Reaching Heights September 2018

Heights Christian Church Icon of Two Followers Lifting a CrossReaching Heights
September 2018 

Links to this month’s news:
Worship – Creation Care
Second Hour – Adult Studies
100 Mile Potluck – Our 5th Annual
Sunday School News
Along the Path – Thoughts from Pastor Roger
From the Moderator
Week Day Bible Study – NEW
RenewalWorks – Team Report
Missions Team Report
Worship Team – Looking for Help/Diaconate Meeting
Retreat Report – Part 3
Backpack Blessing – Photo

See the Serving Schedule
Go to the church calendar


Our Creation Care theme this year is “Bodies” beginning the Sunday after Labor Day when we move back into the Sanctuary.

Coming up:
Sept. 2 – Faces of Faith: Philemon – In the Campbell Room – Kate preaching
Creation Care theme begins – Back to worship in the Sanctuary
Sept. 9 – Bodies of Water – Installation of Officers
Sept. 16 – Bodies of Land
Sept. 23 – Our Bodies – a special service, will take place in the Campbell Room
Sept. 30 – Protecting Our Bodies

Second Hour Adult Studies

On September 9th we will have an extended fellowship time as folks return from summer vacations and activities.  On September 16th and 23rd there will be two offerings.  Rosalind Powell and Val Reeves-McMillan will be presenting a bible study based on the creation stories in Genesis.  The topic study will feature outside speakers.  On September 16th Kelly Baker, a master recycler and City of Shaker Heights employee, will be here to talk about recycling.  On September 23rd our speaker will engage with the issue of how we view and care for our own human bodies.

Then on September 30th we’ll enjoy fabulous food (made by you) as we gather for a time of food, fun, and fellowship with our…

5th Annual 100 Mile Potluck

After worship on September 30th we’ll celebrate creation by sharing in its bounty.  As we do each year, we’re asking everyone to bring a dish or food item that has at least one ingredient that was produced or grown within 100 miles of Shaker Heights.

To reduce waste we are also asking everyone to bring dinnerware, silverware, and a glass or cup that you can take back home and wash. We will share local food resources, educational information, fun and fellowship! Save the date and plan to attend!

Sunday School uses Creation Care curriculum for month of September

Again this year, in support of Green Chalice, our Sunday School lessons will focus on creation care. Written specifically for use at HCC, they will match the themes of worship in September: Bodies of Water, Bodies of Land, and Our Bodies. Children will explore the importance of these bodies and consider how God calls us to be good stewards of each. Regular curriculum will begin in October. Our thanks to our flexible and devoted teachers for all the ways they meet the needs and interests of our children!

Along the Path

Heights Christian Church is a loving and caring community.  We sometimes talk about ourselves in terms of being a family, and I believe that is an appropriate comparison.  Like any family/community we have our shortcomings, our failures, and our times when we don’t treat each other as well as we should, but I know that folks are trying their best to live out their faith in caring for each other and the community around us.

We are also a community that cares about the world we live in.  Beginning September 9th we will celebrate another Creation Care month in which we will focus our worship and second hour study on how we as humans are impacting the world God created.

Both of these themes, caring for each other and caring for the world, highlight an issue that I believe needs our attention and compassion.

Many of us would be surprised to learn that millions of people around the world suffer from mild to very serious allergic, asthmatic, immunologic and neurological reactions to perfumes, colognes and synthetically fragranced products.  In 2003, research indicated that over 12% of the US population was affected and statistics have continued to rise.  This forces many people to avoid places and people that may set off these disabling reactions.
In addition many of the synthetic chemicals in these kinds of products are listed on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste List and therefore bad not only for us but also for our environment.

Because of this and out of love for one another and for our world, I’d like to urge members of our community to stop wearing perfume, cologne or other scented products to church services and activities. While this will cause us to change our habits it will be a great relief to several of our members who suffer from the effects of these chemicals and scents, as well as providing a warmer welcome to visitors who might otherwise find our community a little less welcoming.

Pastor Roger

From the Moderator

I’m sure we have all enjoyed the mini-break during summer.  Yes, we can be just as busy during the summer as any part of the year.  The difference is we get to enjoy the warmth of the sun, longer days, and outdoor activities.

We all look forward to the Campbell Room during the summer with a more relaxed worship environment with air conditioning.  September takes us back to the sanctuary and return of formal church worship, studies, and activities.  During this time of the year, there’s lots of planning with the worship, mission teams and other church leaders for the upcoming church year to enhance our faith experience for all members and visitors of HCC.

I have enjoyed watching Madison Durham, Claire, Tommy and Billy Dunn grow to be engaged members of our church.  This summer they volunteered to go on a mission trip to Wooster with Disciples Christian Church and Lloyd Ackerman and Andrena Jones Sharp.  Thank you for representing our congregation.

Our church has turned into a busy place for the community with meetings, exercise classes, and special events thanks to Kate Gillooly and Pastor Roger.  The Getaway will reopen when school begins in September.

Our most significant event of the summer was the ordination of Min. Michele Moreland.  Thank you to everyone that donated food, refreshments, programs, their time and talents to make Michele’s ordination a success.

