Friday, May 26, 2017

Guest Pastoral Letter

Ascension Day by Jim Knipper

May 25, 2017 - If it has been 40 days since Easter it must be Ascension Thursday, a Solemnity of the Church.  It is the day we commemorate the bodily ascension of Jesus into heaven. In the words of Richard Rohr:

The Ascension is about the final reunion of what appeared to be separated for a while: Earth and Heaven, human and divine, matter and Spirit. If the Christ is the archetype of the full human journey, now we know how it all resolves itself in the end. “So that where I am, you also will be” (John 14:3)

It is no surprise that most artist renderings of the Ascension show the eyes of the crowds looking upward to the sky.  I guess that is where heaven is supposed to be.

But as we celebrate the Feast I think it is also important that we do not take our eye off the body of Christ that dwells among us, in us, and through us. And what better example of this than the article written by my friend Mike Leach about the battle his beautiful wife Vicky has fought for so many years with Alzheimer’s. As her caregiver Mike writes, “Some people spend thousands of dollars to take courses on living in the present moment. In Alzheimer's there is only the present moment.

Perhaps on this Feast day were we celebrate the moment of the ascension of Christ, we can also take some time to recognize the daily moments in our lives where Christ dwells. 

Memorial Day - A Reflection (reprinted from

May 27, 2012 - Written by Daniel Hazard
Hebrews 12:1

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us..."

Reflection by Anthony B. Robinson

It is said that no one can hold back the river of time, and that is true. Time does rush on. But we can build bridges across the rushing river, and today — Memorial Day — is one.

First known as "Decoration Day," Memorial Day began as a day to honor the Union dead after the Civil War. Following World War I it became a day for remembering all those who had died in our nation's wars. And from there it has broadened further, so that now Memorial Day is for remembering all who have died.

When death comes there is an interruption of life as usual. But often things get back to normal—or it seems that they are supposed to—too quickly following a death. Here the Buddhists are wise, holding a service to honor the deceased every 7 days for forty-nine days, allowing a lengthier period of mourning.

Though we may resume normal activities after a funeral service, we don't really get over the loss of a loved one that quickly—nor should we. Grief takes time, time that a too-busy society is often reluctant to give. So a special day for grief, remembrance and honor — Memorial Day — is a gift.

Still, we contemporary Americans receive this gift with ambivalence. As with other holidays that once stood alone on a fixed date, Memorial Day is now part of a three-day weekend, making it more a mini-vacation than a dedicated holy day of remembrance.

How will you "keep" Memorial Day today?

Here are a couple of suggestions for keeping Memorial Day. Write a note or make a call to a person who has experienced a death recently, letting them know you are thinking of them and remembering the one they have lost. Take a few minutes sometime today to sit quietly and reflect on the way that death has touched your life this year, naming in prayer those who have died. Write on a card the names of those in your family or church who have died recently, or those in your family or church who have served in past wars. Put the card on your mantle or kitchen counter with a flower.  Lift up in prayer those who have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and their loved ones. Put fresh flowers on a grave, maybe the grave of someone you know or, if that's not an option, any grave.

Today is a day to walk across a bridge of memory and hope.

We remember before you, O God, those who have gone before us in this life and their sacrifices on our behalf. (You can speak names here.) We honor them and thank you for the gift of their lives to us all. Amen.

About the Author

Anthony B. Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher and writer. His newest book is Called to Lead: Paul's Letters to Timothy for a New Day, and he is also the author of the just-published Book of Exodus: A God is still speaking Bible Study. Read his weekly reflections on the current lectionary texts at by clicking on Weekly Reading.

