Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sign a letter for marriage equality

CUCC's Open and Affirming Task Force (ONATF) invites the people of CUCC to sign a letter thanking Governor McCrory for his veto of the Magistrates Recusal for Civil Ceremonies (SB2). On Sunday, June 7, after worship, Suzette Roach will be at a table in the fellowship hall with a letter for your signature (for letter text, see below).  Although the ONATF does not know if the NC General Assembly will override the governor's veto, we think it is important to thank him for his action.

On Thursday, May 28, Governor McCrory issued the following statement:
"I recognize that for many North Carolinians, including myself,  opinions on same-sex marriage come from sincerely held religious beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman. However, we are a nation and a state of laws. Whether it is the president, governor, mayor, a law enforcement officer, or magistrate, no public official who voluntarily swears to support and defend the Constitution and to discharge all duties of their office should be exempt from upholding that oath; therefore, I will veto Senate Bill 2."

Text of the letter for your signature
Dear Governor McCrory:

Thank you for vetoing SB2.  We agree that public employees must uphold the constitution of our state and serve all North Carolinians without bias.

For us, this law is personal.  We count among our members couples and families – gay and straight – who enrich our life together and join the work of serving the community.  In their daily lives they are living examples of God’s love.  We grieved and were angered that some of these couples might face a magistrate who was given legal permission to treat them differently than other couples.

As people of faith, we value the tradition of civil disobedience for reasons of conscience in the face of unjust laws.  In civil disobedience, one knowingly breaks the law and suffers the consequences in order to change the law.  One does not seek a personal exception from the law. We also recognize conscientious objection to war.  Of the options for conscientious objection, none include selecting which tasks in an assignment to perform.  We will pray for the North Carolina magistrates who are struggling with laws affirming marriage equality; we know how hard it is when conscience and work collide.  However, we do not recognize that they have a right to retain their jobs while performing them with bias.

With your veto, you upheld justice in our state and you made a difference in our lives.  Thank you.


- submitted by the Open and Affirming Task Force

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Healing Oils of the Bible Workshop - new date, Aug. 25

Pastor Peg invites you to meet her friend, the Rev. Alison  Phillips Robuck*, and hear about the “Healing Oils of the Bible,” August 25 at 6:30 pm in Vaughn Fellowship Hall

Have you ever wondered about the gifts of the Wise Men?  Gold would be an appropriate gift for a king…but Myrrh and Frankincense?  Why those?  What value did they hold?  Why did David request that God purge him with Hyssop?  Why was he so specific?  Hyssop…the very same herb upon which Jesus would be offered vinegar to drink while upon the cross.  What is so special about Hyssop?  And didn’t Solomon deliberately build his palace of Cedarwood?  Would not a different wood have worked just as well?

There are more than 600 references to essential oils in the Bible.  Based on Dr. David Stewart’s book, Healing Oils of the Bible, we will discover the healing qualities and purposes of plants given to us…from the very beginning of Creation.  Come and experience the oils firsthand as we discover the biblical foundation for today’s current trend:  essential oils.

Rev. Alison Phillips Robuck will be coming from North Little Rock, AR, to present this workshop. After 19 years of serving in congregational ministry as an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), she has found a new calling.  Since her mother’s near-death experience last fall, she has discovered the health benefits received through essential oils and is called to share this new discovery with God’s people.  Alison now travels across the country to bring the message of hope as found in the very same Bible that has provided peace and comfort throughout our lives.  Please join us for an evening of education, laughter, hope, and healing.

“This presentation is for educational purposes only.  Products will not be available for purchase.  A question and answer period will follow the presentation for those who are interested in learning more about the current use of essential oils.”

