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"The Weekly Window"

March 10, 2021

Claremont United Methodist Church

In This Issue:

  • A Word from Rev. Karen
  • A Contemporary Word
  • Adjourned Charge Conference
  • Lenten Dismantling Racism Study
  • Quick "March for Change" Check-In
  • "Life Goes On" in March
  • Musical Meditation from Katie
  • A Discipleship Group Update
  • Our Prayers
  • Daylight Saving Time Begins
  • CUMC's Website Links

A Word from Rev. Karen

Looking Forward to Firsts

Dear CUMC friends in faith,

As we continue in this season of Lent together, we are beginning to note one-year anniversaries in the Covid-19 pandemic. This week, I marked the one-year anniversary of the last time I was in the sanctuary with other congregations members: a glorious concert by Katie Ledsinger and Alfred Cramer on March 8, 2020. March 11, 2020, was the last time I met in person with the CUMC Bible study. The very next day, CUMC leaders and clergy determined that it was no longer safe to worship together in person. So, this Sunday marks the one-year anniversary of worship from our homes, and March 19 marks the one-year anniversary of the State of California's "Safer-at-Home" order.

As we mark the one-year anniversary of "last" times, I have begun to look forward to firsts.

The CUMC Reopening Task Force and Trustees have renewed their efforts to begin to prepare our facilities for safe re-opening. And our Conference has re-opened the applications to submit plans for approval for indoor worship. (And they caution us to be patient as we await approval as well as vaccinations of all staff who will be needed for in-person worship.)

The CUMC Worship team is providing amazing worship opportunities this Lent, and we are deep into our preparations for Holy Week and Easter. In addition to this, the team is reviewing all that is needed to transition to livestream worship. The date when this begins will be determined in part by the vaccination status of any in-person worship team as well as learning and practicing the livestream needs.

CUMC Trustees invested in livestream equipment that was installed in late December. And the budget that will be considered at our adjourned church conference on Tuesday, March 16, includes a new part-time position for a person who will create a complex template each week that blends live worship with visual media, like virtual choirs or videos from our ministry committees. The bulk of this person's work will be before Sundays. Then, on Sundays, this person will be "in the booth," coordinating live and pre-recorded worship and tending cameras and audio. This is an amazing step in the continued public outreach from this progressive congregation.

A value set early on in this pandemic year by CUMC leaders and clergy and staff was to leave no one behind. We made a commitment to continue to make worship accessible to all, which means streaming worship even once we all feel safer in the sanctuary.

Just as I have been encouraged and touched by the generosity of this congregation throughout this year, I have been a bit dismayed recently by a few concerns I have heard about the creation of this position. If you have concerns about the creation of this position, please reply to this email and Jessica will make sure I hear your concerns. Each of the concerns I heard could be categorized as coming from a perspective of scarcity. So, it is important to note that no committee's work and no staffer's work has been cut in any way to create this position.

I am grateful to one donor who early on offered to support some of the costs of the installation of the livestream equipment. If you share the value of continuing to provide access to worship and want to support the various expenses -- equipment, staffing, software -- contributions are welcome. Simply write "Livestream Technology" on your contribution. (Again, letting Jessica know is helpful to insure correct application of your contribution.)

The Finance Committee and the Worship Team have looked carefully at this expense and believe it is not only a justified expense, it is necessary to continue to serve our congregation with worship ministry and to reach beyond our congregation with an online, livestream presence. At our adjourned church conference on Tuesday, congregation members will have the opportunity to discuss and affirm this.

We do not yet know when it will be, but I look forward to our first in-person worship. I look forward to many other firsts, and our first livestream from the sanctuary is among them.

We can see so much hope on the horizon, yet we are all weary from the year we have been through. My hope and prayer is that we can continue our Lenten journey of healing and recovery and hope, so that we emerge strengthened and ready to engage in person in mission and ministry and worship together.

I covet your prayers, in particular, for the worship team as they plan for the transition from pre-recorded worship services to livestream.

And, I invite you to begin to celebrate each "first." I recently was brought to tears by the privilege of my first in-person pastoral care visit. There are other firsts. Some come with the season like first blossoms or bird nests being built. Others will come as we emerge from pandemic. Mark and celebrate each first as a gift.

I will end again with our prayer song from Lenten worship:

Vessels, holy and whole
Broken, needing the One
Open, body and soul
Healer, come.

In prayer and care,
Rev. Karen

A Contemporary Word

Each week in Lent, as a part of worship, we'll hear an "Ancient Word" on healing, coming from Scripture. We will also hear a "Contemporary Word," a quote from a more contemporary figure, on healing. You'll see one quote each week in the worship video and printed in the Sunday bulletin. And we will feature a different quote in the "Weekly Window." Below is this week's quote for this week's "Window":

Special Adjourned Charge Conference March 16

NEXT Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom

Our adjourned charge conference to consider the 2021 budget will be Tuesday, March 16 at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom. All are invited to attend virtually. We'll send out the Zoom link on Monday with the agenda and proposed budget.

