Friday, June 23, 2017

Graduation Celebration for JaCarrie Elizabeth Spurlock, Saturday, June 24th

Please Join Us in Celebrating
the Graduation of

JaCarrie Elizabeth Spurlock

Saturday, June 24th, 
2:00pm to 4:00pm

Community United Church of Christ
814 Dixie Trail
Raleigh, NC 27607

Vaughan Fellowship Hall

Heavy Hors D'oeuvres

RSVP to Cara at 919-702-5070
CUCC Members Making a Difference

Austin Osborne-Newman, who was raised and confirmed at CUCC, participated in the 2017 Trailblaze Challenge to raise money for Make-a-wish.

Austin and his girlfriend, Mandy Hough, set a goal to raise $5000 for Make-a-wish, and they would very much appreciate support from CUCC folks.

If you would like to learn more or/and to support them, please follow the link.

Austin and Mandy thank you for your support of this terrific cause.

Dear Friends,

Seventeen of us, thirteen youth and four chaperones, are preparing to leave for BYC (Youth Camp) on Sunday, July 2: Cooper Atkinson, Mason Atkinson, Aubrey Shannon Barrick, Alex Bowen, Zenna Bryan, Rebekah Fairbrother, Sophie Flynn, Tsegawit Gebremedhin, Julia Langenderfer, Ella Powell, John Robertson, Marybeth Worley, Terry Worley, Bill Bryan, Paul Kiel, Annaka Sikkink, and Śānti Matthews.

BYC is a church camp in Laurel Springs, North Carolina, that is organized and supported by eleven churches (eight Alliance of Baptist Churches and three UCC Churches) who covenant together to provide a safe, nurturing, fun and creative space for youth to learn more about God, themselves, and community. Youth get to spend the week with roughly 100 other youth from like-minded churches all over the country. This will be the 8th year that CUCC has participated. We can't say enough good things about both the deeply profound spiritual opportunities, the community building, and the sheer fun that this camp offers.

We are also aware of how much we need and cherish your prayers, your thoughts, your support, and your care. It’s my hope that CUCC will pray for us in worship, and throughout the week of July 2, as we leave for camp and as we spend time learning and growing and understanding each other, and God more deeply and truly. We will study Sabbath this summer, and we will work to understand and honor Sabbath time, and accept grace filled possibilities for rest and renewal.

We look forward to telling you all about our transformative experiences and adventures when we return. Peace, Śānti

Pastoral Letter

The Journey
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.
                     - Mary Oliver

This afternoon as I sat outside Joe Van Gogh Coffee Shop sermonizing; a man walked out of  the door: coffee in one hand and a bicycle helmet in the other. There was another man sitting at a table opposite me who asked him about his bike, and then I heard the bicyclist say, "Yes, this bike saved my life. I thought I was losing something when I lost my car, but in fact I was gaining a life I never knew was possible." He explained that after a DUI, prison time, a failed relationship, and so many other losses, he was gifted with the opportunity to live life from the bottom up. So often in our lives, we mistake life and "truly living" for all the comforts and expressions of a life well-lived. I wonder what we might need to "lose" in order to gain "life"? 

          May the Spirit lead the way, 

          Rev. Jenny Shultz-Thomas 

Lectionary for the Week of June 25, 2017

Lectionary for the Week of June 25, 2017 - Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time -
(Third Sunday after Pentecost) Green - Genesis 21:8-21; Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17 OR
Jeremiah 20:7-13; Psalm 69:7-10, (11-15), 16-18; Romans 6:1b-11; Matthew 10:24-39
Ramadan Ends - 60th Anniversary of the United Church of Christ

