Reaching Heights July 2021
Reaching Heights July 2021
Links to this month’s news:
See the Serving Schedule
July Worship – “I’ve been meaning to ask…”
July 4 – “Where does it hurt?” (part 2) – 2 Timothy 4:9-18 – Pastor Roger preaching
July 11 – “Where do we go from here?” (part 1) – Ruth 1:1-22 – Pastor Roger preaching
July 18 – “Where do we go from here?” (part 2) – Acts 10 – Pastor Roger preaching
July 25 – Conversation Church – to wrap up our “I’ve been meaning to ask…” series we will spend time this Sunday talking with each other to provide fellowship, connection, and a glimpse of the holy. John 15:9-17 – Worshippers “preaching”
We began our new phase of “hybrid” worship on June 6, including those who wish to gather in person along with those who desire to continue to worship online.
While there continue to be technological challenges we are addressing them to provide the best possible worship experience for everyone.
The following reiterates our health protocols and what you can expect from worship at HCC:
- If you decide to worship in person:
• We will be following a “two out of three” approach: wearing masks and practicing social distancing indoors, and choosing either masks or distancing as a strategy when gathering outdoors.
• Worship has moved a half hour earlier to 10:30 (this is to make sure that we are out of the space before the FaithWorks congregation arrives). We ask that you not arrive any earlier than 10:15 and and please do any pre-service socializing outside the building.
• Entry will be through the main sanctuary doors (preferred) or via the handicap entrance. The Daleford Office door will remain locked.
• Masks will be required for all congregation members. Worship Leaders will not be masked when speaking to insure that they can be clearly heard. They will only speak from the very front of the space.
• We will allow singing, but ask that it be done quietly.
• Please dress for the weather. We will have sanctuary doors and windows open to allow for maximum air circulation.
• Hand sanitizer will be available at all entrances,
• Prepackaged Communion will be provided at the entrances in individual serving cups that will include both bread and grape juice. Those will be picked up as you come in and taken to your seats.
• Offering plates will also be at the entrances so that we do not need to pass them up and down the aisles.
• Seating will be spaced out to maintain social distancing. We ask that you sit only in seats with pew cushions and that anyone who is socializing outside of the church sit together to maximize the number of spaces available.
• Hymnals will be in the pews and a simple bulletin will be available. However, all of the words for songs and readings will also be shown on the screen in the front of the sanctuary.
• Everyone will be asked to leave the sanctuary immediately after the end of the service and move outside to the porch or lawn where socializing is safer. We will not be offering any refreshments at this time.
• If you are feeling sick, especially if you are running a fever, please stay home and enjoy the service from the comfort of your own space.
If you decide to worship on Zoom or Facebook Live:
• We will treat you as, and expect you to be, a full participant in the service. We hope that you will sing along (muted of course), respond to the Call to Worship and join in the Prayer of Thanksgiving (still muted). We also hope that you will offer prayers verbally (unmuted) or via chat/comments and gather elements such as a candle and bread and drink to participate in communion.
• From time to time we may display the Zoom gallery view on the screen in the physical sanctuary and online. If you prefer not to be seen, feel free to turn off your camera or you can join via Facebook Live.
• We will continue to tweak technology to provide the best audio and video experience possible. For those who are experiencing technological challenges in signing on (especially via computer), we will work by phone or in person to overcome those difficulties.
One of the great gifts in moving to hybrid worship is that it gives all of us the option to be in worship regardless of where we are, weather conditions, and personal situations. It is another way for us to be part of the Disciples’
“movement for wholeness in a fragmented world” and live into new ways of being inclusive and expansive
Zoom and Facebook Live are also easy ways to invite and include family and friends who may be hesitant to visit us in person or who live out of town.
We look forward to seeing you in worship!.
Welcome Levi Horn!
We are delighted to announce that Levi Horn has been hired to provide technical support for our hybrid worship services. Levi began late June and can be seen operating our soundboard and video camera in the Sanctuary each week.
Hi I’m Levi and I’m happy to be a part of the team here. I’m an almost 20 year old camera man living in Brecksville with my brother and 5 pets! When I’m not at the church helping out I like to exercise or you can find me working as a personal trainer! I also like to enjoy nature and relax when I can!
Along the Path:
On the face of it, the poem below has a melancholy feeling highlighting the decline and dissolution of a church in rural Nebraska. But rereading it I found instead a sense of hope. So I invite you to read the poem (maybe more than once) and then the rest of my thoughts below.
“THE RED WING CHURCH,” BY TED KOOSER
There’s a tractor in the doorway of a church
in Red Wing, Nebraska, in a coat of mud
and straw that drags the floor. A broken plow
sprawls beggarlike behind it on some planks
that make a sort of roadway up the steps.
The steeple’s gone. A black tar-paper scar
that lightning might have made replaces it.
They’ve taken it down to change the house of God
to Homer Johnson’s barn, but it’s still a church,
with clumps of tiger lilies in the grass
and one of those boxlike, glassed-in signs
that give the sermon’s topic (reading now
a bird’s nest and a little broken glass).
The good works of the Lord are all around:
the steeple top is standing in a garden
just up the alley; it’s a hen house now:
fat leghorns gossip at its crowded door.
Pews stretch on porches up and down the street,
the stained-glass windows style the mayor’s house,
and the bell’s atop the firehouse in the square.
The cross is only God knows where.
Commentary: So after reading this poem a couple of times I was struck by the fact that the physical parts of the church building were now out in the community being reused (an ecologically sound practice) to good effect by people all around the former church. I was also struck by the idea that the cross from the church (likely from the steeple) was not so readily visible.
