Reaching Heights August 2023

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

Links to this month’s news:


  • Worship in August
  • Porch Talks
  • Summer Worship
  • General Assembly


  • Kate’s Cogitations


  • Mission Ministry


  • Vel Scott’s “Healthy You” Initiative
  • CEIRS Closes, Centering Space Invites Us In
  • Book Group and Meditative Arts Group
  • Summer Book Group
  • Gift Cards 
  • Social Media
  • Birthdays

See the Serving Schedule

  Worship and study



HCC Worship Themes for August
(following the RCL)

August 6              10th Sun. after Pentecost        Genesis 32:22-31
                                 “Wrestling with God”

August 13            11th Sun. after Pentecost        Matthew 14:22-33
                                “Keeping Our Eyes on God”

August 20            12th Sun. after Pentecost        Matthew 15: 21-28
                                 “Debating with God”
Worship outside on front lawn; Backpack Blessing

August 27            13th Sun. after Pentecost        Matthew 16:13-20
                                 “Proclaiming God”

Porch Talks – Saturday, August 12 

Mark your calendar and plan to join us on the lawn of East View UCC, 17300 Van Aken Blvd. for our annual Porch Talk! This event is co-sponsored by Heights Christian Church, East View UCC, and Plymouth UCC. This year’s event will be at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 12, at the site where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke from the porch 58 years ago.

The Rev. Dr. Marvin McMickle, who spoke during the first Porch Talks season in 2019, returns as this year’s speaker. The title of his talk is “No Room in the Inn, Part 2.” Music will be offered by a combined choir, with members of all 3 sponsoring congregations.

The event is free and open to the public, and will be held outdoors (unless inclement weather requires a move inside). You are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket. A reception with light refreshments will follow the program.

The Porch Talks series provides a continued call to work toward the “Beloved Community” that Dr. King envisioned, where all forms of discrimination, bigotry, and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. 

Summer Worship

This Summer worship will continue in the Chapel and on Zoom and Facebook Live. We plan to keep our current “curved” chair arrangement through June. Our worship time moved to 11:15 a.m. beginning June 11. In July and August (and Labor Day weekend) Plymouth Church will be worshiping at 10:00 in the Chapel, since it is air-conditioned, and their Sanctuary is not. There will be many more chairs set up in the Chapel to accommodate their larger congregation, and only a brief time of transition between the end of their service and the beginning of ours. Please use the main doors (by the elevator) or the exterior stairs (by our folding sign) to enter the building if you arrive before 11:00. Each congregation has plans to worship outside on the front lawn once a month, to enjoy the shade of the big oak trees and to reduce the number of Sundays we’re both in the Chapel. HCC plans to worship outside on  August 20. On that Sunday, we ask that you bring your own lawn chairs or blankets. (If the weather does not cooperate, we’ll just worship in the Chapel.) We look forward to many beautiful summer days, and meaningful worship for all!

General Assembly to gather in Louisville, KY July 29-August 1. 

When the General Assembly meets in Louisville, Kentucky July 29-August 1, 2023, it will be the first time in four years the church as a whole has gathered in person. The theme for the 2023 General Assembly is “Kin-dom of God Within Us, Among Us.” The theme is based on three scriptures:  Luke 17:20- 21, Genesis 11:1-9, and 2 Peter 1:3. The planning committee described the theme, “There are multiple words, scriptures, languages, and ways to share and shape our common life. The church has more than one story to tell, and more than one tool for innovation and distinctive witness in the future. God is with us. What is life before God like? Salt, an open table, zoom, and treasure in clay jars. What have Disciples learned about life before God in the midst of the uncertainty the church and its members faced over the last three years?”

The theme “Kin-dom of God Within Us, Among Us” is a call for Disciples to strengthen their relationship to God both individually and communally through an expansive in-person and digital gathering of the church in Louisville. The past two years, local congregations and the wider church have needed to be separated but have also innovated new ways for God’s limitless love to be revealed in our church, our communities and around the world. God’s limitless imagination holds so many possibilities for the church. This four-day event will encourage Disciples to gather online and in-person to celebrate the way that God’s expansive love connects each of us as “kin” and to part of the larger kin-dom of God. Please keep the General Assembly in your prayers.

HCC will be represented in Louisville by Jane and Don Troha, and Dr. Kate and Greg Gillooly.


From the staff


Kate’s Cogitations

I am on an audiobook craze this summer. I love that I can borrow them from the library and listen to them on my phone, anywhere. I am currently listening to How We Learn to Be Brave: Decisive Moments in Life and Faith, by Mariann Edgar Buddy, Episcopal Bishop of Washington (DC). She found herself in the spotlight (and on several news outlets) in June 2020, when the President of the US at the time held a brief photo op on the grounds of St. John’s Church (property owned by the diocese she oversees). She  rose to the occasion of this very public speaking and then realized that, in some ways, she had been preparing for it her whole life.

