News and Upcoming Events
- Sign up for our “Breaking Bread Together” mixers happening in February! Each group of six people will meet weekly over a meal or refreshments to get to know each other and discuss faith and values. Thanks to Jack Bölle for coordinating this opportunity for friendship and community building at our church.
- Worship Sunday January 20: Martin Luther King Weekend. Topic: “Time to Celebrate.” Scripture: John 2:1-11.
- Tuesday, January 22: Everyday Peacemaking: Compassionate Communication. Two sessions, at 10-11:30am or 7-8:30pm. Both in the Church Office. RSVP requested to Pastor Terry. Topic: “Care-full conversations”- showing you care even when you’re tense!
- Thursday, January 31: Taizé service at 6:30 pm in the Hall.
Save the dates:
- February 15-18: Common Good Film Festival at Claremont School of Theology. View film from a process relational theology perspective. See http://whiteheadfilmfestival.org for details.
- Saturday March 2, 10am to noon: Teach-in on Racism, led by Mike Rodriguez. (Note date change.)
- Ash Wednesday: March 6. Ash Wednesday special worship at 7:30 pm.
- Saturday March 9: Chapman University Founder’s Day. A day of celebration and learning for UCC and Disciples. Learn about the St. John’s Bible. Written on vellum using medieval calligraphic techniques with luminous illustrations, the St. John’s Bible seeks to awaken a biblical passion for social justice and appreciation for art, science, and discovery. Complete information at http://www.chapman.edu/founders-day.
- Saturday, March 16: CCL Climate Education and Clean Energy Fair, 10am-4pm. Speakers from all over California.
- Tai Chi is Thursday at 6:30pm in the Sanctuary Jan. 24.
- Bible Study is on Thursdays at 2-3pm. Join us in the pastor’s office; you are always welcome. We are studying the Gospel of John. Lively discussion about what scripture means to us today. No homework!
- Choir practice Thursdays at 7:30pm. Like to sing but not sure you’re ready for prime time? Jessica Cosley is a fabulous teacher and our choir is a great place to grow musically. Join us!
- The BCUCC Theological Book Club is reading In the Shelter, by Padraig O Tuama. There’s an old Irish proverb: ‘It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.’ Interweaving everyday stories with analysis, gospel reflections with mindfulness and Celtic spirituality with poetry, this book explores the practice of welcoming as a spiritual discipline. It is comforting and inspiring. Come join the fun and discussions at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesdays, January 23rd for chapters 4-6, and February 6th for chapters 7-10. We’ll meet at the Hill household. Please email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 714-693-0261 for directions. See you then!
Welcoming Travelers is what we do by Alice Foltz
A new kind of networking is taking place among immigrant-welcoming UCC congregations across the United States. We don’t know who helped Mary, Joseph and their baby flee to Egypt, but our congregations are finding ways to welcome strangers, today.
I can share one of the most recent examples of welcome our church has been a part of. Maria worked for years in a professional job in Guatemala, but she faced abuse and threats from her boss. He demanded favors that she refused, and then began to threaten her. As a director, he controlled her job, and he knew that an indigenous woman like Maria had few options.
The demands became threats, and he threatened not only her job but also her life. Fearful, Maria needed to leave, so she made her way to a border checkpoint, to apply for asylum in the U.S.
Maria got in touch with a friend who was part of the Labor Resource Center sponsored by Centreville Immigration Forum, a project founded 10 years ago by Wellspring United Church of Christ, in Centreville, Virg. CIF Board member Stephen Vandivere and Wellspring Pastor Emeritus Jerry Foltz agreed to help with local sponsorship and arrangements in Virginia, to help Maria leave detention in Elon, Arizona while waiting her hearing.
When her friend paid the bond, she was immediately released and taken to the bus station in the middle of the night without money, food or a warm coat. She began the 54-hour bus trip across the country, happy to be out of detention but unsure about what lay ahead.
Foltz remembered a network of friends across the country, and made phone calls to immigrant-welcoming congregations along the bus route. Pastor Ken Heintzelman at Shadow Rock UCC, Phoenix Ariz., agreed quickly to meet her with a team prepared with food, a warm coat, and accompaniment to the right bus, just after midnight.
In Oklahoma City, HollyAnn Weaver, a member of Church of the Open Arms UCC, offered an “Open Arms” welcome and helped Maria to manage a bus transfer.
Both groups offered Maria use of a cell phone to call her friend in Virginia.
Finally, on the Thursday before Christmas, Maria arrived in Washington, D.C., welcomed again by the Rev. Jerry Foltz and friends from Virginia.
Alice Foltz, a member of Wellspring UCC, is a volunteer and President of the Board of Centreville Immigration Forum, and a history instructor at Northern Virginia Community College.