Reaching Heights March 2023

Heights Christian Church Icon of Two Followers Lifting a CrossReaching Heights March 2023

Links to this month’s news:


  • Worship in March
  • Salt + Light
  • Chili Cook Off March 5


  • Kate’s Cogitations


  • Education Ministry
  • Sunday Morning Lenten Study
  • MidWeek Lenten Bible Study
  • Mission Ministry
  • Help with Community Engagement


  • CEIRS Retreats
  • Book Group and Meditative Arts Group
  • One Community Reads
  • Gift Cards 
  • Social Media
  • Birthdays

See the Serving Schedule

  Worship and study


Worship in March

During Lent we are using materials from A Sanctified Art to explore the theme of Seeking. The stories we hear come from the assigned passages in the Revised Common Lectionary and tell of Jesus encountering people who are seeking. Much of the dialogue includes questions asked back and for between the characters and Jesus. Often an unveiling occurs – assumptions are disrupted, a new perspective is revealed, mystery grows. This Lent, you are invited to engage in the spiritual practice of seeking. May we all be drawn more deeply into the fullness of life and into the heart of God.

March 5 The Second Sunday in Lent
Seeking: How Do We Begin Again?   John 3:1-17

March 12 The Third Sunday in Lent
Seeking: Will You Give Me a Drink?  John 4:5-42

March 19 The Fourth Sunday in Lent
Seeking: Who Sinned? John 9:8-41  (+Milestone Moments)

March 26 The Fifth Sunday in Lent
Seeking: Can These Bones Live? John 11:1-45 (+Minute for Mission)

Lent Bags have been prepared for families to enjoy at home. These include story kits for re-telling each week’s Gospel passage, as well as instructions and supplies for games and activities. Please pick yours up in the Narthex (just outside the Chapel).


Salt and Light

“You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world…Let your light shine before people so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.”                         ~from Matthew chapter 5

In February Rev. Roger Osgood preached on this section of the Sermon on the Mount. In his message he affirmed the good works that members of the congregation do on a regular basis. He challenged people to take note of when they have been “salt and light” and to share that information with Dr. Kate. A few people did so, sharing times when the Hearts Together in Prayer group members have shown compassion, encouragement and humor, and helped people look on the bright side and feel supported no matter what was going on in their lives. Others told of their habit of speaking kindly to store employees, getting to know them by name and being greeted upon entering the store each time. Some took the opportunity to praise the acts of others who have visited homebound members faithfully over extended periods of time. A few confessed that they strive for justice in even the smallest of encounters or purchases.

It can be uncomfortable to share when we have done something good – we feel as if we are boasting or prideful. But even hearing about other people being salt and light can brighten our day, remind us of the power of kindness, and motivate us both to praise God and to act in kind. Let’s all keep being salt and light in the world, and practice sharing our examples with others, so they can see the good things we do and praise God.


Chili Cook Off March 5 

Members of Heights Christian Church and Plymouth Church…

You Are Invited!

Join us for a Chili Cook Off

Sunday, March 5, 2023 – following worship in the Fellowship Hall

Our two congregations will gather to enjoy good food, good fellowship and some spicy competition.

Who will be the 2023 Chili Champ?

We have some fantastic celebrity judges lined up!


From the staff


Kate’s Cogitations

This Lent our theme is “Seeking: Honest Questions for a Deeper Faith.”

Some of us may have been brought up to believe that we are not supposed to ask questions about God or the Bible or Church or Faith. We may think that we are not supposed to doubt, we are simply to believe. In our modern (post-Enlightenment) world, we have come to understand “belief” as principally a mental-intellectual pursuit – to believe is to be convinced that something is factually true, historical and provable. But in fact, ancient understandings and translations of “believe” are much more intuitive. We might say instead, “I set my heart upon this,” or “I trust in this.”

As Anne Lamott reminds us,
The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns. Faith also means reaching deeply within, for the sense one was born with, the sense, for example, to go for a walk.

Like the characters in the stories we will hear in worship, we, too, can ask questions about faith. Asking questions can be an important part of developing our faith life and growing closer to God. As the introduction to the Sanctified Art material tells us, our questions won’t necessarily lead to answers, but they can help us find clarity and a new perspective. Ultimately we hope they lead to new beginnings, restoration, and a wider grace. Welcome to a season of Seeking!

