Saturday, February 28, 2015

CUCC Newsletter - March 2015

March 2015 Newsletter (PDF)

The online calendar is always available and is always up-to-date.

Newsletters from 2013 and 2014 may be found on this page. Older newsletters are found in the archive.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

From your interim pastor

Dear Friends,
            I have been your intentional interim pastor a little over a month now and I’ve closed the office four times, I think.  I wondered about the travel between our home in North Durham and the office in Raleigh, but it never occurred to me that we would have to close the office so often.  I mean, Ken and I moved down here for milder winters.  We are still waiting.
            In many ways, the season of Lent is about waiting, much like Advent.  During Advent, we are waiting for the coming of the Christ Child.  During Lent we wait and walk with Jesus as he makes his way to the cross and resurrection.  These are stories that many of us are already familiar with.  There are times, however, that I wish I could hear them for the first time.
            I grew up hearing these stories.  I can tell you the stories without picking up the Bible, but then I realize that I am probably missing some important truths by not reading them with new eyes.  I’m going to change that by reading the Gospel of Mark this Lenten season.  Maybe you will join me.
            This Sunday our scripture texts are Exodus 20:1-17 and Mark 12:28-34Won’t you prepare for worship by reading these passages?  Perhaps you’d like to back up and even start at the beginning as I am doing.  This time I’m going to read from “The Message,” a paraphrased version by Eugene Peterson.*
            Hopefully I will see you in church on Sunday and we can laugh about all of this snow and ice that will be melted by then.  Okay, maybe it won’t be gone, but I can hope.  As a follower of Jesus, it is part of my DNA.

Prayers for the journey,

Pastor Peg

*You can read from "The Message" and other versions on

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ash Tuesday?

The Ash Wednesday worship with the imposition of ashes was scheduled for February 18 but was cancelled because of ice. The Deacons have decided to reschedule the service in the sanctuary on Tuesday, March 3 at 7 PM as the "First Tuesday" Taizé service. So for those who felt that something important was missed via cancellation of the Ash Wednesday service this year, it's not too late! Join us for the Taizé service on March 3 and experience this important step into the Lenten season (just a bit later than expected). The service will be identical to the service that had been planned for Ash Wednesday, including imposition of ashes. So don't miss this first ever Ash Tuesday Lenten service at our church.

Monday, February 23, 2015

From the interim pastor

          For our Lenten devotions, Ken and I are reading from “Reaching Toward Easter” by Derek Maul.*
            I’m writing this on Ash Wednesday, and, to be honest, disappointed that we won’t be gathering tonight to begin Lent together.  But in the end, safety wins out.
            In today’s reading Derek told us about a trip his family took to the Rocky Mountains, where they took a train trip to an abandoned gold mine.  It was there they experienced true darkness.
            The guide told them to put their hands in front of their faces; then he turned out the lights.  No one could see anything at all, not even their hands.  True darkness.
            After thirty seconds the guide lit a small wooden match.
            “When he did, the effect was amazing; we could see everything!  We were in a cavern about the size of a three hundred-seat auditorium, but there wasn’t a cubic foot of the space that did not experience at least some degree of illumination.” (p. 14)
            Derek could not stop thinking about the effect of that one small spark of light will always have on darkness. (p. 15)
            As I read this, I think of the light that Jesus has shown me in my life, but I also think of the people who have brought the light to me.  As we move into this first week of Lent, who are the people who have shown you the light?

Prayers for the journey,
Pastor Peg

*(Maul, Derek, “Reaching Toward Easter:  Devotions for Lent.”  Upper Room Books.  2011)

Sunday Morning Bible Study: Experiencing the stories

Sundays during Lent: February 22 to March 29, 9:30am -10:15am, Bradow Room.

Adults discuss but children play. Bring life to your grown-up and quite dignified reading
of stories from both the Old and New Testament with crayons and role play. Ellen
Beidler will lead this series in conjunction with the Sunday Morning Bible Study.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Email - 20 FEB 2015

This edition of Friday Email is distributed as a PDF file.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Ash Wednesday Service - 7 PM Wednesday

Lent officially begins with the Ash Wednesday service Wednesday evening at 7 PM, February 18, in the sanctuary. The service will be in the style of Taizé with the imposition of ashes. At the end of the service we will depart in silence.

Spring Potluck – Sunday, March 22

Sir Walter Wally said it would be an early spring! So we will celebrate Spring being just around the corner with a church wide potluck during fellowship on March 22. Please bring your favorite dish to share.  There will be lots of conversation, fellowship, and prayers for Spring to come quickly!

