2019-2020 Annual Report
Director of Congregational Ministry
Peace Award Winner
Report of the Nominating Committee
2020 – 2021 Leadership for Heights Christian Church
Moderator – Scott Phelps
Vice Moderator – Lynda Ackerman
Secretary – Grace Loudenstein
Treasurer – Mike Singerman
Assistant Treasurer – Neil Chase
Missions Team Leader – Cindy Maxey
*ATL – Nikki Crosby
Education Team Leader – Carolyn Troha
*ATL – Lloyd Ackerman
Worship Team Leader – Donita Singerman
*ATL – Bobbi Phelps
Fellowship Team Leader – Joan Fronck
Administrative Team Leader – Larry Watson
Endowment Team Leader – Neil Chase
* ATL –
Endowment Board Members:
Tom Roberts, Neil Chase (term ending 2021)
Nancy Carpenter, David Blackwell (term ending 2022)
Carl Cormany, David Eggert (term ending 2023)
* Assistant Team Leader
It has been quite a year! It began last summer with a “splash” as we dealt with not one but two floods in various basement areas. On July 28th, 54 years after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke from the porch of HCC, we welcomed well over 100 folks to our third Porch Talk with Rev. Dr. Marvin McMickle as our speaker. In the fall we “resized” our sanctuary and transitioned to a new order of worship that was more inclusive of our children as we “worship and wondered” together. We also continued to expand our reach into the community through various programs (community meal, pub theology, community bible study, etc).
Then came March and the pandemic and everything changed. We quickly scrambled to find a way to do worship online. Many of us became Zoom Meeting experts almost overnight. While much of our direct community outreach came to a screeching halt due to the stay at home order, we opened up our building (and a significant amount of my time) to the Unity in the Community campaign, working with our neighbor churches and volunteers to provide food for community members who already were, or became, food insecure. Beginning in April, this program has continued to grow, and on June 15 we gave out 150 bags of canned and packaged food along with 120 boxes of fresh produce through the USDA’s Farmers to Families program.
Now, as we look to the 2020-2021 program year, we know that many things we took for granted have changed and we will not, and cannot, go back to how things were. While much of our work as a community of faith has become more difficult, the necessity of worshipping online has enabled members who could no longer come to the church building to once again join in our Sunday morning service. The challenge of serving the community ecumenically and finding volunteers outside our own members has been overcome. We have discovered in new and meaningful ways that our building is really not the church. We are the church wherever and however we gather to serve, worship, and carry God’s love out into the world.
As I look forward to the future, I offer my sincere thanks to all of the staff, church leaders, and congregation members who have struggled, persevered, and succeeded in continuing God’s work, through HCC, into the community. It remains one of my deepest joys to be able to serve alongside all of you.
Peace and blessings!
Every year we are faced with challenges as a congregation and body of faith in Christ. The challenges this year have been unusual and, in some ways, more challenging than usual. We are in the midst of a pandemic that I don’t think any of us have had to face in our lifetime. We have had to alter how we worship, greet one another and well, quite frankly how we live. We have experienced a “one hundred year flood” twice in the same year requiring major clean up and repairs, and having impact on some of our programs.
As always, our congregation, ministry teams, staff and minister have with the help of God risen to the challenges, and our church life, while different, continues to be an important part of our life in Christ. With the help of our worship team and ministry staff and a lot of help from technology, we have continued with meetings and doing the work of the church and worship through our connections through Zoom.
We continue to work to support our community, being part of the food distribution process for those in need as we continue to host the Little Food Pantry, provide food from our giving garden, host Community Meals and now in response to the new stressors to those most vulnerable to food security with the pandemic, as a food distribution site.
We continue to be a meeting place and place of business for other brothers and sisters in Christ that use our building to worship affording them a reasonable place to worship. We are the home to other small businesses and groups that fit with our mission and allow them a reasonable place to conduct their business and service.
Perhaps our greatest challenge is how we as a congregation can move forward and best do what God calls us to do in an aging building with decreasing resources. A steering committee has been formed and meetings to see how we define ourselves as a congregation have been held to help direct the path we will take as a body of Christ.
