Reaching Heights September 2019

Heights Christian Church Icon of Two Followers Lifting a CrossReaching Heights Sept. 2019

Links to this month’s news:

Sundays in September
 – Porch Talks, 100 Mile Potluck, Apple Picking
Mid Week Bible Study – the Odd Couple beginning Sept. 17

Along the Path – Thoughts from Pastor Roger
Kate’s Cogitations

Worship Space
– From the Worship Ministry Team
Mission Ministry Team Report

Community Witness and Worship
– September 10
Pub(lic) Theology – September 17
Community Meal – September 21

About Our Members
Prayer List Requests
Thrift Store News

See the Serving Schedule – Go to the church calendar

September Worship – Creation Care

Sept 1 – Creator – Psalm 148:3-5, 7-10

Sept 8 – Creation – Psalm 104:24-28
11:30 (in the Campbell Room) – Let’s Talk About Porch Talks

Sept 15 – Lament and Blessing – Psalm 19:1-6

Sept 22 – Care Takers and Earth Keepers – Installation of Officers
11:30 (in the Campbell Room) – 100 Mile Potluck

Sept 29 – Rev. Kris Eggert preaching
After Worship – Apple Picking at Eddie’s Fruit Farm


Let’s talk about Porch Talks!

Did you attend one or more of the Porch Talks and follow-up conversations this Summer? If not, do you wish you had?

Do you have thoughts about our now-completed 2019 social-justice series? Or ideas for next year’s programs? (Yes, there WILL be a second annual series!)

The Porch Talks planning team wants to talk with you! Please share your thoughts and ideas with members of the team on Sunday, September 8, immediately following fellowship time (approximately 11:30 – 12:30) in the Campbell Room.

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!

Join us for Apple Picking on Sunday, September 29

We will leave from the church at 11:30 am, stop at McDonald’s for a quick lunch, then head to a local orchard to pick several varieties of apples. The following Sunday we will sell what we have picked. Everyone is welcome to come with us to pick on 9/29 and to purchase apples afterward. If you have questions or need more information, please see Scott Phelps or Andrena Jones Sharp. Thank you for your support!

MidWeek Bible Study Reconvenes for Fall!
Meeting on Tuesdays at 2:00 pm. beginning September 17th
The new location will be at  3-19 Coffee located at  3427 Lee Rd. (the corner of Lee Rd. and Van Aken Blvd.

“The Odd Couple, Jonah and Ruth: Lessons for Our Fractured World”
A comedy, a romance – both with Old Testament lessons for today!

Jonah shows the original readers of the book, as well as us, what a picture of their bigotry and hatred of foreigners and enemies looks like to God. Ruth shows what life lived in performing deeds of hesed (or loving-kindness) looks like to us and to God.

JONAH – The book of Jonah uses the character of an outrageous excuse of a prophet to show the leaders and people of Judah just how foolish they looked with their insistence on isolationism and the exclusion of “the other.” It asks the question, “If God loves the outsider, shouldn’t we?”    4 Sessions
September 17    What Kind of Bible Story Is This?
September 24    The Adventures of Jonah
October  1             Ninevah at Last!
October 8             God Instructs God’s People

RUTH – The book of Ruth is an idealized story of what life would look like if God’s people treated each other with divine loving-kindness – insiders and outsiders alike. A key understanding in Ruth is that God uses these acts of the loving-kindness of people to demonstrate that which God gives to all, whether they realize it or not.    5 sessions

October 15           Gathering Our Tools
October 22           From Famine to Barley Harvest
October 29           Coming Alive!
November 5         Naomi Has a Plan!
November 12      The Happy Ending

Along the Path:

Sometimes things come together in such a way that when you look back you think, “hmm, I think God might have been at work in that.” That happened to me this summer at General Assembly.

A last minute addition to my schedule was a pre-Assembly event on Saturday morning, which was quite good and included a reminder of the 80/40 rule, which Jane Troha writes about in the article on Worship Space.

However, when I walked into the last workshop that I had signed up for (back in April) I quickly realized that it was going to be shortened version of what I’d heard on Saturday. Not wanting to waste my time I stepped out, but as I left the room I saw a sign for the workshop going on right next door. It read “Intergenerational Worship” and I felt a pretty strong nudge that I needed to go in and hear what they had to say.

I have been hearing about the importance and benefits of intergenerational worship for some time. Dr. Kate has been gently, but persistently, pushing us in that direction (it is why we went from Family Fifth services once a quarter to family friendly services once a month). But this workshop helped me clarify the “why” as well as examples of churches that were already doing intergenerational worship and practical ways in which it could be done at HCC.

You may be wondering, what is the “why”. There are many reasons for making this change, but a couple really resonate with me. The first is that anyone familiar with child development will tell you that early learning experiences are critically important. So it just makes sense that allowing children to engage in worship at a young age will mean that it will be a richer and deeper experience for them as they grow older. And studies have shown that to be the case.

