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Showing posts from 2010

MLK "Day On"

Make it an inspiring “Day On" this January 17. Hear untold stories about Dr. Martin Luther King and help us launch three YWCA Study Circles on race in our community.

Join us in the Community UCC sanctuary at 3pm for a special program commemorating Dr. King that will include:

•A community forum moderated by WUNC's host of The State of Things Frank Stasio.
•Panelists including youth activist Sanyu Gichie; civil rights scholar Benita Jones; education activist Olga Matos; race/culture expert Mark Anthony Neal; and Muslim interfaith leader Jihad Shawwa.
•Reception and work groups follow the program.

The event marks the official kick-off of three YWCA Study Circles in our community. Study Circles are multi-racial groups of eight to 10 people who gather for six weeks to learn about present-day racial equity in our nation and the region. Participants share their experiences and learn steps to foster proactive resolutions.

Free childcare provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you…

Have an old washer/dryer to give away?

Our friends Bill and Rosemary Pate are heading to Jonesville, Virginia, on an adult ASP work weekend January 3.  They would love to bring a used but working washer and dryer to a family who just got their plumbing fixed.  Call the CUCC office to get Bill and Rosemary's contact info if you have either to offer.  [I'll be hard to reach over the holidays.]

Greetings from the church in the Congo

Read a letter of Christmas greetings from Rev. Eliki Bonanga, Community President of the ten congregations of the Disciples of Christ Community of Congo (10-CDCC).  The letter is in English and French.  This denomination is active in four provinces of the DRC.  Our donations to Global Ministries support the work of the United Church of Christ in partnership with the 10-CDCC.  If you were to visit the DRC with Global Ministries, 10-CDCC would be your hosts.

Congregational Meeting January 9

The next congregational meeting will be held after church on January 9. Items on the agenda will include approval of minutes of November 2010 congregational meeting, a report on the results of the stewardship drive, final approval of the budget for 2011, and election of candidates for church officers and ministries. Annual Reports for 2010 from the various Ministries will be presented. These reports should be sent electronically to the Church office by December 15. Each Ministry chair or other representative will be asked to speak briefly and to answer questions about key points in their ministry report.
Also on the agenda will be approval of the proposed “Resolution on Being an Open and Affirming Congregation 2011,” as discussed at the November 21 Congregational meeting. The new resolution broadens and replaces the ONA resolution first passed in 1989.
Another item on the agenda will be proposals for the organization of the Adult Forum in 2011.
We will be approving the minutes of the N…

Advent Centering Prayer

At the first session, Steve led fifteen of us through an hour of tastes of types of centering prayer. Main techniques: breathing, prayer beads, repeated words, singing. Steve did a great job of explaining, and of helping us know what to expect.  I appreciated his encouragement to find my own style and to not feel constrained to do things the "right" way.  My favorite technique tonight:  praying through the words "watch" and "wait."  Another treat:  Steve's Advent-focused words to Silent Night.
QUESTION:  What did others who attended enjoy/learn?
Next week (Dec. 14th, 7pm): light and focal objects on an altar.

Stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

Thanks to the Children's Church School, God's love will go to people in our community.  The children have been collecting gifts for Salvation Army as their fall church school offering and service project.  They stuffed the stockings at this year's Family Advent Workshop.  Here is the report from Miss Anne Bailey.
"After much discussion and voting the children decided to support an organization at home rather than another overseas group. The Salvation Army is familiar to most of them because of the sports programs. They pledged to fill 25 stockings [and met their goal], donated items to Meals on Wheels [the Retirees project], will donate to Toys for Tots, and donate more items to the Salvation Army."

Welcome, Dave, Gale and Lee!

With joy we welcomed new members Dave and Gale Cass and Lee Frazier.  See more pictures from the celebration.

Meals on Wheels gifts due Dec. 13 by 10:30am

The Retirees will wrap our annual gifts to Meals on Wheels recipients on Dec. 13 at 10:30.  Drop off your gift at the church this Sunday in the narthex or at the office this week.  Feel like wrapping?  You are always welcome as an honorary retiree!

All gifts are requested to be new. Any monetary contribution will be used by the Retirees to purchase gift cards, which are really appreciated. 
Wish List
Gas and Gift cards
Holiday candy, cookies, and snacks
Gloves and hats
Holiday soaps, towels, etc
Fleece throws
Postage stamps
Holiday gifts sets of any kind
Holiday baskets (small)

Thankful sculptures

This is the colored sand the children made in Sunday School. We used it last week to make "Thankful" sculptures in glass jars. Each layer of sand represented something the children said they were thankful for. We didn't get any pictures of the finished projects. The children were so excited that they couldn't wait to show their families. Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful.

Posted for "Miss Anne Bailey" Zschau

Decisions from Nov. 21 congregational meeting

By acclamation, the congregation supports the renovation of the RICH Park Housing apartments and thanks Frank Gailor.The congregation is directed to prayerfully consider the proposed Resolution on Being an Open and Affirming Congregation 2011 and to ask questions of any member of the ONA Task Force.  A vote on adopting the resolution will be held at the January 9 congregational meeting.The congregation adoped a Resolution from the Community United Church of Christ addressed to the Wake County Board of Education.  The resolution will be sent to each member of the Wake County School Board, to local press, and posted prominently on our website.In addition, proposals for the 2011 budget and nominations for officers and ministry members were presented.  The congregation is urged to submit their pledges and to contact a member of the Nominating Committee to offer their service.

Learning about sickle cell trait from the Milandus

Look at an interview of the Milandu family discussing the need to be educated about sickle cell trait.  Our friend, Andre Milandu, died this past summer as a result of exercising strenuously on a hot day; Andre had undiagnosed sickle cell trait and didn't know he needed to take precautions.  Thank you, Ferline, Isaac, and Ellen, for helping all of us learn more.

Martin Luther King Holiday "Day On"

HOLD THE DATE! Martin Luther King Holiday, January 17, 2011

You are invited to participate in an exciting upcoming event to be held at CUCC!

