Reaching Heights December 2022

Heights Christian Church Icon of Two Followers Lifting a CrossReaching Heights December 2022

Links to this month’s news:


  • Worship – for December
  • Advent Study Sunday Mornings


  • Kate’s Cogitations


  • Education Ministry
  • Mission Ministry


  • Sugar Plum Workshop
    God Before Guns December Vigil
    English for Speakers of Other Languages class at Shaker Main Library Calls for Volunteer Tutors
    Book Group and Meditative Arts Group
    Gift Cards for the Holidays
  • Social Media

See the Serving Schedule

  Worship and study


Worship in December 

December 4      Second Sunday of Advent       Luke 1:26-38
“God Meets Us in Our Fear”

December 11     Third Sunday of Advent          Matthew 1:18-25
“We Can Choose a Better Way”

*Wednesday, December 14 at 7:30 pm in the Chapel and online Blue Christmas Service for those struggling to find joy in the season. Presented in partnership with Plymouth Church and featuring a combined Compline Choir, candlelight, scripture, prayers, and a message by Dr. Kate.

December 18      Fourth Sunday of Advent        Luke 1:39-55
“We See God in Each Other”

December 24     Christmas Eve service at 7:30 pm in the Chapel and online
A Festive celebration of Christ’s birth with carols, candles, and communion.
Luke 2:1-20      “We Tell This Story”

December 25  11:00 service on Zoom only (no in-person)
a brief, joyous service as we celebrate Christmas Day with story and song.

January 1       John 1:1-14     “God Dwells with Us”

January 8      Epiphany Observed       Matthew 2:1-12       “We Keep Seeking”

Sunday Advent Study 

“Holy Disruption: Discovering Advent in the Gospel of Mark” by Tracy S. Daub
Meets 9:30 – 10:30 am Sundays in the Chapel and on Zoom

December 4      Chapter 2                 Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All

December 11     Chapter 3                Home for the Holidays

December 18    Chapters 4 & 5     Hidden in Plain Sight

*Note: The final session of this study will meet Jan 8.




November 27 began a new liturgical year with the First Sunday of Advent. This Advent season we will use materials from A Sanctified Art to enhance our worship experience. The theme this year is “From Generation to Generation” and comes from Mary’s Song in the first chapter of Luke. As we explore how each biblical character participated in God’s liberation and love, we might ask ourselves what is our generation’s task? What will we carry forth and what should we leave behind? Plan to join us each week for a time pf anticipation and expectation, as we prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ – at Christmas and into our lives each day.

From the staff


Kate’s Cogitations

On the First Sunday of Advent, as we explored the theme “There’s Room for Every Story” and the Genealogy of Christ, I shared my “Where I’m From” poem. I encourage you (individually or as a family) to write your own version. This is a chance to tell a part of your story, and to reflect on the people, family traditions, and experiences that have helped you become the person you are today. We are in the midst of a season filled with traditions, rituals, and expectations. Let’s  take a moment to reflect on what shapes our lives.

Where I’m From

I am from the clock on the mantle that had to be wound daily.
I am from multiple pets at all times – dogs, cats, guinea pigs, and a rabbit once.
I am from warm and welcoming, chaotic and loving.
I am from summers on the farm,
        whose long days of freedom stretched out to infinity.
I am from Tiplers and Ubbelohdes who taught and farmed and painted and cooked.
I am from stubbornness and a sense of responsibility to make the world a better place.
I am from intellectual curiosity, procrastination, and a desire to serve others.
I am from lighting a candle to believe in God,
        from War is not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things
             and from Peace to All Who Enter Here.
I am from Torgine and Ella,  and 17 generations of Carl Williams.
I am from oyster stew on Christmas Eve, and Krumkage cookies rolled hot off the iron.
I am from coming over on the boat from Norway,
        and being drafted for war as a teenager.
I am from a nickname bestowed upon me by my sister, at my request.
I am from moments of joy so powerful it takes your breath away,
        and quiet courage and solidarity in the face of grief and loss.
I am from warm and welcoming, chaotic and loving.

