Reaching Heights November 2021
Reaching Heights November 2021
Links to this month’s news:
Adult Studies: for Advent
From the Mission Ministry Team
See the Serving Schedule
November Worship – 11:00 am – “Grateful…”
November 7 – “…for Faithfulness” – Mark 12:41-44 – Pastor Roger preaching
November 14 – “…for Community” – Ephesians 2:14-22 – Pastor Roger preaching
November 21 – “…for Abundance” – Matthew 6:25-33 – Pastor Roger preaching
November 28 – 1st Sunday of Advent – “Homesick” (hope) – Luke 21:25-36 – Pastor Roger preaching – Read about our Advent theme below.
Introducing Milestone Moments
Beginning in November, we will take a few moments at the end of worship for people to share any moments of the past week or the coming week that are “milestones” for them. These may be big (and job change or surgery) or small (first loose tooth, travel). They may be funny or sobering, and offered by anyone from long time member to children and visitors. Sharing these moments of our lives knits our community together and equips members to pray for one another. So reflect on your life and consider what you might offer for our collective prayer.
Our Advent Theme – “Close to Home”
When something hits close to home, it affects us deeply. During the Advent and Christmas season, we journey through scriptures and rituals that are tender, heavy with emotion, and vulnerable. We carry the memories and truths of this season close to our hearts. Close to Home acknowledges the “already but not yet” tension of our faith: Emmanuel is with us, and yet, God’s promised day—our everlasting home—is not fully realized. It names our deep longing for God to come close to us.
Join us this Advent and Christmas as we explore both the pain and comfort of the season so that we may indeed come home – wherever home is found—to live fully with joy, hope, and courage.
Feast for Children
Part of the Worship and Wonder classroom experience includes “Feast,” which is a snack and fellowship time modeled after communion. It is a shared meal (usually fruit and crackers). When we moved to having children in worship for the entire service, we introduced “Feast” for them during communion. Beginning in Advent our worship team will now provide elements for “Feast” for the children in the Children’s Worship Space. At HCC, people of all ages and stages are welcome to participate in the Lord’s Supper. Children will now have a choice between our communion kits of wafer and juice or the fruit and crackers provided for “Feast.” It is one more way of making our worship service truly intergenerational and welcoming to all.
Along the Path:
“Flickering Mind,” by Denise Levertov
Lord, not you,
it is I who am absent.
belief was a joy I kept in secret,
into sacred places:
a quick glance, and away — and back,
I have long since uttered your name
I elude your presence.
to think about you, and my mind
like a minnow darts away,
into the shadows, into gleams that fret
the river’s purling and passing.
Not for one second
will my self hold still, but wanders
everywhere it can turn. Not you,
it is I am absent.
You are the stream, the fish, the light,
the pulsing shadow,
you the unchanging presence, in whom all
moves and changes.
How can I focus my flickering, perceive
at the fountain’s heart
the sapphire I know is there?
This poem is a good reminder as we move from this busy time of selling and moving into the upcoming busy holiday season that it is important to find some moments of calm so we can reconnect with God. – Pastor Roger
Intergenerational Moments – Not Just for Kids!
Over the years, HCC has found creative ways to show love and welcome to children. We have honored children’s faith journeys by providing Worship Bags with items and activities for children to engage during worship. (The stands that hold these bags were made by Neil Chase, and he recently took them home to repair and repaint them. Thank you, Neil!) We have offered a “Children’s Moment” during the service. We have invited children to light our Peace Candle and to take the light out at the end of the service. We used to hold “Family Fifth Sundays” with a focus on worship accessible to all ages. We’ve often heard from adults who comment how much they like drawing their prayers, or watching a skit, or hearing a story.
For the past few years, we have tried to make every worship service truly intergenerational. We have enhanced our supplies for children to engage during worship. We use rhythm instruments more often, along with songs that have simple, repetitive words that can be learned by non-readers. We have a “Children’s Worship Space” with books and soft toys. We have introduced Worship and Wonder stories and elements of the Worship and Wonder approach. And now we offer an “Intergenerational Moment” each week. While we hope the whole service will be accessible to all ages, we feel it is important to have a few elements that are particularly “child-friendly.”