CUCC is one of two co-sponsoring organizations for a special event on the Martin Luther King Holiday on January 17, 2011. The event, entitled, “YWCA King Day-On” will be led by the YWCA of the Greater Triangle and is also co-sponsored by the North Carolina Social Justice Project (NCSJP).

The event will commemorate Dr. King’s life by highlighting lesser-known aspects of his political and theological philosophies and will also mark the kick-off of three YWCA Study Circles in the community. Study Circles are multi-racial groups of eight to 10 people who gather weekly for six weeks to learn about present-day racial disparities in our nation and the region. The event will begin with a program at 3:00 pm followed by a reception, and from 4:00 to 6:00pm, the first session for the three Study Circles will be held in rooms at the church.

More informatio…

Sign up now for Winter Lectionary Study 2011

We begin our 2011 online lectionary study at Epiphany, January 6, and will continue until Ash Wednesday, March 9.

Things to do to get ready:
1) Decide whether you want to just read what others write or to have the option to contribute to the conversation. If the latter, you need to ask Jane to give you "permission" to write - an easy process. Not sure if you signed up last year? Contact Jane.
2) Decide whether you want to go to the UCC website each week to read the lectionary reflection, or you would prefer to have an email sent to you automatically each week. If the latter, sign up.
3) Practice. Whatever level of participation you choose, practice. Make sure you know how to find the lectionary reading (or are succesfully receiving it by email). Type a message for the group to be sure you know how to "post." If you run into any trouble, call Jane. Abby will be home mid-December, so I'll have more time to help you in late November, early December.

Babies You Love Born in 2010

Every Epiphany Sunday CUCC celebrates "our" babies born the previous year. While CUCC welcomed no one in the one-and-under-set, we know that many of you became grandparents, aunts/uncles, etc. So, this year we are expanding the circle of welcome. If a "baby you love" was born in 2010, tell Jane Smith BY JANUARY 3. Provide the baby's name and relationship to you, the parents' names, the birthdate, and send a photo if you have one. On Epiphany Sunday (January 9), we'll celebrate with a Babies of 2010 display. Bring a finger food to share - we'll snack during the congregational meeting.

Celebrating our history without wearing labels

Everyone at CUCC is duly proud of the rich activist tradition within CUCC and the predecessor United Church of Raleigh. Those who attended the Novemberfest celebration Saturday evening reveled in stories and memories from a tiny bit of that past which includes the renowned Institute of Religion that ran from 1940 to the late 1950s. And we have a growing archive of memorabilia from that era at the historical archive on our website. (Just yesterday Mary Pruneau passed along to me a substantial stack of old yellow newspapers that contain articles about Institute of Religion events in the 1950s.)
In light of that history, some of us refer to CUCC as a "liberal church." Occasionally I have found myself correcting such a statement by saying, "Wouldn't it be better to characterize us as a church with lots of liberal members?" Am I splitting hairs here? I don't think so. There are lots of folks, myself included, who are not as enamored with the "liberal" t…

Novemberfest! raises $600

Thanks to the lasagne and pasta chefs, to the biscotti bakers, to the setup crew, the wine stewards, and the dish washers.  Thanks to the artists, the fiddler, the filming crew, the actors, the dancers, the singers, the magic technician, the interpreter, the guitarist, the pianist and flutist, the violinist, the game show MC, the director, and the roadies. Novemberfest! photos

See you next year!

Recycle unusual stuff, political signs

Tomorrow, Nov. 13, 10-2 pm, Shops of Seaboard, 802 Semart Drive, America Recycles Day event
Recycling:  Answering machines, camcorders, cameras and other electronics;  Rigid plastic items that have the #2 (HDPE) recycling symbol, plastic bags with recycling symbol #2 or #4, plastic film, and ink jet and toner cartridges.  Household hazardous waste at the . These include acids, automotive fluids and antifreeze, batteries, fuels, paints, polishes and pesticides.
Donating:  Got household items that are in good condition but you don’t want to throw them away? Organizers will be accepting furniture, cookware, utensils, drinking glasses, linen, small appliances, bookcases, small televisions, and floor lamps, to name a few. The Green Chair Project, a non-profit group, will oversee distribution of the items to needy residents in the area.
Through Nov. 30
Paperboard political signs:  Raleigh Recycling has placed a large recycling container out at the City’s Mini-City Drop Off Recycling Center loca…

CUCC receives Wake County ACLU Civil Liberties Award

On November 4, our congregation was honored to receive the 2010 Wake County ACLU Civil Liberties Award for our history of and continued work toward civil liberties for all.  We thank the Wake ACLU and hope we will live up to your charge to us.  Our acceptance speech was given by Gary Smith, who described how our work for justice is grounded in scripture.  You can see the award in the Fellowship Hall. 
Those of us able to attend were humbled by the company we join.  Recipients of the other award given last night, the W.W. Finlator Award, were Stephen Dear, Executive Director of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty, and Mark Kleinschmidt, Executive Director of the Fair Trial Initiative and current mayor of Chapel Hill. Their moving speehes on the legacy of Rev. Finlator and on their work for civil liberties in the N.C. legal system were strong encouragement to keep on with the work of justice.  Katherine L. Parker, Legal Director of the ACLU N.C. Legal Foundation, spoke of the NC A…

Cy's Flight of Honor

On November 4, Cy King joined other veterans of World War II on a Flight of Honor to visit the memorial in Washington, DC.  They returned to a heros' welcome of family and friends at RDU airport.  You can see photos and a video of the return celebration; be sure to check photo #47.   [I noticed duplications among the photos; if #47 doesn't make you smile, they might have eliminated the duplicates, thereby changing the ordering.]

Getting creative with Genesis stories

Drop by the long classroom to see the creation bulletin board or visit the children's garden and enjoy the pansies.  Our children - preschool through fourth grade -  have been exploring the early Genesis stories: creation, the building of the tower in Babel, and the adventures of Noah-the-arkbuilder.  The youth joined them in planting the pansies.

Adults Only ASP Weekends this winter and spring

Spaces are still open.  Spend a long weekend working alongside other adults as you do repairs on homes. Appalachia Service Project has adults-only weekends throughout the winter. People with all skill levels and abilities are welcome to participate. Scholarships are available to anyone who needs them. Our friends, Bill and Rosemary Pate, will lead these trips. The Jonesville center has nice indoor bathrooms and beds with mattresses, so you won't be roughing it. Here are the dates for 2010-11.