As we have witnessed, change and challenges are inevitable. Changes and challenges provide us with new opportunities. It is how we respond to these opportunities that will, with the help of God, guide us in our direction as a congregation. Our congregation has continued to be a place of Faith, Hope and Love and through the continued dedication of the people of this church and commitment of our leadership we will continue to be a congregation that shares its Faith in God and its Hope and Love with one another, our community and with the world around us.
Scott Phelps, Moderator
Director of Congregational Development
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:19)
A recurring theme this year quickly became “adaptive challenges.” It seems that every time we thought we had something figured out, next thing we know, a curve ball was thrown. As things changed around us, and our awareness of these changes deepened, we all sought firm ground. And things kept changing.
This has been a year of growing into new ministries that been started previously: Community Meals, Bible Studies in coffee shops, Common Ground community conversations, Backpack Blessings, Spiritual Retreats.
And it has been a year of trying even more new things: Porch Talks, Community Conversations on Racial Harmony, Waking Up White book clubs, Community Worship and Witness for Justice, Intergenerational Worship, Children’s Choir, Worship and Wonder in church, Multi-media Christmas Pageant, Community Connection Point gatherings.
January brought realism regarding our financial, membership, and organizational systems. A Steering Committee was formed to consider new ways of being HCC more aligned with our resources and sense of call. Time for serious discernment regarding our missional identity. We saw more than a dozen visitors and newcomers in winter/early spring. Then COVID 19 hit and we were all sent to our homes to shelter in place. Time for more adapting as we learned how to worship and minister together online via Zoom technology. While we long for the day when we can safely gather in the church building for worship, fellowship, education, mission, and administration, we know that it may be a long time (if ever) before we go “back to normal.”
And so we are in a constant state of “adaptive challenge.” With adaptive challenges, we need to learn new skills, view situations in different ways, and totally re-think possible responses. It may require change in values, beliefs, roles, relationships, and approaches. “Solutions” require experiments and new discoveries. This differs from the standard “technical” or superficial fix. Technical times merely address symptoms, not root causes. We use what we already know to “tweak” or “improve” what we’ve already got. But they don’t allow us to respond to the kind of significant change and challenge we face now.
The pandemic has forced us into adaptive change. We are re-evaluating what’s really important to us, personally and as a congregation. We are learning what we can do without, and what is essential. We are learning to listen more deeply, to ourselves, each other, and to God. We measure our options against a new set of rules.
Together we will listen and discern, share and learn. Together we decide and lead, pray and serve. Together as a Christian community and together with God.
God is doing a new thing. God is making a way. Do we perceive it?
Dr. Kate Gillooly
The music ministry at Heights this year has had a challenging season of worship.
The season started as a typical year. The service flow changed to accommodate three songs at the beginning of the service, during which the band (made up of Roger Osgood, Debbie Osgood, and Danielle McDonald) led the congregation in singing and learning new hymns and songs. The month of December, of which was the busiest for the music ministry, features a number of soloists for the Advent season and for Christmas Eve. The pre-service concert presented by the choir, featured “Do You Hear What I Hear?” “Prepare Ye”, “Et in Terra Pax”, “Sure on this Shining Night”-pieces to lead the congregation into the Christmas Eve celebration. And who could forget Danielle McDonald’s amazing solo, “My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord!”
This year also features performances by our children’s choir, led by Ruby Chen on guitar. The group presented songs approximately once a month and the congregation thoroughly enjoyed the children’s participation in worship.
During the Lent season, the Chancel Choir worked on the “Roll Down Justice” series with songs by Mark Miller. However, with the outbreak of the first Covid-19 case in Ohio on March 9th, the church decided to continue worship virtually on Zoom during Lent leading to the Easter season and Pentecost.
Zoom is a platform that allows users to meet and interact, providing the much-needed opportunity for worship and fellowship. However, the Zoom app is devised primarily as a meeting platform and not for music; it automatically categorizes any live music as background noise and suppresses the volume so as to highlight the speaking voice. Despite these challenges, the worship committee decides to continue to use Zoom because of the interactivity it allows our members and worship leaders. To overcome the problems of livestreamed music, the worship team figured it be best to use pre-recorded music during Zoom worship. The instrumental music is pre-recorded by Ying prior the services and then streamed over Zoom via the “share screen” method. Several members of our choir also continue to record virtual ensembles.
