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Showing posts from January, 2020

In this week's eNews...

Welcome!  The people of CUCC invite you to participate in our life together.

CUCC Calendar of Events      See details in each event

Introducing text to give at CUCC 
Garden pathway fundraising goal is near!
Inquiring minds want to know:  May I compost wax paper and parchment paper?

Upcoming events at CUCC
What's happening in Sunday School in February?
Poetry Slam February 1
First Sunday Food Bag Time February 2
RSVP by February 3 for Parent Dinner & Conversation
Waking the Spirit – February book for Monday Lunch Group
Gather to talk:  Life & Faith February 4
Just Show Up for HKonJ February 8
Newcomers’ Coffee February 9

Deadline to submit information for the eNews or Sunday Announcements is Tuesday, 9AM.  Send to, including the name and contact information of someone at CUCC who can answer questions about your event.

Introducing Text to Give at CUCC

Another option for donating to our work together at CUCC:  text to give (919) 888-4541.

For more information, contact Treasurer Bill Lamb or come to our help table at the Info Extravaganza February 16 and 23, during fellowship.

Garden pathway fundraising goal is near!

Thanks to many generous donations, CUCC is very close to having enough money to install a paved walkway in the Memorial Meditation Garden.  For a donation of $100, the donor can request an engraved paver with up to three lines of type.  This is a wonderful way to remember a loved one, give thanks for a special occasion or memorialize a favorite Bible verse.  If you’d like to contribute a paver to this effort, donation forms are on the bulletin board in the hallway or you may print one here.

Smaller donations are also very welcome. You may write a check to CUCC, with "paver" on the memo line, or you may donate online (select "to MMG Pavers").

If you have questions about the pathway, please contact Merrilee Jacobson at 919-274-4539 or

Inquiring minds want to know: May I compost wax paper and parchment paper?

Here is the answer from our composting partner, Compost Now.

"Thanks for checking! That is a tricky question because wax paper and parchment paper are often confused. Plain wax paper is compostable, but it must not be confused with other baking sheets not specifically labeled as “wax paper.” The best way to tell is to tear it - if it rips easily like paper, it's all good. If it's hard to pull apart and a bit resistant or stretchy, then it's plastic based and is a no-go.

For parchment paper, it is generally not compostable; to be “non-stick” most brands coat the paper with Quilon which is a heavy-metal containing chemical. A few brands such as "If You Care" or others found at places like Whole Foods coat their paper with silicone— these are safe to compost!"

If you have a question about what you can compost at CUCC, contact Jane Smith of CUCC's Justice in a Changing Climate Task Force.

What's happening in Sunday School in February?

There are several important dates below on the children's February Sunday School calendar.

February 2Make Valentines for our college students
February 9 Cook and serve fellowship food
February 16A special day about birds with Lena

I hope to see many of the children for these special events!

Anne Bailey Zschau
Children's Sunday School Coordinator

Poetry Slam February 1

Here Comes our 7th Annual Poetry Slam and Mini Poetry Writing Workshop!
Saturday, February 1, 6:30-8PM, FH
Desserts Provided. Your love offering will support youth mission work and youth summer camp.
Childcare will be arranged if needed.  Contact the office before January 27 with the ages of your children.

Are you a poet and know it?
Do you love the written word—meaningful or absurd?
Can you read or recite a line, roughly or refined?
Poetry Slams are high fashion, if you’ve a theatrical passion.
For a time well spent, don’t miss this event!
Join in the fun and compassion.

·         All are invited to read one poem. Second poems can be shared at the end if there is time leftover.  The youngest poetry readers can share their poem early in the program to honor early bedtimes.
·         Original poetry is encouraged, but not required. Just choose a favorite poem you would enjoy reading or reciting (in less than 3 minutes). If you want to narrow your search, our theme this year…

First Sunday Food Bag Time February 2

This Sunday bring a bag of food for the pantry at Urban Ministries.  Our neighbors can shop the pantry shelves for those items which suit their dietary restrictions and family preferences.