The second is something that has impacted me more as a grandparent than it probably did as a parent. And that is joy that comes to me when I experience something along with a child. Even, or maybe especially, when their reaction is different than what I’d expect it opens me up to seeing that experience through new and fresh eyes.

So after arriving back in Cleveland I set up meetings with the wonderful leaders of our Worship and Education Teams and we discussed the “why” of intergenerational worship and with their enthusiastic support began planning for the how. We are all well aware of the many challenges this “new” approach presents, but are committed to a meaningful worship experience for everyone, as well as ensuring the continued faith formation of our children and youth.

Understandably transitioning to Intergenerational Worship will mean some changes in our service so we are planning a slow rollout with some experimentation over the next couple of months. These changes are still being developed but will likely include using Worship and Wonder stories each week, and some adaptions of our order of worship and music.

If you’d like to read more about the “why” here are a couple of helpful articles:

I hope that you will plan to be in church often to experience the changes and provide feedback as we find new ways for all of our members to worship God together in spirit and in truth.

Kate’s Cogitations

This summer I led a training on Experiential Education, and it got me thinking. According to David Kolb, who researched and proposed a cycle of experiential thinking, one key ingredient is the reflection that happens after we do something. Kola’s cycle has four phases:

    • Do – concrete experience
    • Think – reflection observation
    • Conclude – abstract conceptualization
    • Adapt – active experimentation.

Too often, we think we’re learning if we just try lots of different approaches to see what sticks. Kolb (and others) suggest we need to reflect on our experiences in order to learn. Upon reflection, we may notice patterns, consequences, choices, etc. We use this information to change our approach, to “tweak” our practice, and the cycle starts over, as we “do” again.

When we do something new at church, it is well worth our time to reflect on it afterward. What can we learn from our experience? What new information has been uncovered? What patterns do we see? What conclusions can we draw? How do those conclusions inform what we want to do differently? Are we ready to try again, having adapted with our new information?

Real learning comes through strategic experimentation, rather from randomly trying the next great idea. We have the options to tailor our actions to best meet our needs. If we reflect on what we do, we have a better chance of making changes that get us closer to our goal. (Which means it’s important to know our goal!)

Come, let us learn together! As we experience new things, let us reflect together. Let us move from observation to conclusions to acting differently because of new information. And may our God accompany us every step of the way!


The Worship Ministry Team has been reminded of the 80/40 rule. You may ask, What is that?  That principle tells us that if a visitor comes to a church and the worship space is 80% or more filled, the visitor will not return thinking there is no room for him/her in that church. Conversely, if a visitor finds a worship space that is 40% or less filled, he/she will not return thinking it is a shrinking congregation. We know where HCC falls under that principle.

Rejoicing in the fellowship and sense of congregational unity that summer worship in the Campbell Room gives us, the Worship Ministry Team has approached the Board of Trustees with two suggestions, both of which were approved by the Board.

First, an Ad Hoc committee is being formed to explore the desirability, feasibility and financial options for reconfiguring and renovating the sanctuary. Moderator Scott Phelps will appoint this committee and it will report back to the Board of Trustees.

In the meantime, the Board has approved the removal of several pews from the rear of our sanctuary and the possible respacing of the pews that remain to allow more leg room for worshippers. There are many ideas for the use of the space that will be created at the rear of the pews. Any ideas you have are welcome; just speak to one of us!

We are excited and energized by the prospect of creating a “right-sized” worship space that will serve our needs and provide flexibility for other uses of the space. We plan to be back in the sanctuary for Sunday, September 22nd.  Join us in our forward-thinking, missional approach to this project!

Missions Team Report

Outreach Committee – Committee meeting will take place in September. Committee chair, Freddie Holman will coordinate. Grants from the Outreach Committee are scheduled for review twice per church year: in September 2019 and in March 2020. Applications for grants can be found on the Heights Christian website.

Green Chalice – it is almost Fall and you know what that means….Heights Christian Church’s annual 100 Mile Potluck. The date this year is September 22nd. So start thinking now about what delicious dish you will prepare from locally grown foods within 100 miles. Each year new and wonderful dishes are prepared for this event. Watch for more information in the Sunday bulletin.

The Giving Garden – Willie the keeper of the giving garden, which is located in the back of the church, has again done a great job. He said some of his harvest can often be found on the pew outside of the office. Should you see it and can use it, you are welcomed to it.

Peace and Justice Committee – As you know there have been many events at Heights Christian Church which address subjects focused around peace and justice. These events were not the initiative of the Peace and Justice Committee. However, the committee has attended and supported these activities. We are proud of our church leadership for providing events that reach out to the community. One such event were the Porch Talks. Others are in the making. Therefore, the Peace and Justice Committee has decided that the committee is no longer needed given Heights Christian Church has many related initiatives planned. However, the Peace Awards for the Shaker Heights High School students will remain in place.