But that doesn’t mean the adults can’t benefit from these moments too! Whether it is a story or skit, a teaching on prayer or a special observance, these Intergenerational Moments are carefully designed for people of all ages. We have a wonderful team of volunteers who lead these. I hope you will listen and participate each week, and then take a moment to thank those who prepare and lead these special moments. I hope you enjoy them as we all learn and grow together.
Moving Along – Building Update
An addendum to the Purchase Agreement has been executed
extending the closing of the sale of the building to the end of November.
Paper work issues of the buyer prevented closing at the end of October.
We will keep you posted, but at this time we are moving forward and anticipate
completing the sale by November 30, 2021.
Lynda Ackerman, Moderator
Advent Studies Begin November 28 and 30
1st Hour Study – Sunday mornings 9:30 – 10:30 am (Chapel, with hopes to be hybrid)
November 28, December 5, December 12, December 19
Light of the World
On Sunday mornings our Adult Study will explore the Light of the World with Dr. Amy-Jill Levine.
In Light of the World: A Beginner’s Guide to Advent, author, professor, and biblical scholar Amy-Jill Levine explores the biblical texts surrounding the story of the birth of Jesus. Join her as she traces the Christmas narrative through the stories of Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary, the journey to Bethlehem, and the visit from the Magi. These stories open conversations around connections of the Gospel stories to the Old Testament, the role of women in first-century Jewish culture, the importance of Mary’s visitation and the revolutionary implications of Mary’s Magnificat, the census and the stable, and the star of Bethlehem and the flight to Egypt. Each week includes a brief (8-10 minute) video with Dr. Levine, discussion of scripture and themes, activities, and prayer. Individual books are available for $10 each, but are not necessary for participation in the class. (If you want to purchase a book, please let us know by Nov. 16.)
11/28 The Meaning of Memory
12/5 The Promise of Potential
12/12 The Journey to Joy
12/19 The Gifts of the Gentiles
MidWeek Bible Study Tuesdays 1:00 pm
November 30, December 7, December 14, December21 (Zoom)
Advent Unbound – Scripture and Poetry for the Season
God becoming incarnate in a human being is too astounding, too dazzling, too impossible an event to merely celebrate on a single day. Poetry (and podcasts!) can help – and the Irish poet and theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama’s beloved podcast, “Poetry Unbound,” is an inspiring case in point.
In this Advent study, we let scripture and poetry be our guides, together pointing us toward a deeper and richer experience of the season – a perfect way to prepare for the hope, peace, joy, and love of Christmas day. Week by week, poem by poem, we’ll wait and prepare and listen, unbinding the season and, with God’s help, unbinding our hearts along the way. You’ll need a Bible, and you may want to find the Podcast (or transcripts) “Poetry Unbound,” but it is not necessary for participation. We’ll provide scripture passages and poems and generate our own discussion each week.
Join Zoom Meeting
From your computer: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84558065498?pwd=RlVvSGtOUGYvNzFYMTVnRU5hVnV6Zz09
Meeting ID: 845 5806 5498
From your smartphone: +19294362866,,84558065498#,,,,*806433#
From any phone: (929) 436-2866
Mission Ministry Report for November 2021
Missions Ministry focuses on what we are calling: “Mercy giving and social justice issues”. This phrase came out of the Visioning Leadership Team work which ended in July and was presented to the Trustees Board at its August 2021 meeting.
Thought from Missions Team Leader/Andrena Jones-Sharp: Heights Christian is a small but mighty congregation. Only give where, when, and what you can. That has to be a conversation between you and God. God has been with us through many toils and snares and I believe will lead us through this period to discover new opportunities while we maintain some old traditions.” Do not neglect good and sharing, for with sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16
Mercy Giving Projects
Wall of Love – Your contributions have nearly filled the tub which is located in the back of the sanctuary. The collected items (hats, gloves, mittens, scarfs, socks) which you have donated so far will be delivered to Lomond School in early November. Heights Christian Church, you have done what you always do; that is, sharing your blessings with others. We know that this is what God wants us to do. The tub will remain in the same location as long as there seems to be a need, especially during the winter months. Thank you.
