Ready to be Under the Mistletoe?

mistletoe

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.

So, to encourage a bit of romance in your holiday, sign up for a home delivery of one of our beautiful mistletoe sprigs.  They will be delivered on Sunday, Dec. 13.  $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!


Mistletoe
First
Last
Please tell us about how many mistletoe sprigs you would like or ask a question using this box. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can!
I would like to receive your weekly newsletter, The Grapevine. *

Spiritual Life and Growth Group

Spiritual Life and Growth Group
With Rev. Stacy L. Thomas
Pastor, UCC in Simi Valley

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. 


Want to register? Or find out more? Use this form, and we’ll be happy to get back to you!

Growth Group Inquiry
First
Last
Send me access information for the following virtual events:
I would like to receive your weekly newsletter, The Grapevine. *

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.

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.”

FFLUID Support Group

Families & 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.

Prayer Shawl Ministry

Do you enjoy knitting or crocheting? Would you like to use your skills to create prayer shawls to bring peace, comfort, and warmth to sustain those in our community who need a mantle of safe haven in times of challenge? During this time of lock-down and isolation, your talents are especially desired. Completed shawls will be blessed by our faith community during Worship Gatherings and taken by one of our Deacons to anyone who requests them.

If you are interested in serving the community in this way please contact us here.

Connecting Through UCC Online Devotionals

While we practice physically distancing ourselves from others for everyone’s health and safety, we invite you to explore different ways of connecting socially, emotionally, and spiritually, with one another and with God. One option is to start reading the Daily Devotional provided by the United Church of Christ. Every day, a clergy person or lay leader in the UCC connects a verse of Scripture with a short devotion. In these challenging times, keeping your spirit connected with Spirit will help center you, calm you, redirect you, comfort you, motivate you, restore you, and deepen your faith. You may even want to make a phone “visit” with a church friend to read the devotion together and talk about it!

https://www.ucc.org/daily_devotional

Letter to the UCC Community on Coronavirus

Dear Beloved Community of the UCC in Simi Valley,

We are in the wilderness, an unknown, unfamiliar experience with regards to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  Moment by moment we are learning new information. Please know, however, that you are our greatest concern, and we would like you to know that we are implementing health and safety precautions and measures to ensure the highest standards are in place in order to allow us to continue meeting, worshiping, and fellowshipping together.

As we continue to monitor and plan for the evolving situation with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact upon our church, we will continue to provide you updates.  We appreciate your continued effort to read these e-mails so that we can best support congregants and visitors. We ask that you please make the necessary phone calls to those who don’t have e-mail access, so that they may receive the information as well.  We also appreciate your staying in touch with us directly with your questions or concerns.

We are trying to anticipate COVID-19 scenarios so that we are prepared and your input is helpful.

The Department of Health recommends those who are most vulnerable to the virus, namely older people, e.g. over age 65, or those with diabetes, asthma, or immune system compromises, to stay home. There is currently no such directive from LA County or Ventura County for mandatory closures.  

Council Meetings

Council met on Saturday, March 14, to discuss alternatives and recommendations pertaining to various mandates concerning the COVID-19, and have determined that our Worship Gathering on Sunday, March 15, will be our last in-person Worship Gathering until further notice.  As of Monday, March 16, the church building will be closed with certain exceptions (namely, Rev. Stacy and Wendy, our Administrative Assistant). If you need access to the building, you must make pre-arrangements with Chris White, our Trustee (she can be reached at (805) 750-5781 (cell) or (805) 499-5110 (home).  

 We will continue to meet as needed in order to reassess our decisions, reevaluate our recommendations, and make new considerations based upon new information as released from the Department of Health. 

Communications 

We will continue to utilize e-mail for more routine updates. We may institute a phone-tree, to allow for people who do not use e-mail to stay informed.   It is therefore of the utmost importance that you check your e-mail inbox regularly, and read carefully messages sent from Rev. Stacy, Rebecca Lirette, Wendy Sengpiehl (administrator; admin@uccsimi.org), and UCC Simi Valley (via MailChimp).  

Upcoming Events

It is always a difficult, sometimes painful, decision to cancel an event or activity, especially when that event has been heavily advertised and is valuable for the spiritual, emotional, mental, and intellectual health and growth of our community.  However, as of last week, nearly every organization, including faith congregations, have cancelled, postponed, or rescheduled events which have been planned for the months of March through May.  

Church Service

  • Please be aware that a number of churches in the U.S. have enacted coronavirus-related closures.
  • Please be mindful of the travel parameters and quarantine recommendations delineated by the World Health Organization (https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/travel-advice).  Please notify us if you will be needing to quarantine yourself as a result of any traveling, by emailing Rev. Stacy.
  • We are especially concerned for our higher risk folks and ask that you create “physical  distancing” when possible.
  • We have been prayerfully considering the benefits of cancelling over the benefits of holding an event.  Please note that as of March 15, all in-person gatherings at the church building have been suspended until further notice. Such gatherings include worship, Beyonders, Women’s Gathering (second Saturday of the month), FFLUID, and Narcotics Anonymous.  Worship, FFLUID, Narcotics Anonymous, and all meetings (Council, Deacons, Mutual Ministry, Transition Team, and other meetings) will be conducted virtually.  Council is exploring various platforms to determine which one will best serve all the members of UCC-Simi. We will contact you as soon as we know how we will convene virtually, with all of the necessary details and information on joining us.  Again, we ask that you advise anyone who does not have access to the internet so that they will not be left isolated and alone.  

When any part of these plans change, we will notify you with as much advance notice as possible.   Remember, with this particular virus, changes can occur rapidly. Be on the alert for communication from us!  We don’t know what the coming days and weeks will bring.  

Other

Rather than practicing “social distancing,” it’s been suggested that we practice “physical distancing.”  In this way, we can remain socially, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually connected with one another, with our friends, and with our family members.  Phone calls, e-mails, text messages, and other communication forms will become even more vital in the days and weeks ahead. Stay connected! 

While it is important to be kept informed and updated, it can become overwhelming and terrifying.  If you are prone to excess worry, anxiety, or depression, take care of yourself and limit your news-watching and social media scrolling.  There is a lot of misinformation out there, and panic is widespread. Take time to breathe deeply, and to pray.  

I invite you to pray with me right now.  


Loving God, 
May your healing power flow
into a world consumed by fear
of sickness,
of powerlessness,
of pandemics,
of incompetence.
You hold all our times precious.  
Now we submit to you our 
seasons of despair and our seasons of hope 
for your safe-keeping and blessing.  
We ask your presence with us
and within us,
Now and forever.
Amen. *

Thank you for your support in helping our community navigate and plan for the novel coronavirus situation.

With grace and peace,
Rev. Stacy, Pastor
Rebecca Lirette, Moderator

PS:  Now, go wash your hands!  

*with thanks to Cameron Trimble and Walter Brueggemann