*Rev. Alison Phillips Robuck is an ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  She was raised in Enid, Oklahoma and graduated with her B.A. in Humanities from Oklahoma City University in 1991.  After a few years of serving as a Youth Director, Alison answered the call to enter seminary.  Since earning her M.Div. from Christian Theological Seminary (Indianapolis) in 1996, Alison has served congregations in Colorado, Missouri, Minnesota and Iowa, and has also served as a Hospice Chaplain.  She has directed various youth camps and women's retreats and has a passion for teaching and preaching about being faithful stewards of this one precious life we are given.  Alison has recently moved to North Little Rock, Arkansas where she serves as a Regional Elder, pulpit supply preacher, and Young Living distributor which she began shortly after her mother's brush with death.  Alison invites you to follow her through her Facebook page,"A Fabulous Journey" and she looks forward to sharing her personal story with you on June 10th.

- submitted by Pr. Peg Williams

Monday, May 18, 2015

Wear red May 24, Pentecost

Pentecost is the celebration of the birth of the Church.  We celebrate the gift of God's Spirit to each of us and to the Church for our work together telling/acting the story of God's love.

By tradition, on Pentecost Sunday the Church decorates with the color red to remind us of the Spirit's presence as tongues of fire on that first Pentecost.  Pr. Peg has invited us to wear red this Pentecost - to worship, and throughout the day.

Wear red Sunday, May 24!

Friday, May 15, 2015

So What Do You Think About Growing Older?

Everyone gets there (older) sooner or later - if you are lucky!  What do we know about this particular stage in life?  What do we need to learn?   How do we navigate this territory?  Join us at Forum this Sunday, May 17, 9:15AM in an informal conversation as we share our thoughts about the challenges, blessings, questions and opportunities on this journey.

- submitted by Shirley Birt

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Weekly Email - 14 MAY 2015

From the Intentional Interim Pastor
Congratulations to Robert Parrish
Clay Pots Needed for Garden Irrigation
Wake Federation of the Blind Yard Sale
Triangle Hands Across the Sand: Say Yes to Clean Energy!
Youth Fundraising Brunch – Sunday, May 17
1st Tuesday Taizé is now 3rd Tuesday Taizé
Fracking Stories: Tuesday, May 26, 7:00pm, CUCC
Newsletter Deadline
Relief Efforts in Nepal

Third Tuesday Taize Service will be May 19 at 7 pm

From your intentional interim
May 14, 2015

"Taize is an ecumenical sung and silent participatory prayer service designed to achieve a contemplative state through music, song and silence."

Dear Friends,
I believe in worship.  I believe that worshiping together is the central focus of the church.  I believe that worship feeds our souls and prepares us to do the work of Jesus out the in the world.  It brings us into community and then sends us out to be the hands, feet and voices of God.

Worship for me has many facets.  This past Sunday was a perfect example of how many voices bring us together.  The children sang.  Three young men led us in a Radical Mother’s Day litany, and a young woman brought the children’s message. You could feel the energy.
It is my opinion that worship must have energy.  I don’t necessarily mean drums, clapping and dancing energy, but the energy that comes from the movement of the Spirit.  Even our contemplative Taize services have energy, because the Spirit is moving among us.

Have you been to our Taize services?  We have a 9 a.m. service each Sunday morning led by lay people, and I am continuing the tradition of a week night service once a month.  Now that service is on the third Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m.

Will you join us this coming Tuesday, May 19, at 7 p.m.?  The sanctuary will be open at 6:30 p.m. for 30 minutes of silence before we begin.  I hope you will be with us for this opportunity for a contemplative evening with communion.

Prayers for the journey,
Pastor Peg

P.S.  Read about the Taize community in France at their link:

Monday, May 11, 2015

Results of SJM poll of congregation now available

In April the Social Justice Ministry (SJM) asked the congregation what social justice organizations and ideas we support with our time (volunteer or employed) and our money.  Read the poll results.  The information is also posted on the wall in the fellowship hall.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Blurry Vision

