Reaching Heights December 2021

Heights Christian Church Icon of Two Followers Lifting a CrossReaching Heights December 2021

Links to this month’s news:

Worship Schedule – for Advent & Christmas
Milestone Moments
Close to Home – our theme for the holidays
Children in Worship – an update

Along the Path  – from Pastor Roger
Kate’s Cogitations
Moving Along – building update

Adult Studies: for Advent

From the Mission Ministry Team

Advent Quiet Retreat – 12/16 at 7:30 pm
Plymouth Lunch Club – 12/15 at 11:00 am
Meditative Arts – no meeting this month

Gift cards – for the holidays

Newsletter deadline
Holiday closing and office hours

Staff email
Social Media

See the Serving Schedule

December Worship – 11:00 am – in Herr Chapel and on Zoom

December 5 – 2nd Sunday of Advent – “Laying the Foundation” (peace) – Luke 1:57-80 – Pastor Roger preaching – Read about our Advent theme below.

December 8 – 7:00 pm WednesdayLongest Night Worship – A service of music, candle lighting, readings, and prayer as we gather to remember that this season includes pain and loss as well as joy. In partnership with Plymouth Church (hybrid – in person, in the chapel, and online – Zoom link in the weekly update).
 ***Please note: Our Hearts Together in Prayer group will not meet this evening.

December 12 – 3rd Sunday of Advent – “A Home for All” (joy) – Luke 3:1-18 – Pastor Roger preaching

December 17 – 4th Sunday of Advent – “Seeking Sanctuary” (love) – Luke 1:39-55 – Pastor Roger preaching

December 24 – 7:30 pm – Christmas Eve – this year we will gather in a new space for this most festive and holy of nights.  With candles, music, readings, and prayer, we will celebrate the magic and mystery of this miraculous birth.
***Important note: due to ongoing health concerns we will be requiring reservations for our Christmas Eve service in case we need to limit attendance. Please contact the church office (216-561-4800 or with name, number of people attending, and the best way to contact you. The service will also be broadcast via Zoom and Facebook Live.

December 26 – “Chosen Home” – Luke 2:41-52 – Dr. Kate preaching and leading the service (Happy Birthday, Pastor Roger!)

Milestone Moments Continue

Each Sunday at the end of worship, we take a few moments for people to share any moments of the past week or the coming week that are “milestones” for them. These may be big (and job change or surgery) or small (first loose tooth, travel). They may be funny or sobering, and offered by anyone from long time member to children and visitors. Sharing these moments of our lives knits our community together and equips members to pray for one another. So we invite you to reflect on your life and consider what you might offer for our collective prayer.


Our Advent Theme – “Close to Home”

When something hits close to home, it affects us deeply. During the Advent and Christmas season, we journey through scriptures and rituals that are tender, heavy with emotion, and vulnerable. We carry the memories and truths of this season close to our hearts. Close to Home acknowledges the “already but not yet” tension of our faith: Emmanuel is with us, and yet, God’s promised day—our everlasting home—is not fully realized. It names our deep longing for God to come close to us.

Join us this Advent and Christmas as we explore both the pain and comfort of the season so that we may indeed come home – wherever home is found—to live fully with joy, hope, and courage.


Feast for Children

Part of the Worship and Wonder classroom experience includes “Feast,” which is a snack and fellowship time modeled after communion. It is a shared meal (usually fruit and crackers). When we moved to having children in worship for the entire service, we introduced “Feast” for them during communion. Beginning in Advent our worship team will now provide elements for “Feast” for the children in the Children’s Worship Space. At HCC, people of all ages and stages are welcome to participate in the Lord’s Supper. Children will now have a choice between our communion kits of wafer and juice or the fruit and crackers provided for “Feast.” It is one more way of making our worship service truly intergenerational and welcoming to all.

Along the Path:

Another holiday season has rolled around and I am looking forward to diving head first into all of the planning and activities that abound this time of year. There is the inevitable shopping and gift wrapping, but what I’m really eager for is the holiday lights and  music, the Christmas movies and TV specials (with a little Advent worship to balance out the saccharine), and, of course, gathering again with family and friends.

