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Showing posts from December, 2014

Gift to Pastor Steve

During worship on Dec. 28, Ellen Beidler acting as Chair of the Deacons presented Pastor Steve Halsted with a gift from the congregation on the occasion of his final Sunday in the church pulpit. (5 minute video)

New Members in December

On December 21 Sam and Joanna Woodrum joined the church. And on December 28 Emily Perkins joined.

Christmas Eve Service

The Christmas Eve service in 2014 features music performed by the choir led by Anne Moorman-Smith, the youth, Doug Barrick (organ and piano), Amy Jensen (flute), and Mike Schafale (hammer dulcimer). The candlelight singing of Silent Night has become a tradition at CUCC.

This year is the first time the entire service has been captured on video (with help from Karen Withem). The audio track was recorded separately and the multi-camera setup allowed multiple views of the service. Thanks to the entire congregation and the excellent congregational participation for making this an event to remember. (This video is about 40-minutes long. Only transitional periods in the service have been edited out.) This video is permanently archived in high definition in the CUCC Archive.

Friday Email (Tuesday, actually) - 23 DEC 2014

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service - Wednesday, Dec. 24, 5:00pm
A Request from Vandy Bradow  
Christmas Fund 
Steve’s Last Service
New Member this Sunday!
No Church School this Sunday, December 28th
No Forum this Sunday
Monday Lunch Group
Menu of Compassionate Gifts
Epiphany Sunday/Babies We Love – January 11, 2015
Loaves and Fishes Chili Sale
Annual Reports
January Congregational Meeting – January 25th
CSJ Annual Dinner Meeting – Monday, February 2, 2015
Dinner for HK on J Out-of-Town Participants

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service - Wednesday, December 24
Join us for a Christmas Eve Candlelight Service on Wednesday, December 24.  Our service will begin at 5:00pm.  Afterwards, we’ll gather for bright fellowship and hot cider in the Vaughan Fellowship Hall.

A Request from Vandy Bradow
Vandy would like to bring her mother, Ida Klages, to the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, but she will need some assistance from members of the congregation.  She needs a couple of strong people to help her get her mother…

Finding the human in those we disagree with

A segment on 60-minutes (CBS) caught my attention on Sunday, Dec. 21. It highlights the relationship between Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and President Barack Obama. It's an inspiring message that's appropriate for Christmas. The link below shows the entire interview (about 12 min.) and it includes commercials. But it will give you a warm feeling that's appropriate for the season.

Christmas Cantata - Dec. 21

Christmas Cantata performed at Community UCC on December 21, 2014. This was the 3rd performance of this cantata in the past 15 years, and the performance was to honor the many years that Pastor Steve Halsted has spent living in the southwest. This video may also be found in the "Music" section of the CUCC Archive.

Guests to preach in January

We are fortunate to be welcoming these clergy to preach and lead worship during January and early February.

January 4 - The Reverend Jim Luck (David Sigmon's former pastor from Greensboro)
January 11 - Mark Zainedden
January 18 - our own Joy Alford (newly returned from Cuba!)
January 25 - Joy Alford
February 1 - The Reverend Sheila Barrick

The Rev. Peg Nowling Williams will begin her interim pastorate on February 2.

Annual reports due by January 5

Annual reports from all ministries and committees should be submitted electronically to the church office and to the moderator (Lavon Page) by January 5. You may send the reports as email attachments to or Lavon. For reference purposes, you can find copies of last year's reports at the church website.

Art Wall – Francisco Joseph – The Happy Artist!

Stop by and see the new additions to the Art Wall by Franciso Joseph.

Francisco Joseph and his family (his wife and three children) recently moved to Raleigh from Savannah, Georgia. Originally from the island of Dominica in the Eastern Caribbean, Joseph has lived in the US for 30 years.   In that time, he has worked a variety of jobs, mostly in the hospitality industry for hotels, cruise lines and restaurants and has also run his own company specializing in home repair and odd jobs.

Joseph started painting when he was 47. He has no formal training but felt a calling to start painting.  He has explored a variety of subject matter and medias, such as painting on recycled windows, which requires painting in reverse. Joseph feels called to make people happy through his work, which is expressed in the vibrant colors and subject matter.  Joseph is currently considering creating a  book for children.

Joseph is a full time artist and this is the primary means of supporting himself and family.


