We are blessed with these individuals' testimonials of our church
From June 28, 2020
Carolyn: This is the most loving and open congregation I have ever experienced.
Jane: I agree, Carolyn!!
Mary: As the mother of a daughter who is part of the LGBTQ community, I so appreciate your caring for those who are struggling with their identity.
Jane: Mary - this church is special and so glad I found it!
Pam: We wouldn't want to be anywhere else!!
Kent: O&A Status for CUCC was and shall always be a breath of fresh air for all of us, new and old.
Beth: I am so glad for who we are, as a congregation and as individuals, and hope we keep pushing those boundaries for justice.
Jane has written an article for our weekly newsletter entitled "Jane's Reflections" that has meant so much to the church.
Published June 17, 2020.
WHY DO I GO TO CHURCH???
A question I receive frequently is “Why do you go to church? I can pray at home. I do not need a church and what about all those hypocrites who go to church on Sunday and do awful things during the week?”
I truly understand these questions, because for many years I was one of the people who did not attend except Christmas and Easter – a C and E. I was on a roster of the church where I grew up for over fifty years. My parents belonged there, and while I never felt comfortable, I didn’t want to leave as long as they were both alive. My mother begged me to not make her go to another church with all the other changes in her life and I respected that. Also, we had a wonderful minister who confirmed me and later became a close friend of our family. He did a lot to help me with my faith. However, the church itself was over 1000 members and felt cold and unwelcoming in many ways.
Meanwhile, I became fascinated by other religions. I shamelessly begged my college roommate to take me to a Greek Orthodox service. I asked my brother in law many questions about his Catholic Faith. I aced my religion classes in college. I went to my Mennonite friend's baptism and attended her wedding. I often ask my nephew's wife about the Jewish faith, and have joyously participated in lighting the candles on the Menorah!
I did attend a deaf church faithfully for five years. It was a great experience and it was there I watched my first captioned movie (The Sound of Music) because churches were able to obtain captioned movies before they were made available in the home. I adored watching the sign language choir. I never joined this church, because it was more conservative than my background. The minister told me once I was wearing too much makeup! I considered myself more of a volunteer since I taught Sunday school lessons to a group of young men from a deaf-blind group home. I made some wonderful deaf friends there. Eventually, the church disbanded, and I stopped attending church once again.
Then I became ill with incurable cancer. My wise sister gently suggested to me that if I found a church community they could help me through this tough time. I wondered what that was like since I had never experienced this first hand.
I tried a couple of churches and through some friends, I eventually found out about the Congregational United Church of Christ. This was truly meant to be. I began to know the members there and for the first time, I understood the message my sister gave me.
When I first received Sita, my service dog, I was told by the agency that gave her to me something very interesting. Churches do not have to allow service dogs, because of the separation of church and state under the federally mandated American with Disabilities Act. I told my sister that I wouldn’t go to any church where they did not accept Sita. There is a difference between tolerating and accepting a dog. I did not have to worry about that here. The congregation loves her and she greets every one of them on the way up the aisle to the front of the church before services start. They tell me with the pandemic they cannot wait to see her sweet face again.
The people here are kind to each other. They go out of their way whenever any of us need something. They bring food to each other, help each other with home projects, call, e-mail, and send cards. The minister is a wonderful guide on how important it is to do mission work inside and outside of the church. I have learned a tremendous amount from him and the members about social justice, which the United Church of Christ globally deems important. We sponsor several local missions and help a lot of children and adults. But it is much more than that. You feel spirituality and caring throughout the church. When I told several people on Zoom my cancer is worsening, I said I was sorry to share so many details. The minister told me, “What happens to one of us happens to all of us.”
This church also challenges me to think in different ways about scripture and Bible readings. It is a very informed group of people and we have lively discussions lead by our great pastor, who challenges us to grow. I study scripture alone but find it more meaningful with a group of people. Yes, you can worship at home and some people do that easily. With my personality, however, I need a community with like-minded people. It makes worship easier and more fun.
I was 65 years old when I found this church and wish it had been sooner. But I found it when I needed it the most in my twilight years. Of course, we all have our faults and argue at times, because none of us is perfect. Then we laugh and say it is being part of a family. We have each other's backs; we care about each other and do for each other. As Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them.” (NET)
Thank you to all the members of the CUCC family for being both my friends and my family!