Reaching Heights August 2020

Heights Christian Church Icon of Two Followers Lifting a CrossReaching Heights August 2020

Links to this month’s news:

Worship in August
Adult Study

Along the Path –
thoughts from Pastor Roger
Kate’s Cogitations

Renewal Works Projects – Prayer Walk, Prayer Groups, Signs of Hope
Children’s Ministry 
Mission Ministry Report
In Memoriam
Gift Cards
Shaker Food Drive – Continues
Prayer List Requests

See the Serving Schedule – Go to the church calendar

August Worship – Stories of Jesus

This month we’ll be following the Revised Common Lectionary with stories of Jesus from the gospel of Matthew

Aug 2 – Feeding the 5,000 – Matthew 14:13-21 – Rev. Kristine Eggert preaching

Aug 9 – Walking on Water – Matthew 14:22-33 – Pastor Roger preaching

Aug 16 – A Canaanite Woman – Matthew 15:21-28 – Dr. Kate Gillooly preaching

Aug 23 – Simon to Peter – Matthew 16:13-20 – Pastor Roger preaching

Aug 30 – Peter’s Rebuke – Matthew 16:21-28 – Pastor Roger preaching

Adult Study

The bible study is taking a break for a few weeks.  A new study will be announced in the weekly update emails.

Along the Path

Over the past few weeks I have reengaged with the antiracist work that I’ve been involved with almost from the beginning of my time at HCC.  The anxiety and strain of the pandemic had brought the work of the Ohio Region’s AntiRacism Commission to a halt as we stopped in person trainings and found it difficult to connect online.

But the protests and conversations sparked by the death of George Floyd have been a reminder that the work continues and more recent events and actions have raised the possibility that real change might be possible.

The commission recently drafted a statement, signed by over 60 Disciples clergy in Ohio, committing ourselves to reinvigorate our work towards ending racial injustice and oppression.  You can read the statement here.  A somewhat shortened version of that statement is scheduled to be submitted as an op-ed in newspapers around Ohio, and the commission is currently working on updating our training so that it can be offered online for both clergy and congregations.

Besides my work with the commission (and attending two protests over the past weeks), I am in the middle of reading a book by Ibram X. Kendi called “How to Be Antiracist”.  I’d like to share one insight from his work.

As human beings we tend to make everything into a duality, black or white, good or bad, hard worker or lazy, racist or antiracist.  And we often label people based on limited (sometimes singular) observations or interactions.  So we may label someone as a racist, or think to ourselves, “I am not a racist.”  But as Dr. Kendi points out:

“Racist” and “antiracist” are like peelable name tags that are placed and replaced based on what someone is doing or not doing, supporting or expressing in each moment.  These are not permanent…We can only strive to be one or the other.  We can unknowingly strive to be a racist.  We can knowingly strive to be an antiracist.  Like fighting an addiction, being an antiracist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination.”

I think that this is a good reminder that the choices, actions, and decisions we make each day are what define us.  Where we shop, who or what we fear, how we interact and support each other, whether we speak up or stay silent; all of these things either move ourselves and our community along the path towards the realm of God or move us farther away.  May we keep moving forward, following in the footsteps of Jesus.

~ Pastor Roger

Kate’s Cogitations

To Kindle Hope, Proclaim Truth

There are so many reasons we may begin to lose hope. Some things we thought would be over now seem to continue to drag on way past their welcome. Others that we had hoped for, do not seem very quick in coming. We are stacking up losses in all parts of our lives. Even the most optimistic, “glass-half-full” type people are beginning to lose their patience. We find ourselves quoting the psalms of lament more than usual: “How long, O Lord, how long?” 

Many of us have found people and activities to turn to when things seem rough. We might call our family members and close friends more often now. Maybe we spend more time in nature. We know that self-care is important during times of stress.  

But what do you do when your soul is tired? How do you maintain hope in the face of such devastation, loss, conflict and polarization? I am discovering the need to return to some basic truths of my faith – and to be active in proclaiming them. I believe God is always present, and sometimes I need to look for God, and name it. I know that God loves us all, and I know it even better when I proclaim that love with my lips and in my life. 

What are the truths you cling to in challenging times? How can you live as a witness to what you most deeply believe? 

~Kate Gillooly 

The RenewalWorks team has been busy planning spiritual enrichment opportunities during this pandemic. Many thanks to Lynda Ackerman, Val McMillan, Rosalind Powell, and Jane Troha, for the energy and devotion they have invested in these projects. Our church and community benefits from new opportunities to gather, pray, meditate and hope together!

We are thrilled to announce the outdoor Prayer Walk is up and ready for use! It has 5 stations  around the church grounds (including the Labyrinth, Peace Garden, Front, Porch, and Little Free Pantry) for people to do on their own time. Instructions and sample prayers are posted and the community is invited.  Stop by anytime to meditate and pray.