As we continue the process of unencumbering ourselves from the weight of the church building and re-envisioning who we are as a community of faith, maybe our most important work will be to imagine ourselves as that church building spread out into the community around us. And perhaps we can be a cross that continues to be visible to our neighbors as a beacon of God’s love for all the world. That has always been the work of the church and it is work that has never required a building to make it real.
In peace and hope! – Pastor Roger
“For the Common Good”
It is intriguing to consider how the pursuit of our own happiness is tied up with a striving for the common good. This idea is not solely an American one. A similar concept can be found in the South African notion of Ubuntu. Desmond Tutu describes Ubuntu as the essence of being human, the idea that my humanity is tied to yours. “I am who I am because of you, he says. “It speaks about our interconnectedness.” We see elements of this “common good” culture all over the world. We read in Acts of the early Church living this way: “All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people.” (Acts 2:44-47)
As we imagine together what our life as HCC will be like when we’re nesting at Plymouth Church, it would be easy to fall into the trap of only worrying about ourselves. After all, there’s a sense of loss in selling our church building and moving to another neighborhood. So much of what we’ve counted as belonging to HCC will no longer be in our possession. It would be understandable for us to want to cling to whatever we can, and resist all the change in front of us. Instead, you, dear congregants, have stepped up to the occasion, and are embracing a new future. There is grief, yes, but you are also showing amazing resiliency and hope in this change. You are letting yourselves dream about new possibilities, a changed future. And you are not forgetting about our sense of community within the membership or our obligation to continue serving the community. You are taking into account our mission as a church to serve the community. You are showing by example what it means to seek the common good, and live into our interconnected humanity. May we model this approach to our community, this nation, and the world, for it blesses all involved and it is sorely needed.
Now that we are starting to move towards some sense of normalcy, Pastor Roger and Kate will begin having regular office hours at the church. These will coincide with our weekly Tuesday staff meetings, which usually run from 11:00 to noon. Pastor Roger will typically be in the office 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.
Remember – the HCC office is closed on Mondays and open Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.
Updated status of the building sale. As of 6/30/21 there are a few items still being negotiated in the purchase agreement with Eastview, but we are expecting that will be completed in the next few days. We have agreed on a closing at the end of September.
We will continue to share updates as the process moves along.
Visioning Leadership Team Update
Join us for a Congregational Meeting after worship on Sunday, July 11. We will present some scenarios for how we might be the Church in our next chapter! We’re excited to share these ideas and to hear your reactions! These scenarios were written to include main themes we heard at our Missional Identity meeting last year, our Dreaming Session, and through our external interviews with neighbors and community leaders. They are suggestions for what could be next for us – and we hope they invite you into some hopeful imagining about our future.
Many thanks to the Visioning Leadership Team for all their work:
Lynda Ackerman, Andrena Jones-Sharp, Brian McDonald, Val McMillan, Yvonne Smith, Pastor Roger, and Dr. Kate.
Thanks to those who conducted interviews:
Lynda Ackerman, Connee Choi, Andrena Jones-Sharp, Val McMillan,
Annette Sutherland, and Larry Watson.
And to those who drafted our scenarios: Lynda Ackerman,
Andrena Jones-Sharp, Val McMillan, and Jane Troha.
Thrift Shop Reopens!
Remember the church Thrift Shop? The one that closed in March 2020 due to Covid. Church has reopened, so our shop has also. One problem, we are short on volunteers.
The shop is open Fridays and Saturdays 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. We may adjust or expand those hours if we get more volunteers. We are not requiring mask but we should bring one just in case. Six feet social distancing will be recommended. We have hand sanitizer. Hopefully our customers still carry cash.
Our Thrift Shop is located in the basement beside our driveway door on Winslow Road. If you have not seen it, you should. We carry apparel, glassware, ceramics, books, games, art work, lamps, and small appliances. Prices are low. Our goods are all donated and our staff is all volunteer.
Want to learn how to be a shop keeper? We work two volunteers for three hours. Work includes, sales, pricing, sorting new donations, and helping customers. We presently have (8) volunteers. We need more.
Jim Nicks Thrift Shop Manager
Prayer List Requests
Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. (Philippians 4:6)
Our Hearts Together in Prayer group meets each Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. to share prayer concerns and updates, and to spend time in prayer together via Zoom. (contact Kate or Val for the link if you’d like to join).
We begin and end with a set of prayers that change each month and are read by the facilitator, and the time in the middle offers opportunity for everyone to share their own petitions, intercessions, and thanksgivings.
All are welcome and encouraged to join us as you are able; praying together is powerful and lifts the spirits. Prayer requests can be submitted via the form on the HCC website (https://www.heightschristianchurch.org/prayer-request/) or send an email to Pastor Roger.
These requests will be lifted up on Wednesday evenings and forwarded on to the Elders, and our Prayer Ministry Team.
Staff Email Updates
As of April 29, 2021
Some time ago we created new email addresses for staff based on our website domain (heights.org). However we have continued to use the old sbcglobal.net addresses as well (like firstname.lastname@example.org).
Due to a variety of issues, Kate’s and Kese’s sbcglobal accounts have ceased functioning so we are moving away from all of those accounts and will begin using the heights.org addresses exclusively. If you have recently sent an email to email@example.com please resend the email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please update your address books with the following:
Pastor Roger: email@example.com
Kate Gillooly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kese Webb: email@example.com
General Mailbox: firstname.lastname@example.org
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!