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Showing posts from May, 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 …

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, holdin…


Sunday  5/28          9:00am Taizé Worship – Sanctuary   9:30am Choir Practice - Sanctuary   9:30am Adult Bible Study - Bradow Room 10:30am WorshipService - 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
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.

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?

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 c…

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

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

"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.

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…

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,…

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

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  WorshipService - 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

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 "Exerci…

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

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!

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.

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 Cri…

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 racism. 
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. 

From the Pastor

Dear Friends,
Is there no greater sound to be lulled to love but by the ocean's pulsing rhythms under a full moon? Tonight, I am reminded of a Diana Butler Bass comment/question from her book, Grounded, where she considers the question, "What if God is water?"
As I watch my children learn to float, to fish, to explore, and to discover within the ocean’s living presence, the wonders and tragedies, the cycles of life (those necessary and those difficult to witness), draw me to this description of the holy one. 
Sage is amazed and perplexed by the story of Jonah and the whale; by Jesus calming the storm; by the waters that part to allow a crossing; by anything with a mighty sea bellowing forth creatures, signs, and wonders. He is equally stimulated by loud thunderstorms and all forms of precipitation, by sprinklers, sprayers, and anything that slips and slides.
At night,  before he closes his eyes, his love comes to me as "big as the ocean" and mine "like the wat…

"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 – …