Reaching Heights July 2023

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

Links to this month’s news:


  • Worship in July


  • Kate’s Cogitations


  • From the Moderator
  • Education Ministry
  • Mission Ministry


  • Book Group and Meditative Arts Group
  • Gift Cards 
  • Social Media
  • Birthdays

See the Serving Schedule

  Worship and study


Worship in July

HCC Worship Themes
The Kin-dom of God: Within Us, Among Us

July 2      Luke 17:11-21           The Kin-dom of God: Signs of King and Kin

July 9      Isaiah 58:8-12       The Kin-dom of God: Rebuilding and Reaping

July 16    Genesis 11:1-9       The Kin-dom of God: Unity in Diversity

July 23    Mark 4:30-32       The Kin-dom of God: Growing and Blessing All Over                      (worship outside on lawn)

July 30   Rev. Kristine Eggert will be our Guest Preacher
while Dr. Kate attends General Assemble in Louisville, KY

The theme (Kin-dom of God: Within Us, Among Us) is the theme of the General Assembly of the Disciples of Christ this year. These scripture passages have been chosen by the denomination for congregations to explore the theme.

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 July 23 and August 20. On those Sundays, 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 “Kindom 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 “Kindom 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 kindom 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

It’s been a year since our farewell to Pastor Roger upon his retirement. Part of our celebration of him and his ministry was a presentation of a series of hats, each representing a role or responsibility Roger held. It was a natural metaphor for HCC, since we often talk about people wearing many hats – and joke about how many leaders of the congregation rotate hats: “if I’m Team Leader for Worship this year, I might be Team Leader for Education next year.” We joke about it because, like many congregations, there is a small number of people trying to juggle many different roles.  Instead of seeing this though the lens of scarcity (“we need more people involved”) I choose to see the abundance. HCC members are so generous with their time and talents! Leaders take on additional tasks without complaint. The Board has navigated through a pandemic, tricky contracts, changing financial scenarios, new neighborhood partnerships, and a pastoral transition. How blessed we are with faithful, dedicated people to serve and to lead, to model and to teach! We face everything together and in good humor. We are honest about our challenges as well as our dreams for the future.

I give thanks for each member of our community who chooses to wade a little deeper into discipleship. Whether you recently starting attending, or have been here most of your  life, whether you can’t remember the last time you were NOT on the Board or you aren’t sure what the Board does, whether you have a favorite “hat” to wear at HCC or you are still pondering how to become involved, I am grateful for you. We are the Body of Christ together, no matter which hat we currently wear or which hat we hope to wear. Everyone has a role (or 3!) to play. Everyone is welcome to participate at whatever level they choose. Everyone is welcome here. Thanks be to God for you.

in peace,



Annual Meeting 2023

The Annual Meeting was held following worship on Sunday, June 4, 2023, with 40 people in attendance in person and on Zoom. The presentation of the Peace Award preceded the meeting. This year’s recipient is Charlie Lozier, who was accompanied by his family and his grandparents. At the Honors Night at Shaker Heigh School, Dr. Kate presented Charlie with his Peace Award plaque. Charlie is a delightful young man; in his remarks he shared some of his experiences with us. He noted that thinking about this award gave him the opportunity to reflect on how his school and church activities had shaped his values as a peacemaker. Lynda Ackerman presented him with the $1000 educational stipend. He graciously thanked us all. He will be attending the University of Wisconsin in the fall.

Lynda then officially opened the meeting. Carl Cormany presented the report of the Employee Handbook Committee. He reported that the previous personnel manual had been updated by the committee and approved by the Board. Lynda thanked Carl for his leadership in this lengthy project.  Jane Troha then presented the report of the Nominating Committee and moved that the slate be approved. Larry Watson seconded her motion and the slate was unanimously approved. Jane thanked the members of the Nominating Committee. Copies of the Annual

Report are available from the church office.

Lynda thanked the Congregation for their faith in the future of Heights Christian Church and the Board members for all their hard work and positive energy in the past two years of change, transition and covid. She also thanked Dr. Kate for her leadership, her deep faith, her creativity and her deep commitment to the future of this congregation. Jane Troha presented Lynda with a basket of flowers and a garden stone in thanks for her service as Moderator.

The meeting concluded with remarks by Dr. Kate on “Looking to theFuture”. She outlined three practices to help us imagine the future God has for us, to help us determine how we can HCC in new ways.  The practices are:

We need to Listen – to God, to one another, and our neighbors.

We need to Act – to try new things based on God’s leading.

We need to Share -to reflect on our actions and share our story with others.

Dr. Kate concluded with “I don’t know where the spirit will lead us next. I know it will involve change, even as some things stay the same. It will require us to open ourselves to new possibility, and to listen for God’s leading. I hope it will feel exciting and energizing. I know God will be with us. Let’s discover together what God might be up to in Shaker and in HCC.”

