May 25, 2024 10:24 pm

Piano and Saxophone Concert: Acclaimed pianist Benita Rose will share a concert featuring the works of Marcos Fernández Barrero. Rochester’s own Tony Gibbs will join her as a special guest on saxophone. The program features the work FugaCity which was commissioned by the Maria Canals International Piano Competition. Rose and Gibbs will share a concert for the Rochester community on June 21 at 4:00 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public. A love offering will be received.

May 24, 2024 4:13 pm

Join the monthly Breakfast Fellowship Group

We’re excited to announce the next meeting of our Breakfast Fellowship Group. Mark your calendars for Wednesday, June 12 at 8:30am. Our gathering will take place at Charlie’s Restaurant in the Hillcrest Shopping Center. This is a great opportunity to engage in conversation, deepen bonds with fellow CUMC members, and start your day with a hearty breakfast. For more information, feel free to reach out to Dean and Grace Swanson or Amy Humphrey. You may also contact the church office for any further questions.

May 24, 2024 4:10 pm

Juneteenth: Staying the Course of Freedom and Flourishing for All

An overview of its historical origins from and The United Methodist Church’s General Commission on Religion and Race (

Juneteenth (June 19) marks the day in 1865 when U.S. federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take control of the state and ensure all African Americans were freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed.

In reality, the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t instantly free enslaved people. The proclamation only applied to places under Confederate control and not to slave-holding border states or rebel areas already under Union control. Literacy for enslaved Black people had been illegal in many states and written documents carrying such news were controlled by wealthy white people. That meant that any information needed by Black citizens—included news of legal freedom—could be (and was) controlled and manipulated.

However, as U.S. Northern troops advanced into the Confederate South, many enslaved people fled behind Union lines. Others Black people continued to be held in bondage and worked for their white owners for nearly six years after the proclamation was signed. Still, as news spread across Texas, those people freed from bondage celebrated with their families and communities, and an annual time of remembrance and jubilee was born.

Today, Juneteenth is a federally recognized holiday, and many African Americans (and allies) commemorate Juneteenth through family gatherings, community cookouts and picnics, cultural and educational events, worship and prayer, and collective action.

The symbolic meaning of the delayed emancipation for Black Americans is pertinent to the Christian church and the fuller society today. Like the story of the widow’s mite (Mark 12:1-44, Luke 21:1-4, wherein Jesus praises a widow for giving her two cents aka mites at Temple, saying she has given more than the rich, as she has given her whole livelihood), we serve a God who bids us leave no one behind. Our call is to take the Good News of Christ’s salvation, liberation, and release for all people into the world. Yet, systemic racism in church and society continues to impact our ability to be faithful followers of Christ and the repairers of the breach.

As we still, in this moment, grapple with anti-Blackness and other forms of racism, Juneteenth reminds us that the quest for liberty, flourishing, and justice for all remains elusive. The events of the past few years painfully illustrate this point: from the murders of Black and Brown people, such as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police officers, to the dramatic rise in hate crimes aimed at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and to attempts to repress Latinx immigrants. All demonstrate that systemic and individual racism still costs souls and lives.

As writer Jess McIntosh writes, “We are still in the process of ending slavery, and nowhere near ending its effects.”

Let Juneteenth be a time when people of Christian faith—especially white Christians—recommit to, evoke, stand on, and live out the promises of God to deliver all people everywhere from bondage and oppression. Just as God walked the Israelites to freedom and flourishing, God stands on the side of oppressed people in this moment. And God’s people are called to roll down justice (Amos 5:24) and to model and champion righteousness like an endless stream.

May 24, 2024 3:08 pm

We are seeking volunteers to represent CUMC at the NAACP Juneteenth Celebration on June 15 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Park. Please contact the church office to sign up for a shift. You can also visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture website at to learn more about the history of Juneteenth.

May 24, 2024 3:02 pm

Thanks to our amazing team of Confirmation Mentors who supported and encouraged our students this year: Becky Borchardt, Noralyn Carpenter, Dustin Donahue, Sarah Frank, Lauren Girard, Jon Harrington, Tracy McCray, Nicole Nfonoyim-Hara, Bobbi Nichols, and Sarah Scussel.

Congratulations, Armanda!

