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Connections: February 28, 2024

Greetings, Church!

Sunday was a full day in the life of our faith community, and what a gift it was to celebrate, serve, and grow together!

Our music ministry led a wonderful celebration of Lynnelle Bilsey's 30 years of service at CCSM!

Did you know the CCSM makes sack lunches every 4th Sunday for our partners at Open Cathedral with the San Francisco Night Ministry?

On Sunday our CYF ministry took the lead and the kitchen was filled with eager helpers of all ages who were excited to serve!

Next month we'll make sandwiches on March 24. If you'd like to learn more or serve with this ministry email Becky Duffy.

We also held a gathering for those interested in serving with our "Church Friends" ministry. This is a new pastoral initiative that we hope will expand our circle of care. "Church Friends" will be just that, a friend to someone who could use a little extra support during life's difficulties and transitions.

If you missed Sunday's gathering and would like to learn more, email Carol Henton or Melodie Lew, and keep your eye out for more information in upcoming Connections.

This Sunday we will share in communion as we continue our Lenten series "Wander Heart: Figuring out Faith with Peter" with a story from Matthew 16:13-20 where Jesus asks Peter a pretty big question: "Who do you say that I am?"

How would you respond to that question?

Keep reading to learn about our Board of Director's 2024 Mission Statement and what CYF is focusing in this season.

Beloved wanderers, I hope you can join us in person or online this Sunday, or at our Bilingual service tonight in Kloss Hall. Until then, remember that God remains as close as our own breath, walking with us through every storm. Receiving the gift of that love, and share it with someone who might need to know they aren't alone.

With gratitude, hope, and love,


CCSM Board of Directors 2024 Mission Statement

Acknowledging the dynamic nature of God, the Board of Directors will embody innovation, radical hospitality, and a spirit of gratitude in our approach to serving our congregation and community and we encourage the congregation, committees, ministries, and staff of CCSM to do the same. We all commit to examining and embracing our Guiding Principles, and to creating opportunities for enhanced connections, fellowship, and trust in everything we do.

For the first time I am aware of at CCSM, the Board of Directors has worked together to create a Mission Statement that falls under the Vision Statement of CCSM. We will use this Mission Statement to organize what we do and as a part of how we frame decisions that we have to make for the coming year. 

As we leave this time of transition and wandering of the past few years behind us, my hope is to move the Board of Directors back to focusing on the ministry and mission of the congregation rather than the day-to-day operations. At our Leadership Retreat on February 17th, I committed to the committee and ministry leadership that the Board of Directors trusted them to get the day-to-day work of being the hands, feet and face of God done and that we as the Board were there to support and facilitate their work, not to meddle in it. 

I hope that you will join us in shifting our focus to not only looking forward, but also looking outward and embracing our role in the community. We have a wonderful Latino Ministry that is working to serve the community at our doorstep, and there is so much more that we can and could do. I encourage you to look for an existing ministry to join or, if God moves you, start a new ministry that we can support and grow together. 

With you in Christ’s Service, 

Don Ruthroff, Moderator 


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, 


The plate offering next Sunday will be for San Francisco SafeHouse. Watch a video about their work here.

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


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 on Tuesdays from 10:00 to 11:30 am at the Hillsdale Mall food court.

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

Youth and Family News

A note from Rev. Sheryl, our Minister to Children, Youth and Families:

What is CYF focusing on during Lent?

During the season of Lent, our children's ministry program on both Sundays and Wednesdays tends to focus on spiritual practices and drawing closer to God. This year, we are using the same theme and scriptures as the whole congregation (Wandering Hearts) but taking a particular focus on prayer practices (as a way that we can connect our hearts to God and share the concerns on our hearts).

We are exploring prayer in an expansive and progressive way and introducing the kids to a variety of prayer practices including:

  • creating finger labyrinths
  • walking our church's labyrinth
  • using prayer beads
  • praying in color
  • creating meditation jars
  • writing prayers in a variety of styles
  • praying the Lord's Prayer
  • service and justice as prayer, and much more.

So far it has been going very well and the kids have really taken to it in ways beyond what I'd imagined. Elaine has augmented our program with some truly wonderful children's books exploring spirituality and we have been having wonderful conversations about what is on our hearts and minds and what we imagine might be on God's heart these days.

Kids are welcome to join us every week or come as they are able - please feel free to invite your nieces/nephews, neighbors, grandkids, and other school-aged friends! 

Most Sundays! 9:45am Joyful Noise Kids’ Music Program led by Julie Berk. Come learn special songs, play instruments, and share periodically during the Sunday church service.

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! (sjohnson@ccsm-ucc.org) 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.

Sunday, March 10 - 60 Minutes discussion at 10:30 am. Topic: regional cultural differences continued! 

Email Sheryl to Learn More


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 OR  Contact Rev. Dr. Sheryl Johnson or Warren Long for help. 


If you are planning a remodel in your home, consider using bamboo wood instead of other materials. Bamboo is sturdy, attractive and sequesters a lot of carbon dioxide in indoor air.

25 Years of Homework Central!

Friday, March 22 at CuriOdyssey, Coyote Point!

Please join us at a festive, informative evening to raise crucial funds and to celebrate 25 years of serving North Central students and families. There will be a dinner and auction. Keynote speakers: Diego R Ochoa, Superintendent SMFCSD & Noelia Corzo, SM Board of Supervisors

For more information about auction donations and tickets, please visit our website: smhwc.org/nht

We hope to see you there!

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. 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, 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!

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.

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