To keep everybody safe, we need to maintain physical distance. Unfortunately, this means no shoulder-to-shoulder singing or music-making before the guidelines become clearer.
Dr. Qin Ying Tan
The Elders of Heights Christian Church continued to assist with the pastoral ministry of the Congregation. Elders visited those hospitalized or in nursing homes until the CoronaVirus-19 quarantine went into effect in March. Although care facilities are closed to visitors, we still try to keep in touch by phone and mail.
The eldership continues to be involved with Care Groups providing meals, transportation for medical appointments, and other acts of kindness. Donita Singerman, Jane Troha, and Joan Fronck were on Sabbatical this past year. Elders continue to be involved with our Congregational Developer, Kate Gillooly, on RenewalWorks Projects, providing Prayer Retreats for the Congregation and visitors.
Elders are regularly updated on Care Concerns and the needs of the Congregation. The church has continued worship services via Zoom online meeting communication services, and the Elders continue to provide active participation in the worship services.
Members of the Eldership have been very generous in sharing their time and resources with those in need. We continue to keep our members and friends in our prayers.
Valencia McMillan, Chair
Our church fiscal year runs on the calendar year (January 1 through December 31) while the program year is a July 1 through June 30 year. This report focuses on the 2019 fiscal year.
Checking Account Balance 12/31/2019 $ 21,921.44
General fund contributions and facilities income, transfers from savings for gift card profits and other approved needs. Un-cashed checks are not deducted from this balance.
Savings Account Balance 12/31/2019 $ 7,697.46
These funds include memorial accounts, outreach, gift card purchases, elder funds, outreach receipts and other special and recurring collections. Borrowing and transfers between accounts are not reflected. Gift Card inventory is not included.
Mission Account Balance 12/31/2019 $ 5,445.54
This account is focused on Campbell Court funds received from our Christian Church Foundation investment accounts to be used for mission activities approved by the Board of Trustees. Borrowing and transfers between accounts are not reflected.
2019 2018 2017
Income $ 251,802 $ 253,570 $ 267,232
Giving Income $ 140,371 $ 143,944 $ 150,006
Endowment Draw $ 14,400 $ 16,500 $ 18,000
Mission Reimbursement $ 47,946 $ 46,446 $ 45,727
Building Use $ 37,161 $ 36,097 $ 45,925 Fund Raising/Other $ 11,924 $ 10,583 $ 7,574
Expenses $ 265,997 $ 260,727 $ 257,620 Program Ministries $ 13,350 $ 15,875 $ 15,812 Property and Office $ 62,464 $ 55,832 $ 48,931 Administration $ 190,193 $ 189,020 $ 192,877
Surplus/(Deficit) ($ 14,195) ($ 7,157) $ 9,612
Pledges Received for 2020
44 pledges received – Same as in 2019
$ 127,200 Pledged – $1,064 more than 2019 adjusted values
Your support of Heights Christian Church allows us to serve this community and the world. Thank You!
Mike Singerman, Treasurer
Below is a summary of the Heights Christian Church endowment funds. The funds are held by two organizations. The first is the Christian Church Foundation an arm of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). These are permanent funds used for mission purposes and Campbell Court. The Hayward, Carpenter and Kimball funds are used on a discretional basis. The HCC Mission fund is used by approved requests and the HCC Campbell Court fund is used only for Campbell Court in consultation with their board. Only the earnings of these funds are used. The Christian Church Foundation (CFF) maintains five investment funds overseen by an independent Investment Advisory Board. The Heights Christian Church uses two of the funds, both of which are not aggressive or too conservative. The funds have weathered the current market volatility fairly well doing better than the S & P 500.
The second group of funds is invested with Key Bank. These funds are used for ongoing needs as defined for each fund. All of the funds are short term in nature, either to be used in the near future (Capital Needs), to be used by outside groups for capital needs (Tithing Reserve) or to be eventually moved to the permanent CFF funds (Mission Reserve).
