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Connections: April 3, 2024

A Glorious Easter at CCSM!

Happy Easter, Church!

Christ is Risen! Alleluia! However you joined us- in person or online, in the garden or the sanctuary, in your Easter best or pjs, THANK YOU, for making our celebrations so special. I hope you will also join me in thanking our staff, musicians, ushers, greeters, liturgical arts ministry team, communion preparers and servers, coffee hour hosts and everyone who worked so hard to make our Holy Week and Easter so meaningful. The joy and energy were both life giving and contagious on Sunday morning- speaking to the power of this story. Love WINS. Death does not have the final word.

Resurrection isn't just a gift to be enjoyed, it is something to be shared. As an Easter people we are called to carry on this story by loving one another, caring for another, and being peace makers and life givers and justice seekers so that all of God's children may live free and safe from persecution. The Hope we embrace alongside Mary and Peter at the sight of the empty tomb promises that things can be different, and this hope invites us to be part of the change. So I ask, how is God is calling you to be part of the Easter story?

This Sunday we will continue our Easter celebrations as we wrap up our time wandering beside Peter. We'll look at the story from John 21:1-19 where the risen Christ offers Peter the command, "Feed my Sheep."

Keep reading for more information about our churchwide discernment that begins THIS SUNDAY and update from our Board of Directors Moderator, Don Ruthroff.

Church, hear the Good News again- Christ is Risen! May you experience the joy of new life and transformation in the season ahead.

With gratitude and hope,



Did you snap a photo or two on Easter Sunday at CCSM? Please send your photos of that special day — or any other CCSM photos — to Zoe (zmullery@ccsm-ucc.org) for the Pine Tree and to be used on our website or social media, and for our CCSM archives.

If you’re ever at a CCSM event, we always appreciate it when someone remembers to document it. Please send the highest resolution version you have. Thank you!

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Weekly Update

Our churchwide discernment begins THIS SUNDAY. These sessions aren't a workshop or a planning meeting, but an extension of worship. We will share in communion in the form of lunch around tables, and our conversation will be a collective prayer where we listen for who God is calling us to be- and we need YOU to do that. Each person will have the opportunity to express their emotions, thoughts and views, listen to others, and be guided through the process of reflection and sharing by our table facilitators.

This week's session: God's Call.

Our journey is the living account of our response to God's call to be a multicultural church that presents the life-giving and transforming Gospel of Jesus in a progressive, relevant and active way to all people without exception in San Mateo County. It is a human story of many people with many experiences that deserve to be revisited, analyzed.

In this session, participants will have the opportunity to:

  • To know in detail the history of CCSM's multicultural work.
  • Share your experiences, thoughts and positions on CCSM's Latino Ministry;
  • Name what they see as lessons to be learned and successes to be celebrated.

This will be a powerful spiritual practice for our community and something you won't want to miss. For a more in-depth overview of each session, click the button below.

In-Depth Overview

Starting this coming Sunday!

April 7, 14, 28 and May 5

 Kloss Hall

12pm-1:30pm, Lunch Provided

While an RSVP is not required,

we invite you to RSVP at the link below to help us with meal planning.


Childcare will be available.

Please RSVP at the link below to help us properly staff each session.


If you haven't already, please take this short survey that will help provide a picture of where we are as a congregation as we begin the process of discernment.


If you are unable to join us in person, we will have a Zoom option available, including a breakout room discussion group.

Please email Rev. Jessica Vacketta by Sunday at 10am for the link.

If you have any questions about the process, please do not hesitate to contact me, Rev. Álvaro, or Julien Phillips, our Latino Ministry team lead.