November 14-20, 2010 Jonesville, VA cost $300
January 20-23, 2011 Jonesville, VA cost $145
April 14-17, 2011 Jonesville, VA cost $145
If you are interested, contact Jane Smith and I'll give you Bill and Rosemary's phone number.

Newcomers' Supper, November 19

Do you have questions about how your spiritual journey might connect with that of the faith community at CUCC?  Have you wondered what we believe and how that informs what we do? Enjoy a delicious supper for newcomers to CUCC Friday evening, November 19. 
Hors d'oeuvres at 6pm, dinner at 6:30. 
RSVP to the church office. Let us know if you have any dietary restrictions or need childcare.
We look forward to getting to know you.

Thanksgiving Day dinner together?

Would you like to join others for Thanksgiving Day dinner?  Call the church office to leave your name.  A week before Thanksgiving, Carol will send an email to all those who called so you know who is interested.  Then talk among yourselves to decide what you'd like to do.  An easy idea would be to go to a restaurant together - no dishes for anyone - then go to a movie.  Of course, you might prefer to offer your home for a potluck, or you could potluck at CUCC (if so, be sure to ask Carol to reserve your space on the calendar).

Out of curiosity, I contacted K&W cafeteria in Cameron Village to make sure they are open.  Here is their response:
"Good news, we are opened on Thanksgiving Day! We will be serving our Thanksgiving Day Special which includes Roast Turkey with cranberry sauce, two vegetables, bread, dessert and iced tea or coffee for only $6.49. Of course we will be serving other selections as well.  We generally anticipate a large crowd on Thanksgiving Day, but work …

The Parable of the Pumpkin

Today "Miss Anne Bailey" Zschau led us through a parable that likened creating a jack-o-lantern to God's way with us.  Maybe next year we'll have a pumpkin carving worship service?  Until then, you might enjoy reading the Facebook message sent to her by a friend which inspired her Children's Time.
We are like pumpkins!!! Being a good person is like being a pumpkin.  God lifts you up, takes you in, and washes all the dirt off of you.  He opens you up, touches you deep inside and scoops out all of the yucky stuff -- including the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc.  Then He carves you a bright new smiling face and puts His light inside of you for all the world to see.


Call the office to reserve your spot for dinner at Novemberfest!
November 13, 6pm for homemade lasagne (meat and vegetarian versions) or mac & cheese
Child care available - tell the office.
Dinner is followed by our second annual talent show.  Contact Santi Matthews to offer your talents.

This is a fundraiser for the ministries of Community UCC.  Open your wallets wide and bring that check book so we can continue to
meet basic needs of those in the community, advocate justice to public and private institutions, share God's welcome and love with one another and with folks often shunned by society,care for our staff who help us grow, worship, and work, and care for the bit of creation which God has entrusted to us.

Radio Communications Ministry in Congo

A group of Christian Church (Disciples) radio operators are in Mbandaka right now teaching 50 Congolese folks how to operate radio communication systems which will be used by their congregations throughout the DRC.  You can read posts about their experiences and about the radio ministry.  The trip is being led by David Owen, Global Ministries Associate for Resource Development.  Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is a sister denomination to the United Church of Christ; together we fund Global Ministries.  Our donations to One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS - annual special collection in spring) and Our Churches Wider Mission (OCWM- in budget) help fund Global Ministires.  Remember that you can make a donation to Global Ministries in honor of a loved one as a Christmas gift this year.

Good pathology report for Mike Callaham

This morning Mike went in to Cary Urology to have his surgical staples removed, and he also received the pathology report from the surgeon. According to the doctor, the pathology report is "as good as it could be." And the pathology report plus the observations during surgery confirm that the procedure chosen was the correct approach. Based on this good news, no followup chemotherapy or radiation will be considered at present. Rather the procedure will be to monitor Mike's PSA readings on a regular basis. In summary, although there are never any guarantees in such cases, Mike's long term prognosis at this point looks good.
Mike and Nancy are tremendously grateful for all the support they're received. They were proud to show off this morning the large number of cards that fill the mantelpiece over the fireplace.

"As It Is in Heaven" to be shown for Oct. 29 Movie Night

After a 3-month hiatus, the CUCC foreign film series resumes on October 29 with a wonderful Swedish film, "As It Is in Heaven." This film raises interesting questions about the nature of "church". And it's both funny and poignant. Here's the Netflix spin on the film ...
This Oscar-nominated Swedish drama tells the story of Daniel Dareus (Michael Nyqvist), a small-town boy who escaped his tiny village to become a famous conductor. A tragic mishap sends him back home in search of a fresh start, and he ends up leading the local choir. Frida Hallgren, Helen Sjoholm and Lennart Jahkel co-star in writer-director Kay Pollak's heartwarming tale.

The film will be shown at 7:30 PM in the Fellowship Hall. Popcorn will be provided. The length of the film is 132 minutes, so the film will end about 10 PM (with a short intermission in the middle).

Coming Out as GLBT Allies

On Sunday, October 10 part of the church service was dedicated to our congregation’s public declaration as an ally to GLBT persons. Particular emphasis and urgency was given due to the deaths of several teenage boys who committed suicide in September after being harassed for their assumed sexual orientation. At the end of the service, the congregation was invited to come forward to get a rainbow ribbon and was urged to wear the ribbons during the week, as they went about their daily business, to show support. We are starting to get some reports back from people who have done this.

Joan reported that she ate dinner out with a visiting friend, and was approached by their waitress who was interested to know about the ribbon and the “God is Still Speaking” comma. When Joan explained the meaning and told her of our church’s stance, she was delighted and plans to visit in the near future. She had been looking for a church that wasn’t too big and was GLBT affirming. While neither she nor her …

CUCC Youth Group walks to support mental health research

The youth group led the way as we joined the 3000+ people walking to raise $500,000 for mental health research in the Walk for Hope.  The youth encouraged the adults so that we all completed the six mile walk through Umstead Park.  Many thanks to the members of CUCC who generously donated to support Team Community UCC.  (Note the rainbow ribbons; like folks back at CUCC worship, we "came out" as LGBT Allies.)