Extra hands are needed for set up and clean up. Families are welcome to help, even if attention spans limit your work to 10 minutes of putting out napkins or clearing plates.  Contact Cathy Marshall or Susan Maleszweski.

Sunday Morning Forum, February 22: Black Poets.

In honor of Black History Month, Rev. Robert Parrish will lead a brief study on African American poetry and its impact on present day society. We will discuss the works of poets such as Langston Hughes and others. We will have reflective discussions as well as interpretational exercises. Besides the aspect of achieving a deeper understanding of African American Poetry and History, it is hoped that we will gain insights into racial and ethnic healing.

Sunday, February 22, 9:15-10:15AM, Fellowship Hall.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Driving ...

My life has changed drastically since coming to CUCC as your intentional interim pastor. The biggest change is driving from our home in Durham to the church here in Raleigh. There are a lot of people out there driving from one place to another. And they drive fast and a little crazy sometimes.

On my drive this morning, a small SUV cut behind the car in the middle lane to swerve over in front of me in the outside lane, almost clipping the back right bumper. Then seconds later the driver cut back into the middle lane several cars in front of the car he had almost clipped. That probably took 10 seconds and before I knew it I could no longer see the SUV. I prayed for all those in the path of that driver.

People are living busy lives these days. We have too many things to do and it is hard to keep up with the important things in life.

Is that true for you as well?

Wednesday, February 18, at 7:00pm, I hope you will join us in the sanctuary for Ash Wednesday service. It will be a Taize-style service with and the imposition of the ashes. I’m looking forward to beginning Lent with this opportunity to center myself. Maybe it will help my stress level when dealing with crazy drivers out there!

See you in church, Peg

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Mark your calendars - church wide campout

Here's the news fresh from the youth group which sponsors this event for the whole congregation!

The 3rd Annual Church-Wide Camp Out is April 25-26, 2015.  It is a Saturday/Sunday this year.  

The outdoor event is at Umstead Park in Raleigh from 3 PM on April 25 to noon on April 26. Folks are welcome to come for the afternoon only, evening only, cabin camping overnight, or morning prayers, or any combination thereof.

Main dish and beverages will be provided for dinner, participants are asked to bring a plentiful side dish or dessert to share. S'mores are also provided for late-night campfire fun.

There will be an earth care focus this year with lots if music and songs.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Lenten Forum series announced

You are invited to a five week Living the Questions Lenten series beginning March 8, 2015. (Ice delayed the planned March 1 start).  The series is entitled Countering Pharaoh's Production- Consumption Society Today.

Joy Alford will facilitate this series on Sunday mornings at Community United Church of Christ from 9:00am-10:00am, in the fellowship hall.  Like all Living the Questions studies, this forum is meant to generate discussion -not to provide answers.  Our first session will help us learn to embrace our faithful imaginations.  Walter Brueggemann, world renowned Old Testament scholar and retired Columbia Theological Seminary professor is also a United Church of Christ minister.  He will be featured each week in 10 -12 minute DVD segments during our Countering Pharaoh series.   The Forum at CUCC will even prepare you to join Walter Brueggemann for a weekend of dialogue when he goes to Pullen Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC on March 20-22, 2015. Click here for more information on the "weekend with Brueggemann."  We hope you will join us for this thought provoking Lenten conversation at Community UCC.

Forum meets in the Vaughan Fellowship Hall from 9:00 to 10:15AM on Sundays.
(NOTE:  earlier start time)
Series: March 8, 15, 22, 29

March 8: The Way Out
March 15: The Decalogue
March 22: Countering Caesar
March 29 An Act of Imagination
TBD: On Not Doing God Any Favors

- submitted by Joy Alford

Friday, February 6, 2015

Greetings from Pastor Peg Nowling Williams

Dear Friends,

My husband Ken and I have attended worship, enjoyed a wonderful lunch with you, and I moved into the office. I’ve met the Monday Lunch group, with the Deacons for the second time, and talked to some of you via the phone or chats in my office. I’m looking forward to more. It is my goal to visit with each of you in the coming months.

I know you have many questions about me, but let’s get down to the basics first. So far the most asked question is – when will Peg be in the office?  My plan is to be here** from 9:30 am until 3 pm-ish (late enough to avoid traffic and early enough to avoid rush hour!) on Monday through Thursday. Friday will be my day off. On days when I will be here for evening meetings, I’ll likely come about 1 pm and stay through the evening.

If you stop by the office and I’m available, I’m happy to visit. However, even when I’m in the office, I’m not always available so please give me a call to set up a visit—at your place or mine.