Lectionary for the Week of May 28, 2017

Lectionary for the Week of May 28, 2017 - Seventh Sunday of Easter: White
Acts 1:6-14; Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35; 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11; John 17:1-11


  Sunday  5/28       
  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 Youth Church School - Youth Rooms
11:45am Fellowship - Vaughan Fellowship Hall
12:00pm Stewardship Ministry Meeting - Library
  4:00pm Covenant Community - Bradow Room
Monday 5/29 
12:15pm Monday Lunch Group - Hoffmann Room
Tuesday 5/30 
10:00am Office Staff Meeting - Pilgrim House
Wednesday 5/31   
  9:30am Tai Chi – Vaughan Fellowship Hall
Thursday 6/01  
  5:30pm CUCC Staff Meeting - Pilgrim House
  7:00pm Deacons Meeting - Hoffmann Room
Saturday 6/03   
  9:30am Saturday Morning Book Club – Library
  5:00pm Summer*Daze - Church Grounds
Sunday 6/04   
  9:00am Taizé Worship – Sanctuary
  9:30am Adult Sunday School - Bradow Room
10:30am Worship Service with Communion - Sanctuary 
10:45am Children’s Church - Sunday School Room
11:45am Fellowship - Vaughan Fellowship Hall
12:00pm Social Justice Groups Gathering - Bradow Room
12:00pm Religious Education Ministry Meeting - Hoffmann Room
  4:00pm Covenant Community - Bradow Room
               Food Bags Due 

Laughing during Council

At our May meeting we laughed.

Council continues to be a place where your leaders gather to brainstorm ideas, collaborate on events and projects, and share the stuck places.  We discuss CUCC's big picture - this month jumping off from an article on thick organizations and reflecting on readings from The Gospel of Thomas that remind us of the immediacy of God in our lives.

What's new?
Read about Betty Anne's work
at Loaves and Fishes
when she retired... the first time!

  • All of our ministries and task forces are being asked to take turns getting to know newcomers at the every-other-month Newcomers' Coffees.  If you would like to attend a coffee representing your group, let your chair know.  
  • You'll more frequently find information about upcoming events at fellowship as our ministries host fellowship occasionally.  But don't worry - fellowship time will still be unstructured with lots of time to chat with new people and catch up with friends.  If you have an idea for an event your group sponsors that would be great to advertise during fellowship, let your chair know.
  • You will have an opportunity to take action as a congregation at our June 11, noon, congregational meeting.  There are things to read before you come.  Agenda and documents   If you have an item for the agenda, contact me now.  Anyone may attend a congregational meeting; members vote.  Child care will be provided.
  • We are pleased to welcome Betty Anne Ford as the third member of the Personnel Committee.  She joins Geri Bowen (chair) and Frank Gailor in assisting Jenny in making CUCC's transition to a head-of-staff model.
  • A small, short-term task force will work this summer and fall to bring our constitution and by-laws into harmony with one another and current practice.  Not much needs to be changed, but we do have some internal inconsistencies which make for confusion.  If you would be willing to work on harmonizing these documents, contact me.
  • Money in is keeping pace with money out.  Don't forget to keep your pledge current during your summer travels.
  • Moderator-elect Grady McCallie brought snacks!  Laughter is well fueled by grapes and cookies.  (Might you serve as chair of your ministry next year so you can benefit from Grady's leadership?)
Laughter - a gift from Spirit.

- submitted with appreciation for the amazing people who lead CUCC
Jane EG Smith, Moderator
Congratulations to Jackson Kiel and Sam Matthews

Jackson Kiel graduated on May 12 from NCSU with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture in Environmental Design. Jackson is currently on a 20 day US road trip with Carson Roach-Howell. When they return, he will begin work at HH Architecture in downtown Raleigh, and work toward completing the fifth year Architecture program at NCSU. 

Sam Matthews, son of Matt and Śānti Matthews, graduated with honors on May 12 from Appalachian State University. Sam earned a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work with a Minor in Studio Art. Sam will begin Graduate School in Social Work at Appalachian State this fall.

News from the Library

From time to time we will be reviewing  new and exciting books which we will acquire for the library.  The following book is of special interest because of the inclusion of Community United Church and Rev. Collins Kilburn.

