Reaching Heights May 2021
Reaching Heights May 2021
Links to this month’s news:
OTHER NEWS AND EVENTS
Dreaming Session – May 2
Purple – Film screening and discussion **Note: New Date**
Tell Me the Truth – Cross-racial conversation
Education Ministry Team – Help Needed
Prayer List Requests – Power of Prayer
See the Serving Schedule
May Worship – Pentecost and More
May 2 – “Unnecessary Requirements” – Acts 15:1-11
May 9 – Mother’s Day – “Living By Faith” – Galatians 2:15-21
May 16 – “Everyone Included” – Galatians 3:23-29
May 23 – Pentecost – “Spiritual Fruit” – Acts 2:1-4, Galatians 4:4-7, 5:22
You are encouraged to wear red and bring a celebratory spirit to Zoom worship that morning.
May 30 – We’ll begin a new worship theme – “I’ve Been Meaning to Ask.” More details to follow in the weekly updates.
When Can We Get Together?
Our Worship Ministry Team has been hard at work looking at when our Congregation may be able to gather together in person. Since many of our members have been vaccinated and the number of COVID-19 cases has been diminishing, we are hopeful that sometime in late May or June we will be able to gather in the Sanctuary in limited numbers. We are waiting for the county to move from red to orange – that will be a signal that with several precautions in place, we can safely plan to gather. We will continue to hold our worship on Zoom as well.
Our precautions will include: reservations must be made (maximum of 20-30 at one time), doors and windows will be open (dress for the temperature), wear a mask, only certain seats will be available (you may sit only with someone you live with), hymns and responsive readings will be displayed on screens (no Bibles, hymnals or bulletins), modifications for communion and offering will be in place, temperatures will be taken upon entering, and socializing afterward will be outdoors.
Technology details still need to be worked out, and you will be informed when we will be gathering in person. There is still planning to be done, but we are looking ahead with great optimism!
Donita Singerman and the Worship Committee
June 6 – Annual Meeting (after worship)
Ministry Team Leaders – It’s time to prepare annual reports. It would be helpful for you to send your report to the office via email. A word document is okay, or you can include your report in the body of the email. Please email them to email@example.com. All reports are due Sunday, May 23.
Adult Study – “Through the Wilderness”
Meets during First Hour on Sunday mornings 9:30 – 10:30 am – use zoom link for worship
Pastor Roger & Dr. Kate will guide the discussions.
“Journeying the Good News Road” is a multi-part Bible Study for “transforming congregations.” Together we examine scripture and ask what it might teach us as we seek to be faithful to God’s call to us as individuals and as a congregation. All are encouraged to join the conversation!
- May 2 Moses- Prepared and Awakening (Exodus 2:1-23)
- May 9 Moses – In the Wilderness (Exodus 3:1-17)
- May 16 Gift of Manna – Food for the Journey (Exodus 16)
- May 23 Leaders Don’t Just Happen (Exodus 18)
- May 30 At the Edge of the Promised Land
(Deuteronomy 8, Deut. 10:12-22)
“Words of Hope” Study
Tuesday Afternoons 1:00 – 2:00 pm
led by Kate Gillooly (Zoom link here)
“For there is always light
if only we’re brave enough to see it
if only we’re brave enough to be it.” ~Amanda Gorman
Join us for a rich exploration of scripture passages, poetry, and other writings that point to the hope we always have in God, no matter what. We’ll explore themes of restoration, resurrection, redemption and discover relevance for our own personal lives, our communities, and the world. No homework necessary, just show up to claim God’s blessings and to learn and grow together.
May 4 Epistles “Nothing Greater than God”
May 11 Apocalytic Promise
May 18 Gift of the Spirit
Along the Path:
Late in the afternoon, on that beautiful 80 degree day this week, Debbie and I went for a 12 mile bike ride in the Rocky River Reservation. Afterwards, we decided that with both of us fully vaccinated we would find a restaurant with an outdoor patio where we could have dinner. After a couple of false starts (one place had an hour + wait and another had 6 foot high plastic all the way around – making it seem more like an indoor space) we found a little tavern with just a few people and plenty of room and fresh air.
It felt almost like the old “normal” and we even stopped at a Mitchell’s ice cream shop afterwards.
Of course it wasn’t the “old normal.” We wore masks to walk through the restaurant and into Mitchell’s to order our ice cream, and all of the staff at both places were wearing masks the whole time. And the reality is that we will never go back to the “old normal.” We never do.
There will always have been a pandemic, an insurrection, and protests in the streets. George Floyd and Breanna Taylor, and Tamir Rice, and all the others are still dead. The Vietnam War, 9-11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and all of the events throughout history, continue to influence and shape how we live and what we think and do. It is never the “old normal.”
We cannot go back – only forward. But that is Good News, because it means that we can continue to grow into a deeper relationship with God, to live more generous, compassionate lives, to change ourselves and our communities for the better. There is a future for you and I and for our congregation. There is hope and joy and the love of God to share with all the world. And I look forward to creating the “new normal” with all of you.
See you Sunday – Pastor Roger
“Hope” is the thing with feathers – (314)
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.