In her book, she talks about how we make decisions, to stay or to go, to start something new. She examines the dynamics of how we choose to accept something that we did not choose, and what it takes to step up to the plate. She weaves personal stories of her own as well as friends with the stories of famous people and stories from scripture. She is open about how her faith impacts her perspective, but she does not demand everyone share her faith, and much could be learned from her book by people with different faith or no faith.

Since I am such a fan of the process of “discernment,” I am finding much that resonates. And I am pondering how Budde’s wisdom might be helpful to HCC as we begin a process of listening – to God, to our neighbors and to ourselves/each other – about what God might be doing in our neighborhood and how we might join in. It might be helpful for us to reflect on where we have been and what decisions we have made in the past, as we contemplate new opportunities for mission and ministry in this place and time.

in peace,



Missions Ministry

The time is NOW! By the time you see this, August 8th Voting Day will be in a week. Questions: have you already voted? Did get your absentee ballot request in by August 1? Are you registered? Remember there are recent changes for in person voting. Go to to see changes and what you need to vote in person. Only one issue on the ballot. You still have time to research information for you to make an informed decision about the only issue on the ballot. Many groups including the League of Women Voters, union groups, former governors, faith-based groups support voting NO on Issue 1. If passed it would make it more difficult for all citizen led amendments. VOTE NO! Vote to preserve our democracy. Let’s continue our congregation’s history for speaking up for justice for all.

Neighbor Night convenes year-round on the last Tuesday of the month. In August the date is the 29th. All are welcome to attend from 6-8pm in Chelton Park. Stay tuned for more on a community outdoor movie information.

Outreach Committee good work – approval for the most recent application from Family Promise resulted in a new volunteer opportunity. For those who have expressed an interest in reading to pre-school children, you can sign up on the clipboard located on table in the Narthex by August 6th. Background checks will be conducted and paid for by Family Promise. Other opportunities will also be listed for volunteering with Family Promise. If more details are needed contact Andrena at or 216-848-0108.

Partnerships with Plymouth continue. Food Bank volunteering is available with Paul Qua and others. Usually that is the second Tuesday and third Wednesday 6-8pm. If you wish to volunteer contact Paul at ( Missions Team Leaders will continue to meet with their Adult Faith and Life committee and share information.

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.

Wall of Love donations information will return in September’s newsletter.
This church year’s Mission Team will be looking forward to meet and discuss support for old events as well as remembering to forge forward looking for new opportunities. We invite you to share your thoughts, ideas.

Moment for Mission – is shared during worship on the fourth Sunday of the month during the program year.




Vel Scott’s Healthy You in Collaboration with Cleveland Clinic Wellness Present the Keys to Optimal Health Wellness Summit

Vel Scott’s Healthy You in collaboration with Cleveland Clinic Wellness are thrilled to announce the highly anticipated “Keys to Optimal Health Wellness Summit,” a transformative event aimed at empowering individuals to achieve and maintain optimal health and wellness. This collaborative endeavor will take place August 4 & 5, 2023 at the Cleveland Clinic’s South Pointe Hospital 20000 Harvard Ave, Warrensville Heights, OH 44122.

The Keys to Optimal Health Wellness Summit brings together renowned experts, healthcare professionals, and individuals passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. Through a series of engaging discussions, informative sessions, and interactive workshops, attendees will gain valuable insights, practical strategies, and actionable steps to enhance their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. This summit is grounded in connecting more people to practical and life changing habits to heighten a healthier lifestyle. Addressing the challenges of Hypertension, Heart Disease, and Type-2 Diabetes throughout American households is essential. The ways the African American community throughout greater Cleveland and beyond deals with these three medical realities is life or death today.

The summit will feature an impressive lineup of speakers who are leaders in their respective fields. These experts will share their knowledge and expertise on a wide range of topics, including nutrition, exercise, stress management, preventive medicine, mental health, and much more. Featured Speakers and Presenters are: Dr. T Colin Campbell author of China Study; Dr. Baxter Montgomery Founder of the Montgomery Health & Wellness Center; Dr. Milton Mills Advocate for Plant Based Diets; Dr. Jessica Ruff Wellness & Preventive Medicine physician at the Cleveland Clinic; and Meryl Fury RN CEO of Plant Based Nutrition Movement.

Participants can expect to learn evidence-based practices that can be incorporated into their daily lives to improve overall health and wellness.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Cleveland Clinic, a world-renowned institution known for its excellence in healthcare,” said Vel Scott, Founder of Vel Scott’s Healthy You. “This summit aims to inspire individuals to take charge of their health and provide them with the tools and knowledge they need to make positive, lasting changes.”

The Keys to Optimal Health Wellness Summit offers attendees an invaluable opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals, form new relationships, and build a supportive community committed to health and wellness. Participants will have access to a variety of exhibitors, showcasing the latest advancements in health products, services, and technologies.