This Week's Opportunities

Sunday          6/25    60th Anniversary of the United Church of Christ
                                   9:00am          Taizé Worship – Sanctuary
                                   9:30am          Choir Practice - Sanctuary
                                   9:30am          Adult Bible Study - Bradow Room
                                 10:30am          Worship Service - Sanctuary
                                 10:45am          Children’s Church School - Sunday School Rooms
                                 10:45am          No Youth Church School - First Sunday
                                 11:45am          Fellowship - Vaughan Fellowship Hall
                                 12:00pm          Economic Justice Task Force - Bradow Room
                                 12:00pm          Stewardship Ministry Meeting - Library
                                   4:00pm          Covenant Community - Bradow Room
Monday         6/26    12:15pm          Monday Lunch Group - Hoffmann Room
Tuesday        6/27    10:00am          Office Staff Meeting - Pilgrim House
                                                         Deadline for July Bulletins & Announcements
Wednesday   6/28     9:30am          Tai Chi – Vaughan Fellowship Hall
Saturday        7/01     9:30am          Saturday Morning Book Club – Library
Sunday          7/02     9:00am          Taizé Worship – Sanctuary
                                   9:30am          Adult Sunday School - Bradow Room
                                 10:30am          Worship Service with Communion - Sanctuary
                                                            Commissioning of BYC Participants
                                 10:45am          Children’s Church - Sunday School Room
                                 10:45am          Youth Church School - Youth Room
                                 11:45am          Fellowship - Vaughan Fellowship Hall
                                   4:00pm          Covenant Community - Bradow Room
                                                         Urban Ministries Food Bags Due

Monday, June 19, 2017

See Karen's movie "A Rude Awakening" July 5

Karen Withem is a member of CUCC and a regular at Sunday's Taize' worship.  We're excited about the showing of her first film and invite you to attend this film festival in Cary.

Here's a note from Karen.

Hi all, my first film "A Rude Awakening," will screen July 5 at the Cary Theatre. It's an evening of shorts featuring one locally made film, plus shorts from all over the world, and the programs I've seen have been very good.

"A Rude Awakening" was an Official Selection and won the Audience Choice Award at the Great Lakes International Film Festival in 2016.

Come and bring your friends!

Best regards,
Karen Withem

Motion for Pictures Screening Series
July 5, 7PM
Cost: $3 to $5
Cary Theater
122 E. Chatham Street
Cary, NC  27511

Cary residents: Support Habitat in Cary June 22, 6PM

At the last Congregations for Social Justice meeting on June 14th, Rachel representing Habitat for Humanity spoke for seven houses they would like to build in Cary. So far citizens have opposed the construction even with their cutting back on the number they want to build. Now Habitat for Humanity is seeking R8 zoning the same as across the street.

On June 22nd at the town council meeting people who see the need for low cost housing are asked to get a Habitat t shirt at the parking garage at 6 o'clock and come to the meeting at 6:30. Residents from Cary are asked to speak at the meeting.

Adrienne Little

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Specks and Logs

Whenever I hear friends pontificating about "hate", I always cringe a bit. I know it's not "us" that they're talking about. Hate is very easy to spot in those who disagree with us. The Bible affirms that when it asks, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"

That plank whopped us over the head this week. But the same week in which I heard much talk among friends about the 2nd anniversary of the shootings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston and the 1st anniversary of the shootings at the Orlando nightclub, we were strangely silent in church today about the shootings on the ball field in Alexandria this week. And the scary thing about the shootings in Alexandria is that the shooter's profile seems so normal to us.

In today's NY Times, Ross Douthat makes that very observation ...

So Hodgkinson’s seeming normalcy, his angry but relatively mainstream Democratic views, might be a warning sign for the future of our politics. The turmoil of the 1960s and 1970s generated segregationist terrorism on the right and a revolutionary underground on the left, but it did not produce much partisan terrorism, violence inspired simply by fear and hatred of the opposition party. Now, though, we hate each other simply for being Democrats and Republicans more than ever — and violence inspired simply by the polarization of the major parties would be a unique and novel threat. 

The second thing to say is that a murderous attack on Republicans by an angry liberal should be an important reminder for our media-cultural establishment that societies can be pulled apart from the left as easily as from the right. Of course, network anchors and magazine editors and editorial boards know this on an intellectual level. But because our centrist elites are actually center-left there is a constant, involuntary tug toward emphasizing what’s wrong on the right-wing side of the spectrum and excusing what’s wrong on the other.

