Reaching Heights September 2020
Reaching Heights September 2020
Links to this month’s news:
September Worship – Hope and the Hebrew Scripture
Beginning September 13th we will be following the Narrative Lectionary, which tells the whole biblical story through selected passages over a 4 year cycle. This will be a new adventure for HCC. The Worship Ministry hopes you will find it meaningful!
Sept 6 – Songs of Hope – Psalm 149:1-5, Psalm 119:33-41
***Included in our worship will be a “back to school” Blessing of Devices
Sept 13 – Creation and Fall – Genesis 2:4b-7, 15-17; 3:1-8
Sept 20 – God’s Promise to Abraham – Genesis 15:1-6
Sept 27 – God Works thru Joseph – Genesis 37:3-8, 17b-22, 26-34; 50:15- 21
Sunday Morning Study – “A House Divided”
Beginning September 13
9:30 am on Zoom (use the Sunday morning worship link)
“How do we find common ground on the issues that divide us?” Using Mark Feldmeir’s book “A House Divided” we will explore how a politics of compassion can help us find shared values on today’s most divisive issues and inspire us to find practical solutions. This study will be led by Pastor Roger, Kate Gillooly, Carolyn Troha, and Lloyd Ackerman. Books are available for purchase at a discount from the church ($12). Please contact Pastor Roger so he can get a copy to you.
September 13 – Climate Change
September 20 – Racism
September 27 – Immigration
MidWeek Bible Study begins a new course September 15
Tuesdays September 15 – October/27
1:00 pm on Zoom (contact Kate for the link)
Isaiah Part One – Holy, Holy, Holy
We will spend seven weeks exploring the first 39 chapters of Isaiah, the largest book in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). See and hear the word of God through the faithful witness of this prophet as he reveals what God would say to us with reverence and compassion. Isaiah’s extraordinary visual vocabulary can engage the heart and fire up the imagination. Describing what it was like to be in the presence of the Holy One, the Lord of Hosts, is just one example.
Sept. 15 Seeing Through Isaiah’s Eyes
Sept. 22 The Holy One of Israel
Sept. 29 Isaiah, Son of Amoz
Oct. 6 The LORD’s Righteous People
Oct. 13 New Songs of Salvation
Oct. 20 Built Upon a Righteous Cornerstone
Oct. 27 The Perilous Journey to Salvation
Along the Path
I find myself growing more weary every day as the pandemic drags on and the election season heats up. I am not looking forward to late fall and winter as we are forced to spend more time indoors and, therefore, more distant from even visual human contact.
I am not sure what the answer is to this weariness, but I am sure it is not further withdrawal into my little personal cocoon. While online and phone contact are not nearly as satisfying as being physically present with each other, they are certainly preferable to no contact.
But it takes some effort, which, of course, is the last thing I want to do when I am weary. Yet I draw some hope and strength knowing that this too will pass and that God continues to be present with each and every one of us in these difficult times.
I also know that I am part of a loving and caring community of faith and that together we can persevere and even thrive. The leaders of our ministry teams along with other members of the congregation met recently and are in the process of planning new opportunities for us to worship, study, fellowship, and do mission together. Some of those opportunities are in this newsletter and others will follow in the weeks ahead.
So I invite you to push through your weariness and engage with one or more of these new opportunities. I believe that some of our collective weariness will fade away as we find new ways to connect with each other and serve our community. Through it all know that your community of faith cares for you and is just a phone call or Zoom meeting away.
In peace and hope! – Pastor Roger
Kate’s Cogitations (for September)
Traveler, there is no path.
The path is made by walking.
Traveller, the path is your tracks
And nothing more.
Traveller, there is no path
The path is made by walking.
By walking you make a path
And turning, you look back
At a way you will never tread again
Traveller, there is no road
Only wakes in the sea.”
― Antonio Machado, Border of a Dream: Selected Poems
Planning in a pandemic is a bit like making a path by walking. We may have some sense of a direction we want to go, or things we want to accomplish, but there is no accurate road map for our journey. We can be paralyzed by this, or we can see it as an opportunity for creativity and experimentation. We can try things to see how they work in the present circumstances. We can decide which things of our old life we want to continue (even in an adapted way) and which things we’re ready to leave behind. But in order to get anywhere, we must start walking – path or not. I believe we are being called to step out in faith, to meet God somewhere along the path that we make by having the courage to take a few steps and look around. Traveler, there is no path. The path is made by walking. Let us walk by faith, together.
