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"The Weekly Window"

January 13, 2021

Claremont United Methodist Church

In This Issue:

  • A Word from Rev. Karen
  • Les Brewer Memorial Service
  • Conversations with John Cobb
  • Valentines for Teachers
  • Stewardship Update
  • Keeping Safe at a Distance

  • Our Prayers
  • Musical Meditation from Katie
  • Year-End Statements and 2021 Offering Envelopes
  • Adjourned Charge Conference
  • CUMC's Website Links

A Word from Rev. Karen

A season of psalm and prayer

Dearest CUMC faith community,

My prayers are with each one of you and your families and our communities and our country in the days ahead. Thank you all for your prayerful presence in your homes and in the world.

My prayers are for peace and they carry both lament and hope. I find in times like these, the poetry of the psalms, prayer from our sacred texts, brings salve and centering. Some are gentle, some are challenging, some are lament, some are filled with visions of a better future. In all things, they sing to the presence of the Divine, enfolding us, holding us.

For the next five weeks, our worship together will focus on psalm and prayer.
Our worship series is called "God Is Holding Your Life."

Our worship team is working to create a worship season between now and Lent that will allow us to simplify and slow down for a time. We will lean on prayer and reflection. We are using resources created by Worship Design Studio and videos of our own creation. (This also allows the team time to focus on planning for Lent, which begins Feb. 17 on Ash Wednesday.)

The focus psalm each week will continue to be proclaimed by members of the Order of Saint Luke from A Lukan Psalter. And, our children's moment will continue to be a simple explanation of the psalm followed by a song and images to capture the essence of the psalm. As I have shared before, these are three very different ways of engaging the psalm text. The psalms are are a great source of comfort and strength in trying times. My hope and prayer is that we offer ways for children and youth to engage these powerful prayers and come to treasure them.

Our proclamation and prayer, led by me and Rev. Martha, will continue to address the times we are in -- the violent challenges to our democracy, the deadly pandemic, the racism that continues to be more blatantly revealed, and the economic hardship that so many face. And we will continue to seek hope where we can name it. This week, I find hope that some among us have begun to receive vaccinations.

As part of prayer and worship, I invite you to find a bowl or box or other container in your home where you can write the prayers that come to mind during the week or in the midst of worship and place them in this container to symbolize that you are releasing them into God's hands, into God's care.

Katie Ledsinger has focused much of her music on reflections from other psalms. And Jared Pugh has selected solos and virtual choir pieces to fit the themes.

For five weeks, we will focus on psalm and prayer in the midst of whatever transpires, grounding us, centering us, and preparing us to begin our Lenten journey.

I have often thanked you for all of your words of appreciation to all the worship team, and I want to repeat those heartfelt thanks. Your words inspire us to keep going as we approach the one-year anniversary of virtual worship. 

Please know that your worship team is doing the very best we can. Each video element of worship takes at least three times the amount of time to create as that element would take in live worship. We let go of perfection months ago! 

I recognize that for many of us, your worship team members included, this is not the same as worshipping together. Different ones of you, of us, miss and lament the absence of some experiences. I invite us in these fives weeks to let go of critique. May we each simply receive with blessing whatever elements of worship speak to us as we also hold the hope and prayer that the elements that do not speak to us are reaching others who need them. This is how we continue to worship as the Body of Christ, even at a distance.

What follows is a video that includes a minute of reflection followed by the first verse of "God Is Holding Your Life." We will share the full song in worship this Sunday.

Until then, treasure the ways you feel held by one another and by Divine Love.

In prayer and care,
Rev. Karen

Leslie "Les" Brewer Memorial Service

Saturday, January 23, 2021, 11:00 a.m. via Zoom

Services for Les Brewer will be held via Zoom on Saturday January 23 at 11 a.m. Please continue to hold JoAnn Brewer, Melanie Little, and all of Leslie's family and friends in prayer.

Rev. Karen and Rev. Martha are working with Les' family to make this a sacred and meaningful time of celebrating his life. The Zoom link will be shared by email as we get closer to the date. It will include a link to a worship order.

To allow for as many households as possible to attend, please limit attendance to one shared screen per household.

Virtual Conversations with John Cobb

Sundays through February 14, 2021

What a delight to start the New Year with amazing food for thought and faith.

