Monday, February 29, 2016

Been wanting to assist refugees but not sure how to help?

Lutheran Services Carolinas is holding orientation meetings for prospective volunteers the first Thursday of every month.  The next meeting is March 3 at 6PM.  LSC is located on Hutton Street close to Blue Ridge Cinemas off Blue Ridge Road.

If people want to volunteer after that session there is a lengthy volunteer info form and volunteers will need to pay for their own background check ($10).

For more information, contact Joan McAllister.

Learn about gerrymandering in NC

Thursday, March 17, 7PM, Hoffmann Room

How much is gerrymandering the "problem behind the problem" of our current political, moral and economic upheavals in NC?  What's being done about it?  Join CUCC's Economic Justice Task Force in an expanded discussion and exploration of the issue with Jane Pinsky of the NC Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform.

- Submitted by Economic Justice Task Force

Photo spiritual journey at Raulston Arboretum

Look who was walking
with Nina and Santi!
Last weekend our spiritual journey into the community was a dog walk led by Santi and Nina.  They were glad to welcome other walkers!

This week's community journey?  A photo journey led by Suzette Roach.  Sat., March 5, 11 to noon at the JC Raulston Arboretum, 4415 Beryl Road in Raleigh.  Directions

This arboretum is a nationally acclaimed garden with one of the largest and most diverse collections of landscape plants in the southeast.  Bring your camera (or your phone camera) and enjoy this contemplative journey.  You will be encouraged and inspired to really look closely, capture the beauty around you, and contemplate the wonder of God's creation.

A concrete way to help people hurt by the transition from fossil to renewable fuels

CUCC friends Bill and Rosemary Pate continue to organize adults-only long weekends to make homes warmer, safer and dryer in Appalachia.   They are expert organizers, wonderful project crew leaders, and delightful people to spend time with.  If the youth's Mission Moment about their week-long ASP trip intrigued you, but you don't have a full week to spare, consider the long-weekend ASP trip with the Pate's.  As with the youth trip, you don't have to have construction skills to be a useful part of the team.

From Bill and Rosemary:
"Christ The King Lutheran Church (Cary) is sending Appalachia Service Project volunteers to Guyan Valley West Virginia to make homes "warmer, safer, drier" on  April 14-17, 2016.  We are hoping to have enough volunteers to work on 5 houses. The Guyan Valley area has recently been hit by many layoffs by the mining companies.  As you know the need for housing repairs is great.  The good news is that Appalachia in the Spring is beautiful. Please let us know if you would like to join us.

You may register for the trip by going here and clicking on the "Join an existing group" button and by entering the Group #5413."

- submitted by Jane Smith, a member of several Pate-organized ASP summer weeks

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Rescheduled - workshop led by General Minister of the UCC

John Dorhauer
United Church of Chapel Hill has invited us to attend a workshop on racial justice to be led by the Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, the UCC's General Minister and President. (Rescheduled from January; Rev. Dorhauer's father passed away that week.)

If you are interested in attending, and didn't previously register, please call  the office at 919-942-3540.

Jane Smith and Joan McAllister plan to carpool.  If you would like to carpool, contact either of them.

Saturday, April 23, 2016
United Church of Chapel Hill
The cost for the workshop, including lunch, is $15 per person.


9 am to 12 pm - Morning teaching on racial justice with Reverend Dr. John Dorhauer - with a mid-morning break.

Kenneth Janken
Lunch 12pm - Afternoon discussion with Dr. Kenneth R. Janken, UNC professor, Department of African, African American, and Diaspora Studies, and Director, UNC Center for the Study of the American South, and author of a new book on the Wilmington 10 — to be published on January 4 — who will speak about the UCC and the Wilmington 10 and be available for questions.  The Wilmington 10 is a part of our heritage as UCC people and as citizens of North Carolina.  (1/3/16 book review in the News and Observer)

Friday, February 26, 2016

What you can do: Hunger, advocacy training, and voting

Adrienne Little from CUCC's Social Justice Ministry passes along these ways to connect to work in the community as compiled by Congregations for Social Justice.

