Reaching Heights June 2020

Heights Christian Church Icon of Two Followers Lifting a CrossReaching Heights June 2020

Links to this month’s news:

Worship in June
Annual Meeting – June 28
Adult Study – new study

Along the Path –
thoughts from Pastor Roger
Kate’s Cogitations

Prayer Opportunities – from the RenewalWorks Team
Mission Ministry Team Report
HCC Graduates
– In Celebration!
Shaker Food Drive – Continues
Prayer List Requests

See the Serving Schedule – Go to the church calendar

June Worship at HCC 

Even as we remain physically separated, we continue to worship together online.  With music, scripture, a message, and prayer, you will want to be a part of each week’s worship. This month we will explore the last part of this program year’s theme, Walk Humbly with God.  Details for joining worship on Zoom are available on the church website (

June 7 – Scripture: 2 Corinthians 13:11-13, Matthew 28:16-20 – Dr. Kate Gillooly preaching

June 14 – Scripture: Genesis 18:1-15 – Pastor Roger preaching

June 21 – Scripture: Genesis 21:8-21 – Pastor Roger preaching

June 28 – Scripture: Genesis 22:1-14 – Pastor Roger preaching

Annual Meeting – June 28

This year’s annual meeting will take place immediately after worship on June 28th.  While we will not be able to gather in person and share table fellowship, we will still take the opportunity to celebrate the past year, elect next year’s leadership, and consider the future of HCC.  Please plan to be online for worship and this important event in the life of the church.

Adult Study – Thursday’s at Noon (JUNE)

Bible Study on the Gospel according to Matthew
7 Thursdays at Noon – 1:00 pm on Zoom*
beginning Thursday, June 18- July 30

*a Zoom link will be emailed out; contact Kate Gillooly if you need it re-sent.

Join us for reflection and discussion on this Gospel which portrays Jesus as teacher, healer, and Messiah. We’ll cover several chapters each week and focus on themes of wisdom, miracles, parables, and passion. Matthew deepens our understanding of what it means to be a disciple as he describes Jesus’ ministry in a context of Jewish tradition in an increasingly pluralistic world.      Facilitated by Kate Gillooly

Along the Path

From pandemic to protests…
Who would have guessed three months ago that we would be where we are today.  As I write this there are indications that after recent declines, rates of coronavirus infection are once again rising as states are reopening the economy.  At the same time protests are taking place all over the country and around the world over the issues of racism and police brutality.

While a hoped for resolution of this pandemic still appears to be a long way off, what is hopeful is that the protests are seemingly having an effect in at least a few places.  Minneapolis city council has pledged to make changes in how health and safety resources are utilized, moving some funding away from police forces and towards other health and human service agencies.  Other cities and states are also pledging to address racism as a public health crisis.  As the front page headline on Sunday’s Plain Dealer said, maybe this is “a chance for real change.”

But we must be realistic in realizing that necessary changes are easy to talk about and make pledges about, but much more difficult to put into practice and to maintain.  So it is up to people like us, and churches and organizations like ours, to continue to apply pressure to city, state, and federal governments to create real change in the structural systems that maintain power and privilege. And to keep applying that pressure as long as there are people in our communities who are kept marginalized and unable to access the peace, justice and resources that many of us take for granted.

If we truly desire for justice and righteousness to be as plentiful as water, then it is up to us to keep the floodgates open and continue to work to make that happen.

One easy way to be involved from the safety of your own home is to sign up to “attend” the Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington Digital Justice Gathering on June 20, 2020.  This will be a digital, online event that will be accessible three times over that weekend. It will be the largest on-line gathering of poor and impacted people, and people of conscience, in this nation’s history.  The purpose is to build a long-term moral fusion movement that can organize to shift the moral narrative, impact policies and elections, and build lasting power.  You can read more and sign up here: Poor People’s Campaign

Peace and blessings be yours.  See you online! … Pastor Roger

Kate’s Cogitations  (FOR JUNE)

As we continue our Heart of the Matter worship series and prepare for Pentecost, and try to survive this COVID-19 pandemic, and listen to the news, I am struck by the power of breath. To breathe is to be alive. To live, we must breathe. Our scriptures include reference to breath throughout the old and new testaments. God breathes life into humans. Jesus breathes his spirit upon the disciples. The Holy Spirit comes as fire and as mighty wind.

