Do you seek a deeper understanding of stories in the Bible? Do you wish to stay informed about public policy issues affecting the world around us? Are you a young person seeking opportunities to connect with peers and get involved in your community? Members of all ages find spiritual enrichment through our many learning activities scheduled regularly by our ministries.
"I have a hunger to learn more about the scripture as a support for my own spiritual journey. I enjoy learning in community. This is my opportunity for intellectual stimulation." - Ellen
We develop opportunities for spiritual formation for adults. We schedule learning opportunities at different times of the week and provide short-term and long-term classes.
- Sunday Morning Bible Study
- Sunday Morning Forum
- Monday Lunch Group
- Wednesday Evening Bible Study
- Saturday Men's Group
- Sisters in Spirit
Live Your Faith!
- Engage your brain by participating in regular study.
- Share your passion with others by leading a one time event or series. Let the committee know so we can help you with coordination and publicity.
- Share books, videos, or movies with others.
- Set up and clean up for an education activity.
- Provide child care so that parents have a chance to renew their intellect.
- Advise the committee by sharing your comments on:
- Optimal meeting times
- Meeting locations (Would you prefer "in church" activities or home groups?)
- Type of activity (discussion, book study, spiritual practice, film series, speaker series, etc.)
- Ongoing activities (of indefinite duration) vs. limited duration activities (for example an activity that might meet weekly for six weeks and then cease)
- Plan for educational opportunities you'd like to have.
- Join the Adult Religious Education Committee.
Sunday Morning Bible Study
"After reading Genesis together last year, we decided to just continue the story by diving into Exodus. We find it a fascinating, thought-provoking read. Over the past several weeks, we have focused on the Ten Commandments, each of us taking one or two for deeper reflection and leading group discussion."
"How can I describe what happens as we read the text, hear the words as if for the first time, and marvel over the wisdom, the challenge, and the promise they contain? I hope it does not trivialize the scripture by suggesting that our Bible Study is like a really good book club, that is, as much a support community as a discussion group. We approach the text in our typical (for CUCC) intellectual" way by asking questions about its history and the latest scholarship on its authorship. But we also explore what it means to us as individuals yearning to know God and participate in our own covenant with the divine. In the process, we share our "sacred stories" with each other and feel mutually enriched, loved, and supported."
"We have been captured by the Old Testament lately, reading Job, Isaiah, and the "minor" prophets. In the past, we have read Mark, I Corinthians, and theRevelation. We are always open to suggestions, depending on participant interest."
- Ellen Beidler
The Sunday Morning Bible Study is a very open and inclusive group. We would love to have anyone join us whenever the spirit moves! It is most rewarding to join the group on a consistent basis but "drop-in" visitors are welcome any time. We meet Sunday mornings at 9:15 in the Bradow Room. If you show up at the stroke of 9:15 and no one is there yet, make yourself comfortable--someone will be along soon.What's Next?
Sunday Morning Forum
Want to put your faith and concern into action? Community UCC encourages its members as well as the surrounding community to learn more about issues and related public policies and become advocates for equality and justice. Coffee and tea are served. This week's topic for the Sunday Morning Forum is posted on the CUCC Calendar. Join the conversation on the Community CUCC Forum Group on Facebook.
We study the foundations of faith and the public policy issues related to social and economic justice, peace, and protecting the environment. Speakers include community leaders from the Triangle and across the State, religious leaders, government officials, elected representatives, activists, and directors of non-profits.
- Immigration Injustices - Welcome the Immigrant and ElPueblo
- A Clear and Independent Voice for People with Disabilities
- Building a State of Equality
- "Conversations" on Race, Ethnicity and Culture
- The Place of Religion in Mass Media
- Public Financing of Elections and Election Reform
- A Paradigm Shift to Address Pet Overpopulation
- Walter Rauschenbusch and the Relevance of his Social Gospel Theology
- A Sustainable Lifestyle
- The Healing Place of Wake County
- "Just War Theory" and America's Wars
Frequently our discussions lead the Church's Social Justice Ministry to formulate action positions to address the concerns raised in the Forum.
All points of view are welcome and in depth discussion is encouraged.
Get on our email list by contacting the Forum committee Chair through the Church Office at email@example.com.What's Next?