Friday Email - 19 DEC 2014

Gift for Pastor Steve
New Member this Sunday!
Christmas Cantata by CUCC Choir - December 21
Caroling at Morningside
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service - Wednesday, December 24
A Request from Vandy Bradow  
Christmas Fund 
No Forum this Sunday
Youth Christmas Party – White Elephant Party
Earth Sabbath - Winter Solstice Celebration at Peacefalls,
Saturday, December 20
Monday Lunch Group
Tai Chi 
“Jobs for Life” Volunteer Opportunities
Menu of Compassionate Gifts
Epiphany Sunday/Babies We Love – January 11, 2015
Loaves and Fishes Chili Sale
CSJ Annual Dinner Meeting – Monday, February 2, 2015, 6:00pm
Church Office Closed – December 24, 25, 26
Annual Reports

Gift for Pastor Steve
The Deacons will be presenting Steve a gift from the congregation honoring his service to CUCC and to help him remember us as he begins his next journey. We know this is a time of year when this request competes with many requests to open your hearts and checkbook, but please consider a donation for Steve’s retirement gift.  You can b…

Congregational Meeting - January 25

Church Council has scheduled the January congregational meeting to be held on January 25. This meeting is required by the CUCC bylaws. Primary actions at the meeting will include election of officers and committee and ministry members for 2015, passage of a church budget for 2015, and distribution of ministry and committee reports describing activities in 2014. [All reports should be sent to the church office ( and the moderator ( by January 5.] You can find copies of last year's reports at the church website.]

The January meeting is one of the three required congregational meetings which are "unrestricted" in terms of topics that might be considered. In the words of our church bylaws, "Other business consistent with the Constitution and Bylaws may be transacted".

If you have items that you intend to bring up at the congregational meeting, it would be helpful if you would let the moderator (Lavon Page) know in advance so …

January Forum: Homelessness and affordable housing

Forum will kick off the new year on Sunday, January 4th at 9:15AM in the Vaughan Fellowship Hall for a month-long series on homelessness and affordable housing. We'll begin looking at the issue statewide with our guest speaker Terry Allebaugh of the N.C. Coalition to End Homelessness who will give us an overview of their statewide initiative.  Come expand your knowledge base on the topic! Mr. Allebaugh is also a member of our sister church Pilgrim United UCC in Durham, N.C. and husband of the interim pastor at West Raleigh Presbyterian, Lori Pistor.

On later Sundays in the month we'll be learning from other guests about local efforts to increase affordable housing in our area, with Frank Gailor leading a discussion about our own new rental units on the last Sunday of the month (January 25). Join us for all these opportunities to learn and grow!

- submitted by Marty Lamb

Earth Sabbath - Winter Solstice Celebration at Peacefalls, Saturday, December 20

Please join us Saturday December 20th, 4PM, for a celebration of the sacred darkness and the return of the light:  a time for closure and new beginnings.  The Winter Solstice marks a full turning of the wheel of the year and offers a perfect opportunity for releasing the past and setting intentions for our journeys ahead.  In preparation, whether you are joining us or not, consider what thoughts, habits, or patterns you are ready to release and what dreams and visions you would like to bring into the light. 11320 Peed Dead End Road, Raleigh 27614.  Directions to Peacefalls are listed below. RSVP to Karen Bearden

What to bring with you:
• a reading, poem, song to share that connects you with the solstice
• an open heart, ready to release the old and embrace the new
• a drum, if you have one
• an appetizer or dessert
• plate and utensils for your meal
• warm layers and dancing-around-in-the-dark shoes
• flashlight

Directions to Peacefalls:
11320 Peed Dead End Road, Raleigh 27614
Peacefalls is the …

Was a baby you love born in 2014?

Epiphany Sunday/Babies We Love – January 11, 2015

Every Epiphany Sunday, CUCC celebrates "our" babies born the previous year. So whether the new baby is in your home or you are a loving grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, etc., we want to celebrate your baby's birth.

Contact Cathy Marshall at the church office (919-787-6422 or BY JANUARY 1. Provide the baby's name and relationship to you, the parents' names, the birthdate & place, and send a photo if you have one.  On Epiphany Sunday (January 11), we'll celebrate with a “Babies of 2014” display during our regular fellowship time.

