February 18, 2024

“Hard to say what’s right when all I wanna do is wrong.” ― Prince



10:30 AM






"A Mighty Fortress Is

Our God"

"Yield Not to Temptation"

"Lord Jesus, Who Through Forty Days"

Sheet Music is here! Remember to click. Special Music links too!


"Blessed Assurance"

"The Old Rugged Cross"



We are so glad you are here!”

As we enter our church, as we live as members, as we experience important life-cycle events (falling in love, marrying, parenting, baptism, coming out, transitioning, etc.), words of welcome and support, understanding and love are what we all long for. This manifestation of God’s Extravagant Welcome and the justice and social witness that accompany it are the heart of what we hope to show our community and all who walk through the doors of Christ Congregational United Church of Christ.


February 16, 2024

Dear Congregation,

Lenten greetings to you. I pray that this season of the church year, which began on Ash Wednesday, will be meaningful to each of you.

You’ll notice on Sunday that the communion table is now draped in purple, which is the liturgical color for Lent. That color was originally reserved for royalty because purple dye was more expensive. It is also a reminder that Jesus had a purple robe placed upon him at Pilate’s command to mock him as “King of the Jews” shortly before his crucifixion. It thus symbolizes his pain and suffering, and our mourning, and repentance.

During the forty days of Lent I invite you to be intentional about deepening your spiritual life by being in worship, and setting aside a time each day for prayer, reading a devotional such as “BEND” from the Still speaking Writers’ Group, journaling, and/or spending some time in nature. You might also consider being generous in a new way, doing something for peace and justice, even a small thing. A Lenten discipline is usually thought of as “giving up” something like chocolate. Try seeing it in reverse as actively “doing” something like emailing a politician about an issue or giving money to a person begging at a stoplight. You almost always receive a “God Bless You” from him/her when you do.

You have the power to make Lent something special to you and to others with whom you connect in some way. Ask God to guide you in this purple season.

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Candy

Ash Wednesday

Thank you to all who joined us for our intimate Ash Wednesday service. In the quiet solemnity of our gathering, we marked the beginning of Lent with prayer, reflection, and the imposition of ashes. May the ashes on our foreheads serve as a visible reminder of our mortality and a call to repentance as we journey through this sacred season together.


by Ann Weems

When Lent comes,

You have to put away the tinsel;

You have to take down your Christmas tree,

And stand out in the open…vulnerable.

You either are or you aren’t.

You either believe or you don’t.

You either will or you won’t.

And, O Lord, how we love the stable and the star!

When Lent comes the angel’s voices

Begin their lamenting,

And we find ourselves in a courtyard

Where we must answer

Whether we know him or not.


Pastor Candy would be happy to meet with you to talk about our Christian faith, your spiritual journey, and to discuss what church membership means. Please let her know if you're interested.


Sun. Feb. 18 | 10:30 am

Worship in the Sanctuary & on Facebook Live

Sun. Feb. 18 | 11:45 am

Annual Meeting in the Sanctuary

Mon. Feb. 19 | 6:30 pm

ZOOM Bible Study

Meeting ID: 856 1964 5746

Thurs. Feb. 22 | 7:00 pm

ZOOM Council Meeting

Sat. Feb. 24 | 10:30 am

CCC Women ZOOM Meeting

Sun. Feb. 25 | 10:30 am

Worship in the Sanctuary & on Facebook Live

Sun. Feb. 25 | Noon

Ministry of Mission & Outreach

meeting in Kelsey Hall

Bianca's You Better Bee-lieve It Corner

Mardi Gras Celebration

🎉Our Mardi Gras celebration was a joyous occasion filled with vibrant colors and heartwarming fellowship! 🎭

We gathered together to bid farewell to the joyful proclamation of "Alleluia" as we prepared our hearts for the season of Lent. In a beautiful tradition, we put away the "Alleluia" banner, for this time of reflection and spiritual growth until Easter Sunday.

A special thank you to Mary Tirb for graciously being the keeper of the "Alleluia" banner during this sacred time!

We've shared some snapshots of the festivities below, and keep an eye out for the video coming soon to our socials! 📷✨

Let's continue to journey together in faith as we embrace the season of Lent with renewed devotion and hope. Thank you to everyone who joined us in celebrating this special occasion!