1 -  Bread for the World Annual North Carolina Convention from Patrick O'Neill and  Steve Hickle <> 
     March 19, 2016, 8:30 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.
     Highland United Methodist Church, 1901 Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC

2 -  FCNL Advocacy Team Launch Workshop from Vernie Davis   < >
Please join us in forming a legislative advocacy team in the Triangle. FCNL (Friends Committee on National Legislation) is providing Training  next Monday  evening (Feb 29,  6:30-9:30 PM ) at Raleigh Friends Meeting (625 Tower St, Raleigh). Please feel free to invite or bring others.

FCNL, which lobbies for peace and justice issues, is currently focused on addressing mass  incarceration. 

Snacks and light refreshments will be available starting at 6:00.

Parking is on the street after  5:00 PM. Please note the lot across the street is not ours; the owner graciously lets us use it on weekends but asks that we not park there on weekdays.

3 -   “SOULS TO THE POLLS” March from Barbara Smalley-McMahan
The Raleigh-Apex NAACP invites the Wake County faith 
community to join us for the “SOULS TO THE POLLS” 
March in Raleigh on Sunday, March 6, 2016.  
All area ministers, rabbis and imams are asked to help 
lead the march, which begins at 3:15 p.m. on the Shaw 
University campus 118 E. South Street, just across
from the McDonalds on E. South St. 
We'll walk in solidarity with one another to Chavis
Heights Community Center located at 505 Martin 
Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.
We have a moral crisis in our state and there is a need 
for massive participation. Join us to exercise your 
right and civic duty to vote!
Please make plans now for your mosques, churches 
and synagogues to march with us.



Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Weekly News - Feb. 24, 2016

The online calendar is always available and is always up-to-date.
Deadlines to submit articles to the church office (
  • Weekly Newsletter email - TUESDAY by NOON.
  • Sunday bulletin - TUESDAY by NOON.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Where does my money go for OGHS?

On March 6, CUCC will collect the One Great Hour of Sharing special offering. Through One Great Hour of Sharing, lives are literally changed daily. Your support provides clean water, food, medicines, shelter, healthcare, education and so much more.   In 2014, the OGHS offering was $2.2 million. An additional $1.4 million was given to the United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries in support of specific disaster relief efforts.

What is One Great Hour of Sharing?
One Great Hour of Sharing, as part of Our Churches Wider Mission, is the special mission offering of the United Church of Christ that carries God’s message of love and hope to people in crisis. The UCC works with international partners to provide sources of clean water, food, education and health care, small business micro-credit, advocacy and resettlement for refugees and displaced persons, and emergency relief and rehabilitation.  OGHS also supports domestic and international ministries for disaster preparedness and response.  

Who participates in One Great Hour of Sharing? 
Seven Christian denominations - American Baptist Church, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Church of the Brethren, Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ, and Church World Service work together to develop common promotional materials thereby sharing ideas, costs, and a commitment to faithful service. Each denomination receives and manages its respective OGHS offerings, and together raise over $10 million annually.

How is the United Church of Christ's offering used? 
Almost 60 percent of the UCC's offering supports international development initiatives, including annual support for missionaries. Currently there are 4 OGHS supported missionaries and 2 Global Mission Interns working in disaster relief, health care, education, sustainable agricultural development, and refugee support. The offering also funds disaster preparedness and response, and disaster related volunteer initiatives in the U.S. 

Where and how are OGHS funds shared?
The UCC  responds to development, disaster, and refugee needs in 138 countries, and provides disaster relief and immigration assistance in the United States.
Funding decisions are made by asking our worldwide mission partners, "What would you have us do with you?" The UCC responds as a member of organizations such as Church World Service and the ACT Alliance. We also support the direct mission efforts of churches and church-based organizations that the UCC and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) have direct partnerships with through Global Ministries. Nearly one-third of the UCC's offering is shared through Church World Service to support refugee, disaster, development, and advocacy programs.

How many dollars are given to the UCC's OGHS offering?
In 2014, the OGHS offering received just over $2.2 million. Nearly seventy-five percent of UCC congregations participate annually.

What percentage of OGHS donations are used directly for mission?
On average, of every dollar given to One Great Hour of Sharing, 92 cents is used directly for mission programming; 6.5 cents for interpretation materials and 1 cent for administrative costs and .5 cents for program monitoring and evaluation (accountability). Most administrative costs are paid by gifts to Our Church's Wider Mission National Basic Support.

How are decisions made to fund the various projects?  
Currently, the OGHS Program Committee of the Wider Church Ministries Board meets semi-annually to review expenditures and to address initiatives to increase the promotion of the offering for the United Church of Christ. In addition, a leadership committee is in place that reviews grant requests for special projects internationally.