How about you?

In peace,


  from the Board and Mission Teams

Education Ministry

Advent Study

The Gospel of Mark doesn’t have a nativity story—so where’s the Advent message? It’s in every aspect of Jesus’ life, to his death and beyond. The Incarnation—God come to earth in human form to be baptized, teach, heal, eat, and die—is what we celebrate at Christmas, and Mark shows us just how radical and celebration-worthy it is! Holy Disruption presents a fresh understanding of the holiness of Christmas grounded, not in a conventional cozy Christmas message, but through Mark’s disquieting gospel which invites its readers to experience God’s disruptive but transformative love for us and our world.

Cindy Maxey will be leading us through an Advent Study on the book Holy Disruption, by Tracy S. Daub. We will be meeting in the chapel and on zoom (using the Sunday morning worship link) at 9:30am each Sunday in Advent, that began on Nov 27. We will have a final session on Jan 8. Reading the book is encouraged but not required to participate.  Please contact Kate, Carolyn or Cindy with questions.

 Missions Ministry

Wall of Love – Brrr!!! Winter has returned and your generous donations of hats, gloves, mittens, socks, and scarves arrived just in time for the children. Our first collection was delivered to Lomond School on Tuesday, November 15th. Now the tub is empty waiting for our continuous replenishing through March 2023.  The District Family Liaison at Lomond coordinating with us shared her many thanks. We request that items are put in gallon ziplock bags. If you don’t have a bag, don’t worry, we have a supply under the table in the narthex. The tub remains in the area near the tables in the narthex. Thank you for your gift of sharing.

The Little Free Pantry – located off the parking lot where non perishables can be placed. There is also a large container nearby where items can be left. Today’s inflation prices has many people struggling including at the grocery store. Consider checking your cupboards on your way to Sunday worship and remember that a can of beans, fruit, or vegetables a box of cereal might be just what a family or individual needs for their meal of the day.

Get Out to Vote – maybe our signs served as a reminder for everyone to exercise her/his right to vote even if who/what you voted didn’t win. Remember that the signs can be used for several elections in the future. Just store them until the next time. Thank you.

Family Promise – We have taken advantage of many new opportunities/events since our nesting at Plymouth began a year ago. Some former events have continued. This year we will return to collecting Holiday Shop items for the homeless children/families at Family Promise. We’re excited to again have a Christmas Tree in the narthex with paper ornaments which have items of the children’s Wish List for Santa. This was a big hit and exciting time for our congregation to go shopping for the children. Grace Loudenstein will again work her magic and put together a lovely tree for you to choose an ornament and have fun shopping for your choice. Look with wide open eyes as you enter Herr Chapel for worship on November 27th. Wow! The tree with paper ornaments and glowing lights will be there. Bring your unwrapped gifts to church on December 4th or December 11th.
Mike Singerman will collect gift cards that are chosen from the tree. If you have questions please contact Grace Loudenstein at 216-381-4438 or Andrena Jones-Sharp at 216-848-0108.

Holiday Wish List for Family Promise

Mega Blocks
Sports equipment like basketball, footballs, soccer balls, baseballs
PJ’s for all ages and genders (any size)
Housewares (ex. toaster)
Super Hero toys
Books and Journals
Dolls and Barbies(African American included)
Baby and toddler toys
Arts and crafts set
Gifts for Moms (ex. bath and body sets)
Twin sheets
Sets of towels
Gift cards for: Amazon, Walmart, Dave’s Super Market, Save-A-Lot

Did you know? Any idea of who invented scissors? What’s your guess? It was Leonardo da Vinci. Did you know that? Here’s a math question: how many gallons of milk can a cow make in a lifetime? About 20,000 gallons.





Sugar Plum Workshop

Mark your calendars for Saturday, December 3, from 9-11:30am for the return of Sugar Plum Workshop! For over 40 years, families throughout the community have anticipated this opportunity for children to experience the joy of holiday giving by making handmade gifts for families, friends, teachers and even pets. There will be over a dozen different craft tables set up with the supplies needed to make gifts such as ornaments, trivets, cookie mix, and much more. Admission is free and crafts range in price from 25 cents to $4.00, many under $1.