Friday Email - 12 DEC 2014

Advent Event – Saturday, December 13
Children’s Christmas Pageant – Sunday, December 14th
Forum – December 14th, 9:15am
Want To Help Change A Life? You Can! – “Jobs for Life”
Free Holiday Concert at NC Museum of History  this Sunday
Monday Lunch Group
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service - Wednesday, December 24
A Request from Vandy Bradow    
Earth Sabbath - Winter Solstice Celebration at Peacefalls, Saturday, December 20
Christmas Cantata by CUCC Choir - December 21
Menu of Compassionate Gifts
Update on Festival of Lights Donations
A Message from the Stewardship Ministry
Epiphany Sunday/Babies We Love – January 11, 2015
CSJ Annual Dinner Meeting – Monday, February 2, 2015, 6:00pm
Gift for Pastor Steve

Advent Event – Saturday, December 13
Advent will soon be here with all the hustle and bustle of the season leading up to Christmas.  Why not take a quiet, reflective time to savor the deeper meaning of Advent?  On Saturday, December 13, 10:00am – 2:00pm, the Deacons and Rev. Halsted will offer an Advent E…

One solution for several problems: Clean Cookstoves

What is the 4th worst health risk in developing countries which causes 4 million premature deaths per year?
Your first thoughs may be AIDS, TB, or malaria. However, it's actually household air pollution (HAP) from cooking and heating homes with open fires and traditional stoves. The good news is this least well known health risk is now being addressed globally by the UN Foundation's Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves(GACC). To learn more about this critical public health and environmental threat impacting millions and GACC's response, see these videos.
An inspiring and intriguing TED X video explaining the range of problems (health, economic, safety for women and children, climate change) caused by open fires in homes and the variety of sociological and cultural factors to consider in finding a solution - Saving lives through clean cookstoves, Ethan Kay presenting
Climate Reality's report on how clean cookstoves have the additional benefit of addressing climate change -…

Poinsettia sale at JCRA - NCSU

(submitted by Vandy Bradow)

The myriad varieties of poinsettias represented at the NCSU Horticulture Science Graduate Student Association's show (Sunday 12/7) will be on sale  at the JC Raulston Arboretum Thursday and  Friday from 11 to 5, and Saturday from 10 to 1.  Pots of 4.5" diameter will be $5, 6.5" D $10, and 10" D $25.  There will be signs at both the parking lot (visitor center) and pedestrian entrances to direct you to the greenhouse where the sale will take place. Be prepared to be dazzled, and bring both checkbook and some newspaper to protect the plants from cold. Don't buy plants and leave them in the car for any significant time before you take them home or to the lucky recipient. Proceeds will go to the Association, Horticulture Field Labs, and Floriculture Research.

Friday Email - 5 DEC 2014

Pastor Steve’s Retirement Party – Saturday, Dec. 6
Food Bags Due this Sunday
Grab a Seat at the Table – Communion for all this Sunday
Forum – December 7th, 9:15am
Snack Kits for the Homeless
Sunday School Children Need Your Help Filling Stockings
Christmas Cards for Soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital
Beer & Hymns – Sunday, December 7, 7:00pm
Monday Lunch Group
Advent Life & Faith in Downtown Raleigh – December 9th
Advent Event – Saturday, December 13
Children’s Christmas Pageant – December 14, 2014
A Message from the Stewardship Ministry
Want To Help Change A Life? You Can! – “Jobs for Life”
Light for Lima

Pastor Steve’s Retirement Party! – Saturday, December 6
Join us Saturday evening from 5:00pm – 7:30pm, as we honor and remember Steve’s legacy with our church and celebrate with him and Marcy as they look forward to new adventures and experiences.  There will be skits, heavy hors d’oeuvres, fun, reminiscences and more.  Child care will be provided.  If you would like to carpool or would like …

Festival of Lights

The "Festival of Lights" program was held at Community UCC in Raleigh NC on November 30, 2014 (the first Sunday of Advent). Speakers from diverse religious traditions (Bahai, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim) reflected on the symbolism of "light" within their own faith traditions. Since the program was long (about 85 minutes), the video has been broken up into six segments. All portions may be found in the CUCC Archive.

All videos from the Festival of Lights
Included here is the liturgical dance performed by Alex Cox, Brooke Lipman, and Emily Perkins.

The CUCC Youth have chosen the church Christmas tree for this year

Śānti Matthews has sent us a photo of the church Christmas tree selected by the youth of the church for this Christmas season.