- submitted by Deb and Brooke Lipman

Friday, February 19, 2016

February 19, 2016 Weekly News

The online calendar is always available and is always up-to-date.
Deadlines to submit articles to the church office (
  • Weekly Newsletter email - TUESDAY by NOON.
  • Sunday bulletin - TUESDAY by NOON.

Opportunity for Children to Help at Food Bank

(information submitted by Gray Woodard)

Children ages 5 to 11 will have an opportunity to participate in a hands-on community outreach activity at Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC on April 9 from 2-4.  They will be participation in an age-appropriate food sorting project. A parent or responsible adult must accompany each child.

To sign up to participate, email Gray Woodard at or call her at 919-417-5411. CUCC can have only 15 people attend this activity on this day, so if you decide to be a part of this outreach, please make it a priority to attend.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Video narrative about the church

Several months ago I started planning a video narrative about the church. The goal was not to provide a history of the church, nor was it to create a promotional video for the church. I simply wanted to share some of what I know and appreciate about the church in the form of a "Ken Burns style" video narrative.

Thanks to those who have viewed any of the earlier drafts and made suggestions. The video has now grown to 71 minutes, and I think I'd better close the door on it before it gets any longer. It's a long and complex road because CUCC has so many pieces in its family tree. There have been great achievements and an extraordinary cast of characters as well as significant bumps in the road.

The video is in four separate parts split roughly as follows ...

  • Part 1 (12 min.) - early church history
  • Part 2 (16 min.) - mid 20th century period
  • Part 3 (20 min.) - 1960s through 1980s
  • Part 4 (23 min.) - last 25 years

In any case, I'm now making it known that the video exists. It's not an "official church document" any more than lots of the other artifacts in our archive are official documents. It's one of many documents in the archive that present a variety of stories about the church. And this video draws very heavily on other documents in the archive.

You can find the complete video (all four parts) here in the church archive ...

Monday, February 15, 2016


Weather cancellation:  Monday, Feb. 15 - Monday Lunch Group

The office is closed to honor President's Day, Monday, February 15.

Phones not working:  We are having trouble with the phones lines at the church.  As of 5:00PM Friday, February 12,  the phones were not working.  If you cannot get through on the phone lines, please email the church office and someone will get back with you as soon as possible.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

February 11, 2016 Weekly Newsletter

February 11, 2016 Weekly Newsletter

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

Old newsletters and recent weekly news can be found in these two archives:

Deadlines to submit articles to the church office (
  • Weekly News email - TUESDAY by NOON.
  • Sunday bulletin - TUESDAY by NOON.
  • Newsletter - WEDNESDAY following the Church Council meeting by 2:00 PM.  (The Church Council meets the 3rd Monday of the month, so the deadline is the Wednesday following the third Monday of the month.  Check the calendar.)

Photos from HKonJ march

Photos by Śānti Matthews

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

2016 Lenten Opportunities

This brochure gives brief descriptions of opportunities for worship, learning, and action during Lent.

2016 Lenten Guide (PDF)

Save the Date: Care for Creation Retreat

4th Annual Church-Wide Outdoor Event and Camp-Out
Saturday, April 30, 2013 at 3PM - Sunday, May 1 at 11:30AM
Umstead Park


  • experiential afternoon prayer stations 
  • creative expression 
  • games 
  • cookout 
  • campfire with songs and stories 
  • camping in cabins 
  • morning prayers in the park  

Come one, come all for some or all of our time.
If you don't want to camp, come for the evening!
Or bring a side dish and come for activities and dinner!

Questions? Contact Śānti Matthews (919)961-8814 or

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

February 4, 2016 Weekly News

February 4, 2016 Weekly News

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

Old newsletters and recent weekly news can be found in these two archives:

Deadlines to submit articles to the church office (
  • Weekly News email - TUESDAY by NOON.
  • Sunday bulletin - TUESDAY by NOON.
  • Newsletter - WEDNESDAY following the Church Council meeting by 2:00 PM.  (The Church Council meets the 3rd Monday of the month, so the deadline is the Wednesday following the third Monday of the month.  Check the calendar.)

Monday, February 8, 2016

The community invites you to work for justice...

