun Auction Saturday, April 30, 6:30 PM

Make plans to attend this terrific annual event! Childcare will be provided, and a great time is absolutely guaranteed!
6:30pm  Socializing (with wine and hors d‟oeuvres) and a silent auction 
7:00pm  Live auction with bidding starts  

The auction is an annual fundraiser for CUCC. Some of the money raised is passed along to community agencies who help those in need and who advocate for social change.  Funds also assist us in taking care of each other, through worship, fellowship, and education, and provide for our staff and for the upkeep of our building.

Thanks for your support, and SEE YOU AT THE AUCTION!

Auction donation form - forms due April 27

Forum on BEING an Open and Affirming Congregation - weeks 1 and 2

9:00* -10:15 am the first four Sundays in May  
Come early, welcome our guest speakers, and learn a lot!  
*We are starting early so that we can be out in time for church!  
Light refreshments, coffee and tea will be provided by the ONA Task Force.

May 1  :    How can a church effectively open its doors to the gay community... and what impact does that have on the straight members of the congregation? Justin Lee, executive director of The Gay Christian Network, will share the insights he's gained from over 10 years of work bridging those two worlds.

May 8:  What are we doing and what else can we do to welcome gay parents with children and straight parents with gay children, to provide a nurturing environment within our youth activities, and to advocate for them as parents?  A panel of gay and straight parents will present and offer opportunities for questions and discussion.

Forum on BEING an Open and Affirming Congregation - weeks 3 and 4

9:00* -10:15 am the first four Sundays in May  
Come early, welcome our guest speakers, and learn a lot!  
*We are starting early so that we can be out in time for church!  
Light refreshments, coffee and tea will be provided by the ONA Task Force.

May 15:  Several youth from Gay Straight Alliance are scheduled to come to talk with us about their efforts in the Wake County Schools; what they experience as GLBT students and open allies; how the church can offer support.  In addition, Holly Atkins, Director of Hope for Teens, will be available to talk about efforts to respond to bullying of teens.

May 22:  Congregational discussion pulling together ideas generated from the first three meetings about implementing changes to be more responsive and proactive to the needs of the GLBT community.

May 29:  Memorial Day Weekend:  No Forum presentation.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

CUCCers tour Windows and Mirrors

The Windows and Mirrors murals were painted by artists from around the world and depict a range of responses from despair, to love of family and country, to hope.  See photos of an earlier trip by CUCCers in March.  Community UCC was a co-sponsor of the Greensboro leg of the national tour of this exhibition.

Friday, April 15, 2011

CUCC children Plant a Row for the Hungry

 Have you noticed the new raised bed garden on the south side of the Vaughan Wing? The CUCC children are part of Plant a Row for the Hungry; they will grow vegetables and contribute them to the Interfaith Food Shuttle. Thank you to Logan Trading Company for the seeds and to the Property Ministry volunteers who built and filled the raised bed garden.

 If you are available to water the plants for one week this summer, contact "Miss Anne Bailey." The children and their families are doing most of the watering, but need some additional helpers.

CUCCers needed to staff table at OutRaleigh Street Fair

Could you spare two hours on the afternoon of May 14, Saturday, to say "hello" to people on behalf of CUCC?  We'll have a table at OutRaleigh, a family-friendly street fair with music and children's activities which celebrates the growing diversity of Raleigh and is sponsored by the LGBT Center of Raleigh.  (CUCC is a member.) This is your chance to spread the word of welcome to our neighbors who are LGBT or who have loved ones who are.  Sadly, many do not know that there are churches in Raleigh where they are welcome.

If you are able to help, contact Joan to sign up for a shift.  We'll have a tent to provide shade & lots of printed material with info about CUCC.  Your job is to be yourself, to be friendly, to enjoy the day.  There will be at least two people per shift, so you'll have company as you people-watch and answer questions.

[A personal note from Jane:  I know no one believes me, but I'm an introvert.  Saying "hi" to strangers is tough for me and I hate intruding on deeply personal ground.  My experience at NC Pride surprised me.  Folks are so excited to hear about a welcoming church.  Simply being there, smiling, answering questions - that was all that was required to be good news.]

Maunday Thursday with St. Paul's Christian Church

This year we will be the guests of St. Paul's Christian Church for the annual Maundy Thursday worship service.  They have invited us to both a dinner of soup and bread at 6 p.m. and the worship service at 7 p.m.  Our choir will be singing and Steve will be helping to lead the worship service which will include communion and tennebrae.
We plan to host next year's Maundy Thursday program and make this an annual reciprocal event with St. Paul's.  They are located at 3331 Blue Ridge Rd.
Please help us to make a strong bond with a sister church in our common "mission" work together, as UCC-DOC neighbors!  Mark your calendars for Thursday, April 21. 
Hope to see you at St. Paul's for this Holy Week event.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Encouraging bipartisan news for the Congo

"On Tuesday, April 13, a committee of the California State Senate passed a bill to end the use of conflict-minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The unanimous, bi-partisan vote by the Governmental Organization Committee represents an important and tangible first step toward making California the first conflict-free state.

Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett (D- San Leandro) introduced the bill, which if passed by the full assembly, will prohibit the state government from contracting with companies who fail to comply with federal regulations on conflict minerals. "

Read the rest of this article from the Enough campaign. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Postcards" now online

Thanks to the friends who joined me at "Postcards from the creative, restless edge of the church."  Your faithful presence pushed me to pull together what I had been reading and thinking about the emergence conversation.  And, best of all, you added yourselves to the mix.  I'll be chewing on your comments in the months to come.  Remember to let me know if you'd like to borrow any of my books.

I hope you'll consider joining me for part or all of the Wild Goose Festival, near Pittsboro, June 23-26, so you can hear for yourself some of the people whose ideas and practices we discussed.

As my "postcard" friends requested, I'm posting the resources we used.  To the many people from the emergence conversation whose work I cite, thank you.  If I have misquoted or misunderstood you, I apologize.  Please let me know so I can correct my mistakes.

Week 1:  Getting ready for the trip
Jane's list of landmarks         Jane's lesson plan       Week 1 homework:  recognizing the landmarks

Week 2:  Two emergent borderlands:  New Monastics and Hyphenateds
Jane's list of borderlands       Jane's lesson plan     Week 2 homework:  visiting the borderlands

Week 3:  Cool practices of some emergent congregations
What is post-modern?        Practices   lesson plan     Week 3 homework:  The Great Emergence, Tickle

Week 4:  Four nodes of emergence:  Tickle, Katangole, Rollins, McLaren
Jane's lesson plan         Suggestions for future reading

Our question for the future:
Brian McLaren said, "The church exists to form Christlike people, people of Christlike love."*
Imagine such a church.  What would it include in order to form you (in your particularity) as a Christlike person, a person of Christlike love?
* (p. 164, A New Kind of Christianity, Harper One, 2010)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Wild North Carolina

We will be celebrating the publication of Mike Schafale's book WILD NORTH CAROLINA after the Palm Sunday worship service April 17. Come enjoy fellowship with our very own author. You will be able to purchase a copy at that time and have Mike autograph it for you.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sisters in Spirit do dinnner and a play

On Thursday, April 21, Sisters in Spirit (SIS) will go to dinner at Seaboard 18 at 6:30pm.  After a meal, they will see the play "Last Night of Ballyhoo" at Raleigh LIttle Theatre (8pm curtain call).  Call the box office (821-3111) soon to reserve a seat in row B, C, or D.  Adult tickets are $20; student/senior tickets are $16.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

CUCC at Stand Against Racism

Do you work in downtown Raleigh?  Are you free at lunch time?  Join Frank, Cy, Grady and the Littles at Stand Against Racism, April 29, noon to 1, Moore Square.  Grab a button from the table in the back of the sanctuary.  If you have a CUCC t-shirt, wear it.

Auction donation forms available

Turn in your donation form to the church office by April 27, Wednesday.
Examples of past auction items include:
* Pet-sitting, Babysitting, Yard work & Handyman services
* Garden plants
* Delicious baked goods, homemade jams and relishes
* Weekends at the beach, lake or mountains
* Day trips to destinations like Jugtown
* Nature-centered field trips; hikes at a state park
* Hand-made pottery, quilts and jewelry
* Therapeutic massage
* A morning of bird-watching & lunch
* European-style brunch with friends
* Framed artwork
* Dinner for two with friends
* Legal services
* Real estate appraisal

Auction info:
Saturday, April 30
6:30 PM   Socializing (with wine and hors d’oeuvres) and a silent auction begin
7:00 PM  Live auction bidding begins
Childcare will be provided

Friday, April 1, 2011

Feedback on our petition for Congo

Earlier this year on Advocacy Sunday, many of us signed a petition calling on the SEC to enact strong regulations on the tracking of conflict minerals like those funding the wars in the Congo.  Social Justice Ministry has heard from Raise Hope for Congo which says they hand-delivered our petition (along with others) to the SEC.  Today I received an email from Raise Hope for Congo saying that the State Department has joined the effort to ensure that the SEC rules are strong and that reporting requirements are implemented quickly (not delayed as some industry voices had requested).  This is surely good news.

Here's the text of the email.

 A few weeks ago, we sent you an update on the regulations being drafted by the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, on conflict minerals, telling you that we were waiting for the State Department to submit its comments on the proposed rules.
At the time, we didn’t know whether the key players at the State Department would support strong regulations or whether they would bend under corporate pressure. In the last few weeks we have undertaken a series of meetings with senior officials at the State Department, armed with supporting comments from 26,000 concerned consumers like you. In these meetings we received strong assurances that the State Department would not support any delay in implementing the reporting requirements for companies that source conflict minerals. And this week we’re pleased to report back that the State Department has submitted written comments to the SEC calling for the strong reporting requirements we recommended and supporting timely implementation of the law.
We are grateful for the leadership of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Under Secretaries Robert Hormats and Maria Otero, and Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson. And especially grateful to you for helping us make this outcome possible!
We'll be sure to let you know when the SEC releases their final rules. Meanwhile, we will shift our focus to ensuring that the federal regulations are matched with a comprehensive and transparent monitoring scheme on the ground in eastern Congo. As a part of this push, we will call on the U.S. Government to take a leadership role in creating a certification system to ensure minerals coming out of eastern Congo are not funding armed groups.
Stay tuned for our next action on certification, which will arrive in your inbox soon. And thank you again for lending your strong voice and unwavering commitment to ending this brutal conflict in Congo.
Sadia Hameed
Congo Campaign Manager
Enough Project