A special thanks to our Property committee who have gone above and beyond in working to keep our church grounds in shape during Mike Faust’s medical leave.

Our church continues to grow and evolve and find God in our hearts and community.

“Pay attention to the people God puts in your path if you want to discern what God is up to in your life.”   Henri Nouwen


Several copies of the Holy Bible

Bible Study

Join us for a new Bible Study on Tuesday afternoons at 1:00. 
This first segment will explore the Acts of the Apostles and will be facilitated by Kate Gillooly. Our first meeting will be September 18 and we will meet for 7 sessions. We hope to meet off-site so if you know a good coffee shop or other public space that would work well, please contact Kate. Feel free to invite your friends and neighbors. Stay tuned for more details as the date gets closer. 

RenewalWorks Team Begins Work

Fall is upon us and our RenewalWorks Implementation Task Force is already hard at work! You may remember that our congregation participated in a spiritual life survey last spring as part of a program called RenewalWorks. A group of HCC members met to review and analyze the results of this process as they were reported to us by the RenewalWorks staff and published a report to the congregation which was presented at the Annual Meeting in June. 

The data showed that “the congregation has a persistent hunger for a focus on spiritual growth. They are interested in, and open to, more focus on spiritual movement. This is an important distinction, as congregants are not complacent about their faith and church but are in fact seeking to go deeper in their spiritual journey.” 

The Board of Trustees authorized the formation of a Task Force to oversee implementation of ideas arising from this process. This Task Force has been formed and consists of Lynda Ackerman, Val McMillan, Rosalind Powell and Jane Troha who will work directly with Kate Gillooly. Initial work has begun to plan for and provide programs and worship experiences to help us all move more deeply into our spiritual journeys. Some will be new offerings, others represent a shift in focus for continuing programs. Elders have resumed the practice of gathering with Pastor Roger and the liturgist for prayer each Sunday before worship. We have held a “Newcomers Class” and plans are underway for a mid-week Bible study led by Kate. 

 Additional ideas are in the works and will continue to be developed through the coming program year. Come and join in as these activities emerge! Share your thoughts, ideas, dreams with any of us. We are exited to work on this important and vital initiative! 

from Missions

The ability to read is needed as a lifetime skill. We have to be able to read at work, the grocery store, restaurants, to read the Bible or putting together toys,  usually for some reason  everyday. When we can’t read, we become handicapped in reaching our goals.

There are families in our Cleveland Metro area whose homes are void of even one children’s book. To support the literacy growth of our children, Heights Christian will sponsor collecting children’s books throughout this church year. These will will be donated “Kid’s Book Bank” ( and other agencies/organizations.

Please donate your gently used or new children’s books. A container for your donation will be located in the hallway outside the church office.

“Missions is what the church does by initiating beyond its context”

Andrena Sharp
Mission Team Leader

The Worship Team is looking for a few good folks to help with Sunday worship services.

We’re looking for some additional deacons to help with collecting the offering and serving communion. Deacons serve on teams that each serve a month at a time. The role includes either helping to set up for communion before the service or helping to clean up afterwards. The early shift takes about 15 minutes starting at 9:30 and the later one takes about 15 minutes following the service.

We also need greeters. These folks help to welcome newcomers on Sunday morning and set the tone for worship. If you have a warm and hospitable personality, this will come naturally to you and if not, it’s an opportunity to develop a spiritual gift! The role involves welcoming worshipers at one of the doors to the worship space, handing them a bulletin and helping newcomers find their way. We can pair you with an experienced greeter to get the hang of it.

Both deacons and greeters are asked to serve with a prayerful spirit that helps the congregation settle into worship.

If you are interested in serving in one of these capacities, please contact Cindy Maxey ( / 216-991-2030 or Jane Troha ( / 216-991-8010). We’ll get you trained and add you to the schedule.

Diaconate Organizational Meeting

Captains, deacons and anyone curious about the ministry of the diaconate, please join us following the fellowship time on Sunday, September 9 to join in prayer and preparation for the year ahead. We expect the meeting to start at about 11:45 a.m. and take about 45 minutes so you’ll get home in time for lunch.

Cindy Maxey
Worship Team Leader

The Great Spiritual Migration Retreat

Do not remember the former things or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  – Isaiah 43:18-19

In April, Jane Troha, Val McMillan, Lynda Ackerman and I attended an all-day retreat at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church with pastor and writer Brian McLaren. It was a very rich experience from which we learned much more than can be conveyed in these reports.

McLaren states that Christians keep trying to build structures such as denominations and doctrines to protect ourselves from change, but Jesus calls us to follow, to embrace constant change. The Bible is filled with stories of migration from slavery to liberation and from the old ways to new ways. He says too many people see religion as a guardian of the past instead of a guide to the future, and yet God is calling us to the future.

McLaren says the church is currently going through one of its 500-year rummage sales where it casts off what it no longer needs in order to lighten itself for the journey ahead. What do we no longer need? What is holding us back? What must we hold onto as we go forward?

Backpack Blessing – August 26