CUMC’s Armanda Vanderheiden received the Denman Award for Evangelism at the 2024 Minnesota Annual Conference. The Denman Award recognizes individuals whose exceptional evangelistic ministry leads people into a transformative relationship with Jesus Christ. Armanda spearheaded the establishment of the Tea & Tacos women’s group and organized the Rochester Pride Youth After-Party, embodying Christ’s love and acceptance for all. Congratulations to Armanda on this well-deserved recognition!

CUMC Leadership Board

Join the CUMC Leadership Board on Sunday, June 24, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. as they share a mid-year update on our congregation and information from the Minnesota Conference Annual Conference and recent General Conference. The meeting will take place in the sanctuary and will also be hosted on Zoom.

Rochesterfest Parade with CUMC: June 29, 1:30 pm

We invite you to join our CUMC Rochesterfest Parade float as we share grace in the city. With the display of our rainbow doors and candy treats, we hope our our float will be a vibrant celebration of God’s love. We’re on the lookout for volunteers eager to ride and walk with the float, contributing to our presence in this beloved community event. To sign up call the church office or email Let’s make this parade a beautiful expression of our faith and fellowship at CUMC.

Open Hearts and Open Doors

Open Hearts and Open Doors: This month our sermon series will explore housing and homelessness and the ways our faith calls us to engage with these topics. In addition to Sunday morning worship, we’ll have the opportunity to remember those who have died in the midst of homelessness in the past year, advocate for more affordable housing in our community, and provide financial support for the new Family Promise shelter.

(include near this Family Promise article from May as well as fliers for Homeless Memorial and Isaiah forum)

Faith & Life - Learn from Christ's Teachings

Third Sunday Forum: General Conference Recap, June 16, 2024
10:15 a.m. – In-person at Wesley Hall and on Zoom
Presenter: Michelle Hargrave, River Valley District Superintendent, Minnesota Conference of the United Methodist Church
The General Conference of the United Methodist Church met April 23-May 4, 2024, in Charlotte, North Carolina. This is the body that can set official policy and speak for the international denomination. While it usually meets every four years, due to the pandemic, the last meeting took place in 2016. River Valley District Superintendent Michelle Hargrave will share an update with us as we seek to understand the impact of this powerful and historic General Conference.

Previous forums are archived at: Click on our playlists tab, then, “Faith to Life.”

Upcoming: Travel as a Spiritual Practice
Now is the time for summer travel and vacations! Whether you are traveling far away, taking a “staycation,” or staying at home this summer break, we encourage you to think of how travel can be a spiritual practice. Our Faith->Life team would like to invite you to share stories of “travel” with us, via written comment, social media, or in person. More information will be sent out soon, including journaling and discussion prompts that can be used during travel.

Sunday Classes

Contemporary Issues
Host: Joel Charlson
Time: Sundays at 10:10 a.m.
Place: In-Person (Room 146) and Zoom:

If you are interested, email Joel at to receive the weekly Wired Word or join us on Zoom or drop into room 146!

Inquiring Spirits
Hosts: Ed Shafer
Time: Sundays at 10:15 a.m.
Place: In-Person (Room 145) and Zoom

Discussion varies on books, videos, and other sources to investigate and challenge theological boundaries. For further information contact Ed at

Connect Groups
View a complete listing of groups and classes with more information at:

Knit One, Pray Too
Host: Marjie Blaisdell
Time: Wednesdays 10:30 a.m.-12:00 noon
Place: Skype, 3rd Wednesdays are in-person in the Fireside Room. Contact Marjie at if interested in joining on Skype or just come on the 3rd Wednesday!

Breakfast Fellowship
Hosts: Amy Humphrey and Dean Swanson
Time: Wednesday, June 12, at 8:30 a.m.
Place: Charlie’s Restaurant at Hillcrest Shopping Center

Men’s Coffee Group
Host: Dick Estry
Time: Thursdays at 8:00 a.m.
Place: In person (Room 145) and on Zoom:

Theology on Brew
Hosts: Pastors Jenny and Kirkland
Time: Thursday, June 13, at 6:30 p.m.
Place: Little Thistle Brewing, 2031 14th St NW, Rochester, MN 55901
Young and young-at-heart adults are welcome. Join others to connect and discuss life, theology and everything! Contact Pastors Jenny and Kirkland with any questions.

Hand & Foot Card Group
Hosts: Brian and Millie Webb
Time: Sunday, June 23, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Place: Member’s Home
Singles and couples are welcome. We chat, play cards (no experience necessary), and share light snacks. Questions or interest contact Brian at or call/text Millie at 608-212-9706.