During the tumultuous 60’s civil rights struggle a number of theological students were involved in interracial work across the south.  One such location was with our own, the United Church of Raleigh, under the pastorate of the Rev. Collins Kilburn.  This fascinating account speaks of our church’s reputation as a “radical institution” and chronicles much of that history. 

The book by David Cline is entitled, From Reconciliation to Revelation: the Student Interracial Ministry, Liberal Christianity and the Civil Rights Movement.  Also mentioned is the participation of CUCC member, Mac Hulslander, and his work with the Delta Ministry in Mississippi.

- From the Library Staff

Library Book Sale Result

On Wednesday, May 17,  the last of the books you so generously donated to the library book sale were whisked off to the public library for their book sale next year. The help we received for making the sale such a success was just so impressive. All of you who contributed books, and helped sort them, and set up the Fellowship Hall, and took care of collecting the money, and boxing up the unsold books, and loading the truck,  driving the truck, stewarding the money, did a splendid job. A special thanks to the sign makers.  Thank you so much - all of  you. We raised a little over $500 for the library.  We hope to make it a comfortable place to stop and check out a book or spend some time reading. - Peg Hulslander

"Immigrants and Refugees as Victims of War" - A Memorial Day Commemoration

IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES AS VICTIMS OF WAR  A Memorial Day commemoration with speaker Lori Khamala, Director, NC Immigrant Rights Program for American Friends Service Committee; proclamations from Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger and Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle; tribute to late peace activist John Heuer; readings; peace and justice songs by Raging Grannies. 2 to 3:30 p.m., Monday, May 29, Chapel Hill Public Library, 100 Library Drive.  Sponsored by Orange County Peace Coalition. 919-929-3316, 919-419-1261.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Have time to do just one thing to make the world a more just place?

Adrienne Little, our social justice ministry's representative to Congregations for Social Justice, passes along these ideas.

1 - Take Action! Tell the Department of Homeland Security to Extend TPS for Haitians in the U.S. from Cathy Tamsberg
In 2010 an earthquake left Haiti in disastrous conditions. An estimated 50,000 Haitians who were in the United States at the time were granted permission to remain and to work lawfully through temporary protected status (TPS). However, the Trump administration has indicated that there is a strong possibility that TPS may no longer be extended to Haitians living in the U.S.

Ending temporary protected status for Haitians would put thousands of people at risk for deportation.

The devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew in 2016 have made it difficult for ] Haiti to improve its infrastructure and living conditions. Just like the communities of Eastern North Carolina, Haiti is struggling to rebuild what was damaged and lost in that hurricane. With the cancellation of TPS, Haitians would be returning home to loss, poor conditions, unemployment, and uncertainty. If deported, they would also be leaving behind families and small children who would not be able to prosper on their own, many of whom are U.S. citizens.

Sending Haitians back now would be devastating for those who are working and contributing to life in the U.S., as well as a blow to aid agencies and the Haitian government who may be forced to contend with tens of thousands of additional people to incorporate into relief and recovery programs.

TAKE ACTION! Call the Department of Homeland Security Comment Line - 202-282-8495 and ask to extend TPS for Haitians in the U.S.

2 - East College Park Job Fair from Judye Jacobs
       East College Park Job Fair
       Thursday, June 15 - 6:30-8:30 pm
       Tarboro Road Community Center (121 N Tarboro St)
Job-seekers will be able to apply for positions associated with the East College Park homebuilding and infrastructure projects.
These projects include housing construction, administration, water, sewer, milling/paving, storm drainage replacement, and grading. Representatives from the general contractor company TA Loving and several homebuilding companies will be present to answer applicant questions.