“Hearts Together in Prayer” is also up and running now. This is an online prayer opportunity for folks to gather (on Zoom) to share prayer concerns, pray for others, and learn new ways to pray together.  The Wednesday night group will meet weekly at 7:30 pm.  Our goal is to make two offerings — one in the evening and one during the day. The daytime group will meet July 8 at 10:00 am, and decide whether to meet weekly after that.  If you would like to join either time, please let Val McMillan know. We look forward to the opportunity to pray together!

Signs of Hope -Micah 6:8 – “Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly with God.” These signs are now planted on the church lawn and 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). You can come get yours from the church most mornings (Mon-Wed. and Fri.) We look forward to seeing them all over Shaker, and beyond! 

***Reminder: Our HCC Children’s StoryTime continues on Tuesdays at 4 pm! Contact Kate Gillooly for the Zoom link. Children of all ages welcome!

A Gentle Important Reminder from the Mission Ministry Team

Collection of needed items for Family Promise will continue through August 17, 2020.  A labeled  container for the items is located in the Daleford hallway. Hours: 9-1 daily except on Tuesday.

dish soap, dish towels/cloths, kitchen trash bags
sponges, cooking utensils, aluminum foil
sandwich bags, can opener, twin sheets and pillows

Thanks for the donations to date, but more would be appreciated.

In Memoriam

During this time of pandemic, our congregation has lost three long-time, much loved members.  It is difficult not to be able to gather together to memorialize their lives and contributions to our church, so it seems appropriate to at least pause and remember them here.

Shirley Reading
Shirley grew up in Shaker Heights.  She, husband Tom, and their four children joined HCC in 1961.  Shirley, an alto, sang in the Chancel Choir for over fifty years.  She was the financial administrator and then director of the Shaker Heights Luncheon Social for over twenty years.  It was a daily nutrition and activity program housed at HCC in cooperation with the City of Shaker Heights.  Shirley was one of the early woman elders of the congregation.  She became the Financial Secretary of the church, an office she held for nineteen years.  She was active in Christian Women’s Fellowship, the Bridge Group and Book Circle and volunteered countless hours in the church office and the Thrift Shop, always willing to help wherever needed.  Shirley died on May 22nd at 91 years of age.

Shirley’s obituary is available online.

Nancy Hayward
Nancy moved to Shaker Heights from Cincinnati and became a member of HCC in 1970.  Nancy and her husband, George, sang in the Chancel Choir for many years.  She served as an elder for many years and was outstanding in this role.  She made significant contributions on many church committees, including an evangelism committee and the peace and justice committee.  Nancy was a wonderful ambassador for the church, sending cards, calling on those with health issues, often taking soup and arranging social outing for many.  Her selfless interest and concern for others was exceptional.  Nancy tutored struggling Shaker High School students in English until February when she was diagnosed with cancer.  She died on July 9th.  She was 83.

Her obituary and a slide show of pictures is available here.

Elizabeth Purdue
Liz was born in Birmingham, Alabama and moved to Cleveland with her family in 1942.  She and Jim were married in 1949 at Cedar Avenue Christian Church.  In 1969, two years after she and Jim built a house in Orange Village, they became members of HCC.

Liz was an active participant in church life and leadership. She sang in the choir for many years.  She was President of the Christian Women’s Fellowship, Chair of the Holiday Fair, member of the Board of Trustees, Chair of the Deacons, and was an Elder and then Elder Emeritus. She was often seen in the Elegant Flea and managed the Thrift Shop for over 20 years.  She passed peacefully on July 26th.  Her obituary is posted on the Brown-Forward website.

We grieve with the families of these three special women, but also celebrate three Christian lives well lived.

~  Nancy Carpenter

Gift Cards

During the pandemic shutdown we have not been able to provide gift card services.  An increasing number of you have requested to purchase cards.
We have stalled trying to find a socially responsible way to distribute cards.
So here is the process we are going to try:

  1. Email Kese your card request including card(s), denomination(s), quantity.
  2. Kese will fill your order and let me know it is ready and the dollar total.
  3. I’ll provide a time slot or range for you to visit me at my home.
  4. You will provide a check (payable to HCC) and I will give you an envelope.
  5. We may socially distance visit outside as either of our time/weather allows.
  6. If you are not able to travel, I will arrange to socially distance deliver cards as possible.

Please use for you order.

Mike Singerman

Shaker Food Drive

The Unity in the Community campaign is working to continue to provide food to those who need it.  Upcoming distributions are scheduled for August 3, 10 & 31.  These distributions take place from the circular drive off Winslow Road at the back of our building from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. We are also making deliveries to  families without transportation.  The number of folks who have been receiving food continues to grow.

While there are no food collections planned at the present time, monetary gifts are always welcome and encouraged. Those gifts can be made online on our website (you can specify the food drive):

And volunteers are always needed.  Volunteer should sign up online:

Prayer List Requests

Our current prayer list is in limbo since we are not printing a bulletin and do not want to put prayer lists online.  If you have a prayer request, you can use the online prayer request form ( or send an email to Pastor Roger.  These requests will be forwarded on to the Elders and our Prayer Ministry Team.

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!