Adrienne Little of CUCC's Social Justice Ministry sends along these opportunities to work for justice that were compiled by Congregations for Social Justice.  Adrienne represents SJM at their meetings.

Food Drive in honor of Deah, Yusor & Razan - from Shadi Sadi
Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha were murdered in Chapel Hill one year ago.  Demonstrate solidarity and love via this Food Drive.  All donations will go to the Food bank of Central and eastern NC.
        Final Drop-Off Day
        Saturday, February 20 - 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
        Islamic Association of Raleigh
        808 Atwater St, Raleigh 27607

Jobs for Life - Breakfast of Champions - from Daniel Alexander
Jobs for Life - Breakfast of Champions  Purpose:  To continue to connect, inform, and build a local network of churches, ministries, and businesses that are preparing people to find and keep employment.  All are welcome for this fun breakfast.
       February 11th, 7-8:30AM
       Christ Baptist Church, Raleigh
       Guest speaker Scott Lundeen, Film Producer with Mile High Ministries from Denver, Colorado.

Bread for the World Annual North Carolina Convention from Patrick O'Neill
     March 19, 2016, 8:30 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.
     Highland United Methodist Church, 1901 Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC
     Registration Fee $25.00 includes lunch

Ash Wednesday: 2 worship options

Ash Wednesday begins a season of 40 days of reflection and fasting for some Christians, as an opportunity to strengthen one’s faith in preparation for Easter. For centuries, Christians have been marked with a cross of ashes on the forehead as a reminder of humanity’s mortality and an invitation to receive God's forgiveness.

2-3 PM in the Sanctuary - Imposition of Ashes

7PM in the Sanctuary - We begin Lent with our Ash Wednesday service.  We will gather at the back of the sanctuary as people of God seeking a time of confession  We will be reminded in the receiving of the ashes that in living and dying we belong to God.

Invite your friends...

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Reading List for Congregational Meeting

This is the reading list provided by Moderator Geri Bowen for the Congregational Meeting to be held following 10:30 worship on February 7. These are being provided to you in lieu of the thousands of pages of printed material we used to distribute at congregational meetings. Please support Geri in her efforts to cut down on paper use. All these documents are permanently located on the church website and so will be available for reference throughout the year.

Annual Reports for Committees and Ministries for Year 2015
Draft Minutes for November Congregational Meeting
Ministry and Committee Membership 2016 (Email any changes to

Friday, February 5, 2016

Lenten Film Series

The Deacons are again planning a 5-week Lenten film series which begins on Feb. 19. The committee selecting the films consists of Geraldine Bryan, Jo Perry, and Betsy Towler from the Deacons Ministry along with Karen Withem and Lavon Page. All films will begin at 7 PM in the Vaughan Fellowship Hall. Popcorn will generally be available, and admission is free. Following the viewing of each film, a discussion period will be hosted by one of the selection committee members.

Feb. 19 - Nebraska

Recommended by: Geraldine Bryan
Year: 2013
Length: 115 minutes
Language: English
Cast:  Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb

One of our Lenten programs this year is a study of the Gospel of Mark. As the blog post announcing that series says, Mark's Gospel is a journey narrative.

The film Nebraska is a journey narrative of a strange sort. An old man is going on a journey to claim his "prize." There is much to be learned by this pursuit, and the film entertains as well as providing many lessons along the way.

Feb. 26 - The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Recommended by: Betsy Towler
Year: 2008
Length: 94 minutes
Language: English
Cast: Asa Butterfield, Vera Farmiga, David Thewlis

"... in a sense Bruno’s final act of identification with Shmuel is inherently redemptive. In a deep sense, it changes everything – certainly for Shmuel, for Bruno himself, and for Bruno’s family, but also in some sense for the whole world. Nothing can be the same again. Love has done what love must do, and what only love can do, and in the process evil is inherently diminished and in a sense defeated, overcome. This for me is the story of Good Friday, presented as powerfully as I’ve ever seen it." -- Anonymous

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is not presented as historical realism or historical fiction. It’s a fable with a moral. -- Betsy

You can't get to the resurrection without visiting the crucifixion. That's why this film is #2 in this Lenten series. And I agree with the anonymous blogger above in saying that this movie is an extraordinary "Good Friday" parable.  -- Lavon

MPAA RatingPG-13 for some mature thematic material involving the Holocaust.
Primary Audience: Adults, Teens, Family

March 4 - Ballast

Recommended by: Karen Withem
Year: 2008
Length: 96 minutes
Language: English (but English subtitles will be used)
Cast: unknown cast

"Ballast" is a 2008 film set in the poverty of the Mississippi Delta. The story is a subtly textured look into the lives of three people, including a 12-year-old youth, as they struggle to find their footing in the aftermath of a suicide. The 2008 film was directed by Lance Hammer; it has some adult language.