And… breathing becomes more difficult when symptoms of COVID-19 appear. Often we need ventilators to keep people alive.

And… breathing is difficult with someone’s knee on your neck. Or when someone holds you in a choke hold too tightly for too long. Or when your body is crushed by brute force, or when your body goes into shock in reaction to some physical or psychological trauma.

And…paying attention to our breathing is one of the simplest ways to calm and center ourselves, to pray without words, to find connection with God.

So I give thanks for breath. I grieve for those unable to breathe. I pray for God’s Holy Spirit to be breathed upon us all – on Pentecost and every day – so that we might feel our connection to God and to all humankind, and that we might be empowered to be agents of God’s abundant love for all creation.

Breathe deep the breath of God, that the breath of God might become your breath. Amen.

~Kate Gillooly 


The RenewalWorks team has been busy planning spiritual enrichment opportunities during this pandemic. In the works is a Prayer Walk around the church grounds (including the Labyrinth and Peace Garden) for people to do on their own time. Instructions and prayers will be made available and the community will be invited to use our outdoor spaces for their individual meditation. We hope to open this opportunity June 20 – stay tuned for details!

The RenewalWorks team is planning to launch “Hearts Together in Prayer” an online prayer opportunity for folks to gather (on Zoom) to share prayer concerns, pray for others, and learn new ways to pray together. Members of the current prayer team have been invited to help pilot this effort and provide feedback. Our goal is to make two offerings — one in the evening and one during the day. Each offering would occur every other week (on opposite weeks) so there would be an opportunity for communal prayer once per week. Our first two (pilot) sessions are Wednesday, June 17 at 7:30 pm and Wednesday, June 24 at 10:00 am. If you would like to join either time, please let Kate Gillooly know. We look forward to the opportunity to pray together!

Report from the Mission Ministry Team

Thrift Shop remains closed until further notice. However, Jim Nicks is exploring whether it can safely open in the near future.

Community Meal….Our Community Meal event abruptly shut down in March this year due to the corona virus. It will likely restart when our church reopens. It seems that this virus will be with us for sometime into the future. What’s left us to do is to keep ourselves safe and to show love for our sisters and brothers who are less fortunate than we are and need of our care. That can be in a number of ways: a phone call, safely dropping off a needed item from the pharmacy or grocery store, making a mask, walking 6+ feet apart while wearing a mask, or maybe baking/cooking something to give. May God bless us all during these challenging times. May we keep ourselves and others safe.

Outreach….made a $250 donation to the Food Bank.  Outreach approved several grants in March. The next review of applications will be in September. Outreach’s giving to applicants is dependent on our membership giving. Although we are not physically having church by sitting in the pews. let’s not forget how much our financial donations are still needed.

Family Promise: efforts are being made to safely structure a way for our congregation to donate needed items to Family Promise. More information will be forthcoming.

HCC Graduates!

Our 2020 Graduates are facing some challenging issues and feelings as they prepare to graduate high school and college. Our graduates missed out on so many milestones that everyone looks forward to when graduating.  We wanted to share their experiences with you.

Alicia Benson – Shaker Heights High School


Daughter of Amber and Henry Sharpley

I liked being a senior at Shaker Heights High School. I will certainly miss going to high school every day to see all my friends and favorite teachers. The teachers and staff care so much about us, and I truly do miss them. I would love to go back and relive these last four years at Shaker Heights High. I hope I get a chance to see everyone to say thank you and wish my farewells.

I am upset that there is no prom or official graduation! We really didn’t get to do any of our senior activities because the governor closed the school for three weeks. We didn’t get to have lawn day, senior week, senior prank week, or senior project. I had to submit a 5-7 second video for graduation. Therefore, I was able to at least wear my prom dress and my cap.

I plan to attend The Ohio State University at Mansfield and major in Early childhood education K-3. To celebrate my graduation, my mother (Amber Sharpley) is planning a drive-by graduation on June 13th, 2020. Details will be posted soon.