"Wrap the World in Love: Spreading Warmth and Kindness"

Hey there, champions of compassion! We're excited to shine a spotlight on the "Blanket the World with Love" campaign by Church World Service (CWS). Picture this: cozy blankets being distributed like hugs to those who need them most. It's not just about keeping warm; it's about wrapping folks in a big, fuzzy embrace of love and solidarity. From disaster-stricken areas to refugee camps, these blankets are like warm reminders that someone out there cares. Let's join hands (and hearts) to spread the love and make the world a little warmer, one blanket at a time.


Guess what? We've got a little surprise for you – three brand-new Zoom backgrounds to jazz up our virtual hangouts! 🚀 Whether you're in a meeting or catching up with friends, let your screen speak volumes!

Snag your favorite backgrounds and let the logo love shine in your virtual hangouts!💙  Need help adding a background? I've got you covered! Just reach out to me, and I'll guide you through the steps.

If you have an idea for a Zoom background that you'd like to share, please let me know!

JUST Pop Tops!

We are collecting pop tops for a special cause. These pop tops will be donated to support the Ronald McDonald Program, aiding children and families in need. Wondering how your pop tops can make a difference? According to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida, these tabs are recycled for dollars that directly support the children and families they serve in their Houses. By contributing, you're playing a part in providing crucial assistance to those in our community who need it most. Let's make this season a time of joy, creativity, and giving!

Join us and be a part of this wonderful initiative—where every pop top collected brings smiles and support to those in our community who can use it most.

Our book cart is assembled and ready to be loaded. If you have any current books that you'd like to part with please bring them to church and we'll put them on our "Take one/Leave one" cart which will be outside the church on Sunday mornings. Have a good book? pass it on!

Take time in the Lent 2024 season to bend low and be renewed. From the Stillspeaking Writers' Group, the devotional Bend provides daily readings, reflections, and prayers for the Lenten season: Ash Wednesday (Feb 14) to Easter Sunday (March 31).

Purchase your Lent Devotional here!

Find Us, Like us, Follow Us, and Share Us

on Social Media!

Facebook  Twitter  TikTok  YouTube  Instagram

Facebook: Christ Congregational United Church of Christ

Twitter/X: @CCC_UCC

TikTok: @CCC_UCC

YouTube: ChristCongregational-UCC

Instagram: @christcongregationalucc


Helen Wiley, The family and friends of Rev. Thomas Franzman, Joan Hansen, Maggie McDowell, Paul LeGrand, Frank Tirb, Joy Reid, Daniel Best, Natalia Hall, Judith Campbell, Linda Soltys, Theresa Gambrell, Abigail Castro and Isabella LeGrand.

For Pastoral Care Needs, please call Pastor Candy directly at 925-640-9289 or you may call and leave a message with the Church Office, 305-235-9381.

Please let Tracy Williams, Administrative Assistant at office@christcongregationalucc.org or Pastor Candy know if you'd like a name included.

Music's Voice in the American Civil Rights Movement

The use of music in the Civil Rights Movement was not just happenstance ― it was purposeful and served as a vital form of communication and building community. It was the universal voice that pierced through the melodies and lyrics of American popular music and represented the power that music has to make a change.


Middle East Conflict

The war in Israel/Palestine declared on October 7, has claimed thousands of lives, and tens of thousands of people have been injured. Approximately one million Palestinians in Gaza have been displaced, still within Gaza, as there is nowhere to go. Half are in emergency shelters set up by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). It is increasingly difficult for Gazan Palestinians to find safe space, as even hospitals and a church have sustained damage, killing and injuring hundreds of people. Food, water, fuel, and electricity have been cut off, and supplies are running out. 

Convoys of trucks carrying humanitarian relief await the opportunity to bring much-needed relief into Gaza from Egypt, but the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza has been damaged by rocket strikes. Other entrances, controlled by Israel, remain closed and the threat of an Israeli ground invasion threatens more lives and livelihoods in the coming days and weeks.