SUMMARY OF ENDOWMENT FUNDS
Fund Year Amount Balance
CHRISTIAN CHURCH FOUNDATION as of April 30, 2020
1 George C. Hayward 2000 $6,118 $4,894
2 David L. Carpenter 2000 $12,190 $9,751
3 HCC Mission 2015 $497,963 $449,492
4 HCC Campbell Court 2015 $20,147 $18,219
5 Kimball Family 2017 – 2020 $13,000 $12,299
TOTAL CFF $569,551 $512,874
KEY BANK as of April 30, 2020
1 Capital Needs 2015 $189,426 $43,037
2 Mission Reserve 2015 $221,118 $144,249
3 Tithing Reserve 2015 $23,547 $7,771
5 Original Endowment – – $38,647
TOTAL KEY BANK $504,091 $233,704
TOTAL ENDOWMENT $746,578
Neil Chase, Endowment Board Chairperson
Administration Ministry responsibilities were shared this year. Jim Nicks chaired the Property Committee (report below) and represented the Administration Ministry on the Church Board. Stewardship was planned by Scott Phelps, Kate Gillooly, and Pastor Roger. The Finance Committee consisted of Scott Phelps, Lynda Ackerman, Neil Chase, Valencia McMillan, Larry Watson and Pastor Roger. A deficit budget was submitted to the Trustees along with a recommendation that 2020 be a time of congregational decision making on the future direction of Heights Christian Church. The Board created a steering committee to develop a plan for HCC in consultation with the congregation that would be presented to the Board by November 2020.
Property Committee and Thrift Shop
Property Committee serves as an adviser for the church custodian and trustees. We also organize a spring and fall volunteer work day. Last year our property committee chairman was also the manager of our church Thrift Shop. Want to learn how to maintain a church building or work in a thrift Shop? Join the property committee. We need volunteers.
Last summer we had some major downstairs flooding that resulted in $30,000 worth of repair work. However, our basement rooms are now the cleanest in twenty years. We also spent on heating and electrical upgrades. We currently have contracts out for repair of front entrance columns, handrails, and Daleford Road roof and fascia problems.
Our Thrift Shop is located in the basement beside our driveway door on Winslow Road. If you have not seen it, you should. The hours are 10 am to 4 pm, Fridays and Saturdays. We carry apparel, glassware, ceramics, books, games, art work, lamps, and small appliances. Our Thrift Shop is all volunteer staff and all donated items. Money goes to the church. Last year we sold $10,000. This year we sold $2000 before closing in March. We hope to open this summer.
It has been a very busy and uniquely challenging year for the Worship Ministry Team. What began as a typical year of planning and implementing worship for the congregation ended with an international pandemic requiring moving worship out of the sanctuary and onto a virtual platform. The Worship Ministry Team managed the transition responsibly and effectively with major thanks to Pastor Roger Osgood, Dr. Kate Gillooly and Dr. Qin Ying Tan. It is anticipated that worship will continue on a virtual platform for the foreseeable future, certainly throughout the summer of 2020 and probably throughout the fall, also.
Highlights of this year’s work include:
- Reconfiguration of the sanctuary to create a “right-sized” worship space (including removal of pews, installation of rugs at rear of sanctuary, respacing of remaining pews)
- Adopting new order of worship to better accommodate intergenerational worship (including three songs at opening of worship, continued use of Worship and Wonder for children and congregation, adding children’s “feast” to communion celebration)
- September worship focused on Creation and Caretakers
- Theme for the year became Micah’s scripture “Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with God”. October worship centered on the “Do Justice” theme. New banners for the sanctuary were created by Donita Singerman for each section of the scripture focus.
- October worship also included preparation and decoration of communion table for World Communion Sunday featuring a newly made cross of flags from around the world (thanks to Donita Singerman!). In October we also celebrated Children’s Sabbath reflecting a theme of Uniting Hearts and Voices to End Child Poverty. The Worship Team also organized and implemented a small celebration of HCC’s 90th anniversary.
- November worship’s theme was “Blessings” and included the Stewardship emphasis.
- The Worship Ministry Team Leader and Assistant Leader cleaned, sorted, discarded and replaced a number of holiday decorations in the sanctuary balcony closet and planned and executed the decoration of the sanctuary and Campbell Room for the Advent and Christmas season. Poinsettias were ordered and displayed. They also removed and stored the decorations.
- Advent worship utilized materials from A Sanctified Art around the theme “What Can’t Wait”.
- January’s worship theme centered on scripture passages from Isaiah.
- February’s worship theme continued with “Love Mercy” from the Micah scripture.
- The Worship Team planned and executed the Ash Wednesday dinner and worship service, inviting Disciples Christian Church to join us.