In peace,

In Memoriam – James E. Perdue 

Jim passed away February 26 after some time in and out of the hospital, and a week in hospice care. He had many regular visitors over the past several years, including our own Andrena, Larry, and Sylvia, who for cared for him in many ways. He celebrated his 98th birthday on February 17, and received many visitors on that day. A service of thanksgiving for his life will be held Friday, March 3 at 11:00 am at Brown-Forward Funeral Home. It will also be live-streamed on Brown-Forward’s website. Please keep his extended family in your prayers.  Those who wish may make contributions in his name may do so to Heights Christian Church.

Grant to Jim eternal rest. Let light perpetual shine upon him. 

            May his soul and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. 




Intergenerational Board Games + Lunch

Come join the Education Ministry Team for lunch and board games! On March 19, bring a packed lunch and any board games you like to play and share in some fellowship and fun. We’ll have lots of games to share and are planning to  have fun for all ages. If you have any questions please reach out to Carolyn Troha.

Sunday morning Lenten Study
“How to be an Anti-Racist” by Ibram X. Kendi
9:30 – 10:30 am in the Chapel and on Zoom  February 26 – April 2.
Facilitated by Cindy Maxey and Carolyn Troha

Antiracism is a transformative concept that reorients and reenergizes the conversation about racism – and, even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. In How to Be an Antiracist, This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society.

Lent is a time for reflection, repentance, and reconciliation and a fitting season for this kind of study. HCC has been a leader for racial justice, and we hope this work will continue to be a cornerstone of our common mission. Please plan to join us. Individual purchase of the book is not necessary, but highly recommended. In order to finish by Easter, we will discuss 3 chapters per week.

Feb. 26  Chapters 1-3

Mar. 5     Chapters 4-6

Mar. 12    Chapters 7-9

Mar. 19   Chapters 10-12

Mar. 26   Chapters 13-15

Apr. 2     Chapters 16-18

MidWeek Lenten Study
Tuesdays at 1 pm beginning February 21 and concluding April 11
Led by Valencia McMillan on Zoom

Using the book “Meeting Jesus at the Table, “ by Cynthia M. Campbell and Christine Coy Fohr, we will examine 8 stories about meals Jesus shared with his followers, and explore whom we might invite to Sunday dinner and who is left out and left behind in our culture today. While buying the book is not required for participation, you may wish to have your own copy. It will be helpful to read the scripture passage before each session.

Sessions are as follows:

Feb. 21          1.   Dining Alfresco  (Feeding the Multitude)
Mark 6: 30-44

Feb. 28        2.   The Welcome Table: He Eats with Tax Collectors and Sinners!
Matthew 9: 9-13

Mar 7           3.   Surprised by Grace  (Dinner Interrupted)
Luke 7: 36-50

Mar 14         4.   Relationships and Reciprocity  (Making Room at the Table)
Luke 14: 7-14

Mar 21         5.   Excuses and Invitations  (Empty Chairs at the Table)
Luke 14: 15-24

Mar 28        6.   Hospitality and Discipleship  (A Meal with Chosen Family)
John 12: 1-8

Apr 4            7.   A Meal of Memories: Not the Last Supper
Matthew 26: 17-30

Apr 11           8.   Easter: Revived By the Breaking of Bread
Luke 24: 13-35

Missions Ministry

Wall of Love – Our area weather has been on a roller coaster ride. Some say that winter isn’t over yet. Lomond children/families have sent gratitude for our donations this year. This is our last month for donations. Miss Billie feels the items will be used and she thinks that more winter weather is coming. After all, we live in Ohio. We are hoping to continue our partnership with Lomond children/families in the Fall of 2023.. The tub will remain in the Narthex for collections of socks, mittens, gloves, scarves, hats until March 26th. She reported that often families are homeless and adults are in need of items as well. She noted adult socks are also welcomed.

Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries – an area in the Narthex for collection of unused Christmas cards and leftover yarn remains in place. Connee Choi has put a sign on the box next to her egg carton collection. These items are being collected. There is a project at the Grafton Correctional Institute with the inmates where these items are used and donated to community programs. Don’t you think this is a constructive way for the inmates to use their time ie using their talents and giving to others?

