Reaching Heights June 2021
Reaching Heights June 2021
Links to this month’s news:
See the Serving Schedule
June Worship – “I’ve been meaning to ask…”
June 6 – “Where are you from?” (part 2) – John 1:35-51 – Pastor Roger preaching
*** Annual meeting follows worship***
June 13 – “Where does it hurt?” (part 1) – 1 Samuel 1:1-18 – Rev. Kristine Eggert preaching
June 20 – Father’s Day – “Where does it hurt?” (part 2) – Mark 5:21-43 – Dr. Kate Gillooly preaching
June 27 – “What do you need?” (part 1) – Job 2:11-13 – Pastor Roger preaching
Hybrid Worship begins June 6!
We have decided that we will begin a new phase of “hybrid” worship beginning June 6. This means that our worship will include those who wish to gather in person along with those who desire to continue to worship online.
Our primary aims will be to provide a safe place for those who are ready to return to the sanctuary while also fully including those who, for any number of reasons, choose to worship virtually. To that end we will be continuing many of the health protocols in person and updating the technology in our sanctuary to maintain an excellent online worship experience.
- Here is what you can expect 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 will move 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.
Here is what you can expect 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 are excited by the possibilities of this new era of worship at HCC. Please make plans to join us – online or, beginning June 6, in person.
Donita Singerman and the Worship Ministry Team
Tech Support position available (and needed!)
HCC is looking for a tech support person for Sunday mornings. A job description is available on the Church website and Facebook page. Please share with anyone you know who might be interested.
June 6 – Annual Meeting (after worship – about 11:45)
The meeting will take place in the Campbell Room and over Zoom and will feature this year’s Peace Award winner as well as voting on the new leadership for 2021-22.
Along the Path:
Over 25 years ago, before I made the decision to go to seminary and enter the ministry, I made a business trip into Michigan. While I was there I had some time to kill so I drove to Saginaw; my childhood home. My first stop was the house where I had lived the first 10 years of my life. I remembered it as a “very large” light grey house with a small, detached garage, which we used as the outfield fence (it was a home run if it landed on the roof – something my older brother could do, but I couldn’t).
I remembered the address, 914 Cherry Street, so it was easy to find, but little was the same. The house was much smaller than the image in my 10-year-old memory, it had been repainted a very different color, and the garage, which I kind of remembered had not been in that great of shape when we lived there, was gone. I drove away with the thought, “I guess you really never can go home.”
Those were the changes of over 30 years, but we’ve all come to realize that even 14 months can make huge changes in our lives and in the places we call home. On June 6 we will once again open our sanctuary for in person worship. Many of us have been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to gather there again. Some of us will do that, some will not for many reasons, but it will be different. We will be masked, we will not gather for coffee and conversation in the Campbell Room afterwards, some faces that we were used to seeing will not be there, and there will be more evidence of technology as we transition to hybrid worship so that those who are unable or unwilling to be physically present can still be a part of our worshipping community. It will look different and it will feel different. And that’s just the way it will be.
About two years ago, I made another trip to Michigan, this time with Debbie, to spend a few days with my brother and sister-in-law. On the way, we stopped in Saginaw so I could show Debbie around and we went to that same boyhood home. As we sat in the car across the street someone came out of the house and Debbie persuaded me to get out and introduce myself. I did and we were invited inside. The couple that lived there were warm and welcoming and I shared stories of growing up in the house. The inside of the house brought back all kinds of memories, but the welcome and hospitality of that couple made it feel like “home” again. It was different and the same all at once.
So may it be with us. See you Sunday!
I teach an online course on discernment called “Discerning My Path for Faithful Living.” Its purpose is to help people listen for what God may be calling them into, perhaps some new way of living out their baptismal ministry as Christians. One of the exercises I assign is for students to interview 3-5 people about how they see the students. It is an opportunity to get a different perspective, to glimpse how others view us – particularly our gifts and passions. Folks are often hesitant about this assignment…until they do it. Perhaps they don’t want to appear self-centered, or maybe they fear negative feedback. Almost always, the people interviewed are gracious, affirming, and offer a perspective previously unknown to the student but gladly welcomed and very helpful. The students are always glad they did it.
HCC is in the process of envisioning our next chapter. Who and what are we called to be? How will we serve the community? Will we offer something that people yearn to be part of? Instead of relying solely on our own ideas, we are bravely asking others to weigh in. Members are interviewing Shaker residents who are not a part of HCC to find out how HCC is viewed in the community, what community needs are most pressing, and where we might be able to collaborate with others to meet those needs. I believe we will be pleasantly surprised by these interviews, and that we will learn a lot about ourselves and our community. Who could you ask to share their perspective?