I am also hoping for a little extra quality time with God, and the Advent devotional booklet and the RenewalWorks retreat will provide great opportunities for that.  Then, before we know it, the holidays will be over and a new year will be upon us.  I pray that you will enjoy this season and find lots of reasons to celebrate!

Merry Christmas!    – Pastor Roger

Kate’s Cogitations

Planting Seeds

Educators talk a lot about planting seeds. Often those who do the planting are not witness to the harvest season. Instead of counting on quick, visible results, we take comfort in the knowledge that our work paves the way for possibility to be realized later. I think of the season of Advent as a time of planting seeds, and of reflecting on the seeds of possibility that God has planted and continues to plant.

I found myself thinking about Advent this year, and hoping I “do it right.” I don’t know where such judgmental self-talk comes from, but it got my attention. What does “doing Advent right” actually mean? I think the better question is “What seeds do I want to plant this season?” If I spend this season of anticipation focusing on spiritual practices of prayer, study, and service, and worry less about appearances and results, then my attention will be more on planting seeds of faithfulness and not focused so much on “doing it right.”

I invite you to join me in planting the seeds for our own spiritual growth and discipleship. May God open all kinds of doors to possibility and newness!


Moving Along – Building Update

The sale of the church building closed on November 30, 2021.

East View United Church of Christ took possession on December 1, 2021.

It has been a long process, and there are many people to thank for their work in preparing the building for sale. Mike and Donita Singerman spent innumerable hours sorting and deciding what to take with us to Plymouth, and what should be donated or discarded. Ying and Irwin sorted through the choir music. Thanks too to those who worked to clean the kitchen and helped in many other areas.

Many folks took recycling to the recycling centers, and made numerous trips to Good Will and the Salvation Army with donated items. Bill, Tommy and Billy Dunn, along with Scott Phelps, moved the many boxes to Plymouth.

Special thanks go to the committee that worked so hard at managing the sale; Larry Watson, Neil Chase, Jane Troha, Mike Singerman, Pastor Roger, and me. This group worked with the realtor and made so many critical decisions.

We all hold dear memories of our time at the Van Aken building. Now it will continue to serve the Lord and community as East View UCC, as we continue our ministries at Herr Chapel at Plymouth. Thank you all for your support in this important transition in our Church life.

Lynda Ackerman

1st Hour Study – Sunday mornings 9:30 – 10:30 am (hybrid – in person and via zoom)
December 5, December 12, December 19

Sunday morning Adult Study: The Light of the World continues

In Light of the World: A Beginner’s Guide to Advent, author, professor, and biblical scholar Amy-Jill Levine explores the biblical texts surrounding the story of the birth of Jesus. Each week includes a brief (8-10 minute) video with Dr. Levine, discussion of scripture and themes, activities, and prayer.

12/5     The Promise of Potential
12/12   The Journey to Joy
12/19   The Gifts of the Gentiles

MidWeek Bible Study Tuesdays 1:00 pm
December 7, December 14, December21  (Zoom)

MidWeek Bible Study Advent Unbound continues

In this Advent study, we let scripture and poetry be our guides, together pointing us toward a deeper and richer experience of the season – a perfect way to prepare for the hope, peace, joy, and love of Christmas day. Week by week, poem by poem, we’ll wait and prepare and listen, unbinding the season and, with God’s help, unbinding our hearts  along the way. We’ll provide scripture passages and poems and generate our own discussion each week.

Join Zoom Meeting

From your computer:
Meeting ID: 845 5806 5498
Passcode: 806433
From your smartphone: +19294362866,,84558065498#,,,,*806433#
From any phone: (929) 436-2866



Outreach Committee

A donation of $500 from the Hunger Fund was approved by the Outreach Committee. These funds will be used by Unity in Community to give a little needed extra holiday cheer to families in $25 gift cards. This is Heights Christian Churches participation along with several others to Unity in Community.