Here's the list:

Canned beans (especially black beans; also kidney, Navy, etc.)  but no dried beansQuick-cooking brown riceLow-salt pasta sauce (not in glass jars)Cereals are a big need: Low-sugar cereals (Cheerios, Raisin Bran, Special K, etc.).Oatmeal and grits in individual packs (like 10 to a box)Canned tuna
No longer needed (food pantry clients do not choose these items): anything in glass jars, dried beans, peanut butter, macaroni and cheese packages

Please double bag for strength, whether you use paper or plastic.  Double bagging helps Joe Retzer get the bags safely from the fellowship hall to his car to the food pantry.

For questions, contact CUCC's Community Outreach Ministry (contact info on Breeze).

RSVP by February 3 for Parent Dinner and Conversation

Parent Dinner and Conversation with Pastor Carol
Children/Youth Supper & Activities, too!

CUCC parents of children and youth, please please attend a meal and conversation at CUCC on Saturday, February 8 at 6PM.  We will celebrate, dream, and envision how we'd like to nurture CUCC children and youth ministries in the coming year.

Śānti Matthews and Sam and Joanna Woodrum are planning activities for our youth and children while the parents talk with Pastor Carol.

Your voice is important, please attend.

RSVP by Monday, February 3 for the dinner order please by emailing  Rumor has it Moroccan for the adults and pizza for children and youth.

Waking the Spirit - February book for Monday Lunch Group

Hi Everyone,

MLG will be discussing the book, Waking the Spirit: A Musician’s Journey Healing Body, Mind, and Soul by Andrew Schulman, through February. A personal story, author is a classical musician from NYC. It was an Oliver Sacks Foundation Best Book of the Year Selection.

If you want a copy of the book, the paperback is $8.95. I can order a copy that will get here quickly—even by Monday, no shipping fee. We may have a few used copies, less expensive, available too.

As always, we like to see you whenever.

Ann Retzer

Gather to talk: Life & Faith February 4

A CUCC member brought this song to my attention; it is making the rounds of social media.  Listen before you read below.

The singer songwriter, Daniel Dietrich, wrote:  "In 2016, 81% of white evangelical Christians voted for Donald Trump after (among other things) hearing an audio recording of him bragging about sexually assaulting women. 

Maya Angelou famously said, “when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”  

In the years since, even after enacting deliberately cruel policies to rip families apart and put children in cages at the southern border, evangelical support is as fervent as ever. 

I was raised in the Evangelical world. It shaped me. I learned to take the words of Jesus seriously - love God, love your neighbor, feed the hungry, fight for justice for the oppressed. I thought that things like love, kindness, gentleness, and self-control MATTERED. I have been so confused and deeply saddened by the unflinching loyalty to a man who so clearly embodies t…

In this week’s CUCC Weekly eNews

2020 Budget and Pledge Campaign Update

At the Congregational Meeting this Sunday (January 26), we will adopt a balanced budget for this year. Stewardship appreciates the generosity of the members of Community United Church of Christ. To date, we’ve received approximately $245,000 in pledges for 2020, from about 70 different families. During last fall’s congregational meeting, we presented a goal budget that would have required about $275,000 in pledges.

Unfortunately, the Stewardship Ministry’s current draft budget still needs about $15,000 more in pledges to balance. Our hope is that we will be able to receive additional and increased pledges to make this budget. If we do not, several activities will have to be scaled back, including:

-          A new CUCC Website

-          Composting Service

-          Community Outreach Ministry

-          Do Justice Ministry

-          Resources for Property Ministry

-          Religious Education Ministry’s Programs for Adults

-          Savings into Our Rainy-Day Fund

Please conside…

Discuss: Sermon+ for January 19 sermon

In this sermon, Pastor Tony contends that the body of the Messiah Jesus, the church, is the true safety net, the true catcher of people. As we reimagine church in a complicated and always changing world, how might the church occupy the gap between what is possible electorally and what all life needs to thrive?

Read the sermon here

Sermon+ is an occasional series in which our preachers pose a follow-up question to their sermon for your consideration.  You can join in community conversation via our Facebook page, Community United Church of Christ.  Or you can ponder on your own.

