Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Thank You, Cathy!

Today is designated "Administrative Professionals Day", and on this occasion the Church Council extends a hearty "Thank You" to Cathy Marshall, our trusty manager of the church office. This morning Cathy was presented with a bouquet from the Council and a note thanking her for her reliable service to the Council and to the church. Cathy, of course, is also a very active member of CUCC. And she does so many things that sometimes it's hard to ascertain where her "professional" church work ends and her volunteer church work begins. But in any case, it's hard to imagine where we would be without her.

Thank You, Cathy!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Congregational Meeting - May 4

The church bylaws specify that a "spring congregational meeting" be held annually. In recent years this meeting has generally taken place in May. The January meeting centers around passage of the final budget and election of officers and committees. The November meeting is always focused on formulation of the budget for the coming year. But the spring meeting has no special focus.

The May 4 meeting agenda will include a report from the Ad Hoc Property Committee on the final details of the purchase of the Lloyd property, which is scheduled to take place during the week following May 4. There will be a brief report on the financing of the purchase. Gary Smith will report for the JCC Task Force on the results of the survey on solar panels and the status of that dialog. And Ellen Beidler will make a brief report on behalf of the Deacons. If you have other items you would like to bring to the attention of the congregation, it would be a good idea to inform the moderator (Lavon Page) in advance.

Entrenched Poverty - Not So Easy to Fix

Kudos to those at CUCC who have been investigating poverty, economic injustice, and the roots of these maladies. (This includes our Social Justice Ministry, our Economic Justice Task Force, and our Sunday Forum.)

Recommended reading for all of the above (as well as anybody else troubled by the persistence of poverty) is found in Sunday's NY Times in an article entitled "50 Years into the War on Poverty". Here's an excerpt ...

McDowell County, the poorest in West Virginia, has been emblematic of entrenched American poverty for more than a half-century. John F. Kennedy campaigned here in 1960 and was so appalled that he promised to send help if elected president. His first executive order created the modern food stamp program, whose first recipients were McDowell County residents. When President Lyndon B. Johnson declared “unconditional war on poverty” in 1964, it was the squalor of Appalachia he had in mind. The federal programs that followed — Medicare, Medicaid, free school lunches and others — lifted tens of thousands above a subsistence standard of living.

But a half-century later, with the poverty rate again on the rise, hardship seems merely to have taken on a new face in McDowell County. The economy is declining along with the coal industry, towns are hollowed out as people flee, and communities are scarred by family dissolution, prescription drug abuse and a high rate of imprisonment.

Liberals look at this and say, "More government help is needed." Conservatives look and say, "If you're looking for evidence that welfare programs can't fix the problem, this is it." Read and draw your own conclusions. It's an interesting piece.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Email - 18 APR 2014

Easter Sunrise Service
Flowers for the Resurrection Cross
No Forum on Easter Sunday, April 20
Property Purchase Funds
Earth Sabbath – Tuesday, April 22, Yates Mill Park, 7:00pm
CUCC Family Fun Auction Party – April 26, 6:30pm
Proxy Bids for CUCC Auction
Donations of Laundry Basket Items
Wright Center Meal
“Climate Change and the Old Testament” – Sunday, April 27
Sisters in Spirit (SIS) – Tuesday, April 29, 6:30pm
Say it with Flamingos!
Spring Congregational Meeting - May 4
Church-Wide Outdoor Event! – May 9 – May 10
PLM Families Together
Pray at the Legislature – Tuesdays, 12:30pm – 1:00pm
Pastors for Reform – Tuesday, April 29
Newsletter Deadline – Wednesday, April 23
Top Ten Reasons to come to the Auction & Donation Form

Friday, April 11, 2014

Discussion on natural gas and fracking


The following email discussion occurred spontaneously from April 7 to 8, 2014, among some members of CUCC’s Justice in a Changing Climate Task Force (JCC).  A member of the JCC forwarded to the task force an email exchange he had with a member of the NC General Assembly.  The JCC member urged others to write to their representatives to ask them to not support fracking as a way forward to meet North Carolina’s energy needs.  A question posed by one JCC member (member C) led to a forwarded email exchange and sparked an important and ongoing discussion about natural gas, recorded here with the writers’ permission.