Monday Lunch Group
"I find a circle of loving friends, a circle that shares my interest in the search for the truth and a group that believes and practices the power of prayer." - Geraldine
Generally the Monday Lunch Group chooses a book of common interest to read and study over a period of several weeks. Newcomers and walk-ins (including men!) are welcome.What's Next?
Wednesday Evening Bible Study
"I have been participating in the Wednesday Bible study since its inception in 1982 or 83. What began as a follow up to the Faith-to-Focus workshop under the auspices of CLAY later metamorphosed into a Bible study group. I attend it because I like the flexible approach to the study of the Bible, and I like the people who have ever attended a great deal. I would like to see some new folks join us and know they would be welcomed." - John Little
"For me it's a rewarding way to be in touch with a very special group of members in the informal pre-Bible study time when we 'catch up with each other.' Time spent with the Bible is often insightful, often puzzling (nobody knows the answer!). Sometimes we hark back to the times when Dave Barber enlightened us (or Paul Marsh or Keith Peterson)." - Marge Eckels
"What could be better? A great group of people and the timeless wisdom of the Bible, which always has something new to teach us." - Mike Schafale "Biblical literacy helps any Christian know their roots." - Lavon Page
After eating a brown bag supper, we study the Bible (at times we have studied the lectionary passages, at other times we work our way through a particular book). We talk about the Bible passages and things that come up in relation to these. You are welcome to "just show up" and need not come to every session. You don't need to read anything in advance. People drop in and out as their life dictates and the membership keeps changing.What's Next?
Saturday Book Group
"It is a very active group whose members not only show up every Saturday but all of whom read the book and participate in a very lively discussion. There is no leader. The group has both CUCC members and friends who share their interests. The books studied by the group vary from atheists such as Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, through important secular books about science, war, economics and philosophy to religious writings such as Karen Armstrong, Peter Gomes and Marcus Borg." - Ed Klemmer
This non-fiction group is open to women and men. Each book is chosen by consensus and is read by all members over a period of 6-12 consecutive weeks for each book, one or two chapters a week. There is no leader. All members participate in the discussion. This arrangement has worked well since 2002. For any questions, contact Ed Klemmer, preferably by email.What's Next?
Sisters in Spirit (SIS)
“Women’s spirits can synergize each other.” – Marty
"I enjoy SIS because it gives me a wonderful chance to be with like-minded (and much younger!) folks who keep me up-to-date, informed and inspired by their ideas! Activities we share are fun - and the food is always interesting." -Marge
"Being new to the church, it's a way to connect personally to women in the church." Laura
Join women of all ages for an evening of conversation, a shared meal, and laughter as we explore development of our souls' creativity and support each other on our life journeys. As we open our hearts and right brains to envisioning new possibilities, we may discover new paths to take that may enrich our lives. Past SIS offerings have included: a private tour of the African exhibit at the art museum given by docent Athena Tracy, gathering of "Greek Goddesses" at Kathy Clift's home with a Greek meal provided truly meant for goddesses, telling "Life Stories", sharing our favorite books and movies, discussing "The Power of Word", going to dinner and the theatre together, snowflake making, trying out Julia Cameron creativity experiences, and eating at potlucks. We make donations of toiletries to the women's shelter as well. We have a retreat each fall; in recent years the retreat's been at the beach , but in 2013 we're exploring going to Blowing Rock Assembly Grounds in September and save the beach retreat until the spring. Come envision new possibilities and share with others as part of Sisters In Spirit.
- Tuesday, Oct. 30th
Marty Lamb will lead discussion from Julia Cameron's Walking in the World where we'll each list and share 10 activities that ground us.
- Thursday, Nov. 29th
We'll remind ourselves of what we can be grateful for.
- Thursday, Jan. 31st
Gray Woodard will lead discussion.
- Tuesday, April 30th
Creativity is a spiritual issue, and that means we can invoke powerful and playful (a potent combination) forces to cast out our demons. Let's envision and destroy a creativity monster.
- Tuesday, May 28th
Kathy Widenhouse will lead discussion of our sharing our favorite books.
Potlucks begin at 6:30pm in the Hoffmann Room. For details about meeting topics, contact the church office or check this month's newsletter.