SIS meets January 23

The women of CUCC are invited to come gather at Peg Hulslander's house for a potluck and game night.  Our Sisters in Spirit (SIS) evening is January 23, Thursday, at 6:30PM.  Check on Breeze or call the church office if you need Peg's address.

What should CUCC do about climate change in 2020?

Justice in a Changing Climate 2020 planning session
Saturday, January 25, 9-10:30AM
Bridge Room
Anyone with ideas and energy is welcome

Whether you are interested in helping with an ongoing project (pre-weatherization, composting, Citizens Climate Lobby carbon fee) or want to propose that CUCC do something new, bring your ideas and your energy.

The focus of the Justice in a Changing Climate Task Force is to provide opportunities for CUCC's people to address climate change learning, action, and advocacy, and especially to assist those in our community with the fewest resources to adapt and find new opportunities as our climate is changing.

For more information, contact Gary Smith

See you at the congregational meeting this Sunday

Time for our January "family meeting" when we gather to plan our spending for 2020 and elect those who will lead and facilitate our work.

Anyone at CUCC is welcome to participate (though only CUCC members may vote).

Read these documents before you come
Draft minutes of November 17 2019 congregational meeting
Yearly reports for 2019 from our pastor, officers, and ministry chairs

Agenda for the meeting

If you have something you would like to discuss, please contact Moderator Ellen Beidler.

Sunday, January 26, noon promptly
Vaughan Fellowship Hall
Childcare will be provided

Chili pick up this Sunday

See Nancy Stoddard after worship this Sunday to pick up the chili you ordered from Loaves and Fishes.  If you have not paid, bring a check or cash, please.

Raleigh Women's March

After the congregational meeting, consider heading to the Raleigh Women's March.  Here is the "Just Show Up" message from Do Justice Ministry.


Raleigh's Women's March will take place this Sunday from 12:30 until 3 p.m.
This is a great opportunity for adults and children to come together to rally in support of communities under attack and community members at risk of discrimination, inequality and injustice; and to fight for reproductive freedom and to support #MeToo, holding people accountable for sexual assault and violence against women.

Gather at Halifax Mall (located behind 300 N. Salisbury) in downtown Raleigh at 12:30 p.m., Step-Off and March at 1 p.m.; Rally -- Speakers/Performers 1:30 to 3:00 p.m.

Lots of great women speakers from NC and beyond.

I hope to see you there!
Suzanne Chester

January 30 is last day for donation & survey honoring Cally

January 30 is the final day to submit your survey or make a donation to Global Ministries in honor of Rev. Cally Rogers-Witte.

Ann Calvin Rogers-Witte, known as Cally, is the reason I joined Community United Church of Christ in 1992.  More to the point, Cally is the reason I did not give up on the institutional Church, since Cally embodied what church could be - a loving, accepting, inclusive body of Christ, in which “we are all one.”  Because of my love and admiration, plus being retired, I agreed to receive suggestions about a fitting memorial, and have received a range of suggestions.  Now I bring these ideas to you, so that you can express your thoughts and reactions.

These ideas reflect the key attributes of Cally:  Her legacy within the denomination and conference; her leadership of CUCC and the broader church, particularly in terms of social justice and global ministries; and her personal attributes of joy, love, and embodiment of Spirit.  There is clearly energy to honor all …

I pledge to vote all of the races

Environmental voters know how to vote, they just don't do it.

Join other CUCCers who are pledging to vote in all of the races in the primary (March 3).  Sign the pledge, and we will send you a reminder email which includes your early voting locations and how to print your sample ballot.

In the primaries, the county commissioner and state legislative and executive offices are where the action is.

Save the date - Music Night Out March 14

Practice the Lenten spiritual disciplines of joy and friendship.  We're gathering at Big Boss Brewing to enjoy the music of our own Ryan Fawcett and relaxed conversation between sets.

When:  Saturday, March 14  Drop in anytime between 8 and 11PM
Where:  Big Boss Brewing Company

If you would like to carpool, contact Susan at; she will connect people to each other and you can sort our your own carpool arrangements.

