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Showing posts from November, 2016

Advent theme for Monday Lunch Group

During Advent, Christmas and Christmastide including the first Monday in January before Epiphany, we will explore ways to use poetry for meditation. On our Monday Lunch days beginning November 28th, seven or eight poems will be handed out for you to use every day during the coming week. They need not to be read in any particular order, you can choose. You may have one that is always meaningful to you, feel free to use it instead.
This time of year, finding the time to use the poems for meditation any given day might be a problem. If you have time, take a brief break and select a poem just to read, reading it aloud is often interesting. Other days, maybe you will have the time to spend with a poem for meditation, journalling, even writing your own poem.
It's all up to you how much or little you do, but making our Advent journeys together is going to be interesting for sure!
Advent begins on Sunday, November 27th so our first MLG will be on the 28th. Since I cannot be there, Geraldine …

Join us during Advent at CUCC

Advent is the four Sunday period before Christmas - the day we celebrate the coming of God to live among us through the birth of Jesus.  During Advent we wait expectantly - for the birth of the Christ child and the coming of Christ again.

One traditional part of Advent is the giving of gifts, a way of saying thank you to God for the gift of Jesus Christ.  Gift-giving opportunities are noted with a star *.

You are welcome to attend any of these Advent events - just show up!

1st week of Advent

Sunday, November 27
During 10:30 worship Śānti Matthews and Doug Barrick will  share the message: "What is the Christmas story?"  After the Children's Time, the children and youth will leave worship to work together to create ornaments for CUCC's Christmas tree.  After worship, the youth will eat lunch and then go shopping for CUCC's tree.

Live near Wake Forest?  Worship with CUCC's Prism group.  A special Advent focus runs Nov. 27 to Dec. 11, led by Joy Alford and Amy Burki.  …

Candlelight Labyrinth Walk for World AIDS Day

From Adrienne Little, the Social Justice Ministry's representative at Congregations for Social Action:

World AIDS Day “A Time to Remember Candlelight Labyrinth Walk” from Carolyn McClendon,

Millbrook Baptist Church, 1519 E. Millbrook Road in Raleigh, will host the 8th annual World AIDS Day “A Time to Remember Candlelight Labyrinth Walk” on Thursday, December 1, 2016.

The walk will occur from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., and will include a continuous bell ringing and reading of names of persons who have died as a result of HIV/AIDS.  A time of reflection, remembrance and light refreshment will follow the walk from 6:30 – 7:00 p.m. indoors. All are invited to attend and remember…

The labyrinth and garden will be open throughout the day for any and all who wish to walk in silent meditation or sit, remember and pray.  Meditation Guides and red ribbons will be available on site.
           *          *          *
For more information on World AIDS Day, the Labyrinth Walk, or to part…

Thanksgiving worship in the neighborhood

Community Thanksgiving Service
Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 7PM
West Raleigh Presbyterian Church, 27 Horne Street

West Raleigh PC will be our hosts.  Pastors, members and the choirs of Fairmont UMC and Community UCC will lead us in worship.  If you would like to sing in the choir, arrive to rehearse at 6PM.

Childcare is available beginning at 6PM.

Working together we go farther

Adrienne Little extends these invitations from congregations in Congregations for Social Justice.  She represents CUCC at their meetings.

1 - Fight for $15 Community Meeting from Ben Carroll
       Thursday, November 17 | 6:30pm
       Raise Up office | 2220 N Roxboro St, Durham, 27704
On November 29th, 4 years to the day after the first fast food worker strike in New York City, low wage workers across the nation will walk off the job in the largest ever low wage worker day of action. We will demand that elected officials and global corporations raise wages and allow workers to form unions. We see this as the beginning of sustained activity to hold elected officials accountable to the 64 million workers in this country who make less than $15 / hour.