March 11 - Marvin's Room

Recommended by: Lavon Page
Year: 1996
Length: 98 minutes
Language: English
Cast: Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, Leonard DiCaprio, Robert DeNiro, Hume Cronyn, Gwyn Verdon

This film deals with a topic that the film industry has a difficult time with, i.e. spiritual healing in the absence of physical healing. Most folks go to the movies for entertainment, and terminal illness isn't generally a very entertaining subject. I think that's why this movie isn't better known. You can't get a more star-studded cast than the cast in this film. It's no accident that I've positioned this film as #4 in the film series. Films #3 and #5 are films that don't use any known actors at all. Positioning Marvin's Room between those films gives us some familiar faces to look at between those two. And Marvin's Room is a great film. You'll be moved at the spiritual healing that takes place in the family that is depicted in this film.

March 18 - Silent Light

Recommended by: Jo Perry
Year: 2007
Length: 136 minutes
Language: Plattgerman
Cast: members of Mennonite communities, mostly Mexican

This movie was filmed within a Mennonite community in Mexico. None of the cast are really professional actors. The cast comes from Mennonite communities in Mexico, Canada, and Europe. The script is based on writings by one of the cast who is a Mennonite from Ontario. And the language of the movie is "Plattgerman", a form of low-German that is spoken within the Mennonite Community in Mexico (who are descended from German immigrants).

When this movie began I didn't know what to think. It opens with a 7-minute time lapse scene at dawn. As the movie unfolds, you quickly realize that you're not watching a "normal" movie. It's a movie that isn't going to be about things "happening", but rather about "being" in a sense that's foreign to Hollywood and the film industry in general. By the time the film ended I was feeling that this film represents a form of depiction that I had never conceived of in a movie, where instead of "acting" the cast simply allows you to absorb them.

There's a strong reason I selected this film to close the Lenten film series, but I can't give it away without including a spoiler for the film. Count on it that we'll have a lot to talk about during the discussion that follows this film. This one will run a bit late. The film is 137 minutes, so the viewing will last until 9:30 or so even if we get started at 7 PM. And the conversation afterward is likely to be one that we will not want to end. This film will provide good fodder for thought as we all move from the film series into Holy Week.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Taize' and walking the labyrinth

Pullen Memorial Baptist Church has invited the community to join them for an evening of Taize'-style worship and time to walk the labyrinth.  February 29, 7PM, Poteat Chapel

Amy Jensen's mother

Miriam C. Sitler, the mother of Amy Jensen, passed away Monday night in Middlefield OH. Amy will be attending the funeral service this weekend and is planning to play a flute prelude "Shall We Gather at the River" at the service using the same arrangement of that old hymn that she used with Doug when they played the piece in 10:30 worship a few weeks ago at CUCC.

Obituary for Miriam C. Sitler

Monday, February 1, 2016

Sermon from Sunday, Jan. 31

Rev. Ken Williams as guest pastor spoke on Wilderness, On the Way to Mission.

Pre-weatherization surges in 2016

8 men wearing dirty clothes smile at the camera
January 30 team after cleaning out an attic
Maybe the cold weather has brought the phone calls, but we're getting steady requests to pre-weatherize homes.  One morning of work makes a huge impact in the energy costs of a low income homeowner.  This is the perfect volunteer opportunity for someone who is meeting-averse!

CUCC, Raleigh Friends Meeting, and NCIPL have been doing clean outs and repairs of homes in our area so that the homes can then be weatherized for free.  Our preparatory work leverages federal funds to pay for professionals to insulate the home or install a new HVAC system.  Most of our work is low-skill - moving boxes away from walls,  emptying an attic and hauling unwanted items to the landfill.  We have worked in Wake and Durham Counties so far.  Friends are welcome.  This is truly a community effort.

If you are interested in being notified by email about future workdays, contact Gary Smith.