Dinner/Lunch Club
Groups of 5-8 people share a meal and conversation 2 or 3 times in each other’s homes or restaurants. A great way to build friendships within our CUMC family. Contact Marjie Blaisdell at or Mary Schmidt at if interested.

Tea and Tacos
Host: Armanda Vanderheiden
Time and Place: For the summer, we are tentatively meeting 2 times a month; dates and locations TBD. For more information and updates about this group, join our Facebook group, “Tea and Tacos” or contact Armanda (507-261-2123; to be added to the email/text list for updates about summer gatherings.

Children and Youth News

We have amazing children and youth in our church. On May 5, our children led the worship service by welcoming, singing, reading, and preaching. On May 19, ten 8th-grade youth confirmed their faith in Jesus Christ and joined our church as members. As a church, we celebrate being a place where young people bring their gifts to worship, and the children and youth help the whole congregation grow in faith. There are many ways you can support our children and youth ministries.

  • Show up! When you see our children and youth at church or out in the community, say hello. Trusted adult relationships have a huge impact on the lives of children and youth.
  • Bring the message of Vacation Bible School to the children in your life. Invite your neighbors and grandkids to be part of Vacation Bible School on August 5-9. On July 28, we will have a 45-minute overview of the 2024 VBS so you will know the vocabulary, ideas, and Bible stories our kids will discover.
  • Volunteer in Children and Youth ministries by attending a training session on June 23 or July 28. This training helps provide a safe and welcoming space for all of God’s children.

Other events in June include:

  • June 2: Final Youth Group for the summer from 4:30-6:00 p.m. as we look back, look forward, and welcome the brand new 6th graders!
  • June 9: Graduation Sunday at the 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. worship services.
  • June 12: Tie Dye event. We will be tie-dying t-shirts for the Rochesterfest parade (and bandannas for ASP). There will also be food! Meet in the labyrinth from 5:30-7:00 p.m..
  • June 14: Inside Out 2. Meet at church to load up the bus and go see this great movie together. (time and cost TBD, hoping for noon)
  • June 15: Join your church at Juneteenth! Martin Luther King Park from noon to 8:00 p.m.
  • June 16-21: CUMC at Northern Pines!
  • June 23: 10 am Vacation Bible School volunteer training.
  • June 29: 6:30 am ASP sending worship service in parking lot.
  • June 29: Rochesterfest parade!

Our Graduates
“For surely I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD, “plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

  • Harriet Hansen: Graduating from Mayo High School. A verse that guides me is Psalm 23. Planning on attending University of Minnesota Twin-Cities for nursing.
  • Shaun Wysocki: Graduating from Century HS. Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Planning on attending Minnesota State University Moorhead to study business/sports management and to play basketball.
  • Cassidy Arendt—Mayo High School
  • Claire Siems—Mayo High School
  • Rhys VanErt—Mayo High School

Our 2024 Appalachia Service Project Team
Our team of 17 has a busy month as we prepare to serve in Harlan County, Kentucky this July. As a congregation, we ask that you hold us in prayer as we learn more about how our faith and service grow through this amazing opportunity. The commitment to ASP is so much more than 10 days of travel in July.

Here’s a glimpse of our final preparations:

  • Tuesday, June 4, 7:00 p.m.: Training #2 at church. Participants will learn about building a culture of safety, engage in building community among group members, and expand our understanding of kindness through scripture. ASP’s best practices for safety will be highlighted.
  • Wednesday, June 12, 5:30 p.m.: Optional tie-dye session at church! We will tie-dye bandannas to give to our sponsors! 7 pm: Training #3 at church–This is our sensitivity training; we will also cover schedule, packing, and other questions. We will sign the Participant Covenant.
  • Sunday, June 23, 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.: Commissioning Service. We also have a first-time participants’ Tool Training—we will be making “Leopold Benches” to gift to our ASP families.
  • Friday, June 28: Staging luggage and pre-loading van and trailer – West parking lot of CUMC.
  • Saturday, June 29, 6:30 a.m.: Send-off service! Friends and family are invited to send us on our way. Extra food to share on the van is always appreciated.
  • Saturday, July 6, 7:00 a.m.: Leave ASP center, 1:00 pm: Arrive at Camp Moneto for retreat, hiking, swimming, games, and relaxation. We will recognize our seniors and reflect on how we grew and what we discovered about God, ourselves, and our neighbors.
  • Monday, July 8, 7:00 a.m.: Leave for home, 5:00 pm (approximately) arrive home.
  • Sunday, July 14: We will tell the story of our serving, growing, and laughing together at the 9:00 and 11:00 worship services.