It's our responsibility to recognize hate within our own ranks. Otherwise, we're simply the pot calling the kettle black.

Full op-ed piece by Ross Douthat:

Thursday, June 15, 2017

From the Pastor

Dear Beloved Community, 

On this Monday, June 12, 2017, I am at a loss for words, which is pretty rare for me—as you have already witnessed. I have been with you for 148 days, nearly 5 months, serving as your Pastor at Community United Church of Christ. Some of the days and weeks have been long, yes, but most have been filled to overflowing. I find myself overwhelmed with peace and joy as the excitement and energy from being in your midst ushers me from one page to the next—expectantly. I am sitting now at my own kitchen table, with the soft humming of the dishwasher in the background, birdsongs bouncing off the glass behind me, the natural light competing with the chandelier above my head to illuminate this space. My daughter is home sick today with a virus that warms her tiny body to the point of tears. She is sleeping now, and I am thankful. I am overwhelmed with gratitude today for many things; but mostly for how the Spirit has blessed my family with the incredible gifts of you. 
Each community has a personality as does each Pastor; we are learning one another in these filled to overflowing days. I am a high-energy, extrovert with thoughtful opinions about most things, yet a contemplative Spirit for whom quiet and calm are a necessity if I am to be present and prepared. You are a beautiful, diverse, blend of humor and cynicism, of playfulness and sensitivity, of deep faithfulness and an enduring optimism; your heart beats for the least of these and bleeds for All of God’s creatures. Your silent reverence, your steady and simple expressions of God’s many faces and names invite children to dream and wonder, and paint the stars both above and beneath their feet. Yours is a table that both feeds the hungry and well-fed and invites others to serve and be served. The food you offer becomes the source of all that binds you together; your hands, feet, heart and souls are poured out as if an endless array of God’s abundant love and care. 

In reading scripture this morning, Spirit pointed me to 2 Corinthians: 
Surely we do not need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you or from you, do we? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all; and you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

I had two occasions this past week to be among former friends and colleagues where I received many blessings, and comments about having a “glowing radiance” and a “contagious joy” about myself…Friends asking “what’s in the Raleigh water?” I did not have to hesitate in my response. “Spirit," I exclaimed! 

Spirit is rising in Raleigh, and especially at Community UCC. You are the water, you are the letter…and you were written on my heart even before I knew you. 

May the Spirit continue to bind us together in love,

~Rev. Jenny Shultz-Thomas

Joy & Amy are Getting Married Saturday! And You're Invited!!

Newcomers’ Coffee, Sunday, June 18

Newcomers’ Coffee
Sunday, June 18

In the Library after
the 10:30am
Worship Service

Anyone interested in learning more about CUCC is invited to join us for casual conversation and refreshments. Hope to see you there!

"The Sacred You" - June 20, 2017

Please join us Tuesday, June 20th, as we share with each other.

“The Sacred You” - More than a support group, The Sacred You invites Queer folk and their friends, family, and allies to experience true community within a spiritually rich safe space. Let’s celebrate who we are together!!

Open to LGBTQ and their friends, families, and allies.
Place:  Community UCC - Vaughan Fellowship Hall
Time:   7:00pm, Third Tuesdays
For additional questions or information, contact Pastor Jenny at 919-809-8850.