CLICK HERE for Rev. Jessica's Easter sermon, 


From Your Moderator

Board of Directors Update

Your Board of Directors continues to chart the direction for ministry here at CCSM. At our March 19th meeting we approved some additional fine tuning to the Governance Manual; we received a report from the Environmental Justice Ministry on potentially participating in a Solar Ambassador Program (more detail to follow) and we finalized our Board of Directors Priorities for 2024 and those priorities are as follows: 

  • Secure the legacy of the Latino/Multi-Cultural Ministry at CCSM with sustainable lay and clergy leadership and resources.
  • Supporting the CYF Ministry in reimagining the CYF Program with innovative approaches to engagement that include not only our youth but entire families. 
  • Create a sustainable staffing plan for CCSM that will successfully weather economic storms. 
  • Enhance our spirit of generosity within the CCSM community, inspiring us to share our time, talents, and financial resources as an expression of gratitude for all that we receive, and develop a plan, through education and conversation, that outlines what is necessary to secure CCSM's future for the next century.
  • Grow the reach of our ministries and service beyond the confines of Sunday morning and the physical walls of our campus to the community around us. 

These five priorities will frame our discussions throughout the coming year, not to the exclusion of other issues, but to keep in mind what we believe to be most important to CCSM this year. 

We hope that if you are interested in what the BOD is doing, that you will plan to join us at one of our regular meetings on the third Tuesday evening of the month (except for June), either in-person or via Zoom, we’d love to see you. 

With you in Christ’s Service, 

Don Ruthroff, Moderator 

WORSHIP WITH US, Wednesdays at 7:15pm

Everyone is welcome at CCSM's weekly bilingual worship service on Wednesdays at 7:15 pm in Kloss Hall. Please join us for an inspiring sermon, music, communion, and a potluck meal.

We are excited to have Rosa Los Santos as our liturgical musician on Wednesday nights! Rosa came to Oakland in 2001 from her birthplace in Lima, Peru and has been singing Latin and especially Afro-Peruvian music professionally for several years.  We also have a children's program that coincides with worship.

Come prepared to experience the Holy Spirit in loving community!


Join our Connect and Celebrate Ministry!

Our Connect & Celebrate ministry encourages social connections and community building so we can get to know one another better. They help plan gatherings like our all church picnic and pick-a-parties. The ministry team meets the first Thursday of every month at 2 p.m. in the Fireplace Room (Thursday, April 4 is our next meeting). All are welcome to attend, especially if you have an idea for an event, activity or celebration. You don't have to lead the effort (although we'll encourage you to help out.) 

Contact Sandy McNabb to learn more and get connected!


1:00 - 3:00PM in Kloss Hall. This month features pianist Jon Lee, a prizewinner of several competitions who has appeared in festivals in cities across the U.S. and Europe. Join us every 2nd Monday of the month at CCSM. All are welcome! 


Sunday, April 7 - Family playdate after church! Meet at noon at the King Community Center for a bilingual kids' concert featuring the group 123Andrés. Please bring a lunch to eat in the car or before you leave church. 

Monday, April 15 - CCSM Scholarship Deadline for anyone attending university next year.

Sunday, April 21- CCSM Earth Sunday! Youth will lead some special eco-justice activities for kids during the service time. After church, are invited to join Rev. Sheryl after church for lunch and to start working on leadership for Youth Sunday (May 5)! 

Email Sheryl to Learn More


Are you or do you know any children or youth who are passionate about the environment and enjoy making art? The National UCC is holding its 2nd "Vote for Climate Hope" art contest. Kids on Sundays and Wednesdays will be participating as part of our CCSM programming, but kids/youth are also welcome to participate on their own.

Please click here for more information, or speak to Rev. Sheryl. The deadline is April 16!


Both groups meet in the Hillsdale Mall food court.

Join whenever you can for a time of connecting.

MEN’S GROUP: Tuesdays from 10:00 to 11:30 am.

Contact Peter Held for more info, paheld1417@gmail.com

WOMEN’S GROUP: Thursdays from 10:15 to 11:30 am.

Contact Carole Melis, clmcomm1@gmail.com, or

Linda Skromme, linda.skromme@gmail.com.

MUSIC AND ART, Friday, April 19, Noon, Buckham Room

We’ll gather for our annual luncheon meeting. This tasty event is a potluck, so please bring a salad, main dish, sandwiches or a dessert. Beverages will be provided. There will be a very brief business meeting and then lots of fun conversations. We need to know how many tables to set up, so please RSVP promptly to donaldgharper@yahoo.com or 650-553-1800. Please indicate what dish you will bring. Looking forward to seeing you!