As I prepare for our weekly exploration of Words of Hope, I delight in reading through various poems, searching for something with a message that connects to the scripture we’ll read. Those who have been participating would have good reason to complain about my overuse of Mary Oliver’s poetry, as I find that she often says just the right thing in just the right words. But as I step back and think about hope in the big picture, I am drawn once again to this famous poem by Emily Dickinson. Many of us could probably quote the first line.
What Dickinson manages to accomplish in these 12 lines is wondrous. She somehow portrays both the gentleness (fraility?) of hope, and its steadfastness. Hope, she seems to say, exists in our innermost parts, and in gale and land and sea. Hope never stops and never requests. Hope needs no words. Hope is sweet.
As we explore words of hope from scripture and poetry, we discover where hope may be found in our own lives and in the world around us. As we continue to discern our future together as HCC, may our experiences of hope light the way.
Building Update – from the Board
Dear HCC Members and Friends,
We know that you’ve been waiting to hear from the HCC Board on the current status of the building sale and nesting location. As of 4/27/21 we have a signed letter of intent from Eastview UCC (currently located on Chagrin Blvd in Shaker Heights) and are in the process of negotiating a purchase agreement with them. Assuming all goes well, we expect that the closing will take place in late summer or early fall. We are excited that another congregation that will continue to serve the community is purchasing it.
Our nesting team has also been hard at work in finding a great place for us to continue to worship and do ministry together. The team is in the final stages of coming to an agreement with another congregation in Shaker Heights but they have asked that we not share the name until the agreement is finalized.
We look forward to sharing more information as soon as it is available.
Congregational Dreaming Session
As part of our process to envision the next chapter of our congregation, we are holding a “Congregational Dreaming Session” for Sunday, May 2, immediately after the 11:00 worship service. Plan to stay on Zoom so we can brainstorm together about our next chapter.
In preparation for May 2, we would like to assign some “pre-work.”
Prayerful reflection on HCC’s mission in these 5 categories:
Affirmations/Beliefs: What about HCC’s mission can you affirm?
Questions: What raises questions?
What do you doubt or wonder about?
Explore: What possibilities would you like to explore? What could be?
Yearnings: What do you yearn for (for HCC’s future)?
What do you think God desires for us?
Imperatives: What must we do?
What must we not do or stop doing?
Please bring the results of your pre-work reflections to our session on May 2. That meeting will be a Dreaming Session, not for planning. We will imagine together what “could be” in our next chapter as a congregation. The goal for this time is for us to be creative and think outside the box. We want to be open to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and not worry about what’s possible or practical. We will dream together, knowing that planning comes later.
We are glad to have your voice on this journey of discovery and discernment!
HCC Visioning Leadership Team:
Brian + Danielle McDonald
Rev. Roger Osgood
*** Note – New Date***
Purple Film Screening and Discussion 5/16/21
HCC is excited to host a screening and discussion of a new film on Sunday May 16 at 7:30 pm on Zoom. Look for the link on our Zoom page.
PURPLE tells the story of everyday Americans with opposing viewpoints addressing their differences head-on and discovering some of the concerns and humanity that lie behind each other’s positions. Designed to build greater empathy and recognition in the face of deepening U.S. divides, PURPLE models a rare conversation that uplifts and inspires even while going toward the heat of passionate political differences.
By inviting friends, family, neighbors, students, fellow congregants, and colleagues to watch the film together, we can help disarm the destructiveness of our polarized country and heal the pain it has caused so many of us.
Tell Me the Truth:
Exploring the Heart of Cross-Racial Conversation
facilitated by: Shay Stewart-Bouley and Debby Irving
May 4 7-9 pm on Zoom.
Register here: http://bit.ly/ShakerTellMeTheTruth
Shay Stewart-Bouley and Debby Irving are racial justice educators, authors, speakers, and friends, and will lead a presentation, conversation, and interactive exchange that will encourage and push attendees to strengthen their own racial equity muscles and learning. We are encouraged by the sense of collaboration and momentum for racial justice that is building in Shaker! HCC is one of 2 congregations and 13 organizations in Shaker sponsoring this event. We are committed to working for racial justice and invite others into the process. Please plan to join in!
Dear Heights Christian, thank you so much for the gorgeous red tulip’s. Your thoughtfulness means a lot to me. With love, Ina Hart
Dear Elders, thank you so much for thinking of me at Easter and your gift of tulips. They really up lifted my spirit. May blessings abound this Eastertide for all, especially our church and staff. Rosalind
Dear HCC, thank you all so much for the Easter tulip plant that was brought to us by Lynda Ackerman. We have displayed it in a place in our home where it can be easily seen since it is so beautiful.
We miss seeing all of you, but appreciate your keeping in contact with us and hope to see you all again soon.
Again, thank you for thinking about us. Dell and Jack Bigham
Intergenerational Moment Volunteers Wanted
The education team is looking for people who are willing to read a picture book during the intergenerational moment. Suggestions for the book are provided, all we ask is a willingness to read on sunday morning and possibly a trip to the library. If you are interested please contact Carolyn Troha, firstname.lastname@example.org or Kate at email@example.com. Thanks in advance!
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 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!