Children's Education Ministries
Children's Religious Education
"I like working to transmit Christian values to the next generation. A spirit filled, ethical, reliable next generation can be a gift to the world." - Marty
"As the mother of 3 small children, it is important for me to give them a foundational belief system that helps them to be strong during times of challenge, to open their hearts to others and to understand their role in making our world a safer and healthier place for all. The children's program at CUCC has done a wonderful job of moving beyond just sharing Biblical stories and has helped them to understand how they can contribute to the greater good on a regular basis. Whether they are collecting school supplies for an orphanage in Guatemala, dedicating their offering to local food banks or simply creating and sharing valentines with residents at the nearby retirement home, they put into action Gods hope that we will all care for each other. " - Kara
"The kids at our church love to express themselves through art. It is a joy for me as a teacher to find meaningful ways to connect a Bible story or spiritual principle to an art project. I watch in awe as the children create beautiful and thoughtful works of art that reflect what is in their heart." - Judy.
The Religious Education Ministry develops learning programs for infants, children, and youth with the assistance of the children's Church School Coordinator, Anne Bailey Zschau, and the Youth Minister, Śānti Matthews. We design activities to enrich the Church School curriculum and plan the service emphasis for the month. We also plan the annual Christmas pageant and Advent Family celebration.
Live Your Faith
- Share your interests with our children & youth. Let Anne Bailey or Śānti know what you'd enjoy passing along to a new generation.
- Invite a friend to church school or youth group.
- Donate an item or pledge your support to one of the service activities being led by our younger members.
- Teach on Sunday morning.
- Chaperone a mission trip for a few hours or a weekend.
- Set the direction of CUCC's children's and youth's education programs by working with the religious education committees.
To grow the next generation of justice people and welcome the gifts that our children and youth offer. As children, youth, and adults together, we seek to strengthen our faith: through knowledge of scripture and traditions, through practice of spiritual disciplines, and through fostering supportive relationships.
What support is provided for parents? Parenting is hard work. We risk asking each other how things are going and follow up on hunches that someone might appreciate our support. We listen to each other and try not to offer solutions or sage advice, but simply ask if there is anything we can do to support the parent and/or the child. As always, we work to keep confidences. In addition to parent-to-parent support, CUCC is blessed to have staff members who've "been there." Make an appointment to talk things over with Anne Bailey, Śānti or Steve.
The Traditional Worship Service (10:30 am) is prepared for all generations to worship together. A nursery is available for little ones too young for worship. Children and Youth start the morning with their families; parents might wish to ask an usher for Sharing Basket crayons and clipboards with paper to assist children in worshipping creatively. Children and youth join adults in the call to worship, welcoming of visitors, prayer of invocation, singing, and hearing scripture. Sometimes they lead parts of the service, either as a group or by offering their individual talents.
These are followed by a Children's Time, a message prepared for children; parents are welcome to join their children on the floor at the front. After the Children's Time, children and youth go to church school. [On first Sundays and special festivals, middle and high school youth remain in worship.] Children who prefer to remain in worship with their parents may do so.
In Church School the children and youth have an opportunity to explore their growing faith with their peers. This is a time set aside for them to "nurture their spiritual growth and work for justice," in the words of CUCC's mission statement. Through age-appropriate learning activities and loving interactions with adults and each other, the children and youth are given opportunities to experience the wonder and mystery of God and to live their faith.What's Next?
0 - 3 years
A birth to three-year-old nursery during the entire worship service provides the children with a place to play, get to know one another, and hang out with Masaka Keti, whom our children call "Miss Marguerite." Our wonderful caregiver and her family are long-time members of the church. A comfortable rocker is ready for nursing moms.What's Next?
Preschool - 4th Grade
Be ready to have fun with your friends as you learn about God's love for you and your life in God's family. The Church School is offered each Sunday after the children's message at the 10:30 traditional service. "Miss Anne Bailey" Zschau leads teams of adults who use lessons from the Gather Round curriculum. The focus is on Bible stories using a variety of learning styles and emphasizing social justice and peace. The classes are composed of multi-age groups.
To supplement the curriculum children participate in a variety of service projects to support the church and larger community. Some past projects include supporting: Meals on Wheels of Wake County, an Orphanage in Chichicastenango, Guatemala, SPCA of Wake County, and Morningside Assisted Living.