Afghan donations – There was a request made for items to support Afghan families. It was made to have you donate specific items within a week. Again, you came through. Several donations were made and Cindy Maxey, our assistant Missions team leader, delivered collected donations to the event sponsored by the Jewish Federation. Your willingness to give is outstanding.
Unity in Community -This local service has not gone away in spite of the selling of Heights Christian Church and our move to Plymouth. Pastor Roger who has been an integral part of this community service has indicated a continuing need. The reality of so many parents, single and others, who have lost their jobs because of the Pandemic or had to quit due to lack of available affordable childcare, makes this giving a continuing need. The stats in Shaker Heights even prior to the Pandemic is that 46% of the children in Shaker Schools are below the poverty level. Of course we recognize that this is not the only food panty service in our area it contributes to lower the risk of any child going hungry. During the month of November to support this community effort bring a donation to church. There will be a tub at the entrance of the sanctuary for these items: peanut butter, jelly/jam, mac and cheese, pasta sauce, canned fruit. If more information is needed let us know by calling the church.
Thrift Shop – Yes it is closed. But the same as Outreach, it is under the umbrella of the Missions Ministry. Connee Choi continues to do work to give to the community by working with a Shaker Heights school social worker and others. Clothing not sold before closing has been donated to the students who need certain items. Thank you Connee for you ongoing hard work.
Social Justice Issues
Critical Race Theory – This issue has been listed in the Weekly Update. A series of events was sponsored by the Shaker Library, Shaker Historical Society, and Heights Christian Church. One of the leaders of this series is our own Cindy Maxey, who is passionate about social justice issues. Heights Christian has a long history of its involvement in issues like this. You might recall Martin Luther King’s visit on the steps of our porch. The Mission Team invites you to share an issue that you are passionate about for discussion about what/how Heights Christian may or may not get involved.
Outreach – The Outreach Committee made a donation of $500 to the God Before Guns event on Saturday, October 16th. This event was a “Buy Back Guns”. This donation contributed to five fewer guns on the streets in the Greater Cleveland area. Each person turning in a gun was given a $100 gift card, a small price to pay to keep at least one person safe. There were several other groups/organizations who made donations as well. Although they did not reach their goal of collecting several hundred guns, Kris Eggert expressed her thanks to Heights Christian for its donation and vowed to continue the God Before Guns efforts to stop gun violence.
Honesty in Education; Lunch & Learn
Honesty for Ohio Education presents engaging, online “Lunch & Learns” on the first Friday of each month – building our capacity to know better and do better for Ohio!
JOIN US TO:
Connect across Ohio, learn from practitioners, advocates & experts, and get updates and actions to oppose HB 322 & 327
WHEN: The first Friday of each month – 12:00-12:45 pm
Register here for the Zoom
UPCOMING LUNCH & LEARN SPEAKERS: 11/5, 12-12:45 pm, via Zoom
We’ll provide a legislative update, which will include important info on sub HB 327 and State Board of Education news. And we welcome our amazing guests:
Mark Swaim-Fox, Cleveland Executive Director from Facing History & Ourselves, on their approach to teaching history. Mark will be joined by national FHAO staff members Dr. Steven Becton, the Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer and Abby Weiss, Vice President and Chief Program Officer.
You’re Invited to the Plymouth Lunch Club – November 17
The Plymouth Lunch Club takes place on the 3rd Wednesday of the month from 11:00 to 12:15. It includes a presentation, fellowship time, and the option to take home a boxed lunch or have one delivered if you are participating virtually. For those joining in person, the location will be Room 102. You can also participate via Zoom. The suggested donation for the boxed lunch is $7. Reservations are required.
Last month Pastor Roger and Jane Troha were invited to talk about HCC, its history, the domination, similarities/differences and their own faith journeys.