Mike Callaham goes home today

This morning Mike says that he will be going home from Western Wake Hospital late this afternoon (Friday). Nancy has been able to spend several hours with Mike at the hospital on Wednesday (the day of surgery) and Thursday. Since the two of them will be together at home this evening, Nancy will forego a trip to the hospital today.
Mike looks good and is getting around a good bit already. He took no pain medications yesterday, but will certainly have a prescription available to use if needed. He says they have a good bit of food already prepared to see them through the next few days. But I'm sure they would be glad to hear offers of support from friends since Mike's recovery period will last for at least a couple of weeks.

Mike Callaham

Mike Callaham's surgery was completed this morning, and the surgeon spoke with Nancy about 10:30 AM. According to the surgeon, everything went as expected and there were no complications of any sort. Nancy should be able to visit with Mike around noon in the recovery room. Mike will likely remain in the hospital (Western Wake Hospital in Cary) at least through Friday.
NOTE ADDED AT 1:30 PM Nancy and I were able to visit with Mike about 12:30 PM, by which time he was in his own room. He's in Room 358 at Western Wake Hospital in Cary. He was in good spirits but naturally was still somewhat groggy from the anesthetic and the pain medications. Nancy has held up well during the day but will probably be leaving the hospital mid afternoon to get some rest. Mike says that he's okay with visitors coming by to see him.

To LGBT youth: It Gets Better

No matter what life is throwing at you today, it gets better.  Don't take my word for it.  Listen to the voices of people who have faced what you face.
If you live in the Triangle, visit our congregation.  Let us show you what it feels like to be surrounded by people who want to know you - the real you, just as God made you.  On Oct. 10, many of us are "coming out" as straight allies.  We want you to know that we've got your back.
It gets better!

Making homes warmer, safer, dryer

Adults - would you enjoy spending a long weekend working alongside other adults as you do repairs on homes?  Appalachia Service Project has adults-only weekends throughout the winter.  People with all skill levels and abilities are welcome to participate. Scholarships are available to anyone who needs them.  Our friends, Bill and Rosemary Pate, will lead these trips. The Jonesville center has nice indoor bathrooms and beds with mattresses, so you won't be roughing it.   Here are the dates for 2010-11.
November 14-20, 2010 Jonesville, VA cost $300

January 20-23, 2011 Jonesville, VA cost $145

April 14-17, 2011 Jonesville, VA cost $145

If you are interested, contact Jane Smith and I'll give you Bill and Rosemary's phone number.

Vandy Bradow's surgery report

Vandy Bradow went into surgery at Rex Hospital this morning at 9 AM, and the surgery lasted about 3 hours (as predicted). The surgeon reported to Amanda around 12:15 that the surgery went as expected, and that Vandy was doing well. The preliminary report on the two lymph glands that were enlarged is that the pathology work done during the surgery did not indicate cancer in those two lymph nodes. (Of course, additional pathology reports will come later.) The surgeon told Amanda that she be able to see Vandy shortly after 1 PM. Amanda plans to spend the rest of today as well as tonight with Vandy at Rex Hospital. In our conversations during the surgery, Amanda told me that Vandy might well go home from Rex on Friday. I do not remember whether the surgeon commented on that following the surgery. But in any case, things look good at this point.

Do you know what a news reader is?

People sometimes ask, "Is there a way I can be notified if something new has been added to the CUCC News and Chat blog?" There's actually a good tool for notification when something new has been added to ANY of your favorite news sources. The tool is called a news reader. An example is Google Reader, which is accessible via your web browser. Here's an illustration of how I use Google Reader to keep me up-to-date on new activity at all my favorite news sources. It also shows how to add the CUCC News and Chat blog to the list of news sources you're following.

Creative questioning

Insights and experiences which startle us.  Questions which our assumptions and habits don't answer.  What is the cutting edge of your spirit, the unsettled place where you are growing? In sharing our questions, we support and inspire one another.  Invite others to join you in your exploration by creating an "A meditation" pew card.  The meditations are created by the people (all ages) of CUCC and rotated in the pews periodically.  We hope that you will use them as you wait for worship to begin, during communion, or at home. 

Generally, the cards follow the pattern:  "I saw/read/experienced this, and now I wonder 'What is Spirit telling me?'"  For instance, Joan remembered a quotation about call which helped her as she was discerning which of the many competing needs in the world she should address as a new retiree; "How do I decide what I am to do?"

Jane will format the card for you so you don't have to worry about typing or colu…

A new play, and a recommendation from an old friend

Today's e-mail brings a note from Sallye Hardy. Sallye was active in CUCC for several years in the early to mid 1990s, and was ordained at CUCC in 1994.
Lavon, greetings and great memories of you and yours and my life within and through CUCC.
Wanted to send the information about a musical happening at Swain Hall in Chapel Hill.. it's NOTHING PINK ... based on a novel written by my brother (who teaches there in Raleigh) .. its something that members there really might benefit from seeing... When I was ordained there in 1994, Mark was present -
Contact info for the play is:
RESERVATIONS for SEPT 16-19: Call UNC Memorial Box Office [919.843.3333 open Mon-Fri 10am-6pm] They will not begin taking reservations UNTIL Wed Sept 8. Ticket prices are set at $10 for Adults, $5 for Students with ID.
The following brief description of the play is found at a website of Communications Studies events at UNC.
A boy turns to music when true love, faith, and family collide. A Play with Music based …

More on "big tent" Christianity

I applaud Jane's effort to promote the upcoming "big tent" event in Raleigh. I hope it gains traction at CUCC. (I'll miss the event because I'll be in Massachusetts officiating the wedding of Jo's niece.)
The event's organizers speak of "big tent" Christianity as finding areas of agreement among the multitude of issues which sometimes divide Christians. But there's another way to think of "big tent" Christianity that is worth noting as well.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, we find an unambiguous message that we should all engage in rescuing the broken and beaten man lying by the side of the road. And that was something the Good Samaritan attended to himself. A fair amount of detail is provided as to exactly what he did, but there's no suggestion in the parable that the details in themselves are what's important. For example, the Good Samaritan is described as "pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own be…

Newcomers' Supper, September 24, Friday

You are invited to the Newcomers’ Supper on Friday, September 24, 2010.  Appetizers at 6:00 PM; Dinner served at 6:30 PM Unwind after a busy week, ask questions about Community United Church of Christ, and enjoy meeting new people!  Please bring an appetite and curiosity. RSVP to CUCC office by September 20:  787-6422 or Please tell us if you need childcare (ages) and if you have any dietary restrictions.

