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It’s Coming…It’s Here!

Last week Pastor Carol wished us a happy New Year’s as we prepare to enter the season of Advent. And now it’s official. It’s here, and we’re in! It’s a complicated time as we look forward to celebrating the Christ Child’s birth with family, friends, and community, and exchanging gifts on Jesus’ birthday. But it is also a time of looking back and remembering the oppression of the Jewish people that began before their escape from slavery in Egypt, and arose again during the Babylonian Captivity, and their occupation by Rome. This makes their deep yearning and prophesying for a Messiah that would be a Savior and a Deliverer of the Jewish People all the more understandable.

It also helps us understand the Second Coming as a twin theme of Advent. Since Jesus’ death, the Jewish people have often been a nation without a home, suffering further oppression and unwelcome in country after country around the globe, through the Holocaust and into our modern age. Sadly, both pre- and particularly post-election they are also joined in this country by many marginalized populations that, like the historic Jewish people, now fear for their very existence. Now more than ever it is time, as Paul tells us, to wake from sleep and take positive action in whatever way we can.

Not to end on a downbeat, let me end as I began, with a hearty Happy New Year! May you find in reality, as we symbolize in the lighting of the Advent Candles, all the hope, peace, joy and love within you and both express them to those around you and share in those others. In these troubling times, the bonding of community, family (blood and chosen), and friendship become even more important. Prayers of blessing to you and yours this Advent season and beyond! May we leave our wanderings in the desert and enter a new Promised land together, with a promise of deep caring for all people, stewardship of its creatures, and tender preservation of the land and its resources.

Your intern, Lauren

“All Creatures Great and Small”

During Advent we are thinking about how all creatures, great and small, are blessed in God’s sight, and in need of the hope, peace, joy and love we can bring into the world.  It is a time of expectation, logistical and spiritual preparation, and finally the arrival of Christ anew in our hearts.  A few notes for your own preparations: 

–Lauren graced us with her preaching for the first Sunday in Advent (11/27).  Pastor Carol will preach the remaining services through Christmas Day, all at 10 am. 

–Our beautiful Christmas Eve service will be at 6:30 pm on Saturday, December 24. 

–We are in need of (1) families (singles, doubles, any configuration) to light the Advent candles each week, and (2) many voices to offer short readings on Christmas Eve.  Please let Pastor Carol know if you are interested in either of these opportunities.

–There are a few copies available on the entry table of the UCC Advent devotional “Wolves and Lambs.”  This beautiful publication is now sold out, so we cannot get more.  But here is a link to download your own copy!


What is Advent?

What is Advent? Is it just the Christmas Story and the countdown Jesus’ birthday, or is it something more? Come join Pastoral Intern Lauren Renée Hotchkiss as she unpacks this complex season from its origins in the Old Testament, through the New, and to the present day and beyond.

Lauren Renée Hotchkiss



Bible Study is Back

Bible Study is Back – The Book of Acts

Brown bag Bible study returns on Thursdays, starting October 13 at 12 noon, with Lauren and Pastor Carol co-leading.  Bring your lunch and the Bible of your choice (of course, we also have Bibles!)  Please let Pastor Carol know as soon as possible if you would like to attend – we need to order materials for each participant.  This is a wonderful curriculum.  We’ll go over the schedule at our first meeting and also determine if we need to adjust the time at all. 

Voter Information Forum – Oct 23


This election year is big, and it is our privilege as citizens to vote and have a voice.  When we vote we also express faith and hope in our community and our nation.  Voting is our promise to participate.  We need to be informed.  Here at IUC, we have invited a speaker from the League of Women Voters to step us through the pros and cons of the measures on the California ballot, answer questions, and provide resources.  This is a non-partisan and community-wide event.  You will not want to miss this – and please tell your friends and neighbors.  Sunday evening, October 23, 6-8 pm at the church, light snacks will be served.



Neighbors in Need – Oct 9

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Every year we at island United Church take a special offering in October for Neighbors in Need. This year we will do so on October 9. This UCC program supports  ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, including the Council for American Indian Ministries (CAIM).

Two-thirds of the offering is used by UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries to fund a wide array of local and national justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects. One-third of the offering supports CAIM There are 20 UCC congregations on reservations and one urban, multi-tribal UCC congregation in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and this offering support these churches and their pastors. CAIM is also an invaluable resource for more than 1,000 individuals from dozens of other tribes and nations who are members of other UCC congregations in the U.S.

Please give generously on Sunday, October 9. The theme this year is “This we believe…No child should go to bed hungry.”  We will have special offering envelopes and informational inserts in your bulletin for your use. 

Lee Lamkin