I think of God as a Presence that I can be in relationship with, one that I can draw wisdom from, who guides me, and fills me with peace and love. The spiritual practice of meditation helps bring me into that presence. Meditation reduces stress, cultivates a sense of inner peace, helps us to find clarity of purpose, and can produce healing, as some in our medical profession have been finding out.
Each Thursday evening for 20 to 30 minutes I lead a guided meditation, followed by a short time of sharing. The meditations draw from Christian, Buddhist, and Inter-spiritual traditions ie. Loving Kindness Meditations, Tonglen, Relaxation Meditation, Examen, Lectio Divina, Centering Prayer and meditations focused on themes of Gratitude, Peace and Love.
All are welcome to join us on ZOOM. Just fill out the contact form below, and I will send you the link to join.
Have you been feeling sad, angry, fearful, hopeless, isolated, lonely, stressed out? Then you are not alone. Most of us have been feeling one or more of these emotions over this past year.
How do we find hope to move forward?
How does love in action become a soothing balm and daily part of our lives right now?
The Beatles “All You Need Is Love” kept running around in my head, then a book was sent to me by Sojourner’s Magazine; “Love Is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubled Times” by Bishop Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church. You may have heard him preach at Prince Harry’s wedding. As I read it I thought ‘More people need to read this book!’ So I’ve decided to lead a book study on ZOOM if there are others who would like to join me. We would arrange the time and frequency of the gatherings based on peoples’ schedules. The book is a fast read, 250 pages with 12 chapters, plus an Introduction and Appendix: Love in Action – a Daily Planner.
NY Times best selling author Jon Meacham says this about “Love In Action”:
“This is a profound and essential book. At once personal and universal, intimate and sweeping, it frames the great question of our time — with is really, the great question of all time on this side of Paradise — with passion and eloquence. Michael Curry, priest and bishop, plays the prophet in these pages, drawing on his own remarkable life to show us the way we might make our own lives, and the lives of nations, warmer, better, and nobler.”
If you are interested in joining in this book study, contact us using the form below.
As the song goes
“What the world needs now, is love, sweet love. That’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”
Forming and Nurturing Our Faith Continuing to Learn and Grow – For All Ages
Faith Formation Resources for the beginning weeks of the new year. Fun projects you can do at home for the entire Family! Click the buttons below to print yours.
Remember: The little ones feel “Quarantine Fatigue” too! It’s important to keep them engaged and provide outlets for their creativity. We know parents everywhere must be chomping at the bit for schools to be back in session and regular activities return to pre-Covid schedules. We hope this series of activities provides some quality time for your family during this holiday season!
Since we are celebrating Advent by being good neighbors and staying home this year, I encourage you to make your own Advent Wreath. It can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like. All you need are five candles and a plate. You can add greenery around the plate if you wish. The five candles can be traditional or battery-operated; they can be votives, pillars, or tapers, any size. Place four of them in a circle on the plate, and one in the center. The four surrounding candles represent the Advent themes of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. On Week 1, one candle is lit, and each subsequent week, another candle is added until on Week 4, all four are lit. The fifth candle in the center, called the Christ Candle, is lit on Christmas Eve.
You may wish to have your Advent Wreath close by in your sacred space or worship area when we gather together in worship each Sunday. As the candles in the Sanctuary are lit, you may join in by lighting your candles at home. After worship, you may find it lovely to sit and bask in the wonder, delight, and quiet of this reflective season of waiting. You could also do this after sundown, and think of the Light of the World coming through the darkness. Perhaps we could share our Advent Wreaths with one another during our Coffee and Fellowship time after worship.
Please note that while traditionally the candles are purple for Hope, Peace, and Love, and rose for Joy, and white for the Christ Candle, in this year of everything being non-traditional, feel free to use any candles that you already have at home. This is meant to bring you some calm, thoughtful inspiration during the season of Advent, not to add stress and burden to you.
Sunday, Dec. 20, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., 370 Royal Ave. Simi Valley, CA, back outdoor patio.
Come and check out the new artistic creations in oh-so-fashionable holiday facemasks and new holiday-themed potholders. Also available are lush and decorative sprigs of church-grown mistletoe, all ready to hang. All items are only $5 each. Facemasks required, hand sanitizer available, social distance, you know the drill. Home deliveries in Simi Valley are possible after 4:00 p.m.