For more information call Vel Scott at (216) 224-1383. Visit Eventbrite for registration today.

The Closing of CEIRS

Dear Friend of the Cleveland Ecumenical Institute for Religious Studies,
With sadness I write to inform you of our Board’s decision to end CEIRS’ ministry of education.  First brought into existence in 1992 by a small group of pastors and theologians led by the Rev. Reid Isaac of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, CEIRS has offered university-level courses in religious studies to congregants of local parishes and congregations.  Over these 30 years, the CEIRS Board of Directors has seen itself as a partner in the educational ministry of Christian denominations of all stripes.  Our educational ministry has truly been an ecumenical one, employing professors and enrolling students of many different religious traditions.

From its beginning, we have supported ourselves through generous donations by congregations who perceived the value of our courses.  These congregational donations were bolstered by course tuition paid by our students, and gifts from individuals.  These revenue streams allowed us to compensate our professors as well as our Dean and Administrator in ways that the Board determined were fair and just.  Our financial situation remained stable throughout the ups and downs of our U.S. economy – that is, until the COVID pandemic hit.

The necessity of cancelling in-person classes during the pandemic crippled two of our two main sources of income – student tuition and gifts from congregations.  Like so many others, CEIRS pivoted to try and offer online courses.  The Board also decided to continue employing our Dean and Administrator throughout the pandemic.  While the Board believed this decision was the correct one, it also depleted our financial reserves.  Our hopes of offering courses on the Zoom platform were only partially successful.  We also hoped that once the pandemic receded, our course tuitions and congregational donations would return to pre-pandemic levels.  Unfortunately, this did not come to fruition.  Rather, we have found that over the past 3 years, our financial reserves have consistently diminished to a point where we are no longer financially able to continue as a viable organization.

As a result of our dwindling financial resources, the Board unanimously decided that the prudent course of action at this point is to dissolve our organization.  The Board plans for this to occur by June 30, 2023.  The Board is engaged in the several legal steps that need to be taken to finalize the dissolution of CEIRS.  The Board is aware that a few congregations have recently made membership gifts.  We will be happy to discuss with you the disposition of your donation.  We expect that come June, there will be some monies left in our possession.  Those funds will be distributed equally to Centering Space and Greater Cleveland Congregations, Cleveland-area non-profits whose missions are educational and ecumenical.

While there is certainly a goodly portion of sadness as CEIRS ends its contribution to the Christian communities of the Greater Cleveland area, there is an equal portion of pride in the thirty years of educational ministry that our organization has provided to thousands of our students.  And, in the end, there is also immense gratitude to the board members, pastors, congregational leaders, professors, students, staff, and all who generously supported the mission of CEIRS throughout these three decades.

Respectfully and gratefully in the Lord, Jesus Christ,
George Matejka
George S. Matejka, Ph.D.
CEIRS Board President

Centering Space Invites Us In

“While we cannot replace the great work of CEIRS, we very much want to invite you to consider the offerings at Centering Space. Our focus is not academic, but we have some of the wonderful presenters that you may know and others that you may find intriguing.”  Learn more at

Book Group and Meditative Arts Group  – will resume in the fall.

A Summer Book Study with Plymouth  on the theme of Immigration 

A Land of Hard Edges: Serving the Front Lines at the Border, is written by Peg Bowden, a resident in Green Valley, AZ, who for several years offered humanitarian aid at a shelter across the border in Mexico each week.  During these weekly visits Peg shared her nursing skills with the men, women, and children she met there.  This is a book of their stories; poignant, remarkable, and true. Read at your leisure during the summer. Then on Sunday, August 6th, after worship, we will gather together for a light lunch and discussion about what you’ve read, and what we might, here at  HCC and Plymouth, do to address the immigration issue.

Please invite family, friends and neighbors to join this summer book study and discussion experience.

Gift Cards

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

We have on hand a limited supply of $100 Amazon, Lowe’s and Home Depot cards.

If you want them for your gardening and home update projects pick them up now.  Your demand will determine whether we order more.  We also have a few $25 Lowe’s and Home Depot cards from a prior purchase.  Help HCC while you brighten your yard and home.

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!



2 – Lyubov Nikolenko     6 – Jan Everett     6 – Ed Hill     8 – Kellie Brown
11 – Tim Damon     11 – Alice McDonald     12 – Rosalind Powell
12 – Scott Phelps     16 – Terri Mehring     17 – Levi Horn
18 – Kathie McWilliams     22 – Harper Sutherland     24 – Larry Watson
29 – Billy Dunn

9 – Cara Sutherland 12 – Martha Cubberley     12 – Sandy Jones
22 – Henry Mullen     23 – Mike Singerman    23 – Kimberly Taylor
26 – Alex Nikolenko

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!