From the intentional interim pastor

May 6, 2015

"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." Mark Twain

            How is that for something to think about?
            In a few hours I’ll be heading to the eye doctor for my first appointment since moving to North Carolina.  Ken has already visited the practice and he liked them, so all is well. Eye exams are important.
I’ve been wearing glasses since I was 12 years old.  I had headaches and the eye doctor discovered that I am near-sighted and have astigmatism.  If you aren’t familiar with “astigmatism” here is the definition:  “An irregular shaped cornea or lens prevents light from focusing properly on the retina, the light sensitive surface at the back of the eye. As a result, vision becomes blurred at any distance” (from the American Optometric Association).
Apparently most of us have some degree of astigmatism.  I guess this means all of us have some blurry vision at one point or another. 
How’s that for something to think about?
I’ve been thinking a lot about the mother in Baltimore who pulled her teenage son out of the riots and used her hands to let him know of her displeasure.  Some have said that she was wrong in “beating” her child.  Others have said they would have done the same thing to ensure that the son wasn’t killed, injured or arrested in the riots.  Some of the same people who applauded the mother’s actions have also called for non-violent actions from the rioters, and others find that to be hypocritical. 
Since my vision is blurry when I am farther away, it is hard for me to say whether this mother did the right thing or not.  I will say that I think I am capable of doing the same thing.  My child’s safety would come first.  But I wasn’t there.   I don’t live in Baltimore.  I do not share that mother’s experiences.  I can’t. 
Isn’t this the case for all of us?  It is easy to leap to judgment about events and actions we see on television, but we don’t live in their worlds and we don’t share their experiences. 
How’s that for something to think about?

Prayers for the journey,
Pastor Peg

Friday, May 8, 2015

Weekly Email - 8 MAY 2015

From the Intentional Interim Pastor
Children will Sing & Youth will Provide Children’s Message this Sunday
Durham Bulls Baseball! – Deadline to RSVP is Monday, May 11th
Life& Faith in Downtown Raleigh
Economic Justice Task Force Meeting, May 13
Moral Wednesdays (formally Moral Mondays)
Sisters in Spirit
Wake Federation of the Blind Yard Sale
Youth Fundraising Brunch – Sunday, May 17
1st Tuesday Taizé is now 3rd Tuesday Taizé
Our First “Jobs for Life” Graduates!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Our first "Jobs for Life" graduates!

The “Jobs for Life” program we announced last fall has just graduated its first students.  The course, sponsored by our Economic Justice Task Force, teaches unemployed and underemployed people basic job skills that will improve their career opportunities and their lives. The course was held at Loaves & Fishes and most of the students were former LAF students and parents.

Over eight weeks, the classes covered such issues as conflict resolution, identifying career goals, writing a resume, interviewing skills and identifying and overcoming roadblocks.  We invited a number of businesspeople to the class to give real-world insights about the careers the participants were seeking.CUCC members who volunteered were Shirley Birt, Susan Lane, Adrienne Little, Joan McAllister, Robert Parrish. Jane Smith,  Edith Sylla, Laura Upchurch and Kathy Widenhouse.

The feedback we received from the students was extremely  positive and enthusiastic.   We will stay in touch with them over the weeks and months to come to see the long-term effects of the program. The Economic Justice Task Force will be evaluating the course and determining if we will hold another session in the fall.

-- Submitted by Susan Lane
for the Economic Justice Task Force

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Historical material forwarded to the transition team

Joan McAllister, on behalf of the pastoral transition team, asked me to put together some information from the CUCC Archive that will give the transition team an overview of the church history over the past 50-60 years. The documents and media files listed here constitute a stab at doing that.
-- Lavon Page (May 5, 2015)

This list of resources reflects what we have in our archive. It does not pretend to present a balanced overview of the church. "Spiritual growth" efforts don't get documented in the same manner as social justice initiatives. So our archive is lean in that area. The "Remembrances" and the  "100th Anniversary Scrapbook" contain lots of photos that paint the human side of the church. The other scrapbook you'll see references to is of great value as well, but since it was assembled around 1960 you won't learn anything from it that pertains to the last 50 years.
Origins of church slogan

Peggy Hoffmann's history of the 1980s

Peggy Hoffmann's commentary on the church in the 1970s

Remembrances - transcription of interviews with most of the most active people in the church in 1981 in celebration of the 100th anniversary (in some sense) of the church. This is an extremely valuable piece of the archive.