The Church School also has special activities to engage the children throughout the year. Some of these include Back to School Sunday, the Family Advent Party, the Christmas Pageant, making Valentines, the Palm Sunday Egg Hunt, Earth Day and the end-of-the-school-year Celebration.
Children and youth learn the skills of leading worship from the earliest ages. At children-led worship services, children grow from handing out bulletins with Mom or Dad to ringing the gong and collecting the offering to reading scripture and participating in sermon puppet shows or processional pageants. Throughout the year, the Deacons invite children and youth to join the rotation of worship leaders by playing instruments, singing with the choirs, reading scripture, and collecting the offering. Let a Deacon know if a young CUCCer at your home would like to assist with worship.
The playground is the gathering place for young children and their parents after worship. This is a time for play and friendships while parents compare notes and make plans.
For youth fifth grade and up, youth group is the place to make friends and tackle larger projects.
Being the Next Generation of Justice People
Through fourth grade, service projects are led by and done with adults. When we donate our offering, we save it for a long time so we can make a sizable donation. Each of our offering donations this year has been for more than $45. So far in the 2009-2010 school year we have:
- donated our offering to One Great Hour of Sharing
- collected books for Method Child Development Center
- donated 14 Christmas shoe boxes to needy children around the world through Enloe High School
- donated our offering and animal care supplies to the SPCA
- collected books and supplies for children at Interact; we also contributed our offering
- donated our offering to Walk for Hope
- donated our offering to the Crop Walk
- made and donated stepping stones for the small garden
- made Valentines for our friends at Morningside Convalescent Center and for CUCC's college-age members
Our next project will be planting a small garden at CUCC.What's Next?
5th - 12th Grades
All 5th-12th graders are invited to leave worship with the children, after the children's message, for church school every Sunday, except for the first Sunday of each month. First Sundays, we do not hold church school classes, and we encourage all 5th-12th graders to attend worship, and either sit together, or with their families. There are rare exceptions to this pattern, advance notice will be given.What's Next?
Youth Church School Sundays break down as follows:
- Some Sundays, classes combine for Christian based curriculum led by Śānti Matthews, upstairs in the Pilgrim House, otherwise...
- 5th and 6th graders form the Journey Class, led by Śānti Matthews: Beloved Community curriculum: Pilgrim House
- 7th-9th graders form the Confirmation Class, led by Sue Cottle and Joy Alford: Confirmation curriculum: Bradow and/or Hoffman Rooms
- 10th-12th graders form the Leaders Class, led by Joy Alford: Faith Experiences in Time of Transition: Youth Room
- Youth will be escorted from the narthex to their appropriate classes by their teachers.
- After worship, to avoid confusion, parents are asked to meet their 5-12 graders in the Fellowship Hall.
For youth fifth grade through high school, youth group is the place to make friends and tackle larger projects. Youth choose and run their own service projects with adult support.
- Joining youth and adults to repair homes with Appalachia Service Project
- Raising funds to help those with mental illness through the Walk for Hope
- Preparing and serving meals at the Helen Wright Center for Women
- Collecting food for Urban Ministries
- Raising funds to help Yahve-Jire Orphanage in Port-Au-Prince Haiti
One of the best ways to describe the CUCC Youth Group is to say that we are a close group made up of individuals. Each member is accepted for who they are, and their unique gifts are appreciated and utilized. We are energetic and thoughtful, intellectual and silly, questioning and believing, serious and fun.
The CUCC Youth Group is comprised of 7th-12th graders (5th-6th graders are invited to join us every 5th Sunday, and for special event planning). The group is led by Śānti Matthews. Youth meet to live out our faith by getting together for meals, service projects, retreats, worship planning, lock-ins, games, and fun. We will meet regularly this year every 2nd and 3rd Sunday from 12:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m. for lunch and activities, and at other times as planned. The youth help in the life of our church community by providing support such as child care for church events, participating in fully in church-wide events, hosting the talent show, and most recently, designing and producing church T-shirts.
Although the youth in the group vary in personality and age, and attend many different schools, we find that we learn from each other, support each other, care for each other, and genuinely enjoy each other's company. Join us any time; we welcome new faces.What's Next?