3 - Wake County Network of Care from Margi Keating
Wake Network of Care is a new comprehensive online resource database with enhanced features designed to increase access to all resources of Wake County.
The URL is:    You can access the website on your phone with a Mobile App for Android, and a translation feature with over 100 languages.
Wake County's Network of Care can greatly assist individuals, families, and service providers to access services and resources.
It has "one stop shopping" for :
    1. A complete directory of service providers by zip code.
    2. A library of more than 30,00 articles, fact sheets and reports.
    3. Options for low-cost health insurance.
    4. A list of current state and federal bills, and a link to lawmakers for advocacy.
    5. A Learning Center with information on Depression, Alcohol and Drugs, ADHD, Cancer, etc.
    6. A Mobile App to locate a list of resources with complete descriptions closest to your location.
    7. Topic-based Social network groups to engage others on topics that are important to you.
    8. A community calendar with date listings of all agency, faith community, educational and social activities and events in Wake County.
    9. Links to local, state, and national advocacy organizations.
   10. Links to make it easy to find online information about government programs and nonprofit organizations that are important to you!
For more information contact: Dave Mullin, M.Div.,MTS

4 - Cary Town Council - May 25 - Not! from Joe Rappl  
No need to go to the May 25 Cary Town Council meeting.
Just received word from Habitat for Humanity Director, Kevin Campbell, that their Trimble Ave project is Cary was removed form the May 25th Town Council meeting. Kevin and Habitat are working with the town to make some changes and hope to be back with the Cary council meeting perhaps as early as the end of June.
So no need to attend the May 25th meeting in support of Habitat's project.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Trivia night at 7PM

Skip and Nancy are looking forward to seeing you at 7PM tonight.

The newsletter time was for the set up; the event itself doesn't start until 7PM.

A Note from the Pastor

As with anything in life, there are ebbs and flows to the seasons of life: some alive and vibrant with the scent of freshly budded stems as they peak their heads above the plotted earth, others crass and shriveling as the leaves,  that no longer crunch beneath our feet, but wilt back into the background of winter’s looming presence. 

In this season, as the nature of what is expected from a North Carolina spring is constantly in flux, we lean into the sun’s piercing warmth, yet resist the summer’s thickening air.

What we know, yet sometimes forget, is that we always arrive. Whether dirtied, with our hands elbow deep in the soil of the garden’s promised abundance, or amidst the splashing laughter of the children at play in the pool, or seated around the patio with the glow of sun-kissed skin and lightening bugs in the night, we always arrive. 

Whether arriving means watching the seasons change before our eyes or lifting our heads from the pillow each morning as we put both feet on the floor, we are on a journey in this life from one arrival to the next. Each step unfolds as if it were being born again, meeting us for the day’s journey as the sun promises to greet us as we rise; and as the moon rises to say goodnight as we lie down again, we always arrive.

The beauty in arriving is that, whether it is in the blinking of an eye or in the climbing of a
mountain’s peak, the length of the journey does not determine its worth. 

This week, as we consider what it is to arrive, let us also consider the Spirit of Truth, the
Advocate, from whom Jesus promised us companionship and comfort for the journey. No
matter where you are on life’s journey today, may you know the presence of the Spirit in all of your arrivals. 
 May the Spirit lead the way, 

Rev. Jenny Shultz-Thomas 

Vox Virorum 2017 Spring Concert

Tim Jensen, one of our own talented singers and members requests that we please join him and Vox Virorum as they conclude their Fifth Anniversary concert season with their 2017 Spring concert.

Sunday, May 21, 2017, 3:00pm
Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church
1902 Perry Street Durham, NC 27705

Directed by Jeremy Nabors,
Accompanied by Deborah Coclanis

Featured works include J.S. Bach's "Good Fellows be Merry", "Ride the Chariot" and "The Music Before Me", a commissioned piece to honor our fifth anniversary, composed by Ryan Kelly. Free admission: $10 suggested donation

Lectionary for the Week of May 21, 2017

Lectionary for the Week of May 21, 2017 - Sixth Sunday of Easter: White
Acts 17:22-31; Psalm 66:8-20; 1 Peter 3:13-22; John 14:15-21;
Mental Health Sunday 

