Reaching Heights June 2024

Heights Christian Church Icon of Two Followers Lifting a CrossReaching Heights June 2024

Links to this month’s news:


  • Worship Themes for June


  • Kate’s Cogitations
  • Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela 


  • Listening and Partnering Together
  • Sabbatical Preachers Announced
  • Mission Ministry 
  • Thank You Notes


  • Wednesday’s Together
  • Book Group and Meditative Arts Group
  • Gift Cards
  • Social Media
  • Birthdays

See the Serving Schedule

HCC Worship Themes for June

June 2                    1 Samuel 3:1-10 (The Call of Samuel)          Listening for the Holy
             Annual Meeting right after worship

June 9                  Deuteronomy 5:12-15  Keeping the Sabbath                                                    Blessing for Kate’s Sabbatical

June 16                 Mark 4:26-34  Pastor Dillon Shipman, Guest Preacher

June 23                 Mark 4:35-41  Elder Larry Watson, preaching

June 30                 Mark 5:21-43   Rev. Roger Osgood, preaching



Kate’s Cogitations

I am so appreciative to the leadership of HCC for offering me a sabbatical as part of my three year contract as Transitional Minister. It may seem early to make such an offer, after all, sabbaticals are typically granted after 5 years of service or more. But, as usual, HCC has been both visionary and generous. When I was called to be your transitional minister, I had already served on staff for 6 years, albeit in a part-time capacity. So now, after two years as pastor, and eight years in service to HCC, I am taking about 2 months off this summer for rest and renewal. I will be away from HCC from June 15-August 19, returning to work on August 20.

Plans are in place for worship and pastoral care during my absence. The Moderators have lined up guest preachers for the 10 Sundays I’ll be gone. You will recognize most of their faces, and I believe you will be enlivened and inspired by their messages. The elders will oversee pastoral concerns and check in with folks who can’t make it to church. Ministry Team leaders and others are planning for offerings both over the summer and next fall. You all are in very good hands, as the people of God continue to serve, within and outside the congregation.

Some people think sabbaticals are just extended time off, but they actually have purpose beyond “rest.” Just like taking one “sabbath” day each week, an extended sabbatical time allows for both rest and renewal – a chance for spiritual nurture we rarely allow ourselves time for in the busy-ness of full-time work. By having time when we don’t have to do all the daily and weekly tasks of our regular job, we can stop, asses, and re-focus our priorities and our practices. Sometimes that means accomplishing something that is hard to fit in around the edges of full-time ministry, like brushing up a certain skill, or completing a project that requires extended focus. It may look like “getting our house in order,” whether that is our physical home, relationships, or routines and patterns.

For me, this sabbatical will include a spiritual pilgrimage, exploring different approaches to preaching, and a chance to catch up on new  models for missional ministry and congregational development. I hope to do some writing, and a whole lot of resting. I’m very grateful for this time, and hope to share the fruits of it with you when I return.

in peace,
~ Kate

Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela 

This summer as part of Kate’s sabbatical, she and her husband will travel to Portugal and Spain and join thousands of others who have walked the “Camino” or the pilgrimage to Santiago in Spain. This has been a destination of spiritual pilgrims for centuries, as it is believed that the remains of St. James are at the Cathedral in Santiago. Over the centuries people have walked from all over the world to Santiago. The most famous and well traversed route begins in France and crosses the Pyrenees mountains. Kate and Greg will take the Portuguese route, walking the last 100 kilometers (the minimum you need to earn a Pilgrim’s Certificate), from the border between Portugal and Spain. For a closer look at the practice of walking the Camino, see the movie called “The Way,” by Emilio Estavez, starring Martin Sheen.

Kate has had a fascination with pilgrimages for many years, and shaped the youth trips she led to South Africa as pilgrimages of self-discovery, spiritual renewal, and strengthening partnerships with their hosts. She and Greg had talked about walking the Camino someday, and, like many others, were inspired by watching the movie, “The Way.” When a chance for a sabbatical came up, they decided to start planning and training.

People walk the Camino for many different reasons, some personal, some physical, many spiritual. There is something about the practice of walking that helps clear and focus the mind. It can be a time of introspection and reflection. Along the way, pilgrims meet other pilgrims, see beautiful countryside and ancient cathedrals, and learn to trust that what they need will be provided.