- Lent planning involved use of another set of materials from A Sanctified Art with the theme “Roll Down Justice”. The Worship Team planned and built a fabric waterfall installation in the sanctuary. Worship was cancelled March 15th due to the pandemic. From that date to the end of the program year worship occurred virtually. Plans for the Maundy Thursday dinner were cancelled. Maundy Thursday and Easter worship was modified to fit the virtual platform.
- May’s worship theme was “Straight from the Heart”, specifically prepared for on-line worship. Pentecost worship was modified to fit a virtual platform.
- June’s worship theme was the third portion of the Micah scripture, “Walk Humbly with God”.
Thank you to the members of the Worship Team who served during the past year: Donita Singerman (Assistant Team Leader), Dr. Kate Gillooly, Dr. Qin Ying Tan, and Pastor Roger Osgood.
Thank you to our Diaconate Captains: Don Troha, Val McMillan, Larry Watson and Annette Sutherland and to all the members of the Diaconate who so faithfully assisted us in worship: Alicia Benson, Nancy Carpenter, Connee Choi, Chris Crosby, Avery Dunn, Claire Dunn, Thomas Dunn, Madison Durham, John Ellis, Freddie Holman, Sandy Jones, Cindy Maxey, Jim Nicks, Amber Sharpley, Kimberly Taylor, Carolyn Troha, Anita Watson and Ratt Woods.
Thanks to Liturgists Nikki Crosby, Jim Donald, Linda Durham, David Eggert, Kris Eggert, Joan Fronck, Kate Gillooly, Andrena Jones-Sharp, Cindy Maxey, Michele Moreland, Bobbi Phelps, Scott Phelps, Donita Singerman, Mike Singerman, Annette Sutherland, Carolyn Troha, Jane Troha and Larry Watson.
Thanks to Greeters Lynda Ackerman, Lloyd Ackerman, Alicia Benson, Nancy Carpenter, Florence Chase, Neil Chase, Connee Choi, Madison Durham, Cindy Maxey, Karen McKeehan, Val, McMillan, Michele Moreland, Jim Nicks, Rosalind Powell, Amber Sharpley, Mike Singerman, Kimberly Taylor, Anita Watson, Larry Watson and Ratt Woods.
Thanks to Pastor Roger, Dr. Kate and Carolyn Troha for conducting Worship and Wonder and Children’s Moments for the youngest of our congregation.
Thanks to Ratt Woods for keeping the red pads in order and keeping supplies in the pews.
Thanks to Val McMillan for creating colorful stoles for the choir.
Thanks to Donita Singerman for helping to create beautiful and meaningful space in which to worship on several Sundays.
Worship Team Ministry
• Held BackPack Blessing in August outside on front lawn after worship and served ice cream afterwards.
• Used curriculum specifically written for Creation Care during September.
• Second Hour classes continued, including a series called Transformed by Love, another with videos of Diana Butler Bass on her new book Gratitude, one on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, and one written by Kate Gillooly on Change, Fear and Faith.
• Continued MidWeek Bible Study (first at 3-19 Coffee shop, and then via Zoom): Psalms, Jonah, Ruth, the Gospel according to John, and now the Gospel according to Matthew.
• The children did Souper Bowl on Super Bowl Sunday in February and raised $251 to donate to a non-profit called Stone Soup that collects excess from restaurants to donate to food banks.
• We switched to a new format for children by incorporating them into the adult service. through a program called Intergenerational Worship, starting in November 2019.
• We continued Worship and Wonder through the amazing dedication of Carolyn Troha.
• Carolyn Troha and Connee Choi organized the Chalk the Walks event with children despite the pandemic and stay-at-home policies.
• Most gatherings have been cancelled due to the pandemic but worship and Bible study continues through virtual meetings.
Education Team Leader
The 2019-2020 year has seen many changes from previous years. Missions was not only impacted by the Covid-19 virus but the decision by several committees listed under Missions chose for various reasons to terminate their services. The Peace and Justice Committee decided to end its efforts after an event which serviced the community during the MLK celebration. This was related to many activities related to the same missions were put in place through other groups in the church. The Christian Women’s Fellowship Committee was re-organized to an Advisory Board. Therefore, monthly potluck gatherings were terminated.