With ecumenical partners, the UCC has offered a public witness that has been unequivocal:

— Condemnation of the violence of Hamas and Israel’s use of force against Palestinians in Gaza

— A call for a cease-fire

— The allowance of the provision of humanitarian aid for Palestinians and an end to collective punishment

— The guarantee of and respect for safe spaces for people to find shelter

— Support for robust diplomatic efforts to resolve the core issues

The UCC is learning from Palestinian Christian partners how they are attempting to respond to the needs of the people of Gaza, even amid steady bombardments.

— In times of calm, the Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees (DSPR) of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) operates medical clinics and trauma therapy classes in Gaza.

— Al-Ahli Arab Hospital, an Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem institution, normally offers a critical and courageous ministry of health care provision (often free of charge) in the most trying circumstances. It has sustained damage in two incidents in the first week and a half. Yet, staff remain committed to their calling to provide care and hope, “delivered in a spirit of love and service.” 

— Other partners, such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, the YMCA of East Jerusalem, and the YWCA of Palestine, are preparing to respond to the needs of Palestinians.

— These partners and others, bilaterally and through ACT Alliance, are preparing to address immediate and longer-term responses such as food and nutrition needs, physical and psychosocial health care, shelter and rehabilitation, and direct assistance.

Frequent updates are posted here.

“The work of our partners in Palestine, and specifically in Gaza, is inspiring, especially as they cope with conditions and access that are extremely limited. Having visited Gaza, I know the dedication and commitment of our partners’ staffs to serve the whole community and offer a witness of care and service. We mourn the loss of life and pray for the end to violence,” said Peter Makari, who currently serves as Transitional Executive for Wider Church Ministries, and Global Relations Minister for the Middle East and Europe in Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ. “We must walk in solidarity with them in this time of war, accompanying them now and in the future as the impact of this war will be lasting.”

Please advocate for a cease-fire, access for humanitarian assistance, and for the core issues to be addressed.

At the same time, we invite your financial support to undergird the work of our partners with whom we have had a long-standing relationship. Your gifts will make an impact and a difference on those suffering so greatly during these days of lamentation and suffering.

The two actions go hand-in-hand. Thank you for your generosity.

You can also mail a check made payable to the United Church of Christ, PO BOX 71957 Cleveland, OH 44194.

Please be sure to note “Middle East Support” in your check's memo section.


  • We are all still reeling from the reports of tragic loss of life and continued atrocities taking place in Israel and Gaza. As we mourn, and pray for those who have lost loved ones, we must call on policymakers to support a Just Peace.

Contact Your Legislators

  • Urge Congress to call on the administration to expedite protections and critical supports, including visa processing and access to resettlements, for Afghan refugees.

Act Now

  • Register to pray for Peace in the Middle East.

Register Here

  • Read the letter that was sent to congress.

Read letter

  • Contact your State Senators to urge them to defend our democracy by supporting the For The People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Protect Voting Rights

Sunshine Connection
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Global Ministries offers a weekly prayer for one of our global mission partners. This week's prayer is with India. To read their mission moment, please click the Global Ministries IMAGE. Below is this week's prayer, united we pray.

Our Loving Heavenly Father,

We thank you, praise you, and adore you for all the mercies you have granted us all these days of our lives.

As the Psalmist says, trusting in this promise, you are the God of our salvation. Once again, we thank you for the new life you have given us through your son Jesus Christ. We rely on the promise of this scripture to teach us to walk in your path in our day-to-day lives.

Lord, we come to you and seek your guidance in our lives. Lord, we pray for our country, India which has the largest population in the world, with more than 1.4 billion people. As a majority of the people in India are economically struggling and living below the poverty line, we remember them and pray for your grace to sustain them and feed them so that they can meet their daily needs of food, clothing, and shelter.

We also remember and pray for the elderly people who are most often uncared for by their families and society. Grant them your strength in their old age so that they will have peaceful and happy lives. Dear Lord, as the family of Inba Illam, we come to your feet and commit ourselves to the betterment of the lives of the residents of Inba Illam.

Our Loving Father, your steadfast love shall fill us and guide us to serve the elderly people in Inba Illam with dedication, love, care, and concern.

In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

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The Rev. Candace Thomas | Pastor

Graham Bryan | Moderator & President

Jay Harragin | Music Director

Tracy Williams | Editor