- Sponsored by Welcoming and Fellowship Ministry

RSVP's closing for the Congregations for Social Justice Annual Dinner

It's just a month away now!

Send your RSVP to Adrienne Little, one of CUCC's reps to Congregations for Social Justice.  Or you can speak to Adrienne after worship to reserve your place.  The reservation deadline is Monday, January 27, 2020.

Congregations for Social Justice Annual Dinner
Monday, February 3, 2020 – 6:00 PM
Highland United Methodist Church - Bradley Hall, 1901 Ridge Road, Raleigh 27607
Dinner Donation: $15.00 per person at the door.  No advance donations.

Our speaker will be Chris Fitzsimon, Director of States Newsroom.
Chris was the founder and Executive Director of NC Policy Watch.  States Newsroom exists to provide a relentless stream of quality reporting and commentary that helps sustain a vibrant democracy.  It was launched to create entities like NC Policy Watch in other states.

The CSJ Social Justice Award will be presented to Ms. Ana Ilarraza-Blackburn.  Ms. Ilarraza-Blackburn is a strong, empowered Latina; who serves as the North Ca…

In this week’s CUCC Weekly eNews

Welcome!  The people of CUCC invite you to participate in our life together.

CUCC Calendar of Events      See details in each event

A reflection from our moderator
Update from the Pastoral Search Committee
Did you know the eNews has a table of contents?
Large print worship bulletins available
Loving and mutual accountability, CUCC-style

Upcoming events at CUCC
RSVP today:  Tuesday Night Supper January 21
What should CUCC do about climate change in 2020?  January 25
Poetry Slam February 1
Order Loaves & Fishes chili before January 19

Deadline to submit information for the eNews or Sunday Announcements is Tuesday, 9AM.  Send to, including the name and contact information of someone at CUCC who can answer questions about your event.

A reflection from our moderator

{Editorial note from Jane:  Have you ever read something that helps you see your situation with new eyes? Ellen Beidler's reflection (technically, her yearly report as Moderator) did that for me.  With our bridge co-pastors' encouragement, I share it with you below.  Thank you, Ellen.}

Annual reports are meant to convey to the congregation a synopsis of the major events in our congregational life over the past year.  At its best, writing annual reports is an exercise in reflection, celebration, and repentance.  I hope that our members and friends will read the reports of our Ministries and Committees and celebrate all we have done together in 2019.

It is a bit tricky for the Moderator to write such a report:  the activities and accomplishments belong to the Ministries.  The Moderator’s job is mainly to organize the Council meetings, facilitating communication and collaboration between the Ministries.  We don’t do the work but we do get to watch it being done.  It has been a pr…

Update from Pastoral Search Committee


In the last couple of weeks, the Search Committee met with three highly qualified candidates and their families.  We are grateful to Raleigh Mennonite Church, Fairmont United Methodist Church and Umstead Park United Church of Christ for hosting our candidates and welcoming us into their communities.  We heard three inspiring and thought provoking sermons and broke bread with each of the candidates and their families.  We learned a lot more about them and they learned more about us. As a bonus, from participating in other services, we were exposed to good ideas that we could perhaps incorporate into our church.

We are now at the end of this process and will be prayerfully considering these candidates. We ask that you continue to pray for the church and for each candidate's family as we all consider the calls that each of us have for our lives.  We will continue to keep the church informed as we move forward through the next stages of this process.

I am thankful that CUC…

Did you know the eNews has a table of contents?

Starting December 18, the first post in your CUCC Weekly eNews has been a table of contents for that week's edition.  Posts are organized by categories, and you can click directly to the story from the table of contents.

The post also includes a link to the CUCC calendar which includes descriptions of events, not just the date, time and room.  You'll also find the deadline for the next eNews and Sunday bulletin.

Are you finding the table of contents helpful?  Let Jane Smith know.  If it is not particularly useful, we'll discontinue it.

Large print worship bulletins available

The Greeter at the door to the sanctuary has large print worship bulletins (including the songs and Sunday announcements) for anyone who asks for one.