Emails between CUCC member B and Legislator A

Dear Legislator A,
Drilling for shale gas and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) have contaminated drinking water sources and wells, and have caused air pollution and fractured communities in the states where they are occurring. A variety of health impacts to people and animals have been reported near shale gas development.
In North Carolina, the drinking water sources for millions, including hundreds of thousands of well users, could be at risk.
We, the undersigned, urge you to reinstate the permanent ban on fracking and horizontal drilling for shale gas in North Carolina and to continue the ban on underground toxic waste injection.
Thank you.
Sincerely, CUCC member B

Dear CUCC member B:
Thank you very much for your email.  I agree with you completely.   I do not believe North Carolina is ready for fracking, but if we do move forward with fracking, our citizens at the very least have a right to know what chemicals are being used.  I will continue to fight for our citizens' safety in North
Carolina.
I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me.
Legislator A

Friday Email - 11 APR 2014

All Church Workday Tomorrow Morning, Saturday, April 12th
April 11-12 Youth Spring Lock-in!
Joy Alford to lead 10:30am Worship Service with Palm Processional this Sunday
Annual Easter Egg Hunt and Egg Dying this Sunday, April 13
Forum for Sunday, April 13
A Theological Conference, Saturday, April 12, 2014
Property Purchase Funds
Caring Committee
Retirees’ Group
PFLAG Potluck and Special Guest Speaker 
Maundy Thursday Service
Good Friday Devotion
Easter Sunrise Service
Flowers for the Resurrection Cross
CUCC Family Fun Auction Party
 “Climate Change and the Old Testament”
Say it with Flamingos!
Spring Congregational Meeting - May 4

Change of topic for April 13 Forum

Dream People of the Amazon:  The documentary, "Dream People of the Amazon", tells the story of an indigenous people in the Amazon who are faced with the dilemma of protecting their environment and their way of life from the encroachment of multinational oil companies.   Their dreams collide with the dreams of outside companies.  The Amazon community is seeking solidarity with the outside world and this story is part of our global conversation about the health of our planet.

Join us at Forum, 9:15-10:15am, in the Vaughan Fellowship Hall.

- Submitted by Shirley Birt for the Forum planning committee

Thursday, April 10, 2014

COM establishes a new CUCC record for virtual meeting participation

The Communications Committee is proud to announce that on Tuesday, April 8, the Community Outreach Ministry set a new church record for attendance at a virtual meeting. While the COM has been holding occasional virtual meetings for some time, on April 8 the COM had 6 participants in its monthly meeting.
Furthermore, two of the participants had simultaneous child care duties, so their participation would have been impossible if the meeting had been a traditional meeting at the church. According to COM co-chair Jo Perry, the choice was either a face-to-face meeting with perhaps 3 people, or the virtual meeting which set the new attendance record this month. So "going virtual" not only enlarged participation, but also eliminated 50-100 miles of unnecessary driving and a couple of person-hours spent behind the wheel.

Chalk this up as a step in the right direction toward CUCC's goal of finding actions we can take in support of our climate initiative.

For more information about online video conference using Google technology, contact Jo Perry. The Communications Committee also is willing to provide help for groups wishing to step into the world of virtual meetings.

Monday, April 7, 2014

May 9-10: CHURCH-WIDE CAMPING!

CUCC youth are organizing our 2nd annual church-wide camping trip to Umstead Park on May 9! Join us for any of the following: dinner, games for all ages, a camp fire, and/or cabin camping. Sign up sheet will be in the narthex beginning April 13, or you can email your response to Santi.

CUCC Adult Forum, April 2014

Learn from experts and prepare yourself for faithful action.  The Adult Forum meets each Sunday at 9:15am in the Vaughan Fellowship Hall.

Sunday, April 6: Preventing Gun Violence Gun Violence is a national epidemic. In North Carolina there are annually over 1,000 lives lost to gun violence and an estimated 3,000 more injured by firearms. Gail Neely, Executive Director of North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, will be speaking about what we can do to help prevent this ongoing problem.

Sunday, April 13:  Southern Workers' Assembly.  Our economy is keeping wages down and making it harder for many people to make a liveable income, but workers are coming together to speak out about job issues.  There is an upsurge of new energy in the South.  The Southern Workers' Assembly is helping people to organize, unite and transform labor power and to seek fairness and dignity in the workplace.  Dante Strobino, Field Organizer, from the Assembly will join us to share information about their work and how we can participate in this movement.

Sunday, April 20: Easter Sunday - No Forum.

Sunday, April 27: Prisoner Re-entry Members of the Prisoner Re-entry Task Group of the local Congregations for Social Justice group, of which CUCC is a member, will introduce some of the many problems faced by people who have finished serving their terms in prison and are attempting to re-enter civil society. Someone formerly incarcerated will tell her (or his) story.