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

CUCC Newsletter






Pastor’s Pondering –



Oh, when you open up that door to old familiar roads of love and laughter; Coming home just the way you are, knowing this is all that really matters. To be together at Christmas time.            – Amy Grant

To Be Together…
Just before writing these words, I wanted to make sure I could find Amy Grant’s song “To Be Together” on YouTube, so I “Googled” the lyrics I could recall and immediately found a link to it. Between the day after Thanksgiving and sometime shortly after New Year’s Day, I will, undoubtedly, listen to it two or three times each day. Just today, I’ve listened to it four times and it is only three in the afternoon. It is a song about various folks making their way home for Christmas to be with those they love, and who love them in return, just as they are. Every time I listen to it, I get a catch in my throat. It is warm and tender; and, in the daily living of far too many, “warm” and “tender” are feelings not often experienced.

After a very long wait time, the “customer service representative” finally picked up. As she identified herself and the agency she worked for, I immediately knew what kind of experience it was going to be. And, sure enough, I was not disappointed or surprised. More than a little on the hostile side and badgered from the very beginning, she spoke to me like I was a dunce and should have known the answer before I ever called. As I listened to her rattle off what she thought the answers were (which actually turned out to be incorrect), I found myself thinking, “Why didn’t I choose to take the short survey that was offered me while waiting to speak to a human being. ‘After your call,’ the automated voice said, ‘would you like to participate in a brief survey? Press 1 for yes and 2 for no.’” 

After a less than kind encounter and because I selected “2 for no”, I felt compelled to share my experience with her.“Ma’am, it sounds like your day is not going well and I haven’t appreciated your rudeness,” I said. “I wasn’t trying to be rude,” she responded. I bit my tongue and didn’t tell her she was successful in being rude without even “trying” to be, but, instead, said something like, “I hope your day gets better.”

One of the attributes of CUCC is how it feels like home to nearly everyone I converse with; it is often described as a family. Indeed, you are loved here just as you are; and, because of that, it is good to be together.

In Community,


Announcements – 

On Sunday, November 24th, Ms. Sheila Helgerson, Executive Director at United Ministries and an important leader of Earl’s Place, will bring the message to CUCC:  Located in Baltimore MD, Earl’s Place opened in 1997 and was the first project of United Ministries. Earl’s Place provides shelter and supportive service to homeless men who want to change their lives, and is dedicated to changing community attitudes toward the homeless.


Important Worship Committee Meeting This Sunday November 17!  Advent and Christmas planning will be the main agenda item. We will meet in Phil’s office following Sunday worship.

After worship this Sunday, November 17:  Carolyn Ricketts from Neighborhood Sun and members of CUCC’s Green Team will be available to help interested individuals sign up for clean energy. Neighborhood Sun is a community clean energy intermediary: There are no solar panels on your roof and no equipment required. Neighborhood Sun works with BG&E as a supplier of clean energy. If CUCC signs up ten households, then they will contribute $75 for each household ($750) back to our congregation.

Your energy bills may go down. Most importantly, by signing up for clean energy we will be doing more to take care of creation than we were before. If you are a BG&E customer, please bring your bill with you to church on November 17th (paperless customers, simply go to BG&E’s website and print a copy of your most recent bill).

Mother Earth will thank you!


New Volunteer Opportunity! In an effort to reduce the amount of trash that goes to the landfill and with the hope of being more environmentally aware, we are no longer going to use disposable cups, plates, etc., for fellowship time and potlucks. A small core group of folks have already committed to washing any dishes we may use, but we need your help! Be on the lookout for a sign up opportunity to wash dishes for a particular Sunday or event. To date we have not had enough used dishes to warrant the use of the kitchen dishwasher – but if there are, then Phil will be happy to offer a tutorial.



Gratitude is in the air!  Join us after worship on Sunday, November 24th for our Annual thanksgiving Potluck. Sign-up to bring a dish to share, and come as you are for a special time of food and fellowship! Also, we very much need help with setup and cleanup for this event. Questions? Contact Sue Nicholson

Sign Up

Upcoming Events –

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


Christmas is Coming! Did you know that when you shop for the holidays at, AmazonSmile donates to Columbia United Christian Church?


In Our Community –

The Howard County Local Care Team – Resources and Support Services for the Emotional and Behavioral Needs of Children, Youth and Families: The Howard County Local Care Team (LCT) is an inter-agency council designed to provide resources and support to families who need to access services for a child with intensive emotional and behavioral needs. This collaborative effort brings together representatives of several agencies to review a child’s specific needs. They work together with the family to identify programs and services that best serve the child. The primary goal of LCT and its family-focused partners is to help families receive the support and services they need to ensure their children remain in their homes and communities. With the assistance of the Howard County Local Care Team, the overwhelming task of contacting each agency individually is eliminated. Families may also discover they are eligible for services of which they were not aware. For questions or more information, contact Candice Ball at        410 313-6552 or

At Oakland mills Interfaith Center –


  • An Interfaith Thanksgiving Experience, Sunday, November 24 3-4pm:  Enjoy coffee, donuts and an opportunity to share with others some of the things that have brought joy, peace, and love into your life this past year.
  • The Long ShadowSaturday, December 7 at 7pm: “If you want to know the true hidden history of the evil that  slavery cast over America and how it continues to this day, you must watch this movie” Thom Hartmann. See this powerful documentary and discuss it.
  • Visit the African-American Museum in Washington DC,May 2020 exact date and time TBD: Join us for a bus ride from OMI to the museum and several hours of wandering at your own pace once we get there. There are six floors in the museum – you will find much more than you can take in on this one visit! We will provide the bus and ticket to the museum.