Attending "Big Tent Christianity: being and becoming the church" - join me?

I'm looking forward to meeting the folks attending the Big Tent Christianity conference in Raleigh, Sept. 8-9.  If you'd like to carpool, let me know.  Trying to decide?  Read the synchroblog - entries written by folks who plan to participate.  Very intriguing, inspiring people.  The speakers should be impressive, too.
Here is what the organizers say about the conference:
Why “Big Tent Christianity”?

Numerous battles in the past produced the large number of denominations and separate churches within American Christianity today. Some of these battles were important. But many of the old battlelines no longer speak to Christians today, especially to the youth. Indeed, our divisions are driving some folks away from the church altogether.
In the old days revival tents were set up outside towns and cities across the South. The people of God would join together for celebration, community, and revival. The revival tent was a sign of Christian unity and Christian renewal — the ongoing and …

Services for Jospin Milandu

Andre Jospin Masakidi Milandu, 20, died suddenly August 19, 2010, at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University, Greensboro, North Carolina, where he was a sophomore. He was born May 11,1990, in Lukala, Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was the elder son of Fernand and Lina Milandu, of Knightdale, North Carolina. Surviving also are sisters Ferline and Ellen, brother Isaac, and niece Destinee.
Mr. Milandu was a 2009 graduate of Knightdale High School, where he was captain of the track team. He was a member of Good New Message Church and of Community United Church of Christ, both in Raleigh.
Viewing will be 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. August 27, 2010, at Community United Church of Christ, 801 Dixie Trail, Raleigh. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. August 28, at Forest Hills Baptist Church, 201 Dixie Trail, Raleigh, followed by interment at Mt. Hope Cemetery, Raleigh. The family will receive friends afterward at Forest Hills.

Betsy Towler leaves hospital

Betsy Towler is being discharged from Rex Hospital today on her 19th day at Rex following surgery for a ruptured appendix. Betsy is in good spirits and expects to make a full recovery. Thanks to all for prayers and cards during Betsy's long hospitalization.

CUCC grieves the death of Jospin Milandu

On Thursday of this week, Jospin Milandu, son of Fernand and Lina Milandu, collapsed and died on the athletic field at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro. We all grieve with Jospin's family and the Congolese community within our church.
New & Observer article on service at NC A&T
WRAL coverage
According to the latest information from the CUCC church office, a service is likely to be held at CUCC late in the afternoon on Saturday, August 28. Details will be posted on this blog once a final decision is made.

News Readers and Google Reader

Some CUCC folks have asked about ways to be notified when something new is posted on this blog. A news reader is a handy tool for being notified whenever anything is added to your preferred blogs, photo galleries, news sources, etc. And one of the most widely used news readers is Google Reader which works right inside your web browser. If you have a Google account, you can visit to configure and use your news reader. Here's a little sample of how I use it.
The snapshot below shows what I see when I visit Google Reader. It shows a list of news sources I've selected (including, for example, the NY Times Technology blog), a list of photo archives (which includes, for example, Suzette's Picasaweb gallery), and one audio source (WUNC's podcast series "State of Things"). With a quick glance at Google Reader I can see how many unviewed items there are at each news source. Notice that I've deliberately left the CUCC News and Chat blog off my subs…

"Dear Frankie" Scheduled for Movie Night on Aug. 20

The British film “Dear Frankie” (2004) will be the next selection in the foreign film series, scheduled for 7:30 PM on Friday, August 20 in the fellowship hall. This is a delightful and light-hearted comedy that will entertain you and leave you feeling good - A great film for popcorn, fun, and fellowship. Here's the Netflix spin on this film ...
Faced with the prospect of raising her son, Frankie (Jack McElhone), with a good-for-nothing man, the resourceful Lizzie (Emily Mortimer) spirits him away to Scotland with good intentions and pretends the boy's father is aboard the HMS Accra. But after years of Lizzie's skillful lying, the jig is up when Frankie learns the ship is docked right by their home. Now, the only way to protect Frankie's heart is to find a man willing to pose as his dad.

Michael Evans sermon on July 18

Michael Evans is in the midst of a job search for a pastoral position in the UCC. Many churches who contact prospective pastors request the candidate to send a video of a sermon. Michael asked me to make a video of the sermon he presented at CUCC on July 18, 2010. For distribution to churches who have contacted him, Michael is using DVD copies of the sermon. But there's also an online version of the July 18 sermon that Michael Evans delivered at CUCC.

God's Green Earth tonight!

See you at 6ish for make-your-own pizzas and a fun evening of events.  Our plans are being modified to adjust to the heat wave, so don't let the heat keep you away.

How accessible is your vacation destination?

"Access North Carolina: A Guide to Travel Site Accessibility" describes locations throughout North Carolina. Each site has a brief description and is scored for accessibilty in parking, entrance, indoors, outdoors and restrooms. Whether you are travelling with someone in a wheelchair or simply have creaky knees, this book can help you prepare for your next vacation. A copy is in our church library, but you can find the material online.

Appalachia Service Project team leaves today

Please pray for us as we work in Carter County, TN.  Among our possible jobs:  applying a tin roof, building wheelchair ramps, installing underpinning under trailer homes, wall boarding, fixing bathroom plumbing.  We join a team from Texas to share this work.  Some of the challenges:  cold showers from a hose, possible rain every day, temperatures in the upper 80's without shade.  Among the joys:  meeting our families, getting to know one another and the ASP site management team college students, blue grass music and lake swimming.  Please pray that in our work God's love is manifest.  See you next week!  Abby, Jackson, Carson, Ron, Paul, Jane

Wedding photos for John and Adrienne

John asked me to take pictures at the wedding on July 10. Here's a link to the photos.

