An Open and Affirming, Just Peace Congregation in Columbia, Maryland

CUCC Newsletter

 

 

 

 

 

Pastor’s Pondering –

To Hold the Child…
When we over think it, reaching out to receive a newborn is a bit daring. If you’ve held an infant, especially for the first time, you may be able to identify. I can’t recall who the child was, or how old I was when a mother said to me, “Would you like to hold her?” I do, however, remember the feeling of sheer terror. The answer (at least in my mind) sounded something like, “Yes, but no; no, but yes.” Like you, I heard from others how important it was to hold infants in a particular way to support and protect their necks and heads. But, not only that, I had an intense fear of dropping a child. It was off the charts and, undoubtedly, came from my parents saying, “BE CAREFUL! DON’T DROP HER!” 

“Would you like to hold her?” Yes and no; no and yes. One of my relatives, so I’m told, refused to hold me, and my siblings when they were born, because she didn’t want to “break” us. Of course, childbearing isn’t for everyone. To become responsible for the welfare of another can be quite intimidating and overwhelming. But, for those who choose to become parents (biologically or through the adoption process), and who are well grounded, they will also quickly tell you what a joy it is. The thought of “breaking” us may have kept Aunt Betty from experiencing a certain responsibility that little else offers.

As we make our way to Bethlehem once again, we do so in search of the healing the Christ-Child brings. As so much in our time threatens to mute joy, peace, hope, and love, there is a star that guides us to an infant that was promised to bring all of that and so much more. But fewer and fewer believe that to be the case. In an October 2019 article from the Pew Research Center’s office of Religion and Public Life, it was reported that in the course of a decade (2008-2018/19) sixty-five percent of Americans identify as “Christian.” That is down by twelve percentage points from the decade prior. Those who asked to be recorded as part of the “Unaffiliated” group rose from seventeen percent to twenty-six percent in that same period of time.

I understand that we (people around the world) choose different roads to find peace and hope, but I’m taking the one that leads to Bethlehem. And, when I get there, I’m going to ask, “May I hold the baby?” Please, by all means, join me.

With Gratitude,

Phil

CUCC’s 2020 Stewardship Campaign by the Numbers:

– 34 Pledges Received of which
— 3 were New Pledges and
— 13 were Increased Pledges

– $106,685 Total Amount Pledged for 2020

– 18 Gifts Pledged to Strengthening CUCC’s Online Presence Fund
— $2,145 in Total Committed to this Fund

The Stewardship Committee thanks everyone for their generosity during this campaign. We are especially grateful for the three new pledges and the overall support for CUCC from all who participated. Though the campaign is over, it’s never too late to pledge.  Online giving is also available by going to CUCC Online Giving via the following link:    https://cucc.breezechms.com/give/online

For those who pledged a gift to the Strengthening CUCC’s Online Presence Fund, please send in your gifts by December 31, 2019 so that planning can begin in the new year for strengthening our online presence.

 

Thank you for your generous gift to the CWS Blankets program. On Blanket Sunday CUCC raised $442 providing hope to neighbors near and far. As families and communities around the world recover from emergencies and struggle in the face of challenges, you are standing with them. You are providing relief and hope. Because of you, Church World Service is able to respond when disasters occur and support is needed. We Thank You!

 

Announcements – 

This is the last Sunday to contribute gifts for the two residents of Earl’s Place we are sponsoring and WE NEED YOUR HELP!
So far we are coming up short in fulfilling the gifts lists for Darren and Theodore. Please click below to see their gift lists and signup! Even if all the slots are full, Walmart and Target gift cards will be greatly appreciated.

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080f44a5a829a3fe3-cucc4 – Let’s make this a special Christmas for these two residents of Earl’s Place – Also, you are invited to help us wrap their presents on Dec. 15th during coffee time. Gifts are to be delivered wrapped to Earl’s Place by Dec. 18th. Contact Sue Nicholson with any questions/how you can help.

On December 15th Anna Katz, Operations Manager of Grassroots will join us for a “Moment of Mission” during Sunday worship

 

Our Christmas Eve service is a celebration of faith, light, song… 

…and cookies!

You are invited to bring cookies, paper plates and napkins. Punch will be provided. Contact Sue Nicholson with any questions.

 

There will be a Christmas potluck meal after church on Sunday, Dec. 22nd. We are keeping it casual this year, so no signup is required – just bring a dish to share! Happy Holidays!

Upcoming Events –

One More Reader for Christmas Eve! THANK YOU to those who offered to be readers  for CUCC’s Candlelight Service of Readings and Music on December 24th at 6:30pm. We still need one more reader! Six readings will make up the Festival of Readings and Christmas Hymns, each including a scripture passage and an excerpt from the book Kneeling in Bethlehem by Ann Weems. Please contact Jill Crane (jillnjerry1@verizon.net) if you would like to be a reader. Thank You!

In Our Community –

COLD WEATHER SHELTER:  Save the dates of January 26th – February 1st when CUCC will be partnering with Living Hope Church in Laurel, MD to provide a safe, warm place for homeless women to sleep on winter nights.  We need help with food, supervision (particularly folks willing to stay overnight), laundry and transportation.

Living Hope Church is essentially operating as a women’s shelter:

  • Only have women sign up for overnight shifts, with an exception for married couples who want to take a shift together.
  • Men can help out in literally any other role!  We’ll especially need help transporting cots, preparing food, and setting up activities.
  • As always, use your best judgement.  And reach out to Dotty Waters at dotty.waters@gmail.com or
    Jeanne Bolton at  jbolton05@verizon.net if you have any questions.

The link for the signup sheet can be found here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1dd4KNA0re0d4UDYXdW93M7LisZbxGIzWWfAY7H9cWrE/edit?usp=sharing

At Oakland Mills Interfaith Center –

INTERFAITH EVENTS AT ALL ARE WELCOME! PLEASE JOIN US!  How Can We Support Penitent People? Sunday January 12, 2020 at 3pm:  How can we help them change? How can we help people make different decisions? Can there be justice without mercy? Reaching out to incarcerated people should be a spiritual imperative. Rabbi Charles Feinberg will be speaking about the work of Interfaith Action for Humanrights. IAHR represents people of faith who live in VA, DC and MD. IAHR’s mission is to end policies and practices that promote torture in our society and to counter bigotry directed against vulnerable populations. The work focuses on ending abusive treatment in detention facilities and countering anti-Muslim bigotry.