We continue to learn new ways to more fully include everyone who comes to worship or events at CUCC.  If we are missing something you would find helpful, please let us know.  Like Roxy's friends in today's Children's Blessing story, we may not have thought of what might make your participation easier but we know it is more fun when everyone can play.

Loving and mutual accountability, CUCC-style

CUCC is a busy community.  Whether you are wondering how to get involved, or what other groups are doing while you are busy with yours, the Yearly Reports for 2019 make joyful reading.  Not your standard dry reports, these sparkle with the enthusiasm of each group in ministry at CUCC.  Read, bring questions, rejoice.

We'll also be approving the minutes of the November congregational meeting.  Please read them in advance in case you find a correction to suggest.  Draft minutes November 17, 2019 congregational meeting

The January congregational meeting will be held Sunday, January 26, at noon in the Vaughan Fellowship Hall.  If you are new to CUCC, this is a good time to find out how we really are.  The meetings range from serious conversation to good natured joking.  You are welcome to participate, though voting is reserved for members.

If you have an item for the agenda, contact Moderator Ellen Beidler.

RSVP today: Tuesday Night Supper January 21

TUESDAY SUPPER SERIES kicks off January 21 at 6pm with a catered vegetarian Middle Eastern meal by Samia’s Cuisine Culturelle.  All ages welcome!

RSVP BY MONDAY, January 20 the # of people in your party.  We need to know how much food to order, since our first meal of 2020 will be catered.

Cost for this meal is $7 with all proceeds going to support local refugee-immigrant Moroccan and Syrian families through the Arab Heritage Learning Center. Samia and her team will serve the meal and literature about the AHLC will be available, but there is no formal presentation. We will dine on a delicious meal and enjoy simple fellowship together too.

If you have questions, email here.

More about the Tuesday Night Supper Series 3rd Tuesday of each month, January thru May.  RSVP to
Join your church family once a month for an easy meal and fellowship at the table.  Each month, please RSVP by the Monday before the scheduled meal. Tell us how many in your party and any dietary pr…

Order Loaves & Fishes chili before January 19

Loaves & Fishes chili is for sale now through January 19.  Meat and veggie chili are available at $13 per quart.  Nancy Stoddard will be in the Fellowship Hall to take orders on Sundays.  Or sign up on the sheet in the hallway on the bulletin board.  Or email Nancy at

Pick up your chili at CUCC on Sunday, January 26 (the same day as the congregational meeting).  You can pay when you order or when you pick up.

Please support this wonderful organization that does so much for under privileged kids in our area. The mission of Loaves and Fishes is to empower low-income K-12 youth and their families to overcome individual challenges in order to achieve healthier and more fulfilling lives.  Read more about the work of Loaves and Fishes Ministry here.

A testimonial from Jane Smith:  We buy both the meat and veggie chili each year and try to hide them in the freezer.  Somehow they get devoured before February is out.  Treat yourself to delicious chili while supporti…

In this week's CUCC Weekly eNews...

From Pastor Carol: pray and fast for peace during Epiphany season

Pastor Carol shares this message from the UCC's officers.

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and the princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
The work of Christmas begins: To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.
Howard Thurman

“To bring peace among the people” - such is the calling of the disciples of the one we know as the Prince of Peace.

Having celebrated Christmas and the birth of Jesus, now preparing for the season of Epiphany, we call upon the congregations, the members and the clergy of the United Church of Christ to join together in a time of prayer and fasting for peace throughout the world.

Threats to that peace are numerous and can be felt in all corners of the globe. Today especially we are mindful of the global unrest ensuing given the latest actions of the United States and Iran…

Interested in training to be a sanctuary volunteer?

We've all heard "The Bystander's Credo" by German Lutheran Pastor Niemöller:  First, they came for the Communists, but I wasn't a Communist, so I did not speak out.... The poem was written after WWII  to exhort Germans that they all bore a measure of guilt for the evils of National Socialism for silent acquiescence to Nazi crimes, which amounted to complicity.

What YOU can do to "Heed the sacred call to give SANCTUARY to the vulnerable" ???

