Reaching Heights January 2024

Heights Christian Church Icon of Two Followers Lifting a CrossReaching Heights January 2024

Links to this month’s news:


  • Worship


  • Kate’s Cogitations
  • Listening and Partnering Together


  • Education
  • Mission Ministry
  • Fellowship
  • Community Engagement Opportunities


  • Wednesday’s Together
  • Book Group and Meditative Arts Group
  • Gift Cards
  • Social Media
  • Birthdays

See the Serving Schedule

Worship Themes for January 2024


January 7
   Epiphany         Matthew 2:1-12
          We Look for Signs
We know what it feels like to look for God, to turn our heads up to the sky, looking for stars, listening for a voice. We are hoping for a glimpse of God that might carry us through. The good news is that God is already here, inviting us forward.

January 14  Baptism of Jesus          Luke 3: 21-22
          We Trust Our Belovedness 
We began our series by acknowledging our weariness and we conclude with trusting our belovedness; ultimately, our joy is rooted in the fact that we belong to God. When we trust our belovedness, we have endless reasons to rejoice.

January 21  3rd Sunday after Epiphany      Mark 1:14-20
           Here Comes God’s Kin-dom!
As Jesus begins his public ministry, he announces that God is near and invites people to follow him – in a life of discipleship and service.

January 28  4th Sunday after Epiphany      Mark 1:21-28
           Amazing Teaching as One with Authority
Jesus taught in the synagogues and healed a man with an unclean spirit,
as all who saw were amazed at his marvelous deeds.

See news from the Education Team for updates on weekly offerings.


From the staff


Kate’s Cogitations

“If you want to go fast, go alone;
if you want to go far, go together.”

As we consider our mission and our future as a congregation, we will benefit from remembering this African proverb. While we may be tempted to figure out everything on our own, we will be much better served if we take the time to consult with others throughout the entire process. Even people who are not members or don’t know much about HCC may have much to tell us about our ministry context – the needs and opportunities right here on the east side of Cleveland, as well as further away.

I urge you to be involved in this process of Listening and Partnering Together. For the first quarter of 2024 we will be holding one-on-one meetings with both member and community partners (or potential partners). We will ask a few open-ended questions, and then listen deeply. We hope to build connections with people and organizations, to discover opportunities for partnership, and to be open to the Spirit’s leading.

Look for details about our Listening and Partnering Together process the first week of January and prayerfully consider how you might help HCC go far, together.

in peace,

Listening and Partnering Together

  • As we continue to explore possibilities for our future together, I invite the congregation into a season focused on community engagement, collaboration, and discernment.
  • From January to June 2024, we will strive toward 5 goals to help us discover what God may be up to in our corner of the Kin-dom and how we might join in.
  • For the first quarter of 2024, we will focus on Goals #1, 2, &3.
  • We hope to schedule one-on-one meetings with people both within and outside the congregation in order to learn about the needs and opportunities in the community as well as ways we might partner with others to serve our neighbors.

Goal #1:           Increase HCC’s community engagement, get to know our                              neighbors,  and build connections
Invitation: for each member of HCC to attend at least one community meeting or event each month, primarily to listen, to learn, and to increase our visibility

Goal #2:           Learn from our neighbors and identify opportunities for                               partnership
Invitation: for you to meet with someone in the community for a 30-45 minute one on one conversation. (Contact info and interview questions provided.)

Goal #3:           Hear from HCC members about their perspectives on HCC,
                             our past, present and future.
Invitation:  for you to meet with congregants to hear their views on HCC – to ask them about their experience with and involvement in HCC, and what they hope for HCC’s future.

Please consider how you would like to be involved, and contact me or our Moderator, Jane Troha,  with questions, concerns, and suggestions.
More details will be available in early January.





Word from the Worship Ministry

The Worship Ministry Team thanks all who lent a hand during the Advent and Christmas season by helping to decorate the Chapel, participating in skits and songs, candle lighting and dramatic readings, and contributed gifts and funds for flowers. The Chapel looks beautiful!  We couldn’t have accomplished it with all your help! Thanks for making the season merry and bright for so many! Wishing you a Blessed and Happy New Year.

***We will be taking the decorations down after the January 7 service if anyone is able to help.***

We are grateful to Chris and Carson Crosby for agreeing to serve as Zoom Hosts for Sunday worship! Once trained, they will serve one Sunday of month, joining Valencia McMillan, Cindy Maxey, Carolyn Troha. Our thanks to Rosalind Powell for her devoted service these past many months, and for all the extra shifts she willingly picked up!