On November 17th employees of the Lerner School for Autism will discuss autism; the mission, goals and history of their school; and the work they do.
Please email Rev. Matt Bauhof at email@example.com or you can sign up in person at Plymouth’s Welcome Center located in the main hallway just outside their sanctuary. If you’d like information about future speakers/topics the full schedule is HERE.
HCC’s Meditative Arts group will begin meeting at Plymouth Church in November. We will plan to meet on the third Wednesday (Nov. 17) at 1:00 in the Atrium. Enter at the main door from the parking lot and take the elevator to the second floor. Please try to arrive no later than 1:00.
The main door is locked so there will be someone at the door to let you in. If you do arrive late, please call Donita (216)798-3836 and someone will come down and let you in.
Everyone is welcome to join us for some meditative doodling, coloring or other relaxing activity of your choice. We will enjoy some meditative music as we work on our projects and then share what we’ve done with the others until we finish at 3:00. We look forward to seeing our regulars as well as anyone else who’d like to join us for a relaxing and meditative time together.
Gift Cards for the Holidays in 2021
With boats stacked up waiting to unload and everyone claiming supply chain problems, Christmas shopping will be challenging. We are being warned to shop/order early. Shipping cutoff dates keep shifting earlier. Do you want to deal with all of that?
Try gift cards! They let you avoid the internet, the crowed stores and the post-season credit card bills. And your loved ones can spend the card(s) as they wish at the stores you select. They are good in person and for internet buys. Don’t know what store card to buy? Target and Amazon are easy choices. Grocery cards can make the holidays brighter.
The earlier you shop for gift cards, the sooner you can sit back and relax. We have a Special Order Form (attached). Special orders are accepted for pre-Christmas delivery through Wednesday, December8, 2021. We will then place a consolidated order for delivery by about December 19th. Don’t see what you want? Please ask, our vendor has Disney, airlines and other cards too numerous to mention.
Support HCC while you shop. Get your shopping done early. And make your life less hassled. Gift cards are easy.
Thank you to all who have already submitted their financial pledge for 2022. As you know your pledges are critical as plan, prepare and budget for the operation of the Church and its Ministries.
If you have not yet submitted your pledge, please do so as soon as possible. Pledge forms are available in the office and at the back of the chapel. You can also submit your pledge online at www.heightscc.org/2022pledge
Spooktacular a Success!
Thanks to Connee Choi, Andrena Jones-Sharp, and the Singermans for their help with Plymouth Church’s community Spooktacular event on Oct. 30! In addition to games, treats, and a giant dinosaur, the event featured “Trunk or Treat” with volunteers car trunks open and decorated and supplied to hand out candy. The event was well attended and fun was had by all!
All Hallows Eve to All Saints = Costumes to Candles
Since Halloween fell on a Sunday this year, we invited people to dress up in costumes if they wished. Carolyn Troha led the Intergenerational Moment about All Hallow’s Eve, and what to do when we feel afraid. We saw wigs, rats, witch’s hats, scary and gentlewoman masks, a lioness, and the Spirit of Halloween itself! We also celebrated All Saints Sunday and were grateful for an opportunity to remember those who have died in the last year and light candles as their names were read.
Early Newsletter Deadline
Due to the Thanksgiving holiday we need to have all articles for the December Reaching Heights submitted by Friday November 12. Any articles submitted after that date may not be able to be included in the December issue. Thank you for your cooperation.
Office Transition – We’ve moved!
The HCC office officially moved to Plymouth on October 28th. Mail should be sent to HCC, 2860 Coventry Rd, Shaker Hts. 4412. New office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Our staff meeting typically takes place on Tuesdays at 10:30 am.
Pastor Roger will typically be at Plymouth on Tuesdays from 9:30 to 3:00. Kate’s office hours will be Tuesdays from 10:00 to 2:00. Please call ahead to set up an appointment, if at all possible, as pastoral needs or other commitments could call either of them away.
Staff Email Updates
As of August 1, 2021
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