This Week's Opportunities - May 21 - 28, 2017


Sunday  5/21  
  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 Youth Church School - Youth Rooms
11:45am Fellowship - Vaughan Fellowship Hall
12:00pm Economic Justice Task Force Meeting - Bradow Room
  4:00pm Covenant Community - Bradow Room
                      Wright Center Meal
Monday 5/22 
12:15pm Monday Lunch Group - Hoffmann Room
Tuesday 5/23 
10:00am Office Staff Meeting - Pilgrim House
Wednesday 5/24   
  9:30am Tai Chi – Vaughan Fellowship Hall
  6:30pm Youth Group - Vaughan Fellowship Hall
  7:00pm Choir Practice - Sanctuary

Thursday 5/25  
  5:30pm Social Justice Ministry Meeting - Pilgrim House
Saturday 5/27   
  9:30am Saturday Morning Book Club – Library
Sunday  5/28   
  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
  4:00pm Covenant Community - Bradow Room

Monday Lunch Group Summer Schedule

"I find a circle of loving friends, a circle that shares my interest in the search for the truth and a group that believes and practices the power of prayer." - Geraldine Bryan

The Monday Lunch Group meets in the Hoffmann Room every Monday. Folks drift in between 12:15 and 12:30 bringing their own lunch. Following lunch and conversation, the group shares concerns and hears suggested prayer topics. They then enter into silent prayer and meditation which precedes the main program. Generally, the Monday Lunch Group chooses a book of common interest to read and study over a period of several weeks.

Newcomers and walk-ins (including men!) are welcome.

Summer calendar
Those in attendance at Monday Lunch pitched in to create a sequence of discussion topics. Each signed up for two sequential sessions - the specific topic, if not noted below, will be
announced in time for any necessary preparation.

May 22 - Robert Parrish - Dana Kenkaid will be talking with us on the topic of "Exercise with Yoga as it relates to mind-body integration". Dana is Robert's dance and yoga instructor. She teaches dance/Zumba and yoga at various community centers in the area.

May 29 and June 5 - Sue Cottle, topic TBD

June 12 and 19 - Lavon Page , topic TBD

June 25  - Ann Retzer -  School lunches without embarrassment for students in need.

July 3 - BRING ICE CREAM and something to make each other laugh, or at least smile!

July 10 -- Ann Retzer  - see June 25July 17 and 24 - Kathy Widenhouse - possibly two short stories relating to faith.

CUCC has a New Church Management Software

CUCC is now using Breeze Church Management Software.  This is a web-based church management system which allows us unlimited users, unlimited people, all features needed for church management, plus easy and accessible support. This software will allow us more flexibility and the ability to communicate within the ministries. And we will be able to produce an online church directory!  Please send us a digital copy of a picture of yourself and your families to upload so we can start working on getting the church directory to you! Contact Cathy Marshall at the church office with questions. Thank you Susan for your ongoing help in getting the database up and running!


Still Collecting Plastic Caps for Art

"You know all those plastic caps for recyclables that can't go in the recycling container? I would like to use them to create some art with the youth. All sizes, all colors welcome, including caps off of pens. Please bring them to church and I will plan to have a bucket for them at the Pilgrim House."  Thanks, Autumn Cobeland

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Trivia Night! - Friday, May 19, 7:00pm

RSVP to Skip Stoddard by Wednesday, May 17.

Of the 48 contiguous U.S. states, which one borders only one other state?
Do you enjoy puzzling over questions like this one?  If so, you may want to come to Trivia Night at CUCC!

Trivia Night is Friday, May 19, beginning at 7:00 in the Vaughan Fellowship Hall! 16 lucky people are all set to play, because they purchased their admission at the church auction. But there are still seats available; so, it's not too late to get in on the fun!  The cost is $12 per person.  Refreshments will be served and there will be a prize for the winning team.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Interested in action on global warming, affordable housing, or criminal justice reform?