Children and Youth
Blessing of Devices
On Sunday, September 6, we will include a Blessing of Devices prayer in our morning worship! Stickers with Jeremiah 29:11 will be sent to all families so children and youth can put their sticker on their laptop, tablet, water bottle, notebook, or planner. (Some additional stickers will be available, please contact Kese if you’d like one.) We recognize that this year’s back to “schooling” looks different from other years. We want to offer our prayers and blessings for all students and teachers as they begin this time of learning in new ways. Mark your calendars and look forward to a future filled with God’s hope!
Care Packages for Our College Freshmen
This year HCC has two students who are off to college for the first time Alicia Benson and Avery Dunn. To help them in this transition to college, we are going to send them care packages from their church family. We are looking for donations of cards, notes, snacks and baked goods. Donations can be dropped off inside the Daleford doors any time the church is open. The deadline for donations is Monday September 28. We ask that donation of baked goods be dropped off that day, so they will be fresh and ready to be shipped. Thanks for your donations!
Reminder: Our HCC Children’s StoryTime continues on Tuesdays at 4 pm! Contact Kate Gillooly for the Zoom link. Children (and grandchildren) of all ages welcome!
Like seeds sprouting in dark soil
A fetus growing toward its birth
We await a new day dawning
Whose nature yet remains unknown
Chaos often births creation
Pain and suffering signal change
Death precedes a resurrection
Secrets revealed in due time
Though our despair and fear are real
The agonies we now endure
May someday be transformed
And joy come again
In August our congregation lost another long-time, much loved member, Jim Donald. Below are excerpts from the obituary written by his daughters, Susan and Ellen.
“Jim Donald was a true “piece of work”. (It’s ok – as his kids, we’re allowed to say that 🙂 He was a man of many opinions, which he loved to share freely with anyone he met. He was also a person who would give you the shirt off his back, or a ride to the airport – he would help lug furniture, or mow the lawn of a sick friend – without thinking twice. He was a contrarian, and a contradiction. And that partly helps explain why he was loved by so many different folks in our community…
But – maybe most importantly – Jim Donald was proud to be an Elder at Heights Christian Church. His father was a Presbyterian Minister, but when Dad found Heights Christian something spoke to him – he knew it was the right place for him, and for him to raise a family. Dad was a Deacon, a Tenor in the Choir, and the Church Treasurer; back in the 1980’s he was integral to getting the Church it’s first computers. Dad liked to be the first one in and the last one out – and we can say with all honesty that almost every Sunday growing up our family was the one that locked the doors behind us.
So there it is. James W. Donald was many things, to many people. His sense of humor, sense of honor, sense of duty, and service to God – all these things defined his long life. We were lucky to have him all the way through his 82nd birthday, and are proud to honor him the rest of our lives. We hope that you all will remember him fondly, think of the good times and forget any of the bad, and smile the next time you hear a Tenor’s voice lift a beautiful hymn.”
Jim’s full obituary (as well as a link to his funeral service) is available online.
During the pandemic shutdown we have not been able to provide gift card services. An increasing number of you have requested to purchase cards.
We have stalled trying to find a socially responsible way to distribute cards.
So here is the process we are going to try:
- Email Kese your card request including card(s), denomination(s), quantity.
- Kese will fill your order and let me know it is ready and the dollar total.
- I’ll provide a time slot or range for you to visit me at my home.
- You will provide a check (payable to HCC) and I will give you an envelope.
- We may socially distance visit outside as either of our time/weather allows.
- If you are not able to travel, I will arrange to socially distance deliver cards as possible.
Please use email@example.com for your order.
Shaker Food Drive
The Unity in the Community campaign continues to provide food to those who need it. The next distribution is scheduled for September 14. 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.
We were also extremely grateful for the Scout food collection drive in August. The preschool hallway was filled with food and back to school supplies. Sorting will take place over the next couple of weeks (did we mention that the hallway was filled with food?). You can sign up to help with the sorting and distributions online: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/508084ba4a62ba6fc1-unity
We also received two significant grants from the Cleveland Foundation Rapid Response Fund and Neighbor Up. These will help us carry on this work through the next several months.
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!