Building Update – from the Board
Updated status of the building sale. As of 5/27/21 a purchase agreement has been delivered to Eastview and we are awaiting their response. As of now we are still expecting that the closing will take place in late summer or early fall.
Reports from our nesting and “stuff” teams are below.
We look forward to continuing to share updates as the process moves along.
Nesting Committee Update
Committee: Val McMillan, Donita Singerman, Kate Gillooly, Roger Osgood
As progress was made in listing the church building for sale, the Board of Trustees appointed a few sub-committees to engage the work of the transition phase. Our group was tasked with finding a new place to call home. The pandemic and other experiences taught us that we can gather in new ways and places, so our next home could be used for worship, fellowship and some administration and study, but doesn’t need to house all our ministries and programs. It can be more of a home base, with some activities taking place out in the community. We heard two priorities from members: staying in Shaker, and nesting in a church building if possible.
We considered a few different locations before determining that Plymouth Church is the best fit. We met with their staff, toured the building, and worked out a lease agreement. Plymouth is part of the United Church of Christ (UCC), and hold similar theological views and liturgical practices. The clergy and staff of Plymouth are eager to find ways in which our two congregations can collaborate. We are committed to remaining two distinct congregations but welcome a chance to work together on specific projects. We will use their large Chapel for worship on Sundays, and will have access to other rooms for meetings, classes, etc.
We believe this to be a very good fit for HCC and are grateful for the warm welcome we have already received from Plymouth. If all goes well with the sale of our building, we hope to begin worshipping in our new location in September. Please reach out to any of us with questions. We hope you will be as excited as we are!
Additional communication about nesting will be sent closer to when we will begin gathering at Plymouth. Meanwhile, we look forward to hybrid worship (both in-person and online) in our current Sanctuary this summer.
This team has done extraordinary work in the midst of the pandemic, with plenty of other ongoing responsibilities. Our deep gratitude goes to Val and Donita for the hours they spent working on this, the honesty with which they evaluated our various opportunities, and the grace and cheer they brought to the task. Thank you!
Greetings from the “Stuff” Committee
The first work of the “Stuff” Committee was to determine what we need to take with us to the nesting site. Because storage there will be limited, much thought has gone into compiling a list of things that can go with us. You will see familiar things in the new setting – the peace candle, our banners, worship materials and friends’ faces!
Donita Singerman and I are co-chairing this committee. Donita has been very busy organizing and sorting the Boar’s head costumes. She reports that HCC’s beautiful collection of Boar’s Head costumes has found a new and loving home. We have donated many costumes, costume accessories, props, tableware and Medieval banners to Cook Theater Designs in Norwalk, Ohio.
Vanessa Cook handles costuming for several are theatre companies: Dobama, Hathaway-Brown, Cleveland Opera, Baldwin Wallace College, and several other theater departments. She was thrilled to acquire such an extensive collection of carefully made costumes and truly appreciates the love and effort that were put into the creation of them. If you attend at theater production in the future, you just may see some of our costumes on the stage!
We have been busy reviewing all the materials in the archives closet – some going back to the very first church service! The church library is full of a variety of books. There are Bible reference books, books on faith, and many more. We encourage you to stop by any time the office is open and pick out some books to take home.
Over the summer there will be many opportunities to help empty drawers and clear shelves.
Any time that you can give to help would be very appreciated. We will let you know as volunteer sessions are organized. It is a big task to get the building ready for new owners.
Donita Singerman and Lynda Ackerman
Visioning Leadership Team Update
Look! I’m doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it? I’m making a way in the desert; paths in the wilderness. (Is. 43:19)
As we begin the transition to our next chapter of selling the building and moving to “nest” at Plymouth Church, our work takes many forms. Sub-committees are negotiating the sale of the building, sorting our “stuff,” planning for the move, etc. Aside from the logistics, the entire congregation is invited into a process of discerning God’s call to us and envisioning how we will do mission together from our new location. The Visioning Leadership Team is overseeing this process and you have a role to play!
On May 2, we gathered after worship for a Congregational Dreaming Session.
Members affirmed the mission priorities that were articulated last spring, including:
Commitment to racial and social justice
A heart for “the least of these”
Care for each other
Children and Youth a vital part of church life.