Community Meal – Our August meal was on August 17th. Val volunteered to take me shopping for the food–that was a blessing. Usually there is a community chef to prepare the food. This time a team of Settlers (Joan, Bobbi, Mike, and Donita) along with Keith from Shaker Schools were the food preparers and performed many other tasks. Gabriel from the library and Marie from Campbell Court volunteered to cover lots of needed tasks such as (sign in sheets, decorating tables, taking foods to tables, clean up afterwards engaging in conversation with guests). Our guests expressed liking the meal and an appreciation for our efforts. Volunteers are always welcome. What about you? Remember every 3rd Saturday 12-2pm (next community meal, September 21st). Come early to help get things ready to receive our guests who are invited to a Place at the Table.

CWF – The Advisory Board approved $3,000 in grant requests of which $1,200 were  in support of the Porch Talks. Funds were also granted for landscaping at Heights. CWF funds are acquired from sales in the Thrift Shop. You are encouraged to browse The Thrift Shop. You might find an unexpected item that you can use; make a purchase knowing that funds are a part of the church’s mission. It is open on Friday and Saturday 10am to 4pm. There are monthly sales on various items. More volunteers are needed. If you are interested contact Martha Cubberley at 751-3419.

Community Witness and Worship

Community Witness and Worship, a ministry of Heights Christian Church born out of the retreats held earlier this year, invites you to our first event. On Tuesday, September 10 at 7 pm, we’ll hold a brief vigil outside the church to pray and act on behalf of children.

We’ll walk around the church stopping at each corner of the block to address the needs of teens in Shaker, of the victims of gun violence, and migrant children in detention. At each stop we’ll hear a meditation, pray and take a simple action on behalf of these children.

The vigil will last a half hour, ending in time for the Trustee Meeting and for the rest of your evening routine. Chairs will be provided at each stop for those who need to sit.

Please join us and bring friends and family to witness and pray. Flyers are available at the church office to share in the community. If you’d like to help us prepare by making signs, setting out chairs or greeting guests, please reach out to Cindy Maxey (; 216-849-5039) or Jane Troha (; 216-991-8010).

Next Pub(lic) Theology is September 17th

Pub(lic) Theology continues to meet the Third Tuesday of each month at Craft Collective at 7 pm. Consider joining us one evening as we discuss things that matter over a beverage of choice. Craft Collective serves craft beer, cider, and mead. Food can be purchased from restaurants in Market Hall and eaten anywhere. Several folks who found us through Meet-Up join us each month.
Find us on Facebook and Meet-Up!

Congratulations to Track Star Claire Dunn!

Claire, who has participated in The Junior Olympics since she was eight years old, won 1st place in the Long Jump and with her team the 200 meter relay in a five-state Regional Competition in Columbus, OH.
They also placed in the top eight at the National meet in Charlotte, North Carolina, in late July.  Shaker Heights High School welcomes her, as a great addition to the track team.

Thank You

Donna Zimmerman would like to express her thanks to everyone who has provided support for her as she heals from her injury and surgery. Many, many folks have lifted her in prayer, sent cards and calls, paid visits, and helped her navigate doctor and therapy appointments. She is grateful and overwhelmed with a sense of loving support from HCC members and friends. She is doing well and looking forward to being with us soon.

Prayer List Requests

A new procedure has been established for listing names of individuals to remember in prayer. As of September, each name will be listed on the bulletin insert for a period of one month. If anyone wishes for a name to be included for a longer period, please call the church office to continue listing that individual for a subsequent month. The list will be kept on a rolling basis. As always, the congregation of Heights Christian Church welcomes and honors any requests for prayer support.

Thrift Store News

Our Thrift Shop is located in the basement beside our driveway door on Winslow Road.  If you have not seen it, you should.  The hours are 10 am to 4 pm, Fridays and Saturdays.  We carry apparel, glassware, ceramics, books, games, art work, lamps, and small appliances.  Prices are low.  Our goods are all donated and our staff is all volunteer.

Shop will be closed for the Labor Day weekend, August 30 and 31st.  Afterward, September is half off sale month on women’s apparel. We have some very nice dresses and a large inventory.  Guys, do not feel left out.  We also have shoes half off, for everyone.  We have a lot of shoes.  Dress shoes, high heels, boots, sneakers.  We are pulling all our shoes from the back room and they will be on display.

Want to learn how to be a shop keeper?  We work two volunteers 10 am to 1 pm and two more 1 pm to 4 pm.  Work includes, sales, pricing, sorting new donations, and helping customers.   We presently have (12) volunteers.  We need more.

Jim Nicks     Thrift Shop Manager


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!