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Connections: March 27, 2024

Greetings, Church!

Here we are, Holy Week. It's a journey through what we can only imagine is one of the most difficult week's of Jesus' life, followed by the most joyous day in the Christian Year.

On Sunday I challenged us to not skip from the celebrations of Palm Sunday to the celebrations of Easter, but to walk through this week. I invited us to do one thing: attend one Holy Week worship service, dust off those Lenten cards and take two minutes each day to read them, or maybe just spend a little time in silence each day. Whatever it is, do one thing.

In this email you will find several ways to observe this week in community, starting tonight at our Wednesday evening service where we will experience Holy Week through the eyes of Peter with interactive prayer stations. On Thursday members of our choir will help lead Maundy Thursday worship at the Congregational Church of the Peninsula, and on Friday we will join with several local churches to host an ecumenical service at CCSM and we will also have a beautiful Semana Santa Alfombra displayed in Kloss Hall that members of our Latino Ministry have been creating this week. Alfombras are colorful sawdust "carpets" used as street decorations, most typically during religious processions and ceremonies. We will end the week observing the Holy Saturday Easter Vigil at College Heights UCC.

I hope you will join us as you are able as we wander through these final days leading up to Easter. May God be near us in the days ahead.

With gratitude and hope,


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Holy Week & Easter Information


Wednesday, March 27, 7:15pm, Kloss Hall

A special Holy Week Service walking through the "Stations of Peter" featuring the music of Rosa Los Santos and ending with a potluck meal.


Thursday, March 28, 7:15pm, Congregational Church of the Peninsula

A Tenebrae service featuring music from Jesus Christ Superstar led by a combined choir with communion served by local pastors.

Good Friday Livestream Link


Friday, March 29, 7:00pm, CCSM Sanctuary & Online

The "7 Last Words of Jesus" experienced through song and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail," which was written on Good Friday in 1963. Music will be led by strings and a multi-church choir, and we'll share in a time of lighting candles for peace. This service will be livestreamed.


Saturday, March 30, 7:00pm, College Heights UCC

An imaginative recreation of the first Great Vigil, held by Mary Magdalene, alone at the tomb. We will prepare for the Vigil by hearing Mary’s story, sharing in an anointing and celebrating communion. The conclusion will be a Taize-like experience of spending the night waiting at the tomb, not knowing what is going to happen on Easter morning but still feeling pulled to be there, to hold the energy.


6:30am, Memorial Garden

Join us in the Memorial Garden for a relaxed, acoustic, celebration. We'll gather in the garden like the women did on that first Easter morning to hear the story anew and share in communion.


10:30AM, Sanctuary

Centered on the message, "And I Hope," our traditional service will feature brass fanfare, bells, choir, and communion.



Join Rev. Sheryl and the CYF Ministry for this traditional Easter Egg Hunt on the front lawn right after worship.


1pm, Sanctuary

Rev. Álvaro Durán and Peruvian guitarist, Rosa Los Santos, will lead this bilingual Easter service in the sanctuary. Lunch will follow in Kloss Hall.

Weekly Update

Discernment is a spiritual journey in which we prayerfully make a decision as a community. Spiritual discernment is the practice of checking in with ourselves and with the Divine about the choices we face. As we practice discernment, we are practicing a partnership with God.

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.

For a more in-depth overview of each session, click the button below.

In-Depth Overview

Save the Dates

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 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 sermon, 



We are excited to introduce 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.  Please join us soon to extend a warm CCSM welcome to Rosa!

All are welcome to CCSM's weekly bilingual worship service on Wednesdays at 7:15 pm in Kloss Hall followed by a potluck meal.

We also have a children's program that coincides with worship. Come prepared to experience the Holy Spirit in loving community!


Join Liturgical Arts Ministry on Saturday, March 30 at 10:00 to decorate the sanctuary for Easter Service 

If you have garden flowers to donate, please bring them to CCSM on Thursday or Friday mornings or Saturday March 30 at 10:00AM. Flowers are needed for bouquets and also for decorating the wire cross on Sunday morning before worship begins. Calla lilies especially welcome. If you have flowers but need them picked up, please call or email Pam Ridlehuber


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!


Wednesday, March 27 - Monthly CCSM Youth social event on Wednesday night! This month we will go to see a movie at the theater in downtown San Mateo.

EASTER Sunday with CCSM Kids

Easter Sunday will be a special day for our kids! Kids will begin in the service and then go to the Memorial Garden for a special time of learning about the Easter Story and its connections to renewal and new life in the natural world.

  • We'll celebrate new life with a very special craft to take home
  • Decorate cookies
  • Play special games, and more.

After the service, there will be an Easter Egg hunt on the front lawn!

(Please bring your own basket if you can. We will have bags for those who need)

Thank you to our youth for hiding the eggs once again this year (and for assisting with the kids' activities). This will be a great morning to invite family and friends! Please let Sheryl know if you have any questions (see email link below)

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. 

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!


Beginning Monday, April 1

Mondays, 7:15-8:45pm vis Zoom

Topic: Listening for God, Vol. II

Are you looking to connect with others for deeper conversation exploring faith and spirituality?

We encourage you to check out our Monday evening spiritual conversations affinity group. This spring they will explore a collection of short stories by contemporary authors, including Anne Tyler, John Updike, and Tobias Wolff. The writers represent different spiritual perspectives and explore life’s ambiguities and complexities. Listening for God will help readers discover how life and faith often merge in surprising ways. Perhaps best of all, the stories are written with humor, beauty, and grace.

Contact Chris Wuthmann for more information and the Zoom link. Our goal is to grow spiritually while enjoying the process.


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.



Divest fossil fuel company stocks from your portfolio.


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