We are happy for donations of flowers for our church services.  If there is a special occasion someone would like to acknowledge, they can bring a flower arrangement or flowers in a vase to be placed in the front of the church.  We ask that the flowers not have a scent or at best not an overwhelming scent in consideration of those with allergies.  Please let Kese know in advance so that names and the occasion for the flowers can appear in the bulletin.  She should be notified by the Tuesday before the Sunday the flowers are being donated. Thank you.

Education Ministry

Sunday morning Adult Study in the Chapel and on Zoom
Sundays 9:30 – 10:30 am   January 7 – February 12

The Gospel of Mark: A Beginner’s Guide to the Good News,
with Dr. Amy-Jill Levine

An exploration of the Gospel according to Mark with DVD clips, scripture study, and discussion. Learn from a highly renowned biblical scholar and from each other as we share our reactions and perspectives on the texts and teachings.

Jan 7          The Good News Begins: Mark 1-4

Jan 14        Restoring Purity and Wholeness: Mark 5-7

Jan 21        Sacrifice, Ransom, Prophet, Messiah: Mark 8-10

Jan 28        Fig Trees and Tenants: Mark 11-12

Feb 5         The Little Apocalypse: Mark 13

Feb 12       Judas Iscariot and the Naked Young Man: Mark 14-15

Walk through the Bible’s earliest source for the life of Jesus with scholar Amy-Jill Levine as she examines John the Baptizer, the Little Apocalypse, the Transfiguration, and several of Jesus’s most notable stories and parables. The Good News of the gospel message comes alive in this book as readers see Jesus as divine and human, powerful and weak, approachable yet mysterious. The book features an in-depth study of select passages and illuminates the Gospel in its historical context and as a source for the other gospels.  All are welcome and invited to join the discussions, one week or all. You may order a book, but it is not necessary for participation in the study.

Mid-Week Bible Study to Resume  On Zoom

The MidWeek Bible Study will resume on Tuesday, January 9th at 2 p.m. We will spend our first session back completing the final chapter of our Advent Study for Christmas and Beyond.

The following week, January 16th we will begin a five-week study combining Psalms and hymn singing. This will be loosely based on a book by Walter Brueggemann, a noted UCC Old Testament scholar. The book is titled, “A Glad Obedience: Why and What We Sing”. We will examine Psalms based on their themes and also based on what they can teach us about the reasons that corporate song is a part of the Christian tradition. All you will need as a resource is your Bible.

The Christian practice of hymn singing, says Brueggemann, is a counter cultural act. It marks the Christian community as different from an unforgiving and often ungrateful culture. It is also, he adds, an “absurd enterprise” in the midst of the hyper-busy, market-driven society that surrounds us. We will look with Brueggemann at both why we sing and what we sing.

Come and join us for any or all of these sessions! Believe it or not, at the conclusion of this study it will be time for Lent! Please let Dr. Kate, Cindy Maxey or Jane Troha know if you have any ideas for our Lenten time this year!

Missions Ministry

Wall of Love – our first delivery to Lomond School was made on December 13,2023. A nearly overflowing tub was delivered with these items: hats, gloves, mittens, scarfs, and socks. The tub will continue to be in the narthex and donations can be made through March 10, 2024.

Neighbor Night convenes year-round on the last Tuesday of the month. All are welcome. This month the date is January 30 from 6-8pm. The place is Stephani Tubbs-Jones building. Consider attending.

Family Promise – Thank you Heights Christian Church for your generous donations to children and families served by Family Promise for their Holiday Shop.

If you are interested in joining Plymouth volunteers at the Food Bank, contact Paul Qua;

Donations to the Little Free Pantry are available for non-perishable food at any time.  It is located just off the parking lot here at Heights Christian and Plymouth Church. Stats from Cleveland Food Bank: Do you know that 1 out of 5 children live in poverty. 1 in 7 people are food insecure while there is about 40% of food in U.S. is wasted.

Congregational Church of Hudson On January 11, at 7 p.m. presents Tyler Merritt. Tyler Merritt is a Nashville-based actor, comedian, musician, and creator of The Tyler Merritt Project.  His viral video “Before You Call The Cops” has been viewed by over 100 million people worldwide.  Registration is required.

Remember to visit the clip board in Narthex to sign up for community engagement events.

Continuing subjects to be explored with community partners: These were generated from interviews with Shaker residents prior to HCC move and/or from everyday interactions with citizens: Spring Festival; topics for seniors; are their needs being met; “Listen to Me, I Have Story” Everybody has a story, a cup of coffee.

From our Fellowship Team Leaders:

Hospitality Hour

Hope you all have been enjoying our Hospitality Hours on the first Sunday of each month.

It does take a team to put this together and we need some volunteers to assist by providing snacks for these gatherings.   It seems to work well if we have two (2) people provide snacks, one a sweet and the other a savory snack.  We also like to include the bread from the communion table with some butter and perhaps some jam.  Our next Hospitality Hour will be Sunday, January 7, 2024, following the service.