Fresh, healthy, 8-in. MISTLETOE sprigs are for sale, grown on our own UCC grounds! In the forest, mistletoe is a bit of a scourge, a parasitic plant that latches on to trees and feeds off of them. But at Christmas, it becomes a symbol of romance. So where did the tradition of kissing beneath the mistletoe come from? The plant’s association with romance dates back to ancient Norse mythology. Frigga was the Norse goddess of fertility, motherhood, and the household, and the possible namesake of Friday. She declared mistletoe to be the plant of romance, requiring a kiss to all who pass under it. According to the tradition, it’s bad luck to refuse a kiss beneath the mistletoe.
They will be available on Sunday, Dec. 20 during our Holiday Sae. $5 for each freshly packaged sprig, with proceeds to the church. (Keep refrigerated until ready to hang.)
Please inquire using the form below and we’ll arrange your delivery!
Embrace Your Journey: Exploring the Practice of Spirituality
Would you like to explore your faith in a small group setting, allowing for a deeper relationship with others and with God?
Are you interested in exploring different ways to grow spiritually?
Would you like to pray for a longer time than is possible during Sunday Worship Gatherings? Would you like to explore various, alternative ways of praying and connecting with the Divine?
Are you open to hearing from our Still-Speaking God through a variety of spiritual practices, including such proven methods as the Examen, lectio divina, visio divina, journaling, prayer walks, creative work, self-care and visioning?
Then, I invite you to spend some time with me and others who are seeking depth, centering, rejuvenation, and connection for a richer, more expansive spiritual life which encourages growth, awareness, attentiveness, and nourishment. This is time for you to take for yourself, to reflect, listen, share, and practice the Presence of God that you may integrate the spiritual into the human experience, day by day.
We gather once a month, on the second Wednesday of each month, from 7:30 to 9:00 pm, via Zoom.
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused us to look at our various ministries and adapt them to the realities of the time. We have had a longstanding relationship with The Samaritan Center in Simi Valley and have been active participants in their Community Dinner program. Gathering for meals at our church property posed a health risk, but we wanted to continue to serve the community during the current public health crisis.
Every month, the $65 we would have used to provide a Community Dinner is designated for the Center along with any new donations we receive for the Community Dinner Fund that month. A volunteer offered to be a buyer for items that The Samaritan Center need and have difficulty locating.
UCC Simi Valley was extremely blessed to be active participants in the very first Simi Valley Pride Festival on June 26, 2020. We have long been a voice for upholding the dignity and value of LGBTQ+ community, and it is amazing to see equality, love and affirmation emerge in this community.
Pride Day Prayer
Dear Holy One, we are all bonded as one. We know that you see us as one. We know that you love us as one. Help society recognize that you love all. Continue to pave these roads so that those roads traveled in the future are smoother. Ever-loving one, please guide us. Your Word says that you are love and where there is love there can only be peace. We thank you for the love that you have brought us today. We thank you for the love that you will bring us tomorrow. Amen.
“We cannot be silent as one more black person is murdered unjustly, and the nation erupts with both anger and deep sorrow. We are called to recognize once again systemic racism, especially in law enforcement, by evoking the names of murdered George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn.; Ahmaud Arbery in Glenn County, Ga; Breionna Taylor in Louisville, Ky.; Eric Garner in New York City; and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. … We cannot remain silent. God calls all of us to speak out. As Christians, Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. God created and loves people of every color. And yet we create economic, political, and social barriers that oppress African Americans in every sector from housing and education to healthcare and criminal justice. The COVID-19 pandemic magnifies these disparities. We know that black and brown people have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. This moment calls us all together to speak up, stand up and show up.“And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness” (Acts 4:29). This is our time to show our solidarity with all who live at the margins of our country because of their identities. We are called now to build a strong anti-racist commitment in our church so that we can show that Black Lives Matter in the kingdom of God. It is time to see ourselves as God sees us. Jesus is risen and alive in each one of us. May we use that strength to be agents of change.”
Anti-Racism Resources Document to Share with Family and Friends
This document is intended to serve as a resource to white people and parents to deepen our anti-racism work. If you haven’t engaged in anti-racism work in the past, start now. Feel free to circulate this document on social media and with your friends, family, and colleagues.
This list is designed to celebrate all the ways that our communities can engage in liberation. By and for those in our communities who can’t be in the streets, we offer a list of concrete ways that we are in the movement, and that we are supporting liberation every day
According to the NY Times: “The goal of The 1619 Project is to reframe American history by considering what it would mean to regard 1619 as our nation’s birth year. Doing so requires us to place the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are as a country.”