Kate and Greg don’t have set goals regarding spiritual enlightenment, but will work to be open to the lessons and offerings of the Way. They plan to send “digital postcards” from the trip, and then share stories, photos, and learnings after Kate’s return from sabbatical. They are grateful for your prayers and good wishes. “Buen Camino!”


From the Moderator

Save the Date!

This year’s Annual Meeting will be held on Sunday, June 2, immediately following worship in the Chapel.  Please plan on attending to hear from the Peace Award winner, to vote on the slate of officers presented by the Nominating Committee and to conduct other church business.

Listening and Partnering Together — Where We Are Now

A Report on Listening and Partnering Together
Will Be
 Presented at Annual Meeting

The second half of our program year was spent in part in addressing the first three of five goals that Pastor Kate had presented to the congregation. These goals are designed to help us discern our mission and next steps as a congregation.

In January and February 2024, the congregation of Heights Christian Church engaged in a series of interviews to gather information to help us in determining our path forward as a church. Two phases of interviews ensued: first, with members of the Shaker Heights community to gain their perspective on Shaker and its needs and opportunities for collaboration and second, with people participating in our congregation to “take their pulse” regarding the current state of the church and their hopes, dreams and ideas for its future.

A written report of these findings will be available at the Annual Meeting on June 2nd and a brief summary will be given by our Moderator, Jane Troha. From this information which both the Board of Trustees and the Ministry Team Leaders and Assistant Team Leaders have received, a series of ideas for experimental steps was generated. These included ideas for spring 2024 implementation and longer-term ideas for future planning.

We have already tried out, successfully, partnering with Boulevard Elementary School where volunteers from HCC assisted at the school’s Literacy Night for students and parents in April. In addition, in May we collected stuffed animals to partner with the Social Worker assisting the Shaker Heights Police Department. The Mission Team’s Outreach Committee has also approved a $1000.00 grant to the Social Worker for snacks, bus passes and hygiene supplies.

Suggestions for future action include wrapping a tree with ribbons containing prayers for Earth Day or to heighten awareness of climate change, a mobile food pantry, working with the city’s Landmark Commission to install a permanent marker and art installation at the porch on the Van Aken building commemorating the visit of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and others.

We will be looking at these and many other ideas as we move forward into the coming program year. Come to the Annual Meeting and pick up a copy of the report and then share your ideas, your energy and your enthusiasm with us as we move from Listening and Partnering into a new year of discerning and doing!  

Sabbatical Preachers Announced

As you know, our pastor, Dr. Kate Gillooly, will be taking a well-deserved sabbatical this summer. She will preach on June 9th and then be on leave from June 15th through August 19th, returning to the office on August 20th and to the pulpit on August 25th. We wish her a wonderful, restorative break and a safe return to HCC in August!

During Kate’s absence, a Sabbatical Steering Committee made up of Lynda Ackerman, Scott Phelps, Donita Singerman, Jane Troha and Larry Watson will assist. For any pastoral needs or concerns contact either Jane Troha or Scott Phelps. Kese will remain in the office for the summer with the exception of a scheduled week of vacation at the beginning of July.

We are truly blessed with an amazing line-up of individuals who will fill our pulpit this summer. We are delighted to have a chance to get to know the Plymouth ministers as both their Senior Minister, Rev. Matthew Wooster, and their Associate Pastor, Rev. Dillon Shipman, will join us. Our friend who served as Interim Minister of Disciples Christian Church, Rev. Roger McKinney, will bring the message, as well as our own Pastor Emeritus, Rev. Roger Osgood. We will meet Minister Erika Harris, a recent seminary graduate who serves on the staff at Bethany Christian Church. Our Regional Minister and member of HCC, Rev. Allen Harris, will be with us and we are excited to also receive a message from our own Larry Watson, Elder here at HCC. What a great summer it will be.

The schedule of pastors is:
June 16 –  Pastor Dillon Shipman
June 23 – Larry Watson
June 30 – Rev. Roger Osgood
July 7 – Rev. Matt Wooster
July 14 – Rev. Roger McKinney
July 21 – Minister Erika Harris
July 28 – Rev. Roger Osgood
Aug. 4 – Rev. Roger McKinney
Aug. 11 – Pastor Dillon Shipman
Aug. 18 – Rev. Allen Harris

Be sure to plan on worshiping with us whenever you can. It will be an opportunity for our congregation to experience a variety of voices, even as we miss our own leader, Dr. Kate. What a fine reunion we will have in August, ready to embrace the program year ahead!