Family Promise provides shelter to homeless families. This year following tradition they will have the Holiday Shop to bring a little holiday cheer for struggling families. For several years Heights Christian has participated in this event. The shop will operate from Monday, December 6th through December 12th. Collected items will serve over 200 children and parents.

The wish list can be found at this link:

Those gifts will be delivered by Amazon. Gift cards or unwrapped gifts will also be accepted. We encourage you to purchase gift cards from Mike Singerman on Sundays or contact him at Purchase of gift cards will be helpful to Heights Christian. If you choose to purchase a gift to give other than the gift card, bring to church on December 5th or December 12th and give to Grace Loudenstein or Andrena Jones-Sharp to be taken to Family Promise. There will be a container near the table in the narthex.

Wall of Love – The first filled bin with items of gloves, hats, mittens, socks, scarves have been delivered to Lomond School. The bin will remain in place throughout the winter months.

Advent Quiet Retreat – “A Gift from the Heart”
Thurs. Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m.

join the RenewalWorks team and others on Zoom for a brief time of quiet contemplation, prayer, and music. Using Taize music, candles, coloring pages, scripture and prayer, we will create a “Hush in the Midst of the Rush” for you to recharge your spiritual batteries in the middle of a hectic season. Together we will slow down to appreciate the gifts of Advent, and perhaps get back in touch with the meaning of Christmas. Give yourself a gift this month – the gift of time, prayer, and beauty.

Zoom information: A Gift from the Heart
Dec 16, 2021 07:30 PM

Join from your computer:
   Meeting ID: 830 0682 2932
   Passcode: 169322

Join from your smartphone: +19294362866,,83006822932#,,,,*169322#

You’re Invited to the Plymouth Lunch Club – Dec. 15

The Plymouth Lunch Club takes place on the 3rd Wednesday of the month from 11:00 to 12:15. It includes a presentation, fellowship time, and the option to take home a boxed lunch or have one delivered if you are participating virtually. For those joining in person, the location will be the Chapel. You can also participate via Zoom. The suggested donation for the boxed lunch is $7.  Reservations are required.

On December 15th Diane Menges and company will join us for a holiday music concert. Always one of the favorites each year, please join us for this festive yearly tradition.

Please email Rev. Matt Bauhof at or you can sign up in person at Plymouth’s Welcome Center located in the main hallway just outside their sanctuary. If you’d like information about future speakers/topics the full schedule is HERE.





Gift Cards for the Holidays in 2021

For the next two weeks we are selling gift cards before and after service.

In addition to the Heinen’s, Giant Eagle and Dave’s grocery cards we have an assortment of cards for stocking stuffers and gifts (including year-end charity events).

Target              $25
Starbucks        $10
Subway            $10
Wendy’s          $10
Burger King     $10
Panera             $25

And don’t forget the Special Order deadline of Wednesday, December 8th. Please stock up before Mike and Kese are on vacation the later part of the month.




Early Newsletter Deadline

Due to the Christmas holidays we need to have all articles for the January’s Reaching Heights submitted by December 13th.  Any articles submitted after that date may not be able to be included in the January issue.  Thank you for your cooperation.

Holiday Closing and new Staff Meeting Time

The church office will be closed beginning December 27th, opening January 3rd.  voice mail and emails will be checked periodically.  If there is an emergency, please contact Pastor Roger at 216.246.9179 or Lynda Ackerman at 216.921.1531.

Office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Our staff meeting time has been moved to Tuesdays at 10:00 am. The HCC office officially moved to Plymouth on October 28th. Mail should be sent to HCC, 2860 Coventry Rd, Shaker Hts. 44120.

Pastor Roger will typically be at Plymouth on Tuesdays from 9:30 to 3:00.  Kate’s office hours will be Tuesdays from 10:00 to 2:00. Please call ahead to set up an appointment, if at all possible, as pastoral needs or other commitments could call either of them away.

Staff Email Updates

As of August 1, 2021

Please update your address books with the following:

Pastor Roger:
Kate Gillooly:
Kese Webb:
General Mailbox:

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!