This Week's Opportunities

Sunday          6/18     9:00am          Taizé Worship – Sanctuary
                                   9:30am          Adult Bible Study - Bradow Room
                                 10:30am          Worship Service - Sanctuary
                                 10:45am          Children’s Church School - Sunday School Rooms
                                 10:45am          Youth Church School - Youth Room
                                 11:45am          Fellowship - Vaughan Fellowship Hall
                                 12:00pm          Newcomer’s Coffee - Hoffmann Room
                                   4:00pm          Covenant Community - Bradow Room
                                                         Wright Center Meal - Provided by Youth
Monday         6/19   12:15pm          Monday Lunch Group - Hoffmann Room
Tuesday        6/20   10:00am          Office Staff Meeting - Pilgrim House
                                10:30am          Triangle Interfaith Alliance - Hoffmann Room
                                  7:00pm          “The Sacred You” - Bradow Room
Wednesday   6/21     9:30am          Tai Chi – Vaughan Fellowship Hall
                                   6:00pm          Bible Study - Pilgrim House
                                   7:30pm          PFLAG - Vaughan Fellowship Hall
Saturday        6/24     9:30am          Saturday Morning Book Club – Library
Sunday          6/25     9:00am          Taizé Worship – Sanctuary
                                   9:30am          Choir Practice - Sanctuary
                                   9:30am          Adult Sunday School - Bradow Room
                                 10:30am          Worship Service - Sanctuary
                                 10:45am          Children’s Church - Sunday School Room
                                 10:45am          Youth Church School - Youth Room
                                 11:45am          Fellowship - Vaughan Fellowship Hall
                                 12:00pm          Economic Justice Task Force Meeting - Bradow Room
                                 12:00pm          Stewardship Ministry Meeting - Library
                                   4:00pm          Covenant Community - Bradow Room

Lectionary for the Week of June 18, 2017

Lectionary for the Week of June 18, 2017  

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Second Sunday after Pentecost) - Green

 Genesis 18:1-15, (21:1-7); Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19 or Exodus 19:2-8a; 
Psalm 100; Romans 5:1-8; Matthew 9:35-10:8, (9-23)

Father’s Day, June 18, 2017

California, Here I Come!

California, Here I Come!

I will be out of the office from July 11th through July 25th, helping my daughter with my two wonderfully active grandchildren while her husband is on Naval Reserve duty.

I will print ALL JULY BULLETINS before I leave for California.

Any information for the July bulletins is needed NO LATER THAN NOON ON TUESDAY, JUNE 27th.  If you have any questions or have an announcement you want in the July bulletins, call Cathy at the church office - 919-809-8850 or email the office at

It's Back! P2eeeeeee!

Our July watermelon seed spitting contest!
Who will be champion this year?

Bring your smiles, and your spitting skills, to our easy breezy fellowship time after worship on July 9.

The youth will sponsor and provide leadership for this event. If you’re not a spitter, come enjoy watermelon anyway, be a spectator and cheer on your special spitter!

Race: Are We So Different?

CUCC Awakening to Oneness Continues

The CUCC group that studied the White Privilege curriculum encourages and invites everyone to attend the current exhibit at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. This free exhibit runs from April 22 – October 22.

Exhibition Hours:
April 22 - October 22
Monday-Saturday: 10am-5pm (last entry at 4pm)
Sunday: Noon-5pm (last entry at 4pm)
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
11 West Jones Street, Raleigh, NC

This exhibition looks at race through the lens of science, history, and personal experiences to promote a better understanding of human variation. It tells the stories of race from the biological, cultural, and historical points of view offering an unprecedented look at race and racism in the United States. 

You might also enjoy Cultural Conversations which are occurring at the museum on Saturdays at Noon and 2:00pm and Sundays at 2:00pm during the entire run of the "RACE" exhibition. These conversations are free and open to the public. Space is limited and registration is required for the Cultural Conversations. For additional information, go to

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Maggie Leidheiser-Stoddard Ordained

On June 10, Maggie Leidheiser-Stoddard was ordained into the priesthood in the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio.  In the attached photo, Mother Maggie bestows a blessing on Bishop Thomas E. Breidenthal, who officiated at her ordination service.  Maggie is currently serving a two-year Diocesan Residency at St. John's Episcopal Church in Worthington, Ohio (  Maggie, her husband Jon, and their 8-year-old son Jesse, who was baptized at CUCC, live in Bexley, Ohio.  Worthington and Bexley are both suburbs of Columbus.  More photos from the Ordination Service 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Show up for Raleigh's Comprehensive Plan, Affordable Housing

Have you been inspired to take another step working for justice in ways that tug at your conscience?  Join others in the Triangle from Congregations for Social Justice by being part of one of these actions.  Questions?  Talk to Adrienne Little, our Social Justice Ministry's liaison to CSJ.

