Reaching Heights November 2020
Reaching Heights November 2020
Links to this month’s news:
OTHER NEWS, EVENTS, and REPORTS
Election Prayer Vigil – Nov. 2 & 3
30 Days Thankful – coming to your inbox
Treasurer’s Notes– gift card update and more
Power of Prayer – from the Renewal Works Team
Can You Help? – From the Education Ministry Team
God Sightings – your submissions requested!
Shaker Food Drive – November information
Prayer List Requests – Wednesday night prayer group
November 1st – All Saints Day (see below) – after worship there will be a congregational meeting – please plan to attend
November 8th – Jonah and God’s Mercy – Jonah 1:1-17; 3:1-10
November 15th – God Calls Isaiah – Isaiah 6:1-8
November 22nd – God Promises a New Covenant – Jeremiah 36:1-8, 21-23, 27-28; and 31:31-34 – Thanksgiving Sunday
November 29th – First Sunday of Advent (see below) – “Those Who Dream”
November 1st is All Saints Day
HCC has traditionally celebrated the lives of Christians who have passed from this life to the next on the first Sunday in November. While our worship services this year are quite different, we will still remember with thanksgiving the lives of HCC members who have died in the last year. In addition, we extend the opportunity to remember anyone in your family who has passed away since last fall. Please email Kese at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the church office at 216.561.4800 with your information as soon as possible so that the name of your loved one can be included. All names are needed by noon on Wednesday, October 28th.
Advent begins November 29th
Our Advent/Christmas theme this year is “Those Who Dream.” What does it look like to live as those who dream? The prophets, the psalmists, John the Baptist, Mary, Elizabeth, Joseph, Simeon, Anna, the shepherds and the Magi—they were all dreamers. They received, discovered, and responded to God’s dreams for the world. In Advent, we step into the mystery and awe of God’s dreams and pray they shape our reality.
Sunday Morning Study and the Midweek Bible Study are taking a break… We are considering a pop up First Hour Adult Study on November 15 and will begin an Advent study on November 29th.
Stay tuned for more information from the Education Ministry Team.
The Road Traveled
I have the opportunity to travel to Streetsboro and Ravenna to work every week. In my travels I experience the change of seasons, the changing colors of fall, the blossoming of spring, the green of summer and even the crispness of winter. Some seasons more enjoyable then others but none the less the seasons change.
I see life changes in much the same way. Changes come when there is a marriage or a birth of a child, a change in jobs or retirement, changes with a pandemic and of course change with the loss of a loved one. Again, we experience changes, some more enjoyable than others, none the less change.
We as a congregation also face change as we travel the road of worship and how we do the work of our Lord, change in programs, change in our order of service, change in how and when we worship. And now as we come to this season of our church life, how we will face the changes needed that come with an aging building with increasing expenses and decreasing financial base. We must now come together to determine how, when and where we will gather as a congregation.
It is a season of change in many ways. As a community of faith, love and hope, we will be able to move forward on the path God would have us travel, rising to our challenges and needed change, with the knowledge that God is with us through all our changes.
Scott Phelps, Moderator
The future of the Church continues to be considered by the Steering Committee. At the October Board meeting the Committee made a recommended motion for moving forward. The Board rightly concurred that the congregation should be informed and thoughts and concerns be gathered. A letter was recently sent out outlining the decision and Board motion. A congregational meeting will be held on November 1, 2020 following the church service to discuss the recommendation. Please set that time on your calendar and attend this important time of sharing. We look forward to hearing from you.
Moving Forward On Our Future,
Neil Chase, Steering Committee
Along the Path
As I write the 2020 election is just about a week away. I would urge you to vote, but I have to believe that you already have, or at least have a plan for voting this year. In the book A House Divided that we have been using for our adult study the author suggests that it is imperative that we “renew our commitment to practicing a politics of compassion that embody grace, reason, and humility.” While politics is often compassionless, our Christian faith must mirror the compassion that Jesus always had for the poor, the outcast, and the marginalized. It is up to us to embrace that compassion as we cast our votes, and as we continue to challenge whomever is elected to public office to uphold compassion and the common good as they serve all the people of our communities and our nation.
We celebrate all saints on the first Sunday in November, and do so as a way of commemorating those who have died in the previous year. We do so to honor their lives and to be inspired by their legacy of faithfulness. Theologically speaking, this is more than a simple recall exercise of saying a list of names. For on All Saints Sunday, we are assured of our connection to all the saints from long ago to recent memory. Our re-membering is just that – an opportunity to claim this connection and take our place in our huge family of faith. We do this through rehearsing the stories of faithful people who have built up the Body of Christ in their time. This in turn, equips and encourages us to do our own part as members of the same Body of Christ. And, as the month of November goes on, we practice gratitude (sometimes called the memory of the heart) to recall all the many gifts God has bestowed upon us and to live out of that abundance and appreciation. So let us re-member the saints and Saints of the church, and gather with them and so many others in giving thanks to God. ~Kate
In this time of anxiety and polarization, we invite you to participate in an Election Prayer Vigil. Every three hours on Election Eve and Election Day, we will gather for 5 -10 minutes of prayer for the country, elected officials, and the election. You are invited to join us on Zoom (details here), look for a live feed on our HCC Facebook page, or pray when you can on your own.