Following worship, Dr. Cobb will be with us for conversation about his most recent book, Salvation, facilitated by Rev. Ron Hines, board member of the Cobb Institute.

You may find details about the book at You may order it from your favorite book dealer or Amazon.

The Zoom link for the class will be included in the Saturday "Where to Find Worship" email. Thank you for not sharing the Zoom link on social media.

Valentines for Teachers

In the coming weeks, the Education Commission will plan for Valentines for the Teachers at Mountain View School, a Title One, Category 9 school right here in our neighborhood. Title One means that a majority of Mountain View’s students come from low-income families, who are often unable to help provide basic classroom supplies. The teachers of Mountain View School often purchase classroom supplies out of their personal budgets.
This year, because of the ongoing pandemic and the stay-at-home order, we have decided to purchase gift cards for the teachers to use for the purchase of supplies for their classrooms. The Education Commission will purchase the gift cards through our preschool, offering the added benefit of supporting the ministry of our own preschool, as well. 
Please send your checks for the Valentine gifts to the church before February 12. The checks should be made payable to Claremont United Methodist Church or CUMC, with "Valentines for the Teachers" on the memo line. We hope to deliver the gift cards to the school on or around Valentine’s Day, February 14.  
This project is our way of expressing God’s love and care for the children and teachers of Mountain View School. Students, teachers, and administrators are always excited to see us coming with our load of gifts that are so helpful to the school. This year our delivery will be physically smaller in the form of gift cards, but our heartfelt care and support for the school community will be just a big as in the past. Your generous giving through the Apples for the Teachers and Valentines for the Teachers has allowed us to give many meaningful gifts to every classroom at Mt. View and other schools over many years. Thank you so much for your generosity!
Please remember to send your checks for Valentines for the Teachers to the church as soon as possible. Many thanks for your gracious giving to our neighboring school.
~ The Education Commission

A Stewardship Update

The Stewardship Committee would like to extend a big thank you to all who have pledged generously for this year. We have almost met our goal of matching the pledged amount for 2021 with the amount from 2020 so we are able to maintain a flat budget for this year. Currently we are $32,610 short of making that happen. We will be following up with the 15% of those of you we have not yet heard from. We are very hopeful that we will be able to meet our goal in the next month. Again, we continue to be thankful for our generous congregation so we are able to maintain our current level of ministry and outreach. 

With Gratitude,
The Stewardship Committee

Keeping Safe at A Distance

An Important Message from our District Superintendent

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the East District,

As we move into the New Year, there have been new questions about restrictions for worship gatherings following the Supreme Court's decision on November 25th. In that decision the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against the Government of New York setting regulations for worship gatherings that were more strict than regulations for retailers, offices and factories. The ruling was based on the Courts understanding of the First Amendment’s guarantee of Religious Liberty. On December 3, the Court also vacated the same restrictive guidelines in California.

While these rulings address a matter of constitutional law lifting governmental ability to restrict religious worship, it does not change the California-Pacific Conferences dedication to participate in our local efforts to eradicate the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting scientific and health care experts recommended guidelines to curb this deadly contagion.

To that end we continue to freely worship as the Body of Christ, but for the United Methodist Churches of the California-Pacific Conference, we will continue to do so only virtually and in approved outdoor settings.  We pray for patience and endurance so that the vaccines which are now being deployed can bring us to the place we can joyfully embrace in our Sanctuaries.  When that day comes, we will all gather together and lift our voices in thankful praise for the health of our families of faith.

Rev. Melissa Roux Mackinnon
East District Superintendent 

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.

A Musical Meditation from Katie

This week is the spiritual "Jacob's Ladder", which to me has resonances with the Civil War, and MLK Day, and the troubled times in which we find ourselves. Click HERE and enjoy!

~Katie Franklin Ledsinger

Year-End Giving Statements and 2021 Offering Envelopes

A quick note to let you all know that year-end giving statements will be going out in the next week or two. Also, for those who are patiently waiting for them, 2021 Offering Envelopes will be coming soon. We appreciate your patience with the delays due to the pandemic and mail service.

Special Adjourned Charge Conference

To be rescheduled for early February

Our adjourned charge conference to consider the 2021 budget will be rescheduled for early February to give Finance and Trustee committees more time to prepare and present a 2021 General Fund budget. We will share the new date as soon as it is confirmed. This also provides each administrative committee to meet in January to consider budget needs.

Claremont UMC Website

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