Saturday, April 20, 10am - 2pm at CCSM

CCSM’S Environmental Justice Ministry is hosting an Interfaith Earth Weekend event both in person and on Zoom. The Zoom call will be hosted by UCC National Environmental Ministry and will feature climate activist, Bill McKibben giving the Jim Antal lecture, followed by Q&A and a panel discussion with the co-founders of the International Monitor Formosa Alliance, a non-profit organization based in the U.S. whose mission is to seek financial compensation for victims of toxic spills.

A vegetarian lunch will be served at CCSM, followed by small group discussions on the climate actions church communities can and are already taking to address creation care.

There is no cost to participate, but we do ask everyone to register so we have enough lunches for all participants.


Support local green businesses and request that your favorite stores stock green products.

IT’S SCHOLARSHIP TIME! April 15 deadline!

CCSM Scholarships

Thanks to the generosity of CCSM members, the Scholarship Committee is pleased to support students of CCSM families with undergraduate and graduate scholarships for 2024-25.

Information and application packets are available at tinyurl.com/2024-Schol-HS and tinyurl.com/2024-Bullis-Undergrad-Grad and are due April 15.

Contact Warren Long or Sheryl Johnson if you have any questions.

CCSM Council of Ministries

Email COM@CCSM-UCC.org to connect to any ministry!

Kay Harris, Council of Ministries Lead

Jim Schwandt, Building and Grounds

Kim Rey, Troy Grabow, Children, Youth and Families

Melodie Lew, Congregational Care

Sandy McNabb, Connect and Celebrate                       

Gary H. White, Environmental Justice

Alison Schwandt, Engagement/Communications 

Julien Phillips, Latino/a Ministry       

Pam Ridlehuber, Liturgical Arts

Sue Bell, Katie Bylander, Music        

Genel Morgan. Sharon Tobin, Service and Justice

Dave Olsen, Spiritual Life/Adult Ed.

Ivan Raikov, Stewardship

Email Kay Harris to get connected to a Ministry Lead anytime!

CCSM Committee Chairs

Chris Yeh, Endowment

Martha Bronitsky, Finance

Frank Garritano, Leadership and Governance

Chris Wuthmann, Pastoral Relations

Dave Goulden, Personnel

Phil Lind, Historian

Click HERE for CCSM's Governance Manual, and HERE for CCSM's Bylaws


Weekly on Wednesdays  • 9:30-10:00am on Zoom

In light of the recent events in Gaza, Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territories, we are invited to join Churches for Middle East Peace, an ecumenical partner of the United Church of Christ's Global Ministries, to join others across the world in praying weekly for peace. Registration is free, but required to receive the Zoom Link. 


Make a Gift

You can also make a financial gift to help with humanitarian aid for people in Gaza, Palestine, and Israel through the United Church of Christ’s Wider Church Ministries HERE.

Call for a Ceasefire

 Send a pre-written message to your elected officials through UCC’s “Just Peace Church” program HERE calling for a ceasefire and encouraging Congress to take immediate action for de-escalation in Israel and Gaza, and support steps towards a lasting peace.



The "Blessing Box" outside of the entrance of CCSM is a project of the Ministry of Service and Justice, responding to the need for families in our neighborhood to access food and an expression of our call to be the "hands, feet, and face of God" in our community.

  • The container will be in the narthex to collect the following food items:
  • canned, dried and boxed
  • no fresh food please
  • donations must be full UNOPENED containers
  • no fruits, vegetables, or bread

  • We also collect individually wrapped plasticware!

Thank you for your continuing generosity!

Regular CCSM office hours:

9:00am - 4:00pm

Monday - Thursday

Scan this QR code or go to ccsm-ucc.org/give

to make a donation or pledge to CCSM.

Don't forget to ask your employer if they have a charitable donation matching program to make your pledge go farther.

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225 Tilton Ave. • San Mateo, CA • 94401