Outreach Committee – This committee chose to review grant application in September and March of the church calendar year. Funds for this committee is 4% of the church’s overall budget contributions. Several applications were reviewed and approved when the request met the criteria outlined by the Outreach Committee. If you know of a community organization in need of some financial support, the application can be found on the church’s website. Many of the applicants have been sponsored by Outreach for several years.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, some of the usual applicants have chosen not to apply in order to follow the CDC guidelines related to gatherings. Many gifts were collected for the Family Promise holiday shop. You generously shared through your giving to those less fortunate than yourself. Freddie Holman, chair. Committee members: Joan Fronck, Bobbi Phelps, Linda Durham, Connee Choi, Andrena Jones-Sharp.
Green Chalice – another successful 100 mile potluck took place in September 2019. Debbie Osgood, chair.
Christian Women’s Fellowship (CWF) – Although it functions independently, the Thrift Shop operates under the auspices of CWF. The primary source of income for CWF is the Thrift Shop. Half of its proceeds are given to the church for operating income. The other half is spent as decisions are made for grants, camp scholarships, and special projects. Jim Nicks has assumed the leadership role of the Thrift Shop. He along with church volunteers did a wonderful job up to March 2020 when the virus caused the church to close the building. The Advisory Board provided funding for some grants this past year for needed items/services at the church; a few grant requests supplemented for Outreach; and five $20 gift cards for Family Promise families. Our own Kese Webb designed beautiful cards which were present prior to the Christmas holidays. The expiration date was April 25, 2020. Because of the virus, CWF may consider to re-issue where needed. Advisory Board members: Martha Cubberley, Donita Singerman, Sylvia Farley, Connee Choi, Del Bigham, Andrena Jones-Sharp.
Gardens – Last year the Community gardens continued as in the past with neighborhood residents and church members purchasing plots. The gardening resumed this year. The Giving Garden in the back of the church was and is being tended by a Campbell Court resident. He provided some of his harvest to the church and to his fellow Campbell Court residents. For more information about the Community garden plots contact Michael Droszcz, chair.
Community Meals – This community outreach service continued in the fall of 2019 after getting its start in February 2019. Added to the implementation of the Community Meal was connecting to the Food Bank. Doing this helped to lower the cost of the food purchases which were funded through our Hunger Fund. What better way to use this funding. Prior to the actual use of the food three people attended a training session with one receiving certification for food handling. This outreach mission served between 32 and 60 people throughout the fall and early winter. Because of the Covid virus its doors were closed in accordance with the church’s shutdown. We expect to resume service as soon as the church feels it is safe to open its doors. Community Meals team: Roger Osgood, Kate Gillooly, Andrena Jones-Sharp, and Nikki Cosby.
Campbell Court – Again the Thanksgiving Dinner for Campbell Court was successful. Val McMillian and several church volunteers provided a meal for residents. Val McMillian and Joan Fronck, co-chairs.
Donations for specific items needed will be collected for Family Promise families in upcoming months.
Andrena Jones-Sharp, Missions Team Leader
2020 Peace Award Winner – Daniel Farkas
Daniel Farkas has always been someone who recognizes and stands up for the dignity and equal rights and protection of everyone. He believes everyone should be recognized and appreciated and should be given equal opportunities to succeed. He has actively participated in school events to stand up against racism. He was one of many individuals who participated in the school sit-in to support equal education opportunities for all races. He also participated in the school walk-out to show support for the Parkland school shooting victims. He has volunteered as a vacation bible school counselor at his church, teaching younger children God’s message to be kind and generous and promoting the fair and equal treatment of all. Daniel has also previously served as a station leader for Breathe Respite, a program designed to entertain children with disabilities and their siblings for an evening, playing basketball with them or helping them make arts and crafts, to give their parents a night off. Daniel is also a person who is willing to try new things even though he might have been the minority in the group. Traditionally in Shaker, there has not been a lot of racial diversity in sports. Daniel was part of an effort to encourage diversity among student athletes. He played football senior year, where he was only one of few white players on the team. It was a tremendous experience, learning how to cooperate with and learn from people with different personalities, perspectives and backgrounds. Daniel is a person who learns from every new experience he has. He has learned through his experiences how to treat people better and how to make sure everyone is treated the same.
