August Services at UCC Simi Valley

adventure backlit dawn dusk
adventure backlit dawn dusk
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

August Theme: Church and Society

We live in a time when the things we believe are tested by the society in which we live. During a global pandemic, racial tension and economic hardship the faith we have cannot be theoretical. Our faith must guide us through these challenging times and light within us a candle of hope and a will to share that hope with others. During the month of August, our congregants get a turn to “preach!” Everyone will give their take on the theme of “Church and Society.”

August 2

How Faith Informs Our Politics with Cindy Speakman

August 9

Heroes of Nonviolence with John Paton

August 16

Finding God in culture with David Birchman

August 23

Race, Racism, and Racial Issues in the Church with Carla Ritter

August 30

Finding Joy and Hope in the Midst of a Pandemic with Rev. Susan Brecht


For details on the current week check out our Weekly Worship Guide HERE.

Simi Valley Pride!

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.

National Call for Moral Revival and Social Justice

The Poor Peoples’ Campaign is a national call for moral revival and social justice. There will be a digital gathering on June 20 at 10 am and 6 pm Eastern standard time and
6/21/20 at 6 pm Eastern standard time.

RSVP at https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/june2020/

Co-chairs for this event at Rev Wm. Barber II and Rev Dr. Liz Theoharis. William Barber will be highlighted in July as “A person who makes a difference” in the Grapevine.

United Church of Christ is proud to be a co-sponsor of this effort. See the UCC website for more information.

Know Justice Know Peace

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.”   

~UCC National Board, Rev. Stacy Thomas (in bold)


Resources for Standing Against Racial Injustice

We have highlighted a few resources below. For a more complete list visit resources.uccsimi.org.

NAACP- “We Are Done Dying ” Campaign


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.


Your Kids Aren’t Too Young to Talk About Race: Resource Roundup

Podcast and additional resources for parents and caregivers.


26 Ways to Be in the Struggle Beyond the Streets

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


NY Times Magazine “1619 Project”

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.”


75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice

Corinne Shutack wrote an article on the popular platform Medium, outlining steps to “work to fix what we broke and left broken isn’t done until Black folks tell us it’s done.”

A Just World for All

In 2016 the United Church of Christ spent a full year examining its purpose, vision and mission. The phrase that came out of the discussion was “a just world for all.” This simple phrase encompasses both a compassionate, Christ-like theology and worldview and is instructive on how to focus our energies as individuals and as a church body.

Purpose:
To love our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; and our neighbor as ourselves.

Vision:
United in Christ’s love, a just world for all.

Mission:
United in Spirit, inspired by God’s grace we welcome all, love all, and seek justice for all.

For more information visit: https://www.ucc.org/congregations_weekly_a_just_world_for_all

Women’s and Men’s Groups

Men’s Zooming Breakfast

Thanks to Zoom, we continue to uphold the tradition of Men’s Breakfast without leaving our homes. We eat just what we want, and at the same time we have a lively conversation about shopping and streaming, car care and Covid-19. We hope for others to join us on the next second Tuesday of the month.


Women’s Gathering “In The Midst”

10:00 am – 12:00 noon, second Saturday of the month

The theme of these gatherings is “Getting to Know You.” The women in our congregation share updates and friendship. 

For more information please contact us.

FFLUID Support Group

Family & Friends Living United In Diversity (FFLUID) is dedicated to offering “streams” of unconditional love, heartfelt support and quality resources to members of the LGBTQIA+ community, their families and friends. Our monthly support meetings give our members a safe space to discuss the unique challenges LGBTQIA+ persons face when forming friendships, seeking housing and employment, finding healthcare and navigating complicated family relationships.

During the Covid-19 Crisis

FFLUID will continue to meet virtually via Facebook Messenger.
from 7:00 until 8:30 pm on the 3rd Thursday of every month.

For information on attending the Virtual Support Group please reach out to FFLUID on Facebook or you can sign up via Eventbrite.

For more information about FFLUID please visit ffluid.org.

Book Study in the Midst

“Finding Jesus at the Border” is a book that speaks to us about those who crossed borders, legally or illegally, to become our neighbors, our grocers, our gardeners, our doctors.  And about the borders that we must cross to support them as they live out their dreams of becoming Americans.  Prof. Julia Lambert Fogg of Cal Lutheran writes about CLUE-VC, Adelanto, and the dilemmas that we face when we work for a more just world.

This 2020 book will touch your heart and raise questions that we will want to talk over with each other.  We will start a conversation group that will meet three times a month. We will start out with Zoom, meeting at 7 pm on Tuesdays.

Please consider using your Amazon Smile account to order, so that the church receives a little donation.  The book is available in paperback and in Kindle e-book format.  