Partnering with Plymouth. On Wednesday, February 15th, there was an invitation from Paul Qua at Plymouth UCC to join him and other members for their monthly volunteering at the Cleveland Food Bank.  Andrena Jones-Sharp, joined them. The experience was rewarding and not as difficult as I had anticipated. Volunteers included Plymouth and several others. We packed approximately 22,000 pounds of food for seniors. If you might be interested, please contact Paul at: to volunteer on March 14th and/or 15th from 6-8pm at the newly opened Food Bank. Remember: The Little Free Pantry is located off church parking lot where donations of non-perishables may be placed.

Disciples in Action – Heights Christian’s Missions Ministry team has accepted an invitation to join with other Disciples across the area as we LAUNCH INTO LENT! Each Sunday throughout Lent we will be collecting donations to help the needs of refugee families in the Cleveland area. A tub will be located in the Narthex for donations. Then we will join the other churches for a celebration on Saturday, April 22 10am-noon at the Disciples Christian Church for a time of celebrating and connecting (and of course eating!) with other Disciples to sort all of the items collected. More details will have been provided and will continue to be found in our weekly news update. This is a chance to do more than give money as good stewards but to give of our time. It also gives us a chance to mingle with and get know other Disciples in the area.

These items should be new or gently used. Our focus is on dignity. All of these items are needed, the bolded ones are the most urgent needs which we are almost entirely out of.

  • Kitchen: can openers, cutting boards, mixing bowls, flatware trays,  glasses, cups,  oven mitts,  pots and pans
  • Bedroom: blankets, sheet sets, throws
  • Bathroom: heavy shower liners, shower rings, 
  • Cleaning: brooms, dustpans, mops, buckets,trash cans, Vacuums
  • Laundry: baskets, detergent
  • Household Items: Lamps,Rugs
  • Appliances: tea kettle (stovetop and electric), microwave ovens, coffee pots
  • Paper products:
  • Toiletries: shampoo, conditioner, body wash
  • Baby:shampoo, baby lotion, Pack-n-Play cribs and sheets
  • Children: books that teach the alphabet and early math skills, soccer balls, baby dolls with all skin colors, backpacks with school supplies 
  • Electronics: televisions, sewing machines
  • Visa Gift Cards for Groceries ($25 or more) – Marc’s, Walmart, Save-A-Lot

Get To Know Your New State Officials – local newly elected State officials will meet Heights area constituents on March 2nd 7:15pm at Cleveland Heights-University Heights High School cafeteria 13263 Cedar Road (enter from the east side of the building). Official representatives for Districts 22, 23, and 10. (information from League of Women Voters February news letter)

Alert about changes for voting in Ohio – In early January Governor Dewine signed House Bill 458. This law changed many ways our elections run in Ohio which presents barriers for many. As more is learned our Missions Ministry team will provide information about options are available to help those most impacted by the changes. In the meantime you are encouraged to go to to get information about what you should know about upcoming election in May. For May 2nd election absentee ballot applications must be received by April 25th at 8:30pm by Board of Elections.

Remember: Neighbor Night March 28th at Stephanie Tubbs Jones building 6-7:45. There is an invitation to join every last Tuesday for neighborly conversation and a small bite to eat.

Do you know the number of egg cartons Connee Choi has collected? This is due to your ongoing generosity along with various community residents who know about her practice of helping others. Is it 5,000, 6,500, or 8,999? Tell Connee what you think or know.

Words/phrases to keep in mind as we continue on our journey: community engagement, partnerships, new opportunities, “break bread together.”

Your help is needed with community engagement!

Having a presence at community meetings is really important for HCC. We are committed to increased community engagement in many forms, and we believe there is power in partnerships. We will be able to make a greater difference in our community if we collaborate with others – individuals, other churches, neighborhood associations, and agencies, organizations and businesses. This remains part of our Visioning Team work.

We are exploring new ways of being church. One of the ways to discover new opportunities is by being out in the community more, increased presence in secular neighborhood events, and collaboration with a wide variety of partners. You can be a part of this work by attending meetings, chatting with neighbors and friends about the needs of the community and what is important to them, and discovering opportunities for us to work with others for the common good.

Even though many of these events and connections are in Shaker, you do not need to be a Shaker resident to represent HCC at community meetings. And we are hoping to extend our reach into other parts of greater Cleveland and beyond. So if you hear of a need that you think HCC can help with, or you have a connection that might present a possibility for partnership, follow that lead and invite others into the fun! Who can imagine what might be in store for us! God IS doing a new thing!





