— View this email as webpage —

Connections: February 21, 2024

Greetings, Church--

I would once again like to say THANK YOU for the hospitality you extended to my family when they visited this Sunday. They love San Mateo- and CCSM! (Especially all the delicious treats at Happy Coffee Hour!) Since the kids didn’t have school on Monday, we’d been planning this visit for a few weeks. While we had hoped to explore some of the trails around the area or head to Half Moon Bay, we had to pivot because of the forecasted storms. Several of you recommended visiting CuriOdyssey at Coyote Point and the kids were VERY excited to check it out.

We headed out earlier than I would have on Monday morning (I reminded my sister they didn’t open until 10am, and she reminded me we were trying to get three kids, including a toddler, out the door), and headed out for what we knew would be an exciting day. We arrived before they opened, and cars were already in the parking lot. I was thankful my sister had us leave a little early. As the kids ran to the entrance, we quickly realized something was off…. They were closed for the day due to the weather. Closed? The park was open, we paid our fee to get in, we double checked the website, nothing indicated that they were closed. As you can imagine, we were all extremely disappointed. The kids launched into a series of questions around why it was closed and what we would do, while the adults quickly developed a new plan- let’s explore! The weather didn’t seem too bad at that point, the park was obviously still open, and we were already there. 

We found a trail and began to wander. The higher we climbed, the stronger the wind gusts became- a couple almost knocked my nephew over! We began to debate if we should keep going. One of the girls was leading the way, the other was scared and wanted to turn around, and through it all my sister was doing her best to keep my nephew on the trail. As stress levels intensified, it started to rain, and when we stopped and considered turning back, we saw it. A beautiful rainbow over the bay.

Rainbows have always been a reminder of God’s presence and God’s promise. God’s covenant to God’s people. Beyond just the story of Noah’s Ark, I see them as a sign of hope and assurance that God is with us, even in the storms of life, God is there and welcoming all that we are and all that we carry with open arms. The vibrant colors of the rainbow reflect the beauty and diversity of God’s creation, which is why it was also used by Gilbert Baker in 1978 to create a new symbol for the LGBTQIA+ community.

When I hear the word “wandering” I often think of the desert. But wandering happens in the storms of life, along trails and city streets, in the grocery store and hospitals and even crowded churches. Wherever and however, we wander, God is with us.

Fellow pilgrims, in both your ups and your downs, remember that you are you are God’s beloved, and you don’t wander alone. May you look for God in every face, remembering that they are God’s beloved too. 

With gratitude, hope, and love,



CCSM Website

United Church of Christ



Wander with us this Lent

Spiritual Practices for the Season

Weekly Devotionals

This weekly devotional, created by Sanctified Art, follows the scriptures of the Wandering Heart series through the Second Sunday of Easter. Each week offers: a commentary on that week’s scripture, poetry, visual art, written reflections, hymns, and reflection prompts. Devotionals are available in the Narthex.

Our friends at A Sanctified Art have also provided a special e-reader version of this year’s Lenten devotional, which you can access on your computer and mobile devices: 


In order to protect their work, please refrain from sharing this link or posting it on social media.

Daily Devotional Cards

This collection of 62 daily devotional cards helps you mark each day from Ash Wednesday through the second week of Easter. The deck includes a weekly centering practice, along with a daily question for reflection, and a short prayer. You might place the stack of devotional cards by your bed to read and reflect on first thing in the morning or right before you sleep at night.

Cards are available in the Narthex.

Prayers by Rev. Sarah A. Speed | A Sanctified Art LLC | sanctifiedart.org

Lenten Reflection Groups

Join Rev. Jessica for a weekly discussion on the upcoming Sunday’s scriptures and theme, Wednesdays from noon to 1:00pm and 6:00-7:00pm. The group at noon will meet over lunch, and the 6pm group will meet prior to our Wednesday worship service. You can switch between groups, join one week, or bounce in and out—whatever works for your schedule!

The weekly devotional and prayer cards will be your guide, so please bring a copy or one will be provided.

Wednesdays, 12 noon-1:00 pm and 6:00-7:00 pm

February 21 - March 27    



CLICK HERE for Rev. Jessica's sermon, “JESUS SOUGHT ME"


CCSM is launching a new pastoral initiative, “Church Friends,” to work with our clergy to provide another level of care for our faith community, supporting individuals during life's bumps and transitions. A “Church Friend” will be matched with someone who has reached out for additional support, and check in periodically for perhaps six months, depending on the situation. Interested? Join us for “Second Hour,” 12pm this Sunday, Feb. 25, in the Buckham Room to learn more.  