Please contact Linda Durham or Nikki Crosby if you can provide a snack on January 7th or would be willing to provide a snack another month.  Thank You for your generosity.

Community Engagement Opportunities

Coffee & Community  at the Shaker Main Library
You’re invited to enjoy a cup of coffee (or herbal tea) while expanding your community. Focus varies each week – there may be a speaker, a craft project, a conversation prompt, puzzles and games…or a combination of the above. Just drop by the Teen Room (while the teens are in school) on Wednesday mornings at 10 am.

Witness to History: Dr. King’s Visit to Shaker Heights Sun. Jan. 14  3-5 pm
 Donna Whyte, host of the “Witness to History” series of recorded interviews with Shaker residents, will host a live discussion with residents who lived during Dr. King’s visit to Shaker Heights in 1965. This discussion will take place at the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Community Center, next door to the Main Library. Registration is not required.

Human Library  Tuesday, Jan. 16  5-8 pm at Shaker Main Library
We are bringing the Human Library to Shaker Heights! Join us for this safe and respectful environment where you can check out and converse with our collection of Books – fellow human beings and community members who’ve experienced prejudice, marginalization, or misunderstanding because of who they are or what they’ve done. Come un-judge someone! Dr. Kate will be one of the “Human Books” you can check out!

The Beloved Community        Mon. Jan. 29 7-8:30 pm at Shaker High School
A collaboration of the City, School District, Schools Foundation, PTO, + Library

Reverend Nontombi Naomi Tutu, daughter of the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and herself a well known speaker and advocate for justice, presents an engaging discussion on the theme of our MLK Day celebration: Beloved Community: Civil Rights to Human Rights. Reserve your FREE ticket to this great event here!

Kate, Irwin, Levi, Danielle and Kese want to express their gratitude for the kind and generous expressions of affection and appreciation from the congregation.  Thanks for an assortment of Christmas greeting and gifts from the congregation and Elders.  It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to serve the members of Heights Christian Church.




Wednesday’s Together

Plymouth Church, UCC and Heights Christian Church are both blessed to call our building at 2860 Coventry Road home. This coming year, both congregations are looking forward to growing friendships between our members, as well as discerning what ministry opportunities and events we can embark on together! One way we will seek to expand our relationship is through sharing “Wednesdays Together.” On the first three Wednesdays of each month, we will share8 in fellowship and formation with one another. We look forward to seeing many folks from HCC and Plymouth at each gathering!

On First Wednesdays, join us for Book Group. Come and be in conversation around a different chosen book each month. You’re welcome even if you haven’t read the book to enjoy the discussion together.

On Second Wednesdays, join us for Meditative Arts Group. We will provide projects or you can bring your own.  Everyone is invited to color, doodle, draw, paint, knit, sew – whatev8er fits your interest and provides soothing quiet for you. We will gather with fellowship, then listen to calm, soothing music while we break out our pens, crayons, colored pencils, and knitting needles.

On Third Wednesdays, join us for Lunch Club. We gather for a homemade meal and fellowship, and then listen to a speaker from the community or one of our churches. We will occasionally take a field trip out to a destination in Northeast Ohio, so be on the lookout for where we will meet each month. There will be a suggested donation amount  for lunch each month.   RSVP to Pastor Dillon at, which is necessary for food preparation.

This Month’s Lunch Club
Lunch Club will be on Winter Break for the month of January.
We look forward to sharing a meal and discussion with everyone in February!

Book Group

The Book Group will meet – Wednesday, January 3rd at 1:00 pm in Room 102 at Plymouth Church. If you would like to have lunch before the meeting, bring your own and come at 12:30. We will be discussing the book Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng.

Meditative Arts Group

Meditative Arts Group will meet at 1:00 pm January 10 in the Atrium.  We will provide projects or you can bring your own.  Everyone is invited to color, doodle, draw – whatever fits your interest and provides soothing quiet for you. We will gather with fellowship, t8hen listen to calm, soothing music while we break out our pens, crayons, colored pencils, etc.

Gift Cards

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

If you want them for your gardening and home update projects pick them up now.  Your demand will determine whether we order more.  Help HCC while you brighten your yard and home.

Support Heights Christian Church while you shop.  Get your shopping done early.  And make your life less stressful.  Gift cards are easy and appreciated.  (Cash or check only, please)

Social Media outreach

HCC is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and You-Tube and Linked-In!  Several recordings of special worship services have been uploaded to our channel on 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!



23 – Nancy Newman      28 – Madison Durham     30 – Allen Harris

3 – Don Troha     8 – Dell Bigham     8 – Joan Fronck     14 – David Blackwell
16 – Aaron Sharpley

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!