Cleveland Museum of Art Lenten Retreat
Rev. Lydia Bailey

Saturday, March 18, 2023
10:15 to 2:00 p.m.

Cost: $55 (includes parking)

Cleveland Museum of Art
Back by popular demand! This retreat is semi-self-directed involving the participant’s reflection on a single piece of art. Rev. Lydia Bailey will prepare participants for choosing a piece of art for personal reflection. As retreat leader she describes, “The art one settles on can speak to us spiritually without having a conventional religious subject. It can be an icon that serves as a window into God.” The museum opens at 10:00 a.m. and the retreat will convene under the bamboo trees in the Atrium shortly thereafter. We will break for lunch; participants are invited to bring lunch or dine at the museum café.

Walking in Wonder: Praying with the Celts

Wayne Simisic, M.A.
One Day Retreat Saturday March 25, 2023
9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (please bring a bag lunch) $60.00
Church of the Gesu, McCauley Hall
2470 Mirimar Blvd., Cleveland Hts., OH 44118

Any deep dive into Celtic spirituality will emerge with the following practices:
a sense of wonder and awe toward creation; solitude and silence; inner/outer pilgrimage; sacred landscapes; soul friendship; the depth dimension of each moment; thin places; and kinship with Jesus.  These practices are not only avenues for prayer but an introduction into the rhythms of a prayerful life.  This retreat, then, is an invitation to step aside and immerse ourselves in the spiritual practices of the Celts as a path of prayer that will nourish and bless our daily lives.

Book Group

We meet the first Wednesday of each month at 1:00 at Plymouth Church in Room 102.  The book selected for April is The Library Book by Susan Orlean. Our next meeting will be April 5th .  Hope to see you then.  (Come, even if you haven’t read the book and enjoy the discussion.)  Contact Nancy Carpenter for more information and for questions.

Meditative Art Group

We meet the second Wednesday of each month at 1:00-3:00 at Plymouth Church in the Atrium. We will provide projects or you can bring your own.  Everyone is invited to color, doodle, draw, paint, knit, sew – whatever fits your interest and provides soothing quiet for you. We will gather with fellowship, then listen to calm, soothing music in the Atrium.
So break out your pens, crayons, colored pencils, knitting needles and join us! It should be a lovely respite each month! Hope to see you then!

With Shaker Public Library “One Community Reads”

One Community Reads book: “The Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City” by Andrea Elliott.
  • Wednesday March 8th – 7:00 – 8:30pm:  Community Conversation about Poverty in Shaker Heights @ Shaker Library with special guests Josiah Quarles from the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH), Heather Pederson of Edwins Leadership Institute, Annette Armistadi the social worker in the City of Shaker, Keith Langford of Shaker Schools Family and Community Engagement, Karen McHenry of Bellefaire JCB, Felicia Perry of Family Promise, and researcher Dr. Francisca Richter of Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). Come join the conversation. 
  • Saturday March 25th – 11am – 2pm: Community Resource Fair @ Shaker Library with 20+ resource partner organizations including the Cleveland Foodbank, PCs for People, Ohio Means Jobs, The Gathering Place, Tri-C, Shoes and Clothes for Kids, Seeds of Literacy, Family Connections, and many more!
  • also a City Club event Monday, March 6 at 7 pm at Playhouse Square. The author of Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival and Hope in an American City, will present a free public program. Registration is required. This event will be live-streamed at

Gift Cards

Remember gift cards are available on Sunday mornings and in the office every weekday during normal office hours.

Social Media outreach

HCC is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and You-Tube! If you see something you like, share it on your page! This will increase our reach and may draw in our next visitor!





1      Victor Mullen         3      Avery Dunn

5     Neil Chase              9      Jani McWilliams

12    Vel Scott               15     Michele Moreland

16    Danielle McDonald           18     Nikki Crosby

20    Daniel Chase       24   Kese Webb

30    Jane Troha


8       Elee Hendon        9       Shirley Blackwell

23     Bobbi Phelps     28      Bill Dunn

We are glad to share the birthdays we have on record each month and encourage members to reach out with greetings. We apologize if someone’s name has been omitted – please call Kese in the church office to share your birthday if we don’t have it in our list. We want to celebrate you!