1 -  City of Raleigh Public Engagement Meetings from Les Seitz < >
Raleigh to Host Five Themed Comprehensive Plan Public Meetings

The City of Raleigh is updating the 2030 Comprehensive Plan, the key policy document that shapes the physical development of the city.  Residents are invited to attend one or all five public meetings to learn about how the Comprehensive Plan addresses five areas: resiliency, housing, development transitions, transportation and sustainability.

The following is the schedule for the five public meetings, with the theme for each meeting:
  *   Housing Wednesday, June 14, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Tarboro Road Community Center, 121 N. Tarboro St. The theme will be housing or specifically increasing the supply of affordable housing, revitalizing neighborhoods, and enhancing  the homeless-to-housing continuum;
  *   Transitions Tuesday, June 20, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Marsh Creek Community Center, 3050 N. New Hope Road. The theme is development transitions. As many people continue to move to the region and as interest grows in walkable urban living, Raleigh is beginning to grow up as much as it grows out;
  *   Transportation Tuesday, June, 27, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Pioneers Building in Method Road Community Park, 514 Method Road. The theme will be transportation. Provided will be a  vision for future development of the city's connectivity network for all modes of transportation, public transit systems, greenways, and bicycle and pedestrian networks; and,
  *   Sustainability Tuesday, July 11, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Durant Nature Preserve, 8305 Camp Durant Road. The meeting's theme will be sustainability or focusing on the interdependent relationships of environmental stewardship, economic strength, and social integrity. These three elements define the vision for sustainability.

City of Raleigh staff will be in attendance to discuss these key themes and provide guidance as to how citizens can comment and provide feedback about the Comprehensive Plan Update. The Comprehensive Plan addresses 13 elements of physical development including land use, transportation, housing, environmental protection, and economic development. Other
sections focus on quality of life topics from open space, parks, recreation, and historic preservation to arts and culture. Area specific policy guidance for rezonings and a framework for implementation are also key pieces of the document.

The Comprehensive Plan Update is being released in installments during May and June. Visit the City's website at
2 -  You are invited - CSJ Housing Team Meeting from Joe Rappl < >
Tuesday, June 13 -  6:00 p.m.
Robertson Hill Community Room
1725 Poole Road, RALEIGH, 27605

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

From the Pastor

This past week, a liberal TV personality - HBO’s Bill Maher - used the “n” word on Real Time, casually calling himself a “house nigger”.  A friend of mine wrote this blogpost in
response: Bill Maher: House Nigger or Nah?

I offer the following response and invitation to consider our own roles in both becoming woke and moving beyond wokeness to action as we seek to acknowledge our own white privilege and then work towards overcoming whiteness that we might live in the “beyond” to which the Spirit is calling us in this 21st Century. 

It cannot simply be whiteness that separates. Consciousness, and the degree to which the seeds of self have been invited to attain that which might give birth to possibility, then a hopeful leap towards accountability, and finally a craving for the uncomfortable are no more out of reach for radical conservatives than for those pregnant with a liberated awakening. Of course, a consciousness housed within a white-walled world of the unimaginative is far more inclined to stumble over its own self-perceived enlightened feet, falling prey to whiteness as our keeper, as our advocate with whom, when we lie too long, we devolve into an oppressive "already", or "not yet", or lapsed "almost". Whiteness is what separates, because we have conceded that being awakened is the means through which transformation will occur. We pretend that by espousing or policing in the public square the perceived enemy, i.e. an empire laced of sleepers, we are other than actors in the realm of those predatory systems empowered to perform, project, or neutralize the static of white noise as it grows and then releases-- at another black person’s expense. Rise, hate, advocate, defend, release; rise, hate, advocate, defend, release…

We cannot continue this charade. It is an unsustainable journey towards wholeness; to act as free-riders casually advocating a dismantling of empire, yet perpetually feasting on its adrenaline-laced path to an almost justice somewhere, is an absolute injustice everywhere.

Spirit, may my whiteness inside and my whiteness outside be accountable to your blackness on all sides.

May the Spirit continue to lead the way, 
~Rev. Jenny Shultz-Thomas