The ANWER from the UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST:  "Sanctuary Rising.  The resurgence of the Sanctuary Movement works to provide protection in our houses of worship for those facing violence, discrimination, and deportation. We organize as people of faith and moral courage accompanying the most marginalized among us targeted by President-elect Trump's hateful rhetoric and policy proposals. We lift up the prophetic and moral witness of communities of faith against the unjust systems of power and privilege that keep…

I wonder who is preaching?

Did you know you can check the CUCC calendar to see what is planned for 10:30AM worship?  You'll find which of our wonderful musical groups is leading worship and who is scheduled to preach.  Is it a communion Sunday?  Are there special offerings or presentations like a cantata or youth-led worship?  It's there on the CUCC Calendar.

Sermon+ springing from Pastor Tony's January 8 sermon

In his sermon on Sunday, Tony casually mentioned God choosing David because of David's beauty (1 Samuel 16:12). God chooses Saul for the same reason (1 Samuel 9:2). Have you noticed these texts before? What do you make of them?

You can read or listen to Tony's sermon "Joseph?" here.

Sermon+ is an occasional series in which our preachers pose a follow-up question to their sermon for your consideration.  You can join in community conversation via our Facebook page, Community United Church of Christ.  Or you can ponder on your own.

Genesis 2 - join us to read and discuss

Join others as we read Genesis and discuss together what we find there.  We begin Genesis, chapter 2, on Sunday, January 12.

Sunday morning Bible study is open to anyone; come as often as you are able.  We read the text together, so there is no "homework" unless something intrigues you and you want to do some research to share with the group.  The study is being convened by Bill Lamb.

Sundays, 9:15-10:15AM, in the Hoffmann room

For more information, contact Bill Lamb

Mark your calendar for the congregational meeting January 26

Time for our January "family meeting" when we gather to plan our spending for 2020 and elect those who will lead and facilitate our work.

Anyone at CUCC is welcome to participate (though only CUCC members may vote).

If you have something you would like to discuss, please contact Moderator Ellen Beidler.

Sunday, January 26, noon promptly
Vaughan Fellowship Hall
Childcare will be provided

Monday Lunch Group celebrates Epiphany

Here's a report from Bill Gretsch:  The Monday Lunch Group had a great Epiphany Luncheon and Birthday Party for Baby Jesus. The food was delicious and we had a King Cake with a tiny Baby Jesus baked in, who was in my piece.  Thus I got to wear the crown and cradle the little doll in my arms.  This was preceded by meditation to inspiring music, worship and prayers for those we identified on slips of paper, and followed by a White Elephant gift exchange, which was a lot of fun as people were surprised by their gifts and then swapped them with others with great humor.

January CSJ meeting and annual dinner

Congregations for Social Justice (CSJ) is a coalition of faith communities committed to advocating for public policies that create a better Raleigh for all people. Bill Gretsch, Adrienne Little and Merrilee Jacobson are CSJ members (representing our Do Justice ministry), so you’ll see a familiar face or two at the meetings! 

We hope you’ll join us at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 8 at Edenton Street United Methodist Church (228 W. Edenton St.) for a program about the Green Chair Project. You may also want to mark your calendar for the annual CSJ Annual Dinner Meeting on Feb. 3. 

For more information on CSJ, please contact Adrienne Little (919-781-0829) or Merrilee Jacobson (919-274-4539).

How People of Faith Can Reverse Climate Change

CUCC's Justice in a Changing Climate Task Force invites you to join them at this event.  If you would like to sit with others from the JCC, contact Gary Smith (JCC chair) at

An Evening of Discovery: How People of Faith Can Reverse Climate Change
You are invited to an Introduction To DRAWDOWN: Reversing Climate Change, Paul Hawken’s powerful guidebook.  It offers 80 existing solutions that are researched and modeled by 200 scientists for you and your faith community to consider.  
Tues., Jan. 21, 7-9 pm
Highland United Methodist Church, 1901 Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC
For more information contact Interfaith Creation Care of the Triangle

Cosponsored by Interfaith Creation Care of the Triangle and Campaign Nonviolence NC and presented by Pachamama RTP.