John and Adrienne's wedding photos

Why were we inspired at the celebration of the Congo's 50th Anniversary?

On June 30, the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo celebrated the 50th anniversary of their liberation from Belgium. The Congolese Community of North Carolina/Raleigh sponsored a day-long celebration to honor the anniversary and to help us imagine a better future for the people of the DRC. Our friends from the All Things Congo Task Force, Miki and Jolie Kidibu, were instrumental in organizing the conference.
Neither a political rally nor a religious event, this gathering celebrated the culture of the Congo with joyful music and art. We heard a socio-politico-economic presentation from Dr. Georges Nzongola Ntalanja about the current state of things in the Congo (remember his excellent presentation at our All Things Congo event?). Then a panel of experts fielded  a wide range of questions.  They offered concrete advice on how we might make a difference.  We also made some terrific connections for future work together (including meeting Ms.Mbelu Walton of the microloan project acc…

Drought, tomatoes and potlucks...

For the God's Green Earth potluck I had hoped to bring some of the tomatoes which are finally appearing on my vines; yesterday lunch I feasted on my first orange tomato - perfect skin, sweet taste without that hint of bitterness that comes with tomato.  Imagine my dismay when I noticed my plants are struggling with yellowing leaves and a general droopiness.  So off to the rain barrel for me.
How is your garden surviving the heat and dryness?  Will you have something you can bring to our Sunday noon potluck for God's Green Earth, July 25?  Any food is welcome, but consider bringing a dish with locally-grown ingredients.

Congratulations to our seed-spitting champs!

Excellent form battled with aerodynamically-challenging seed shape to give us our 2010 P2e champions.  Congratulations to: Jeanne (22'), Jackson (18'), Erin (22.5'), and Paul (25.5').  To see more photos

Meals on Wheels

Thanks to WNCN-TV 17 for this coverage of John Little and Adrienne Talbot providing service via Meals on Wheels. Broadcast July 6, 2010.

fall study, anyone?

I just finished reading Brian McLaren's "A New Kind of Christianity:  Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith" and would be excited to discuss the book with others.  McLaren began a house church which became a megachurch, but he'll help you shed prejudices about what that means.   "A New Kind of Christianity" challenged me, delighted me, and renewed my spirit.  Among the things I respect about the book:
McLaren takes seriously reading the Bible and his study doesn't shy away from hard questions.  (You got a taste of his type of study in Maggie's sermon last week.)  His are some of the most beautiful, careful expositions of scripture I have read - made me want to pick up my Bible are read more!McLaren poses that the church exists "to form Christlike people, people of Christlike love."  I began to wonder how that does and doesn't mesh with how we at CUCC see ourselves.McLaren has a gift for using metaphors to explain very complicate…

Share from your garden?

Are you growing any fruits or vegetables from your garden that you would be willing to contribute for our pizzas and wraps during God's Green Earth, July 23 to 25?

"On Fathering" - a sermon by Maggie Leidheiser-Stoddard

Last Sunday Maggie preached about the way God fathers us.  The sermon explored the ramifications of God's fathering for how we make complicated decisions, using the universal church's conflict over welcoming LGBT people as an example.  Her sermon explores some of the few Bible passages regarding same-sex sexuality and might be helpful if you have been looking for a serious and respectful engagement with scripture.   If you missed hearing Maggie, here is your opportunity to read the sermon.

From the final paragraph of the sermon:
"But God doesn't tell us what to do. God doesn't make it simple for us. God has given us the freedom to make our own choices, and God has given us a set of tools to guide us in making those choices – our intellect, our morals and values, our collective history, our life experiences, our Bible, our personal relationship with God, and of course, our Savior. If we make every effort to use not just one or two of these gifts, but all of them, and…

Exciting new ... door signs?

What is exciting about putting up new restroom signs converting our fellowship hall men's and women's bathrooms into "anyone" bathrooms?
At our June 6 panel on understanding the challenges faced by transgendered people, we learned that restrooms are a major challenge.  Does a transperson use a men's or women's room?  Does it depend on where the person is on the transition journey?   Is it safe?  How will people respond?
By acclamation, the CUCC folks present requested that our property ministry change these two one-person bathrooms from gender-specific to gender-welcoming.  And thanks to Lena, our new signs are already in place.

Paper? Plastic? Neither?

Did you see the graphic in today's science section in the N&O quantifying the resources used to make & dispose of single-use bags?
1000 paper bags:  33.9 kg municipal waste, 3800 liters water, 649 millijoules electricity, 922 millijoules fossil fuel
1000 recyclable plastic bags:  4.7 kg municipal waste, 151 liters water, 148 millijoules electricity, 457 millijoules fossil fuel
You can decorate your own canvas bag at God's Green Earth on July 24. The hard part for me is remembering to use the bags.  What helps you remember?  Do you think you would remember more often if we had some sort of a habit-forming contest at CUCC - something silly and fun?  Maybe take a pledge to use the bags a certain number of times during the summer, then award prizes at Welcome Back Sunday?  Or put up a gold star on the JCC bulletin board each week for canvas bags used?  I'm looking forward to your comments.  If you don't blog, email or call me.

A changing of the guard

At CUCC, we've made significant strides in recent years with regard to bringing our communications into the digital world. However, a note in today's news signals the speed with which that world is changing. The New York Times reports that yesterday Apple officially passed Microsoft to become the world's most valuable technology company.
SAN FRANCISCO — Wall Street has called the end of an era and the beginning of the next one: The most important technology product no longer sits on your desk but rather fits in your hand.
The moment came Wednesday when Apple, the maker of iPods, iPhones and iPads, shot past Microsoft, the computer software giant, to become the world’s most valuable technology company.