Missions Ministry

Summer really has arrived. Most of our activities and events will remain the same. New opportunities are always on the way. Although during the summer, many of us are on vacation but the work of the church does not stop.

Connee’s egg cartons collection remains in the same space and continues.

Vase Drive – For the month of June we are again going to participate in a vase drive to support Big Hearted Blooms (BHB), a non-profit founded by HCC member Susan Buddenbaum.  BHB collects flowers which people donate (for example newlyweds, funerals, florists, grocery stores, etc.).  Volunteers then make bouquets for residents/patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and other places where people could use some cheer while battling health and other issues.  The bouquets are placed in donated vases and delivered by other volunteers.
It has not yet been finalized yet, but there may also be opportunities for HCC members to volunteer with BHB.  If you have questions, please contact Connee Choi.

Neighbor Night convenes year-round on the last Tuesday of the month. This is the Moreland Neighborhood Association. All are welcome. This month the date is June 25th from 6-8pm. Consider attending. Often a person from Hunger Network rescue delivers produce which is available to those who want it. Come by and stay awhile. A light meal is always served. Note: as always, the weekly email updates provide new events or updates. Missions will seek hand copies of Neighbor Notes to be available on table in Narthex.

Remember: Missions has yard signs with QR codes for the November general elections. In October we will again put out a reminder if you would like one. Thanks for VOTING. This is one way to have your voice heard.  Remember only 5/6 months to go before Presidential Elections. Things happen oh so fast. Consider making your plan to vote. Missions and many organizations will nudge and provide information when early voting starts. Citizens Not Politicians groups are looking for signatures on the ballot in November. There are several organizations supporting this social justice cause. Last year, folks like us made sure our voices were heard and got the signatures needed on the ballot for abortion to be decided by the people. For those who are tech savvy google for more information. Missions will provide as much info as possible to bring awareness to the community to be well informed. The hope is to have you sign the petitions and/or collect signatures.

Adult Faith and Life at Plymouth UCC: Heights Missions Team support community partnerships and will continue to meet to find ways to join our partner however we can as they reach out and stand up for those who are marginalized locally and throughout the world. During the upcoming months, Missions hope to work with AFL for social change involving voting efforts.

If you are interested in joining Plymouth volunteers at the Food Bank, contact Paul Qua;

Donations to the Little Free Pantry are available for non-perishable food at any time.  It is located just off the parking lot here at Heights Christian and Plymouth Church. Stats from Cleveland Food Bank: Do you know that 1 out of 5 children live in poverty. 1 in 7 people are food insecure while there is about 40% of food in U.S. is wasted. Our Little Free Pantry is used regularly and is in need of more contributions. Please remember: No glass containers.

Continue praying but also doing for others. Some of us learned that as recent events in our lives has led to more thinking/dreaming of what’s next. Micah 6:8. Missions is a community issue beyond the brick and mortar of the building.

Remember to visit the clip board in Narthex to sign up for community engagement events.

Did or do you know how to think/say: STOP!!!!!!! Do not throw that away? Well, if you know of and have tried ideas that you got from someone else or experience yourself/ let’s talk. We certainly always pray for better angels in humanity to prevail; donate items and money to worthy causes ie see previously mentions. Added to many other ways/partnerships, but very simple, is to share ways in writing to make the giving reciprocal because this will not put a burden on the less fortunate or those with more. If interested, please email Andrena: or or call 216-848-0108 or 216-650-654688.

General information:

#WearOrange started on June 2, 2015—what would have been Hadiya Pendleton’s 18th birthday. Just one week after performing at President Obama’s 2nd inaugural parade in 2013, she was shot and killed at the age of 15. In the aftermath of Hadiya’s murder, teenagers in Chicago wore orange to honor their friend.

Now, #WearOrange honors Hadiya and the more than 120 people who are shot and killed every day in the United States, as well as hundreds more who are wounded and countless others traumatized by acts of gun violence.

2023 was another deadly year for America’s gun violence epidemic—and in the first half of 2024, the impacts of this public health crisis have continued to devastate communities and families across the country.

But as incidents of gun violence have grown, so has the movement to stop it. We continue to educate, raise awareness, organize, advocate, and rally for safer communities. Events in areas near us can be found at Everytown June 7-9.