A Lenten Dismantling Racism Study

Every Sunday through March 28, 2021 at 11:00 a.m.

Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman
Claremont UMC's Dismantling Racism Committee invites you to a six-week study during Lent of Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman. This one-hour Lenten Study via Zoom continues this Sunday, March 14 at 11:00 a.m.

Please buy this short, powerful book, available on Amazon, or your favorite book retailer. Let's read together; let's reflect on what this wise prophet is saying to the disinherited and to all of us today. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi learned from him. There is a powerful voice that comes through from the disinherited that we need to hear.

You will receive the Zoom link for this class in the Saturday "Where to Find Worship" email. Be sure to look for it when you receive that email! Thank you for NOT sharing the Zoom information on social media!

Blessings, CUMC's Dismantling Racism Committee

A Quick "March for Change" Check-In

sponsored by CUMC's Youth Group and Youth Chimes

Our first week is in the books! We’re excited to announce that we have forty participants who have joined as either sponsors, partners, or “Marchers”. Together we walked, ran, biked, or swam at least 180 miles last week (and that’s not counting everyone’s miles)! Thanks to all of you who have signed up, and who have been out doing your miles.

Remember, it’s not too late to join in! Even if you walk on just the last day of the month, you can still be part of our "March for Change." Click HERE to sign up.

The Youth Chimes and the Youth Group

"Life Goes On"

Wednesday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m.

Part of the human experience is facing all kinds of challenges, dealing with loss, and working our way through grief that at times can threaten to overwhelm us. In the last 12 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us with even more sadness. We need the comfort and support of our faith community. As in the past, Life Goes On responds to this need by offering support, comfort, and objective information in a safe and confidential setting.

Life Goes On will meet again via Zoom Wednesday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m., when we'll talk about "Healing Together." Each gathering begins with prayer and a short presentation, followed by small group discussion of whatever feels important to the participants. The Zoom link will be emailed a couple of days before March 24. All are welcome.

Life Goes On will continue on the fourth Wednesday of the month through the spring. You may drop in as your schedule allows. If you have questions, please contact Paula Hui. If you need Paula's contact info, email the CUMC office at

A Musical Meditation from Katie

This week's musical meditation is the Lenten hymn, "What Wondrous Love Is This" (The United Methodist Hymnal No. 292).  
Click HERE and enjoy!

~ Katie Franklin Ledsinger

A CUMC Discipleship Group Update

Our Discipleship group, led by Bob Dalton, started meeting in the summer of 2019, long before the Covid-19 Pandemic forced us and all church activities into Zoom meetings. We have continued meeting biweekly throughout the pandemic to share each other’s concerns and prayers for others during these pandemic times. We have all struggled with the question: how can I involve myself in meaningful service during these dark times? 

Recently Bob suggested we all read together and discuss A Path Appears by Nicholas D. Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn, and possibly think about our group picking a charitable cause for our Discipleship Class. In this book, the authors discuss charitable giving throughout the world, and how a modest charity, with just a little money, can make a huge impact on poverty, illiteracy, and illness. We also discussed how learning about the people benefitting from our charity gives us a connectedness we do not always experience by just writing checks here and there to different charities. The need is so great. Where do we begin? Where do we stop?

Our group did not see this examination of charitable giving as a competition with our stewardship to the church. The charities we considered were charities we would support in addition to our church tithe and causes sponsored by our church. Many of us have our mailboxes filled each week with a myriad of charitable requests. Given the severe need in our world and the widening gap between the haves and have nots, many of us feel compelled to find additional ways to make our world better. While one can start an examination of the worthiness of these charities by consulting Charity Navigator, we learned that this rating does not in and of itself reflect the worthiness of the charity. We learned that a more important measure of a charity was the effectiveness with which it accomplished its goals of serving people.

This has been a thought provoking and inspiring journey for us. We will continue to discuss this issue in the weeks ahead, and members of our class will bring you a short message in the "Weekly Window" about how looking at charitable giving in a new way has meant to us.

~ Martha Bellinger

We Are Praying For...

If you have someone you would like Claremont UMC to keep in prayer, and list on our prayer list, please email Jessica, Please indicate whether they are to be listed on the public prayer list, or kept private.

Please pray for these dear ones on our prayer list, HERE.

Daylight Saving Time Begins... 

...on Sunday, March 14 at 2:00 a.m. Before you go to bed THIS Saturday night, make sure you set your clocks AHEAD one hour. Happy Spring Ahead!

Claremont UMC Website

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