Budget Hearing

(posted at the request of Jim Smith)
House Public Budget Hearing: Monday May 24th
Tell your Representatives to Take a Balanced Approach Dear Together NC Partners,
The House is holding a budget hearing tonight at 7 PM, providing you a chance to ask legislators to take a balanced approach to closing the budget gap. This is also an opportunity to thank them for listening to your concerns last year and raising revenue to offset deep cuts to critical services. Remind your representatives that revenues should be on the table to offset damaging cuts to services.
We feel that by coming together last year, your organization and the other members of Together NC were better able to convince legislators to take a balanced approach. Please mention your membership in Together NC when making your remarks at the public hearing tonight. Remind legislators that those supporting a balanced approach still stand together.
In preparing for tonight, consider what is at stake. The House Appropriation Chairs hav…

Wedding Invitation

Greetings to All Members of Community United Church of Christ,
As we indicated in church a couple of weeks ago, we -- Adrienne Talbot and John Little -- are going to reaffirm the covenant/commitment ceremony we shared in Guam in February and become officially married on July 10. The people of CUCC have played such important parts in our lives for the past three decades that we want all members and friends who are able to attend. The ceremony will take place at 2:00 pm with a reception in the Vaughn Fellowship Hall immediately following. We plan to provide light refreshments and wine at the reception, but will need to have an idea of how many will be there. So, we shall deeply appreciate your contacting us by phone at 919-781-0829 or email at [John's e-mail address shown in the church directory is out-of-date] to let us know if you plan to come. Dress will be casual—no tuxedos or fancy dresses for the wedding party and anything that passes the test of de…

Erin Moorman featured in News & Observer

Erin Moorman, daughter of Anne Moorman-Smith, is featured in today's issue of the Raleigh News & Observer. There's a great photo of Erin appearing at the farmers' market as part of the North Carolina Opera. Please see the N&O article for the full story and to see the GREAT photo! (I'd love to display the photo here but that would be illegal since the N&O owns it.)

Japanese Film "Departures" - June 4 (Foreign Film Series)

The June choice for the foreign film series is the Japanese film "Departures" which won the Best Foreign Film Oscar in 2009. Here's the Netflix summary of this movie:
Freshly unemployed, young cellist Daigo (Masahiro Motoki) has an epiphany in which he realizes he's been heading down the wrong career path. Retreating to his hometown, he trains for a new professional role as a nakanshi, or one who prepares the dead for burial. Tsutomu Yamazaki provides comic relief as Daigo's eccentric mentor in director Yojiro Takita's Oscar-winning, richly detailed -- if unlikely -- drama about finding your bliss.
From the paragraph above you will surmise that this is not your ordinary film. It's wonderful. And you'll come away from watching feeling like your time has been well spent.
Films in this series are shown at 7:30 PM in the Fellowship Hall.

Article on orphanage we helped support

On Sunday, February 14, the youth hosted a Shrove Sunday pancake breakfast after worship and there was a love offering being collected for an orphanage in Haiti that was being supported in part by Santi's Western Boulevard. Presbyterian church. The orphanage is featured in today's N&O. See how our "love offerings" help.
Link to N&O article

CUCC T-shirts still available

If you have not yet bought your CUCC t-shirt, there is still time.  If you'd like a shirt, contact Santi Matthews. They cost $15 and any proceeds go to the general congregation budget.

Each shirt was hand-tied by a youth and is unique .  The logo was designed by the youth. 
Wear your shirt to represent CUCC on our Durham Bulls expedition and at future marches, lobbying days, Wright Center meals, etc.

Come learn your church

Join the fun as we tour the closets and do a general clean-out of the inside of our church buildings.  All ages welcome!  Morning, May 15, 8:30 to noon

April 29 reservations due for Bulls Game

Made your reservation yet for the CUCC Durham Bulls expedition?
How: Order your tickets by calling the church office BY April 29
How much: $8.00/person, send send your money to the church office or put it in the May 2 offering plate (checks to "CUCC," memo "Bulls").
When: Friday, May 7
Carpool: We'll meet at CUCC in the Wade Avenue parking lot to carpool at 5:45.
Dress code (optional): Wear your new CUCC t-shirt. Haven't bought one yet? Contact Santi Matthews.
Need more info? Call Robert Parrish.

An Evening on Pilgrimage

Does a pilgrim’s heart beat inside you? The difference between being a pilgrim and a tourist is simply in how you approach the journey. If like Abraham, Moses, or Paul you have ever embarked--across an ocean or across town--with a sacred purpose, following a call, or even fully awake and alive to the world around you, you have made a pilgrimage.

As we approach the season of vacation and travel, we ask you to share your story of pilgrimage with your brother and sister pilgrims at CUCC. What stirred you on your way? How did you prepare? What did you find?

The Adult Education Committee invites you to an Evening on Pilgrimage, Friday, May 14th at 7:00 p.m. in the Vaughn Wing. We’ll enjoy a light dessert and time together. Plan to speak or feel free to just listen and be inspired to make your next journey sacred.

If you know you’d like to share, please contact Marty Lamb or Ellen Beidler in advance so that we can arrange to support the telling of your story.

Powerful Tools of Caregiving Classes

Bill Lamb will be conducting a 7 week training program, Powerful Tools of Caregiving, starting on May 16th and continuing through June 27th here at CUCC. Sessions will be weekly, meeting from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. This training program was designed by Legacy Health Systems and is sponsored by AARP-NC and Friends of Residents in Long Term Care. This particular class is being targeted to caregivers providing support to a relative or loved one residing in a long term care facility. Registration is required: Call Bill at 919-819-3338 or email: if you want to register or you have questions. This program is not limited to members of CUCC. If you know of someone who might benefit, please pass this information on. There is no charge to attend but space is limited to 12 participants.

To download a flier for this training go to: Powerful Tools.

Request for prayers

Thank you to all of you who did keep an eye out for Lance Gearing.  Unfortunately, his body was found yesterday.  Please keep the Gearing family and friends in your prayers.


A reminder that we WILL NOT be having Forum this Sunday, April 18.

See you next Sunday, April 25, for a celebration of Earth Day. We'll hear from Mark Ginsberg, Outreach Coordinator for NC Interfaith Power & Light. He will share information about NC Greenpower.

Please help find this man

Lance Gearing is a friend of my brother-in-law's family.  He has been missing for a few days and, because of health issues, they are concerned for him.  Please take a look at this newspaper story and his photo.  The family thinks he might be headed toward the Triangle.  The emergency contact information is in the article.  Thank you.