Adrienne Little is our social justice ministry's representative to Congregations for Social Justice.  She sends these opportunities for your consideration.

CSJ Housing Team Update and Invitation

The CSJ Housing Team is beginning the process of adding sub-committees in an effort to host a fall or winter meeting between city counselors, county commissioners, the for-profit development community and experts from Asheville who recently started using city resources (not federal dollars) to fund affordable housing. The purpose of the meeting is to help the city and county find ways to build additional affordable housing.  All members of the larger CSJ community and any concerned church members can join the sub-committees to help the project be successful. The sub-committee sign up sheet is attached to this message. If you are interested or would like more information please contact Joe Rappl at or (919) 567-2467.
Peace, Joe Rappl
CSJ Housing Team report

Update from CSJ Criminal Justice Task Group from John Shuford
I just received the status report on criminal justice bills in the legislature.
CSJ Criminal Justice Task Group report  on NC legislation
CSJ Criminal Justice Committee April minutes

Friday, May 12, 2017

CUCC Library Book Sale

    Saturday, May 13, 2017
 Vaughan Fellowship Hall - 9:00am - 3:00pm

Funds raised will go to the improvement of the Church Library.

Come out and find some hidden treasures.

The CUCC Library is open to everyone and we encourage all to use it. Consider it another resource for your personal enrichment. – Submitted by Peg Hulslander

Forum and Worship Plans for Sunday, May 14

Awakening to Oneness 

9:30-10:15 Forum 
Ellen Beidler and Annaka Sikkink will lead us as we learn and help each other to become more aware, more courageous, more mobilized, and more engaged in countering institutional

10:30 Worship
Let us worship together and praise the Still-Speaking God whose handiwork is seen in the face of every person: Join us for prayer, scripture readings, song, and personal stories as told through the lens of race. 

"Awakening to Oneness" Worship Service this Sunday, May 14, 2017

We invite you to come to our  “Awakening to Oneness” Worship Service this Sunday morning, May 14, 2017, 10:30am.  If you would like more information about "Awakening to Oneness", please check out the following links...

White Privilege: Let's Talk: A Resource for Transformational Dialogue is an adult curriculum from the United Church of Christ that's designed to invite church members to engage in safe, meaningful, substantive, and bold conversations on race. This is a downloadable resource in PDF format that's free of charge.

Busting The Myth Of The American Dream: Meet William Darity (Podcast on The State of Things)

United Shades of America: (This CNN Television Series starring comedian, W. Kamau Bell, was nominated for an Emmy award.)

Race: Are we so different? NC Museum of Natural Sciences Exhibit: 
April 22 – October 22, 2017
Exhibition Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10am-5pm (last entry at 4pm);
Sunday: Noon-5pm (last entry at 4pm)
What does the word “race” mean to you? This exhibition looks at race through the lens of science, history, and personal experiences to promote a better understanding of human variation.

Race Exhibit: Cultural Conversations: A Cultural Conversation is an enlightening exchange of thoughts, opinions, and ideas about race in a safe space. For 90 minutes, small groups of friends, families and strangers can participate in a dialogue facilitated by local experts. Cultural Conversations will occur on Saturdays at noon and 2:00pm and Sundays at 2:00pm during the run of the "RACE" exhibition. These conversations are free and open to the public. Space is limited, and registration is required.

Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine
New Your Times Bestseller by Damon Tweedy M.D., a graduate of Duke University School of Medicine. He is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center and staff physician at the Durham Veteran Affairs Medical Center.

Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North:

The Tracing Center was founded in 2009 to build on our work in producing the Emmy-nominated PBS documentary, Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North. Our mission is to create greater awareness of the full extent of the nation’s complicity in slavery and the transatlantic slave trade and to inspire acknowledgement, dialogue and active response to this history and its many legacies. We do this for the purpose of racial justice, healing, and reconciliation, for the benefit of all.

Suggested Films: I Am Not Your Negro; Hidden Figures; Moonlight