—Carol Henton and Melodie Lew, Congregational Care Ministry


Join us whenever you can for a time of connecting in meaningful and fun ways, Thursday mornings at 10:15 am at Hillsdale Mall, upstairs at the north end of the food court. We hope to get to know each other better and to share experiences and resources that can uplift us all. Questions? Contact Carole Melis, clmcomm1@gmail.com, or Linda Skromme, linda.skromme@gmail.com.


The Men’s Coffee Group meets at Johnny’s First Toast in San Mateo on Tuesdays from 10:00 to 11:30 am.

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


Angela has written a special piece for choir and bells, and we’ll have a celebration of Lynnelle’s service at coffee hour. We hope you can join us!


CCSM Scholarships

Thanks to the generosity of CCSM members, the Scholarship Committee is pleased to support students of CCSM families (Wednesday and/or Sunday) 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. Please contact Warren Long, longlake15@sbcglobal.net or Sheryl Johnson, sjohnson@ccsm-ucc.org if you have any questions.

UCC Undergrad Scholarships

Thanks to Julien Phillips of CCSM, we’ve learned that there are scholarships of $1000 to $10,000 for rising sophomore, junior or senior undergraduate students from our national UCC denomination. Applications are due March 1, and they require references (minister and academic adviser). Apply now!

Requirements are membership in a UCC church, active participation and contribution to the church and answering questions in the application and a commitment to be active in a UCC church for at least five subsequent years. For info, see the link on the ucc.org site: app.smarterselect.com/programs/93776-United-Church-Of-Christ. Contact Sheryl Johnson, sjohnson@ccsm-ucc.org or Warren Long, longlake15@sbcglobal.net for help.  

New Coffee Hour Coordinator Needed

CCSM’s Coffee Hour is an important component of CCSM's community, ensuring that people have a place to connect and talk.

Tasks include:

  • Monitoring the sign-up list, then confirming with that Sunday's volunteer;
  • Being available as helper on Sunday mornings (when necessary with a new volunteer) or asking someone else to be (Robert Leung and Melodie Lew are often available and enjoy doing this);
  • Occasionally sending out an email with the signup link to ask folks to fill empty slots.

Please contact either Lin Fenn or Melodie Lew. Thank you!

Youth and Family News

Sunday, February 25 - CCSM Family "Playdate" - Sandwich Making

CCSM Kids (and parents/caregivers!) are invited to help make sandwiches for our unhoused neighbors in San Francisco after church at 11:45am in the CCSM Kitchen. Please bring a snack (or have a good snack at coffee hour!) first. We can order pizza afterward for anyone free to stay (we should be done with the project by about 12:45pm).

Sunday, March 3 - Day-long service/learning youth retreat in San Francisco!

We will spend the day learning, worshipping, and serving in San Francisco with our friends from Danville UCC. We will join the dynamic and multicultural Glide Memorial Church in worship at 9am to help to serve lunch with their meal program and then have time learning with the San Francisco Night Ministry. We will be done by 3pm and will catch the BART back to Millbrae for an approximate 4pm pickup. Please let Sheryl know if you are interested ASAP! Michele Cinq Mars will also help to chaperone. Plan to meet at Millbrae BART at 7:50am with a loaded Clipper card or at Glide at 9am.

Lower your PG&E bill!

A cost-effective way to lower your heating and air conditioning bill is to insulate the walls or your home. You can also install double-pane windows in your home to prevent heat loss and further lower energy costs.


CCSM Council of Ministries

Contact COM: COM@CCSM-UCC.org

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, 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, 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 food (canned, dried and boxed, no fresh food please! donations must be full UNOPENED containers, no fruits, vegetables, or bread) on any Sunday of the month. 

Anyone who orders out for food and gets individually wrapped plasticware, please donate to the Blessing Box. We put plasticware in the BB for those who may need it.

Thank you for your continuing generosity!

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel

If we get at least 1,000 subscribers, the YouTube algorithm bumps our CCSM site higher on people’s search engine. CCSM Media now has 451 subscribers. Let’s keep bumping it up! 

Visit youtube.com/@ccsmMediaChannel/featured 

and click the “Subscribe” button.  

Cost: Nothing.  Benefit: HUGE!

Regular CCSM office hours:

9:00am - 4:00pm

Monday - Thursday


225 Tilton Ave. • San Mateo, CA • 94401


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.

Contact Us
Facebook  Youtube  
Visit our website: ccsm-ucc.org