GLBTQ and Yes, God Loves Them Too!!

A film series at CUCC will explore the experiences of Christian families with gay or lesbian children, of young gay Christians, and of transexual Christians. Come hear the story of faith from other perspectives.  For movie descriptions and more about the series.
April 30, 6:30-9:00 pm     For the Bible Tells Me So
May 7, 6:30-9:00pm     Through My Eyes
May 21, 6:30 - 9:00 pm    Prayers for Bobby
June 6, after worship (about noon)   Call Me Malcolm  This movie will be followed by a panel discussion and opportunities to ask questions about being transgender.

Durham Bulls May 7, Friday

Order your tickets by calling the church office if you'd like to join the CUCC group going to see the Durham Bulls defeat the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees.  We'll meet at CUCC in the Wade Avenue parking lot to carpool at 5:45.  Tickets are $8.00; please send your money to the church office or put it in the May 2 offering plate (checks to "CUCC," memo "Bulls".  We need your reservation by April 29, Thursday.  This is a Friday night fireworks game!
Wear the CUCC t-shirt you buy at the church auction (hint, hint).

May Symposium on the DRC

CONGO SYMPOSIUM sponsored by Global Ministries (the mission arm of the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)) in Indianapolis @ Downtown Sheraton May 21-22, 2010. Confirmed speakers: Professor Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, author of The Congo From Leopold to Kabila and Keith Snow, investigative journalist who has written extensively on the DRC. For more info contact, LaMarco Cable or 317-713-2574

Anybody able to represent us in Indianapolis in May?  Dr. Nzongola-Ntalaja spoke at our All Things Congo event - an amazing speaker.  Keith Snow is the author of the background report on the fighting in Western Congo.

Fighting in Western Congo on Easter day

Global Ministries reports: (April 5, 2010)
"Fighting has erupted in the city of Mbandaka located in the Equator Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It has been reported by our partners on the ground, as well as National Public Radio, that early Sunday morning (April 4, 2010), while many parishioners participated in Easter morning services, that more than 200 armed soldiers in opposition to government authorities entered the city by river and clashed with government and United Nation troops.

It was reported that some of the troops seized control of the Mbandaka airport while others took control of the city of Mbandaka and its communication networks. Earlier portrayed as an ethnic conflict over fishing rights, the invasion of Mbandaka brings to light the suffering of people in the Equator province that has been silenced by the Kabila government over the past seven or eight months.
In a telephone conversation with a partner on the ground, the Africa Executive learned that c…

Irene Doak in fatal auto crash

Irene Doak of Knightdale, age 86, died on Friday, April 2, as a result of an automobile accident that occurred the previous day. Irene has been a long time member and friend of Community UCC. (At Monday Lunch Group today someone commented that Irene has probably spent more time in the CUCC kitchen than most other members have spent in the entire church.)
While we mourn the loss of Irene in this terrible accident, we also recall that Irene had a long and fruitfull life. The memorial service will be on April 24 at 11:00 AM with a reception following in the sanctuary.

CUCC Auction is April 24

(from March Newsletter)
The CUCC Family Fun Auction is coming up on Saturday, April 24, and we need you to help make it a success! The auction is an annual fundraiser for CUCC. Would you consider donating an item to the auction? Examples of past auction items include: Garden plantsWeekends at the beach, lake or mountainsmorning of bird-watching & lunchTherapeutic massageDay trips to destinations like JugtownA geology field trip or a hike at a state parkDelicious homemade cakes, pies, jams etc. Hand-made pottery, quilts, jewelry and original artwork Brunches, lunches, dinnersPet-sitting, Babysitting, Yardwork, Handyman, and Computer services Please contribute your time, talents or treasure to this wonderful annual event. To make a pledge, call the office and let them know the item, the minimum bid, any conditions (date, maximum/minimum number of people, etc.) AND whether you will be attending the auction. Please enter your pledge of an auction item to the church office by April 20. Do…

Easter hope

The Children's Church School gives us a glimpse of the joy that awaits us at the culmination of Holy Week.

Publicizing church events and activities

For the past year or so we've been using an "Upcoming Events" box on the home page of the CUCC website to focus attention on the most important all-church activities slated for the near future. However, there has been an increasing level of discussion as to what sorts of events are appropriate for front page news coverage. In an effort to expand the number and nature of activities that can merit front page mention, I've temporarily replaced the front page "Upcoming Events" box with a list of tweets (i.e. via Twitter) that point to near term church activities. The advantages that this offers are:Since it's a scrolling list, a small amount of turf can display a large amount of information.This opens participation to others. Anyone who wants to tweet info pointing to an upcoming church activity can do so, and I'll flag the tweet so that it appears in the list.This list is moderated (by me), so there won't be junk or spam appearing in the list. And …

AWAKE and with my friends

Today the CUCC youth led us in worship as we reflected on the story of Jesus's night in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Themes from the worship:  Rely on your friends, be AWAKE to friendships & to life, prayer is being AWAKE to God.  With the authors' permissions, here are links to John's message and Erin and Jackson's meditation on the scripture.  I plan to use both for my Lenten meditation this week.
Two questions stuck with me:  Am I AWAKE to what God is doing in my life?  Am I AWAKE to my friends?   Our family has certainly experienced God's love through the prayers, calls, cards, and meals offered by our friends.
For more photos of Youth Sunday. For even more photos!

UCC premiers a new video with our help

The United Church of Christ's StillSpeaking Ministry will launch a new powerful video spot on the Internet on April 16 at 9:00AM. At first the video message will be delivered to tens of thousands by email, through internet ads, and posts to social networks. Then, as the day unfolds, "God is Still Speaking" will sweep the internet like a mighty wave - reaching millions! But only with your help.
9:00 am:  The video is launched.  Watch it, let is sink in.   9:02 am:  We share the link. Send notes on your social networks and through email. Invite family, friends, co-workers, and church members to watch and share the video.  Add your reaction on this blog.  Does this video reflect how you experience God's presence through CUCC?  Is this how you hear God still speaking?