2 - Save the date - CSJ Annual Dinner Meeting from Al Reberg
      Monday, February 6, 2017 – 6:00 PM
      Highland United Methodist Church - Bradley Hall
      1901 Ridge Road, Raleigh 27607
Our Guest Speaker will be David Guice, Commissioner o…

An outreach program in Raleigh worth knowing about

Charlotte Yongue grew up next door to Jo and me and became something of a surrogate daughter. She's finishing nursing school at ECU now, and she posted on Facebook a link to a video about a program in Raleigh neither Jo nor I was aware of. Support for the program comes from Christ Church in Raleigh. I share this 8-minute video simply because it's a good thing going on in our community that deserves to be more widely recognized. (Thanks to Betsy Towler for alerting me to Charlotte's post.)

Reconciliation is Hard

So far this week I've attended Monday Lunch Group (Monday), a Religious Education Ministry meeting (Tuesday), and have Bible Study coming up (Wednesday). No matter what the topic or agenda of the meeting, we seem to be still in the mode where something will come up that turns attention to last week's election, and still tears, anger, grief, and unresolved issues are barely skin deep. One person at the meeting last night commented that she was all set to be a gracious winner and offer reconciliation to others until the election broke the wrong way, and then she suddenly found that her reconciliatory intensions few out the window. On the home front my own wife Jo has retreated from the TV altogether and refuses any overture to "come and look at this".

Our niece Sabrina Tavernise has been on the science and medicine desk at the NY Times for well over a year, but she was called onto the political beat to take a look at the wreckage among friends and families that was left…

Safety pin - your signal that you stand with vulnerable people

Have you noticed that people have begun wearing safety pins?

According to a New York Times report, "As a show of support, groups of people across America are attaching safety pins to their lapels, shirts and dresses to signify that they are linked, willing to stand up for the vulnerable."

This Wednesday the youth will decorate safety pins which they will offer to the congregation on Sunday.  Or, you can wear an unadorned pin from your junk drawer.

As Pastor Peg reminded us, actually standing up for vulnerable people takes courage in the moment.  Let us pray for one another - whether or not we wear a safety pin - that we will act in love when the opportunity arises.

Your letter to Santa = $1 to Make a Wish

Dear Friends,

I am sending this to you and asking Cathy to share it in the next several newsletters. By simply sending a letter to Santa via email you can donate to the Make A Wish Foundation Christmas Campaign.

Since 2003 Macy's has been participating in a Believe Campaign. They donate $1 for every letter sent in to Santa (up to $1Million) to the Make A Wish Campaign. Please take a minute to send Santa your best wishes this Christmas and help a sick child's wish be granted in the future.

Thank you,

Anne Bailey

How we see each other matters

This year's political campaign season was ugly. No question about it. And it didn't get much prettier when the votes were counted. As one who is rooted in red-state America but spends most of my time in blue-state America I get caught in the crossfire more than most. Here are two things I've seen or heard in the past 48 hours ...

“It wasn’t just Donald Trump who won last night — it was his supporters, too. The Klan won last night. White nationalists. Sexists, racists and buffoons. Angry young white men who think rap music and Cinco de Mayo are a threat to their way of life...  Men who have no right to call themselves that and who think that women who aspire to more than looking hot are shrill, ugly, and otherwise worthy of our scorn rather than our admiration struck a blow for misogynistic [expletive] everywhere.” -- Aaron Sorkin (creator of the TV series "West Wing").

And then just a few minutes ago the blue collar worker who came to repair my hot water heater ask…

Author reading: Clare Hanrahan

Adrienne Little sent this invitation from our friends at Highland United Methodist Church

Join author Clare Hanrahan for a reading and book signing

The Half Life of a Free Radical: Growing Up Catholic in Jim Crow Memphis

Tuesday, November 15, 7 p.m.

Highland United Methodist Church
1901 Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC  27609

Clare Hanrahan will present her new book, and speak on the importance of telling one's story in the context of the political and social realities of the times.  Ms. Hanrahan lives in Asheville and is author of Jailed for Justice: A Woman’s Guide to Federal Prison, Conscience & Consequence: A Prison Memoir, and Dissenting Opinions and Public Addresses on Justice, Peace, & Consequences of Dissent. She is a member of the National Writers Union and North Carolina Writer’s Network.  Her most recent publication will be available at book signings and local book stores.