United Women in Faith News

A unit meeting was held on May 16 with Connie Scott, our River Valley District Resource Manager. Scott discussed the UWFaith reading program, including how to participate and acquire the necessary books. Pat Hrabe also shared information about the UWFaith book cart available for women to use in the program. Circle 4 hosted the meeting and served refreshments.

The UWFaith Service of Remembrance is scheduled for June 6 at 10:00 a.m. to honor the following women: Billie Needham, LeeAnn Ramaker, Lyla Hagemeister, Martha Stiller, Darlene Miller, Helen Olsen, Trudy Jewell, Barbara Aldritt, and Carolyn Chaapel. Minister of Congregational Care, Peggy Johnson, will lead the service followed by a luncheon in the Commons. All are welcome to attend.

UWFaith’s In-Person Mission U will take place on July 26-28 at Camp Koronis. The theme for this year is “The Kin-dom is among You: Drawing Closer to God and One Another,” featuring the book “Welcome Home” by Neomi Fletcher. Additionally, there will be a virtual Mission U held over four evenings on July 30, August 1, August 6, and August 8 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. More information will be posted on the bulletin board as it becomes available.

Peggy's devotional

How do you say goodbye to love?

In the few years I’ve worked a side hustle as a hospital chaplain, I’ve witnessed an incredible amount of loss. Ironically, I find the work soothes me. I’ve often wondered about that: why am I drawn to loss in a way that feels so…familiar? Perhaps it has to do with experiencing life, from my earliest years, as a long goodbye to the people and things I’ve loved.

Let me tell you a story about the hard road to goodbye.

It was around 10:30 that Tuesday evening when the Trauma Red code came over the hospital chaplain pager. I quickly found my way to the emergency room, where a 34-year-old female had just arrived via medical helicopter. Just a few hours earlier she had been at the theater for “cheap movie” night, a tradition she had enjoyed each week for the past two years, ever since she moved into an apartment complex just a few blocks away–close enough for her to travel back and forth by wheelchair. But that evening her wheelchair became stuck in the railroad tracks, and the oncoming train couldn’t stop in time. She was unconscious as her medical team worked vigorously to keep her alive.  Her parents sat, numb, waiting in a conference room for news of their daughter.

I brought coffee and warm blankets to Cindy and Karl, and we began the long night of waiting together. The first hours offered glimmers of hope of their daughter’s survival, but it became evident sometime in the middle of the night that they should prepare to say goodbye to the person they loved most in life. That final goodbye happened at 6:00 the next morning when we gathered around her hospital bed and prayed together.

Those hours, while incredibly painful, were beautiful, too. Cindy and Karl cherished their daughter’s life through story, and we affirmed and honored the courage of a young woman who lived life on her terms.

Nothing can prepare us for big losses–except loss. From our early years, we begin untying from people and things we love. A best friend moves away. A beloved pet dies. We end a romantic relationship or important friendship. We leave a career. We become estranged from a loved one. We lose a spouse through death or divorce. We face untying from meaningful relationships at so many of life’s stages. Yet the compounding of loss that occurs throughout our lifetime somehow enlarges our capacity to attend to other people in their losses.

We learn to say goodbye to love; we’ve had to do it many times. The key is not allowing the emptiness of loss to shrink our lives. Actually, that emptiness is necessary in our love and service to others. Through loss, our emptiness becomes big enough to contain other people’s sorrows, and in the act of sharing our vulnerability, we’re filled with a profound sense of mercy and love.

If you carry the wounds from loss, this is an invitation to share with others who have faced loss, too. Please join Christ UMC’s first monthly grief care group on Sunday, June 9 at noon in the Fireside Room. I look forward to our hellos.

Minnesota Conference Love Offering

We invite you to support this year’s annual conference love offering to help our neighbors – in Minnesota and around the world – heal from trauma and find safety. Funds will support a new UMC trauma care center in Ukraine, an immigration legal support partnership with the Volunteer Lawyer Network, special programming aimed at reducing trauma at Emma Norton Service’s new Restoring Waters development, and scholarships for UMC Volunteers in Mission. To make a donation, note “Love Offering” with your gift or choose “Love Offering” from the giving options at Learn more about the Minnesota Annual Conference Love Offering at