December Vigil

Remembering all victims of gun violence during 2022

Join us on Sunday afternoon, December 4, at 3:00 pm to remember, reflect and re-energize for gun violence prevention work in 2023. Artwork from 99 Treasures Summer Peace Camp will be on display. Gun violence survivors will read the names and light candles for all young persons who have died by gun violence in Cuyahoga County this year.
Everyone who attends will have an opportunity to light a candle in a loved one’s memory.

Participating organizations:
Coalition for a Better Life (Peace in the Hood).
M-PAC Cleveland
Together We Rise
March for our Lives

The vigil is open to the public.  We invite you to join us in person this year.
The Cultural Arts Center of
Disciples Christian Church
3663 Mayfield Rd.  Cleveland Heights

2023 Fund Drive

God Before Guns has traditionally held an annual fund drive at this time of year. However, in 2020 and 2021 our in-person events were curtailed during Covid. We were able to adopt new activities that reduced our expenses during the pandemic. Our reserves carried us through.

Even so, a number of our supporters continued to provide donations during that period and for that we are very grateful.

As we move forward now we are returning to in-person events (e.g. the December Vigil) as well as newer projects such as our sponsorship of gun buyback/safe surrender events and our program of small grants to community organizations engaged in gun violence reduction.

Please consider a gift of financial support to God Before Guns. We hope you will join us in our mission “to build a nation in which our faith in God and each other elevates the sanctity of life above the fears that lead to a society armed against itself.”

English for Speakers of Other Languages class at Shaker Main Library Calls for Volunteer Tutors

We are looking for volunteers who are able and committed to creating a welcoming environment for English Language Learners from all over the world.

  • Have an encouraging teaching style – with a “light touch” — to ensure that students enjoy learning English and leave the class with a smile on their face
  • Are flexible — able to work with students of many different ages and abilities
  • Have a good grasp of the English language and are able to lead discussions on various topics
  • Are open to working with our program’s original reading curriculum that involves pre-teaching vocabulary and reading/discussing imaginative stories
  • Are willing and able to commit to tutoring most every Tuesday night, from 7 to 8:30 pm at the Shaker Heights Public Library located at 16500 Van Aken, 44120.

We are currently tutoring only adults but would like to return to offering tutoring to families once we have volunteers who are willing and able to do this.

So if this sounds interesting to you, please let me know or feel free to drop by on a Tuesday night at 7 pm in Fernway Room, located  on the 2nd floor of the Shaker Heights Public Library to see us in action.

Thank you for your interest,
Carolyn Steiner.  216 751 4918

Book Group

We meet the first Wednesday of each month at 1:00 at Plymouth Church in Room 102.  Our next meeting will be Wednesday, December 7.   Contact Nancy Carpenter for more information and or 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!

Gift Cards for the Holidays in 2022

Christmas shopping will be more fun and less challenging now that the pandemic is moving toward an endemic (like the flu).  But some items will be hard to come by and crowds may not yet be your thing.

Try gift cards!  They let you avoid the crowded stores and the post-season credit card bills.  And your loved ones can spend the card(s) as they wish at the places you select.  They are good in person and for internet buys.   Don’t know what store card to buy?  Amazon and Target are easy choices.  Grocery cards can make the holidays brighter.  Many restaurant cards are available.  And gas station or airline cards can help pay for special people to join you for the holidays.

The earlier you shop for gift cards, the sooner you can sit back and relax.  We have a Special-Order Form (available in the Chapel narthex and church office).  Special orders are accepted for pre-Christmas delivery through Sunday, December 11, 2022. We will then place a consolidated order for delivery by about December 19th.   Don’t see what you want?  Please ask – our vendor has Disney, airlines, restaurants, and other cards too numerous to mention.

Support HCC while you shop.  Get your shopping done early.  And make your life less hassled.  Gift cards are easy.

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!