Education Ministry

HCC Graduates
This year we have three members of Heights Christian Church Graduating: Claire Dunn, Alicia Benson and Yvonne Smith. Additionally, Thomas Dunn finished at Exeter this year and will be going on to Brown University to play Football. We want to recognize their accomplishments and let you know a bit more about them.

Claire Dunn
Claire just graduated from Shaker Heights High School. She ran track and field at Shaker and came in first place in the 400m at the Stat Championships this month. Next year she will be attending DePaul University in Chicago where she plans to run track there.


Alicia Kristal Benson
Alicia complete her Culinary Arts Associate of Science Degree at Johnson & Wales University Providence campus, where she made the Dean’s list in both her freshman and sophomore years. She was an orientation leader for the school and had the opportunities to meet chefs Tyler Florence and Eric Ripert.

She is currently working full time at Heinen’s in Shaker Heights in their kitchen but is planning to start her own business soon. She is planning to create a meal prep and dinner service for the Shaker Heights area. If you are interested in her services, she would love for you to reach out to her about them at

Yvonne Smith
Yvonne completed her RN to BSN program at Indiana Wesleyan University earning her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. One of her capstone projects was a community service project based off our Little Free Pantry program, for which she interviewed Pastor Roger as well as others. It looked at addressing food insecurity in Shaker Heights and the Greater Cleveland area.
Yvonne will stay in her current position at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital and is working towards her Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse- Board Certified (PMHN-BC). She may even venture into clinical research nursing.
Yvonne wrote the following: “I would like to say that my journey to go back to school was not easy. I had to balance home/work/school life and there were multiple days and nights I felt that God was putting me at my limit. During my time at school, we did weekly Scripture discussions that we tied into our nursing curriculum and it made me realize during this time my new relationship with God. How could I be a servant of God? How can I help serve myself with his teachings? There will be times of weakness but there will be times of strength. I have been given strength by the support of my family and the church.”

Missions Ministry

On September 12, 2023 we will have nested at Plymouth UCC for two years. We have engaged in new opportunities since then. Let us continue throughout this coming church year and every year. (Isaiah 43:19 See I am doing a new thing! …… you not perceive it?

Starting July 1, 2023 we will have a new team of chosen leaders working to provide for this congregation, the local and world community as they discern what it is God wants us to do.

Thank you for your donations: food, winter children’s items, flower vases, household items for Afghan refugees, in Fall and Spring, and financial contributions.

Outreach: The Outreach Committee recently approved funding to Family Promise of $550.

Because of your generous flower vases donations to Big Hearted Blooms many of those in hospitals, assisted living facilities, hospice centers, senior housing communities and others will have a reason to smile.

Neighbor Night convenes year round on the last Tuesday of the month. In July the date is the 25th. All are welcome to attend from 6-8pm in Chelton Park. Stay tuned for more on a community outdoor movie information.

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 ( Adult Family Life: Andrena meets with the committee on the second Sunday of the month to share community events/activities each congregation is involved with an offer to join.

Donations to the Little Free Pantry is available for non-perishable food at any time. It is located just off the parking lot here at Heights Christian Church.

It is time NOW to get your voting signs out on the lawn. It is time NOW to sign the clip board in the Narthex to take your place in the community to share the changes in our state for voting and issue #1 August 8th. Small cards with this information and more about the election is also located on the table in the Narthex. Spread the word. Tell your friends wherever you have access. Go to for more information.

Key Dates related for August 8th Election

July 10 voter registration ends

July early voting begins

August 1st Absentee ballot request deadline

August 8th Election Day

Letter of thanks from Tara Broderick, Poetry Partner
with the Institute for Poetic Medicine

To: Lynda Ackerman and the Heights Christian Church Board

Dear Lynda and the Board,

In January you made a generous contribution to the Institute for Poetic Medicine (IPM) to support my facilitation of Words That Heal, an 8-session healing poetry series for people with Parkinson’s Disease and/or their care partners. I realize you have a long-term relationship with John Fox and IPM, a true blessing that allowed us to serve people with a particular need.

The program ran with 10 participants from January-May and the feedback was positive. Participants described the program as “meaningful,” “amazing,” and “a unique opportunity.” They appreciated the positive, encouraging tone, the chance to share feelings, and the non-judgmental atmosphere. Thank you so much for your support. You have helped individuals who live with Parkinson’s Disease discover meaning and find strength to cope.

Here is a poem written by one of the participants during the program:

A metaphor poem for the diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease:

The Package

I remember when the large package arrived, years ago,
My name printed in bold letters across the top,
PD IN FULL stamped in each corner as if to signal, there could be no mistake.

Too heavy to lift, I pushed the box with my entire being, Through the front door and into my life.

At first, it was easy to ignore the brown cardboard curiosity, Easy to hide it from sight,
No need to open and take ownership just yet.

After all, I had never ordered what was paid in full.

– Karen






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!



5 – Greg Gillooly        6 – Carson Crosby        13 – Christopher Crosby
20 – Alicia Benson       31 – Ed Weisheimer

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     24 – Larry Watson     29 – Billy Dunn

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!