We’ll gather at 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm on Monday, Nov. 2 and at 9:00 am, Noon, 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm on Tuesday, Nov. 3. We come together, asking God for courage and wisdom, thanking God for love and joy. As we move toward the election of leaders for the United States, may we all join in a season of prayer, committing to offer to God our fears and frustrations, our hopes and dreams. We invite you to pray for all our leaders and all matters being put to a vote, locally and nationally.
30 Days Thankful
In this season of thanksgiving, cultivate the spiritual practice of gratitude. Reflect on each day of November—from your getting up in the morning to your lying down in the evening with a lens of gratitude. Use these images to guide you through and to thankfulness. Each day provides a scripture passage, quote, or song to reflect on as well as a daily prompt to help you reflect on the multitude of thanksgivings in our lives.
Look for an email each day of this month as we are invited and inspired to give thanks for our many blessings.
Speaking of thanksgiving…
For this year’s Thanksgiving Offering the Outreach Committee is supporting Unity in Community’s drive to give away $25 grocery gift cards at the November 9th distribution. You can support this effort by purchasing gift cards for one of the local grocery stores (and buying them from the church will support HCC as well). If you’d prefer to just make a monetary contribution (of any amount) please include “Food Drive” in the memo line of your check. Or you can give via the Givelify app (or on our website) and select 2020 Food Drive. We thank you for your gifts!
Treasurer’s Notes – from Mike Singerman
Thank you for your continued support of Heights Christian Church. Your faithful giving is a blessing.
One of the issues during Covid has been the availability of the building. Kese now normally works from 9-1 every day except Tuesday. The Youth Center is now back working and the Daleford door is unlocked most business hours. We have a mailbox inside the hallway to the left of the security door. So feel free to drop items in the mailbox if the office is closed.
More of you are using our credit card system to pay your pledges and for other items. In any given week I get from 1 to 6 of you donating via Givelify. These funds get routed directly to our checking account, less a 3.5% fee. Raising your giving to cover these fees would help. Think about this when you do your pledge.
We still sell gift cards and would appreciate your business. The most popular cards are for grocery stores. We carry Dave’s, Heinen’s and Giant Eagle in $25 and $100 denominations. Other cards are also in stock. Kese can send you a list. And if you can get to the office when Kese is in, you can purchase directly from her. Otherwise I collect your order and let you know when I have them at my house. It is always better to email your order so it can be assembled before your arrive. Sorry, no credit cards on these transactions.
Please use email@example.com for your order.
Power of Prayer
As the pandemic continues, the ReNewal Works Team invites you to bolster your spirits and join us in harnessing the power of prayer. While we cannot gather physically for corporate prayer, we can join together in spirit. To that end, we invite you to set aside 5 minutes each Wednesday at noon to pray for our church and its future.
The Prayer of the Month can be used as a starting point for your own short prayer session, knowing that as many of us as possible will be pausing and lifting our prayers at the same time. If you can’t pray at the suggested time, please pray at whatever time works best for you.
Here is this month’s prayer:
Everlasting and Sustaining God,
We come to you amidst great change. We look out our windows and see how you have touched the trees, changing them into a panorama of colors. We look at children whom we love and we see the changes in their growth and maturity. We come together to worship you in changed ways that we may never have imagined. Although our world continues to spin, changing with each revolution, we sometimes struggle with change. There are changes that we embrace with eagerness, but others that we want to resist with everything in us.
O God, no matter what else may change, we know that you remain the same. You are the steadfast center of our faith, encouraging us when we falter, lifting us when we stumble and calming us when we are fearful and anxious. Open our hearts to embrace your constancy in our lives. Open our hands to perform your works.
Our church, too, addresses many changes, now and in the coming days. Stand beside us through these changes. Lead us into a deeper discernment of what you have in your plan for our congregation. Support us when we need to lean on you for strength; inspire us to embrace change as an opportunity for greater service to our congregation, our community and our world.
With grateful hearts we lift these prayers to you. Amen.
Can You Help?
The Education team is looking for people who would be willing to read a short storybook during our intergenerational moment in worship. The book will be provided; we are just looking for willing readers! We ask that you read the story holding the book up on your webcam during the service so that everyone can enjoy the art as well as the story. If you are interested please let Kate know!
“Each day presents a new opportunity to experience God’s presence.”
~Alden Wilson Tozer
God is everywhere and always with us, although we don’t always recognize God’s presence. You are invited to look for God’s presence and action in the world and in your own life, and snap a picture of where you have “seen” the Divine. It may be in nature, or human interaction, or a pet. It may be when you walk in the neighborhood or in a park, at the grocery store, a quiet moment of prayer, or family dinner. Wherever you experience a holy moment, capture an image to share.
Please text or email your picture to Kate Gillooly (216-408-9512 or firstname.lastname@example.org) or post on our HCC Facebook page (or Twitter or Instagram). Kate will make sure these images are shared in future newsletters and on social media, and we may use them in worship as well. *Be sure to include a photo credit (who took the picture) or “Anonymous.”
(above photo by Lynda Ackerman)
Shaker Food Drive
The Unity in the Community campaign continues to provide food to those who need it. The next distributions will take place on November 2 & 9. 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.
You can sign up to help with distributions and other tasks online: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/508084ba4a62ba6fc1-unity
And your monetary gifts are always welcome and encouraged. Those gifts can be made online on our website (you can specify the food drive): https://www.heightschristianchurch.org/donate/
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. If you have a prayer request, you can use the online prayer request form (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.
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!