Juneteeth information and historical facts will be provided and events for celebrating. Missions will provide flyers and  weekly updates for Sunday bulletins.


Re: Grant Recipient

Dear Dr. Kate Gillooly,
I am writing to say “Thank You,” to the Outreach Committee of Heights Christian Church for selecting Jalen’s HOPE as one of your recent award recipients!  Your financial support will aid in developing our future leaders and allowing them to broaden their horizons by exploring their past and envisioning a better future; while considering how they can be the change they want to see.
Jalen’s HOPE exists to disrupt suicide in youth and young adults, aged 16 – 26. We do this through knowledge of self, civic responsibility, and positive rhythmic movement or dance.   As youth leaders, they spread the message of disrupting suicide as we silence the shame, learn to identify the signs, and be a bridge to help.
Additionally, by increasing civic engagement and service to our community; we will continue to make a positive impact on our community, while decreasing violence; especially fatal self-inflicted wounds.  Thereby making our neighborhoods a safer place to live and thrive!

Adrianne Mathis
President, Jalen’s HOPE

Our Salad Soiree was a success!

Many, many thanks to Jane Troha and Lynda Ackerman for organizing our first ever Salad Soiree on Pentecost day! Greens were provided and people brought toppings and fellowship was enjoyed by all!

Thanks also to Linda Durham for her help with the day and for providing the cake to celebrate the birthday of the Church! (Photo credit: Yvonne Smith)



Teddy bears, hippos, unicorns, pandas and penguins, Oh my!  39 stuffed animals, large and small, soft and cuddly have been donated in response to HCC’s partnering with the Shaker Police Department in providing comfort items for children in trauma.  Officers keep a stuffed animal in the trunks of their police cars to give to children who are in trauma for a variety of reasons.
Your caring is providing a stuffed animal for a child to cuddle during a very stressful time.
A heartfelt thank you to everyone who contributed to this collection.
You all, the congregation of HCC, continue to be so caring and so generous!




Wednesday’s Together

Plymouth Church, UCC and Heights Christian Church are both blessed to call our building at 2860 Coventry Road home. This coming year, both congregations are looking forward to growing friendships between our members, as well as discerning what ministry opportunities and events we can embark on together! One way we will seek to expand our relationship is through sharing “Wednesdays Together.” On the first three Wednesdays of each month, we will share8 in fellowship and formation with one another. We look forward to seeing many folks from HCC and Plymouth at each gathering!

On First Wednesdays, join us for Book Group. Come and be in conversation around a different chosen book each month. You’re welcome even if you haven’t read the book to enjoy the discussion together.

On Second Wednesdays, join us for Meditative Arts Group. We will provide projects or you can bring your own.  Everyone is invited to color, doodle, draw, paint, knit, sew – whatev8er fits your interest and provides soothing quiet for you. We will gather with fellowship, then listen to calm, soothing music while we break out our pens, crayons, colored pencils, and knitting needles.

On Third Wednesdays, join us for Lunch Club. We gather for a homemade meal and fellowship, and then listen to a speaker from the community or one of our churches.
We will look forward to welcoming representatives from the YMCA in the fall to talk about their wellness programs, as well as more delicious lunches prepared by our dear Shelli Smith.
Thank you all for being present at our Lunch Clubs this year, and I look forward to welcoming everyone back in September.
Pastor Dillon Shipman

Book Group

To celebrate the end of the year, lunch reservations have been made for Wednesday, June 5.  Hope  to see you then.  Contact Nancy Carpenter for more information and/or questions.

Meditative Arts Group

Our final Meditative Arts gathering for this year will be on Wednesday, June 12.  We will meet at 1:00 pm in the Atrium.  We will not meet during July and August but will resume again in September.

Gift Cards

Remember gift cards are available on Sunday mornings and in the office every weekday during normal office hours.

Support Heights Christian Church while you shop.  Get your shopping done early.  And make your life less stressful.  Gift cards are easy and appreciated.  (Cash or check only, please)

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!



2 – Annette Sutherland     3 – Grace Loudenstein     6 – Mike Droszcz
17 – Sally Donald     27 – Donita Singerman     29 – Kate Gillooly
29 – Carolyn Troha

5 – Greg Gillooly     6 – Carson Crosby    13 – Chris Crosby, Sr.
20 – Alicia Benson     31 – Ed Weisheimer

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!