I’m delighted to be with you. In each Friday’s email I’ll share some thoughts about ministry together.

See you in church, Peg

**”here” means here in the office, out visiting with you, or at meetings, etc.

Friday Email - 6 FEB 2015

Join the conversation - Tues., Feb. 10, 7:00pm, Tyler's Tap Room
Nursery Childcare for Sunday Morning Worship Service
Youth Fundraising Lunch at Jersey Mike’s
HKonJ Moral March – Saturday, February 14, 2015
A Note From Reverend Peg

Monday, February 2, 2015

Introducing Karen Withem

Karen Withem has been a regular at Taizé worship services at CUCC for the past few years, but is not widely known more generally in the church. Recently Karen has agreed to serve on our Communications Committee, and many of you have seen her behind her camera helping film church events. (She helped with three major events so far, the Climate Rally on the church lawn on September 21, the Triangle Interfaith Alliance's Festival of Lights in the sanctuary on November 30, and the Christmas Eve service on December 24.)

Karen has a media company called Canyon Diamond Media. The website for Canyon Diamond Media gives clues into Karen's interests and skills. Please say "hello" to Karen when you see her, and thank her for all she is bringing to our church. Karen has a long background in the Los Angeles film industry, and I've had the pleasure of observing her at work on a recent independent film project in Raleigh. Suffice it to say that she brings to us a knowledge of film and production techniques that are unknown to this church. Welcome, Karen!
-- Lavon Page

Join the conversation - Tues., Feb. 10, 7PM, Tyler's

sign of red comma printed with the words Life and Faith
Look for the comma
Life and Faith in Downtown Raleigh is a gathering of whoever comes.  Anyone can bring up a question springing from the intersection of life and faith.  Whether you come once or decide to be a regular, you are welcome!  Bring a friend.  We meet at Tyler's Tap Room at Seaboard Station.  Each person pays for his or her own beverage or food.  Jane Smith convenes the discussion after a bit of "How've you been?" catch up.

If no one brings a question, Jane has a default question for the night.  Here is a preview of Jane's fallback question for Feb. 10.

"I took a look at the lectionary readings for the 10th.  I’m intrigued by the Acts 15 passage describing how the Council at Jerusalem wrestled with whether to require circumcision for Gentile Christians.  Which brings me to the question I’d like to ask each of you:  How do you know when something “outside the lines” of tradition (traditional doctrine or practice, for THE CHURCH or for CUCC) is consistent with being a follower of Christ?  Even if it seems okay, how do you know if it is a good choice for you/our congregation?  Do you have tests that you use?  Or practices of discernment?

This seems like a relevant question to me, both for myself and also for CUCC in this time of transition.  Peg (and whoever comes after her) will likely be challenging us to try new things and think new thoughts.  How will we know if they are the way forward - either  okay in general or, specifically, a good fit for us?  I’d love to hear your wisdom on this."

Join the CUCC group at HKonJ

HKonJ Moral March – Saturday, February 14, 2015
Join the 9th Annual Mass Mobilization!
Group photo of CUCC delegation holding our banner
CUCC at HKonJ in 2014

A fusion movement has been growing in North Carolina for the past nine years and now includes over 150 coalition partners. This year the movement will come together on Saturday, February 14, to hold lawmakers accountable to the people of North Carolina.

Movement Agenda: Labor Rights; Education Equality; Health Care for All; Women’s Health; Environmental Justice; Medicaid Expansion; Equal Protection Under the Law; Justice without Regard to Race, Creed, Class, Gender, Sexual Orientation or Immigration Status; Voting Rights for All; Criminal Justice and Police Reform.

Pre-rally begins at 9:00am - corner of Wilmington and South Street near Shaw Univ.
March begins at 10:00 am. We’ll march from Wilmington & South Street to the Rally
location on Fayetteville Street across from the State Capitol Building.

CUCC Participants: Meet in front of McDonald's Restaurant on South Street across
from Shaw University at 9:00am. Look for Mike and Elizabeth Soboeiro who will have
the CUCC banner.

Carpooling: If anyone would like to carpool, meet at the CUCC Dixie Trail lot at

HKonJ organizers have posted logistical information about parking, the parade route, etc.

Feb. 14: Youth Fundraising Lunch at Jersey Mike’s

After the HKonJ March on Saturday, February 14, please come and have lunch at
Jersey Mike’s 2712 Hillsborough Street (between Brooks & Gardner; directions) where this year, a portion of all purchases will help to support BYC (summer church camp) for our youth.

- submitted by Śānti Matthews