Some questions we raised:
Will we offer hunger relief ministries?
How can we reach out to members of the LGBT community?
What can we do for children and families in the community?
Some areas we want to explore:
With whom can we partner?
How might technology help us reach out?
What can we do to enhance police-community relations?
Some of our yearnings:
We want to be part of the solution.
We want to be the small church that accomplishes big things.
We want to be church in community.
Some things we must do or must not do:
Outreach, Peace + Justice
Maintain HCC identity and presence in our community
Keep only what we have real passion for
Keep worshipping together
Our brainstorming brought these ideas forward:
Help with election process/voting/getting people to polls
Serve as a funding source for furthering mission
Expanding into environmental concerns
Activities for youth – of HCC and of community
Partnering with other congregations and community groups
When asked to describe HCC in this next chapter, we said:
The Little Engine That Could
Cell group: nurtures each other so we can go into community + join God’s work
Risk takers/Up for anything/Outside the Box
Joy, on a journey
Excited for change/optimistic
Welcoming Doers/Caring for Others
Like yeast/Good Stewards
Willing to partner
Now we are in the next steps of gathering data to help us discern.
- Members are holding interviews with people in Shaker but not part of HCC. We do this to engage the community, to discover how we are viewed, and to seek opportunities to partner. If you would like to interview someone, contact Kate.
- We are also walking the neighborhood – your own or another in Shaker, alone or with friends – in order to look for God’s action in the community and see where we might join in.
The Visioning Leadership Team will process all these insights and produce a few scenarios to paint a picture of what our next chapter might look like. These will be presented at a Congregational Meeting after worship on June 27. Based on your feedback, the leadership team will make recommendations as to priorities and implementation to the Board.
We are fortunate to have such a dedicated group of people on the Visioning Leadership Team! Please share your thoughts with them when you see them. They are:
Lynda Ackerman, Andrena Jones-Sharp, Brian and Danielle McDonald, Val McMillan, Yvonne Smith, Jane Troha, Roger Osgood, and Kate Gillooly.
On behalf of the Board of Directors of God Before Guns, we thank the people of Heights Christian Church for your continued support and prayers. The first weekend in June is Wear Orange weekend, a remembrance observed by anti-gun violence movements around the country.
Wear Orange began in memory of Hadiyah Pendleton, a 15 year old living on the southside of Chicago who was killed in a spray of gunfire as she and her friends were just hanging out at a neighborhood park after finishing their high school finals. Hadiyah was killed just days after participating with her marching band at President Obama’s inauguration so her death made national news. In the wake of her death, friends wore orange to remember her and to raise awareness about gun violence. One of her friends was quoted as saying, “orange is basically the color hunters wear to signal to other hunters not to shoot them. So that’s why we’re wearing it – to say, don’t shoot me.”
We at God Before Guns invite all Heights Christian Church members to Wear Orange on Sunday, June 6 in solidarity with all who believe in the sanctity of life and want to help build a nation that elevates that life above the fears that lead us to being a society armed against itself.
God Before Guns will observe Wear Orange this year in a video interview with John Woodrow Cox, Washington Post journalist and Pulitzer Prize finalist, who has authored the book, Children Under Fire: An American Crisis. A link to the interview will be forthcoming.
David and Kris Eggert
Notes: If you’d like a God Before Guns orange t-shirt, they are available at the church with a $10 donation to our organization, sizes S-XXL. Please make your payment to God Before Guns and arrange to pick up your shirt when the building is open.
Saturday May 15th was our Heights Church spring work day. We had 6 volunteers. Our job was to clean flower beds, trim hedge rows, and spread out 30 bags of brown mulch. Linda and Lloyd Ackerman worked the church sign flower bed area. Larry Watson trimmed the Avalon road hedges and the Asian tree/shrub beside the Campbell Room porch steps. Neil Chase, Jim Nicks and Scott Phelps work the front door flower beds.
Thanks to everyone for volunteering. We had clear weather and temperature in the 60’s. We started at 9:00am and were done by noon.
Jim Nicks, Heights Christian Church Property Committee
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)
Even in the ongoing pandemic (maybe especially in these times), individual and corporate prayer continue!
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.
New Office Hours
The HCC office will now be closed on Mondays and open Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.
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 email@example.com).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org please resend the email to email@example.com. Also, please update your address books with the following:
Pastor Roger: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kate Gillooly: email@example.com
Kese Webb: firstname.lastname@example.org
General Mailbox: email@example.com
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!