I would like to say thank you to Heights Christian Church. The church has pushed me outside of my comfort zone by facing my fears of singing and talking in front of large crowds. I achieved this by performing in the play, Godspell. I was also scared to serve communion for my first time because I didn’t know anyone, but this helped me know more people at church and build relationships.

Lastly, I would like to thank Pastor Roger for registering me for Camp Christian last minute in 2013. Thank you for this opportunity, Pastor. I love this camp, and I made lasting friendships. I am bummed that camp was canceled this year when I found out the news I broke into tears. It was my last year, and I was supposed to be a CIT (Counselor in training).

Thank you, Heights Christian Church, for everything you have done for me.

Avery Dunn – Shaker Heights High School

Son of Daphne & Bill Dunn

My senior year was great, and although it did not end how I wanted it, I’m still grateful for the experiences I had with my class last year. Overall I feel like my senior year was a big what if at the end of the day, but I don’t let this pandemic determine the whole year. I feel that the great things that happened my senior year outweigh all the negatives for me.

I wish things could’ve been different, and I was able to enjoy my senior year activities, but I do understand that I am not the only one facing these hard times, and I have to keep my head up.

My family and I are making up for lack of celebrations by staying positive with the whole situation and celebrating my accomplishments as much of it as we can while staying safe. My future plans are just to get ready for my college years academically and athletically so I can be the best possible student-athlete I can be.

My message to the congregations is that the lessons that the church has taught me are a big reason in helping me through this adversity with the Corona Virus. I am thankful for the moral support this congregation has provided and hope everyone is keeping God first and staying safe through these tough times.

Canyon McWilliams – Ohio Wesleyan University


Son of Jani and Doug McWilliams, Grandson of Kathy McWilliams

I had a conversation with Jani McWilliams, who provided this information about Canyon. He was helping his Dad with cleaning the gutters at the time I called. She was going to fill him in on what she told me.

Canyon McWilliams was playing in a spring college baseball game in Florida when it was announced that Ohio Wesleyan was canceling all sports and sending all students home. He was sorely disappointed to lose the remainder of his senior baseball season. He came home and completed the semester online. Canyon graduated cum laude with a B.S. degree in mathematics/statistics. There was a minimal virtual graduation ceremony.

Then something truly wonderful happened. The NCAA granted another year of eligibility to the seniors who lost their season. Canyon was recruited by a coach from the University of Arkansas/Little Rock to play ball, and get a full scholarship to work on his master’s degree in Sports Management. His career goal is to be a college coach. Needless to say, he is excited about his future! (Picture of Canyon signing the scholarship commitment papers!)

Alyiah Benson – Hiram College

Daughter of Amber and Henry Sharpley

Alyiah received her degree in Neuroscience with minor in Psychology

Our congregation has been there to give them encouragement, teach them and model our faith, and watch them transform into wonderful young adults with bright futures. Heights Christian Church congratulates Alicia, Avery, Canyon, and Alyiah on their accomplishments and wishes them continued success in their future endeavors.

Shaker Food Drive

The Unity in the Community campaign plans to continue the food distributions through the summer.  In June these will be June 1, 8, and 15.  For July they will happen on July 6 & 13.  These distributions take place from the circular drive off Winslow Road at the back of our building from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. We are also making deliveries to  families without transportation.  The number of folks who have been receiving food continues to grow.

Fortunately we are now able to partner with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and the Farmers to Families program to provide low cost and free items including fresh produce and dairy.  We have also applied to the Cleveland Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund for financial assistance.

While there are no food collections planned at the present time, monetary gifts are always welcome and encouraged. Those gifts can be made online on our website (you can specify the food drive):

And volunteers are always needed.  Volunteer should sign up online:

Prayer List Requests

Our current prayer list is in limbo since we are not printing a bulletin and do not want to put prayer lists online.  If you have a prayer request, you can use the online prayer request form ( or send an email to Pastor Roger.  These requests will be forwarded on to the Elders and our Prayer Ministry Team.

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!