Praise for The Half Life of a Free Radical
“First and foremost this is an entertaining tale of childhood and …

One morning of volunteering - Nov. 12

This Sunday at Forum (9:30AM, Fellowship Hall) we will hear from Dennis Gaddy who works with those leaving incarceration.  Adrienne Little passes along this opportunity to be a help at a one morning event where lawyers will provide pro bono legal help to apply for expungement of criminal records.  Here is the message Adrienne forwarded from Sara Stohler.

Dennis Gaddy called this week and told me about an important new initiative that is being sponsored cooperatively by the District Attorney’s office (Loren Freeman), the Public Defender, NC Justice Center, Legal Aid of NC, Campbell Law School, Dennis Gaddy’s Community Success Initiative, and several other groups.

 On Nov. 12, there will be about 300 persons who have criminal records who qualify for expungement of those records, an action that will make employment and housing more readily available. Lawyers will be at Chavis Community Center from 9-12 AM, offering pro bono legal help to apply for expungement. This is an amazing new initia…

God Will Not Fail!

Occasionally I pirate a UCC Daily Devotional to share with those don't subscribe via email. Today's devotional seems particularly poignant. The author is Mary Luti, and you can find it on the UCC website. -- Lavon Page

"God's steadfast love never ceases; God's mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning: great is your faithfulness." - Lamentations 3:22-23

We get our devotional assignments long before publication, so I'm writing this  three weeks before the election. The day it's published we'll know who won, but now, as I mess with syntax and synonyms, I'm clueless.

I don't know if it was a squeaker, a landslide, or something in between. I don't know if the pollsters were dead on or if Nate Silver is driving a cab today, scratching his head. I don't know if the loser conceded gracefully or threw a tantrum, nor if the winner delivered an inspiring speech or a cringe-worthy crow.

I don't know if you stayed up late watc…
November 7, 2016

Dear friends,

Advent is a very special time in the church year.  In fact, the first Sunday of the liturgical year is the first Sunday of Advent.  This year that will be November 27.

Advent is a time of expectantly waiting for the Christ Child to come yet again.  Your staff has worked hard to create worship experiences that will bring you closer into the story, about a family of refugees and how they made their way in the world.

As you await the coming of the Christ child you will also be awaiting the coming of your new pastor, the Rev. Jenny Shultz-Thomas, who was called as your pastor yesterday.

As part of my role as your intentional interim minister, I need to give you the time and space to begin your preparation and time of anticipation.  In order to do this my last Sunday with you will be November 20, 2016, the day of the Fall Congregational Meeting.  Ken will come from Connecticut to be with us because he has been blessed by you as well.

It has been my absolute pleasu…

Peace Picnic - Nov. 13

All are invited to a church-wide Peace Picnic in the fellowship hall on Sunday, November 13, after worship!

Lunch will be served, free of charge, but love offerings will be welcomed to cover the cost.

Former Raleigh gang members who have formed a truce, and now call themselves Save the Youth will share their stories with us. They will be accompanied by Diana Powell, from Justice Served NC, who will share about how she was instrumental in the truce. Their stories are heart-warming, miraculous, and beautiful!

Don't miss this opportunity to support them and to be better peacemakers in our world. Thanks!

– Śānti Matthews

Poetry Slam - Nov. 12

Join the 4th annual Novemberfest Coffee and Dessert with Poetry Slam, Saturday, November 12, 6:30-8:30PM.

If you want to attend, please reserve your spot by sending an email to; also, please let me know in  the email if you plan to recite a poem (original poems are especially encouraged).

We hope to see you for this time of fellowship and fun for all ages!  All are invited to enjoy coffee, tea, and dessert (provided by Stewardship Ministry) and enjoy a variety of poetry readings.

Call Śānti Matthews with questions.

Accessing Dixie Trail parking lot - Nov. 6

The City of Oaks Marathon has Dixie Trail blocked from Hillsborough to Wade.  You can access the Dixie Trail lot from Wade Avenue, but not from points south.

Pull slowly to the barricades at Wade and Dixie.  Officer Rollins will open the barricade for you.