Two forum sessions on church history (led by Cy King and Isabella Cannon) - videos made by Ed Klemmer around 1998.


A conversation with Cy King - an audio recording made January 2013 in which Cy reflects in an uninhibited fashion on just about everything.

Videos of all the senior pastors during the past 50 years - available under the "Pulpit" tab in the archive.

Cy King recounts long history of social action (2011) - video made during 10:30 worship

1981 Scrapbook made on occasion of the 100th anniversary - this is brand new. I scanned it an organized the images over the past 6 months. -- Lavon


Edith Sylla, the CUCC Historian, has written the following description of the historical relationship between CUCC and OCWM. This document is also permanently located in the CUCC Archive under the Documents tab.

CUCC and OCWM - written by Edith Sylla, May 2015

Monday, May 4, 2015

CUCC Newsletter - MAY 2015

May 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.

Sign up today... A new funding source for our ministries old and new

Volunteer at the St. Paul's Country Fare Restaurant at the NC State Fair!
October 15-25
Pencil in a shift NOW

CUCC has taken on some big new ministries (including our new full-time Youth and Adult Education staff person).

St. Paul’s Christian Church (our friends from Maundy Thursday worship) has invited us to join them at their St. Paul’s Country Fare restaurant at the NC State Fair.  We will receive a percentage of the proceeds depending on the percentage of volunteers we provide.  

More than a country-style food restaurant, this 50+ year old ministry is “a wonderful outreach to show how Christians work together for a common a good.”  The restaurant provides a safe place to sit out of the elements, comfy and familiar fair foods, and smiling faces.  I volunteered for a shift last fall and thoroughly enjoyed the people from St. Paul’s and from their scout troop on that evening’s shift.  Who knew scrubbing industrial sized pots could be so much fun?

Volunteers are needed for set up & heavy cleaning the week before the fair, and (teen and older)  cooking, cleaning and serving during the fair (6:30-NOON, 11:30 to 5:30, and 5-10).  Not able to be on your feet?  We’ll need people to shuttle the volunteers from St. Paul’s to the fair, to serve as cashier, and to make reminder phone calls.  There may be other non-standing tasks, too, so tell Jane if you want to help but can’t do the physical stuff.

TODAY, PLEASE:  Look at your calendar; the fair is October 15-25.  Could you help with the heavy work of clean up and set up the week before (daytime)?  Or TODAY will you pencil in a shift?  I know your life may change, but if you’ve got it penciled in, you are more likely to be free when sign ups begin later this summer.  Am I right?  Then tell me which shift you have pencilled in and I'll contact you to confirm your availability later this summer.

More details:  Free entrance on the day you work and a free shuttle so you can park at St. Paul’s and be dropped off at the gate.

Jane Smith will be recruiting CUCC's volunteers and supporting Peggy McRight, the St. Paul's coordinator.

We thank our friends at St. Paul’s for inviting us to participate in their long-standing ministry to fair-goers and to share the proceeds. 

-     -      Submitted by Jane Smith

May Forums announced

Join us for discussion about these topics at the Sunday Morning Forum, 9:15-10:15 in the Fellowship Hall.

May 10th - Discussion on education and solving problems in the public education system.  Hosted by Deborah Lipman - M.Ed. candidate, Concordia University

May 17th - So what do you think about growing older?  Everyone gets there (older) sooner or later - if you are lucky!  How do we navigate this unexplored territory?  What do we know about this particular stage in life?  What do we need to learn?  Join us in an informal conversation as we share our thoughts about the challenges, blessings, questions and opportunities for this special journey. Conversation facilitated by Shirley Birt, who is growing older.

May 24th - Human Trafficking 101 - Modern day slavery.  Hosted by Janna Lipman, co-founder of Anka Rising.

- submitted by Todd Lipman for Christian Education Ministry

What is your mission in our "missional church?"