From Baker Publishing Group:

Immigration is an issue of major concern within the Christian community. As Christians, how should we respond to the current crisis?

Interweaving biblical narratives of border crossing and recent stories of immigrants at the US-Mexico border, this accessibly written book invites Christians to reconsider the plight of their neighbors and respond with compassion to the present immigration crisis. Julia Lambert Fogg, a pastor and New Testament scholar who is actively serving immigrant families in Southern California, interprets well-known biblical stories in a fresh way and puts a human face on the immigration debate.

Fogg argues that Christians must step out of their comfort zones and learn to cross social, ethnic, and religious borders–just as Jesus did–to become the body of Christ in the world. She encourages readers to welcome Christ by embracing DREAMers, the undocumented, asylum seekers, and immigrants, and she inspires Christians to advocate for immigrant justice in their communities.
 

Contents

1. Walk This Way: Approaching the Border

2. Fleeing without Papers: Matthew 2:1-23

3. Vantage Points and Borders–Where We Stand Affects How We See: Mark 12:41-44

4. Challenging Border Wall Mentalities: Ruth and Mark 7:24-30

5. Letters from Behind Prison Walls: Philippians 1:12-30

6. Seeking Asylum at the US Border: Philippians 2:5-11

7. Standing before ICE: John 11:1-34

8. Where Do We Go from Here? Border Crossing as Praxis: John 1:1-5, 14

(http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/finding-jesus-at-the-border/397630)

We’re excited to read and discuss this insightful, engaging book with you! 

For more information, or to join in on this study, please Contact Us or use the short form below.


Christian Education During Coronavirus Quarantine

Christian Education is still happening here at UCC-Simi Valley.  Awesome School in the Midst is for little ones through Grade 6.  Parents are welcome to participate as well.  We are meeting via Zoom every Sunday at 12 noon. We are happy to share the link with you; just send us a message requesting an invitation to join us for Awesome School.  You can email Rev. Stacy Thomas at RevStacy@uccsimi.org or secretary@uccsimi.org for an invitation.
We have an active youth group for grades 7 through 12.  We will provide updates to Zoom get-togethers and chats as they are scheduled. 

Every week, our Youth Minister, Daniel DuBay, will create and post a video incorporating his current lesson.  Most videos will be for all children and youth, but sometimes there will be a special video just for youth (these videos will be specially indicated).  Videos will be posted on our church’s Facebook page (facebook.com/UCCSimi) by Sunday morning.  Be sure to “like” and “follow” us so you can see what we’re up to and be alerted to updates!  In addition, we will have the videos on our YouTube channel:


Awesome School In The Midst

Youth Gathering In The Midst


rainstick
Daniel DuBay assist in Rainstick moment.

Daniel’s videos and Zoom Christian Education lessons invite engaging discussions of critical questions which aim to connect Scripture with what is happening in our communities, locally and globally, both currently and historically.  The Lessons include check-in time, prayer, Scripture readings, and discussions.  Children and youth are encouraged to share what’s on their minds and offer one another support.  In a loving, gentle, kind, hope-filled and faithful environment, children and youth learn important values and fruits of the Spirit, such as empathy, hospitality, generosity, honesty, compassion, respect, courage, creativity, humor, forgiveness, kindness, patience, peace, and love.  We are tremendously proud of our commitment to children and teens, and desire for them to build relationships with one another as well as with the entire congregation and with our community neighbors.  

Daniel also encourages any teenager with a prayer need to reach out to him.  Teens can access the Prayer Request link via The Grapevine.  We respect and value privacy, and consider it a priority.  Prayer requests will remain private unless permission is granted to share with the congregation during Worship, so that all of us may pray with and for you.    

Please contact Rev. Stacy Thomas (revstacy@uccsimi.org) for more information and to request our Zoom links.  

Get-Togethers In The Midst

UCC Simi Valley has launched a series of weekly “Get-Together” times in order to stay connected.

While we follow “shelter in place” orders from public health and government officials, there can be a tendency to feel isolated. UCC Simi Valley is committed to finding ways to stay connected during this trying time. As a result we’ve introduced weekly virtual “Get-Togethers” via Zoom video conferencing. If you would like to participate, please request the access link through the form provided at the bottom of this page.

Wednesday

Wednesday evenings, from 7 :00 to 8:00 PM, grab a beer, glass of wine, or cup of coffee, and join Eileen Kelly for some socializing, and casual conversation.

Friday

Pastor Stacy is hosting Get-Togethers in the Midst on Friday evenings from 7:00 – 8:00 PM.  Bring your favorite beverage and settle on the sofa for connection and conversation.  No agenda, no schedule.


Request Access