Daniel was bullied a lot when he was younger due to his weight. He now takes an active role against bullying, speaking out against it, stepping in whenever he sees someone being made fun of to step in and telling the person to knock it off. He also talks to kids who have been bullied and lets them know how special they are.
Daniel has fought for political justice by advocating for the passage of Issue 26 in Cleveland Heights. Prior to the passage of Issue 26, citizens did not directly elect their mayor. Daniel handed out flyers and canvassed neighborhoods advocating for the passage of this bill which he felt strongly about to allow more political freedom for the people of Cleveland Heights by directly electing a mayor.
Even though Daniel identifies as a Christian he is also active in the Jewish community and believes in religious tolerance and appreciation of all faiths. When he was younger, he attended camps and after school events sponsored by the Jewish Community Center. He is a member of the BBYO organization and participates in the Cleveland Jewish Basketball League. Daniel believes that there is nothing more important in this world than making sure everyone feels safe, valued, and has an equal opportunity to take advantage of all life has to offer. He hopes to continue to demonstrate that principle though his words and actions.
Last fall, the RenewalWorks team coordinated a Fall Spiritual Retreat for HCC members and friends. On November 2, we gathered at church for a morning of prayer and reflection, in community and individually. Our focus was “Count Your Blessings, Be a Blessing.” As part of our morning, we were blessed by a presentation by the Rev. Francis Miller, a pastor from Lyndhurst Presbyterian Church, and colleague of Rosalind Powell. He shared his thoughts on sabbath-keeping, as well as his work in founding a faith-based school in Liberia. We were blessed to meet him and hear his story, and were pleased to take a motion to the Board of Trustees to make a contribution to his school from HCC”s Tithing Reserve Fund (designated to go to projects outside HCC, especially capital development projects). All who participated in the day felt blessed to be a blessing to others.
Our Good Friday Prayer Vigil had to move to remote participation with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We provided scripture, prayers and suggestions for people to observe a time of prayer between the hours of noon – 3:00 pm on Good Friday.
Once we got through Easter and got used to working via Zoom, we began to plan in earnest. We have just completed or launched 5 projects.
- Graduate Recognition – thanks to Val and Lynda, we were able to include personalized articles about our high school and college graduates, as well as naming them during announcements in worship. They are: Alicia Benson, from Shaker Heights High School; Avery Dunn from Shaker Heights High School; Aliyah Benson, from Hiram College; and Canyon McWilliams, from Ohio Wesleyan. Congratulations to these fine scholars!
- Chalk the Walks – in order to provide a safe and fun activity for our children and youth and to offer message of hope to the community, we invited families to Chalk the Walks of HCC grounds on 6/20. Coordinated by Carolyn Troha and Connee Choi, we enjoyed a beautiful day, some physically-distanced social time, snacks, and bubbles. We hope to do it again later in the summer.
- Hearts Together in Prayer – we are piloting a daytime and an evening prayer time online. We have tried one session at each time and the response has been positive. We plan to offer each time slot every other week, with a standard format and rotating leadership. Please contact Val McMillan if you would like to join a group.
- Prayer Walk – we have developed 5 prayer stations around the church property, with themes and sample prayers at each. Stakes are posted at each, with a sign, map, prayers, and ribbons. HCC members and the community are invited to come over and pray at one or all of the stations. They include: Labyrinth (Meditative Prayer), Peace Garden (Prayers for Peace), Front of Church (Prayers for the World), Porch (Prayers for Racial Justice), and the Little Free Pantry (Prayers for Social Justice). A welcome sign with an invitation and instructions is posted by the church sign in the front. We are pleased to make our grounds available to the neighborhood even as our building remains closed.
- Signs of Hope – We wanted to do something similar to St. Dominic’s Church and offer yard signs for the church yard as well as members homes. We focused our words on the words from Micah 6:8 – “Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly with God.” These signs are now available for members to have in their own yards. We suggest a contribution (via check mailed to church or paid online on our website) to cover the costs ($10 each). We will display several along the church property as well. We look forward to seeing them all over Shaker, and beyond!
The RenewalWorks Team thanks you for your support and participation, and welcomes suggestions for future projects that will provide spiritual nurture for our congregation.
~Lynda Ackerman, Kate Gillooly, Val McMillan, Rosalind Powell, Jane Troha