Week 69 July 4th, 2021

Dear CCLJ,I hope you are preparing for a wonderful holiday weekend. I am sending your worship email out early in case some of you will be on the road, traveling, or otherwise occupied. I hope you are taking time to reset, connect, and breathe!

This week’s video, I hope, helps us center July 4 on what is most important: justice. It is at the center of who we are and what we do. The link to this week’s video is here, but before you do, read through the rest of this email so you know about the two other clips I’d like you to watch as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-muGtT9r4M

There are 2 videos that I am asking you to watch as part of worship this week. In my YouTube video there will come a time when I ask you to pause the video and go watch these two short clips. The links will be in the video description on YouTube, but I will also put them here for your convenience.

The first is an interview from 60 minutes: (Trigger warning: genocide) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZHTtfTXjrA

The second is a short clip about Buffalo II, one of Robert Rauschenberg’s most famous pieces. There is no more American painting than this one, featuring a large portrait of John Kennedy and iconic images of 20th century culture I think it helps us center ourselves on the many and often complex meanings of this American life. : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmFZ4_y3_ME

The reopening survey is still open! If you haven’t had a chance, please do:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JPX6JCK

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JPX6JCK

I will be compiling this data this week and I want your voice to be heard!

Continue to stay well and healthy.

In the name of the justice we celebrate on July 4,

Rev. Tim

Week 70 July 11th, 2021

Dear Church,

Our worship emails this week–and next week–is going to be a bit different from the usual. The reason is because this week is General Synod 33 of the UCC! As part of my commitment to the Next Generation Leadership Initiative, I am required to attend General Synod and participate in conversations with my cohort colleagues from across the denomination. Typically, General Synod is held in a convention center in some city, however this year it is all online. A monumental undertaking, indeed. The UCC is spread across 6 different time zones from Hawaii to Maine. So, this week will certainly present our wider church with challenges. Your prayers are coveted.

If we were under typical circumstances, I would be away at this event today and all this coming week and you’d have a guest preacher. However, since we can still gather around this digital table together, I have put together resources to offer you a contemplative moment, share with you the results of our reopening survey, and also connect you to some of the events going on at General Synod 33. And I, get to take 2 weeks rest from the labor of video production! Yay!

This week you will find more music than a typical week would include. Last week you didn’t hear anything from Nina because she graciously let me hold off so that we could hear more from her during these next two weeks. She also has included more information about the music than usual. Enjoy this time of getting to soak into Nina and Bronwyn’s music. Because my email server is not allowing me to attach audio files, you will be receiving the musical component in a separate email.

I also love to take the opportunity to teach folks about the structure of the denomination of which we are a part. The General Synod of the United Church of Christ is our national decision-making body that meets every 2 years. It consists of elected representatives from each of our various conferences. The General Synod of the United Church of Christ is a historic body in that its decisions led the UCC to be the first denomination to endorse same sex marriage in 2004. In 2007, then Senator Barack Obama, was the keynote speaker at General Synod. Barack Obama was then a member of the United Church of Christ himself and was the first UCC president since Calvin Coolidge.

Also, I am going to begin sharing General Synod resources with you both this week and next. I hope you will take this chance to step out of our local church and to experience the diversity of the wider church. Here is a video where you can hear from the 3 main leaders of our denomination:

The UCC is not ashamed to be political in the name of the Gospel. Here is a brief testimony of one pastor who is walking from Chicago to DC to bring awareness to systemic violence:

Speaking of which, I co-hosted an event this week, on Saturday July 10, at the La Jolla Bike Path with Molly Bowman Styles that invited La Jolla community members to come together and write chalk-art messages on the path in support of voter access, community diversity, and the power of us. We set up a post-card writing station to Senators Feinstein and Padilla to encourage them to do everything they can to reform the Senate’s rules and to work with their colleagues to defend the sacred right to vote. It was a great event. I hope you enjoy some of the photos I’ve shared with you. San Diego City Council Member La Cava, his wife, and his staff attended as well!

As General Synod gets started, I will share more resources with you. And next week, I will invite you to watch the closing worship service of General Synod as our worship for July 18.

Lastly, I want to share with you the results of our reopening survey! The broad take away is that the majority of you (86%) will be ready to return to church this fall around the time of our Blessing of the Animals service. However, some of you won’t be ready (13%). That is ok. We will continue to do our best to reach out to you in new ways.

The rest of the data presents a more complicated picture. 48% of you prefer to come to church unmasked but 28% plan to wear a mask and 24% are still not sure. 60% of you are ok coming to worship if unmasked people are there but 20% of you aren’t comfortable with that, and 12% aren’t sure. 60% of you are ok being in church with unvaccinated people, but 24% are not ok with that and another 16% aren’t sure. 84% of you will come to church even if there is no social hour. 12% of you won’t and 4% aren’t sure.

Nina shared with me an illustrative example from a recent National Association of Teachers of Singing webinar she attended that featured a Boston based epidemiologist who said that he was going to the cultural and theater opportunities that he’s been craving in New York now because he is unsure where we will be pandemic wise in the fall. That said, where we are continues to look optimistic. Let’s all pray for a continuation of California’s health and progress.

Meanwhile, 43% of you are interested in some form of drive by communion station in the park this summer…. so, stay tuned. This result I understand, driving into La Jolla on a weekend evening is daunting… 🙂
Enjoy exploring General Synod 33. Here is the website for the event in case any of you are fellow church nerds who want to explore it:

General Synod Home Page

And most importantly, enjoy letting Nina and Bronwyn’s musical talent wash over you and fill your spirit this day and forevermore.

With grace,

Rev. Tim