Yesterday in worship, Pr. Peg invited us to read all of Acts this week to imagine what the "missional church" looked like in the beginning days of the early church.  In Pr. Peg's words, the "missional church" is "the church out there" - doing God's work in the world.  Whether through our work, in our neighborhoods, through volunteering - how are we serving?

The Social Justice Ministry just asked us the same question, sort of, with a survey of congregational members to learn what justice groups we support, where we volunteer, and what community needs are important to us.  You can see those results on the wall of the Fellowship Hall.

At the congregational meeting, Mac Hulslander wondered whether our new staff person for Youth and Adult Education might help us individually discern our calls and support us together in ministry in the world.

And of course, the congregation as a whole is entering a time of discernment about our future in ministry during this transitional time.


the May 12 gathering of Life & Faith in Downtown Raleigh will give us a chance to chew over these questions for our own lives.  Do I have a sense of my personal mission?  How can CUCC support that work?  What is currently helping me or blocking me, giving me hope or discouraging me?  If I'm not sure about how to be "out there," how am I doing in this time of discernment and what support might I need?  Is this whole idea inspiring or creepy?

Of course, as always, if someone has a topic he or she would rather discuss, we'll go with that instead!

See you at Tyler's Taproom at 7PM, Tuesday, May 12.  Dutch treat.  Look for the red Life & Faith comma.

- submitted by Jane Smith

How Will the Church Confront Economic Injustices?

Many thoughtful people believe that our current economic system is broken. We continue to witness the stress and suffering left in the path of "Our Great Recession."

What do faith communities have to say about this brokenness? How can we respond, not to just the immediate needs, but to the unjust structural systems which perpetuate inequality, lack of opportunity and hopelessness?

The list of concerns is extensive and critical: wealth inequality, livable wages, wage theft, worker benefits, on-call worker scheduling, safety in the workplace, misclassifying workers, fair retirement plans with qualified financial advisers, job training, access to education, student debt, child care, unfair tax laws, reforming financial institutions, fair financial services for our low income population, protecting consumers, payday loans, food insecurity, poverty in our schools and our community, affordable housing, health care, influence of money in politics and on decision making, etc.

However, there are exciting, creative possibilities to consider.

Our Economic Justice Task Force struggles with these concerns, but we are a small group. We don't know what our future may be at CUCC. We invite everyone to join us for a discussion on economic justice and CUCC on Wednesday, May 13, at 10:30am in the Bradow Room. John Parker will facilitate our conversation. John has experience in many community organizations. He is a student at Duke Divinity School and is completing an internship with Covenant Community. We hope you will join us. We need your support and welcome your ideas.

- Submitted by Shirley Birt for the Economic Justice Task Force

Youth Fundraising Brunch – Sunday, May 17

CUCC Youth will prepare and serve a delicious brunch (made with local ingredients) in the fellowship hall after the 10:30am worship on Sunday, May 17! Don't miss this chance to fellowship with the church family while helping us raise funds for BYC summer youth church camp.
Suggested donation:
$10 per plate for youth and adults
$5 for school age children up to 5th grade
Free for preschool kids

All are welcome - reservations are not required.

We are focusing our brunch on local foods, much of which is vegetarian.*  We are serving family style, so every table will have the same food on it: one quiche, one basket of muffins, one bowl of grits, one bowl of strawberries, one plate of sausage links, one pitcher of lemonade, and one pitcher of water, and one basket for donations.  People will seat themselves at tables and pass the food at their tables family-style. Coffee drinkers will have to fix their own coffee at a separate coffee service table.

Brunch menu:

  • quiche made with local eggs and local tomatoes (vegetarian)
  • blueberry muffins made with local blueberries (vegetarian)
  • local strawberries
  • grits
  • pork sausage links (vegetarian sausage will not be provided)
  • coffee, lemonade, water

*We are not trying for a low calorie, organic, vegan, or gluten-free menu.

- submitted by Śānti Matthews