CCC Blog

From Elderberries to 3D Ministry

For decades the seniors of this church gathered together for a meal on the second Wednesday of the month. A group of dedicated women worked to provide a home cooked meal, very often with a theme to go along with the    season – Valentine’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas. It was a chance for folks to meet together around tables to fellowship and enjoy a wonderful meal. After the meal there was a program of interest to educate or entertain. For many, Elderberries was an important event.

In recent years, fewer people have come to these events. To accommodate the changing attendance patterns the meals have been offered every other month or seasonally. The past few times there has been a program at 11:30 before the meal. The food is still great and the fellowship meaningful—it just doesn’t  happen as often.  In addition to the meals, this group has gone on short trips to Little Theater on the Square, the Reagan Museum at Eureka College and Allerton Park, to name a few destinations. These excursions happened on the church bus, allowing for comradery with other riders.

Elderberries was the name for this group of seniors, always advertised as  available to anyone 55 or older. The discovery was made that many folks firmly set in that age range did not want to attend a group that had the word “elder” in the name. It apparently gave the impression that this was only for old  people. So, in order to make these events more appealing to the general  population, we have CHANGED THE NAME!!!

We now have a program called 3D Ministry: Enhance Your Vision.  We will meet the 2nd Wednesday of the month (though perhaps not every month). These events will still be led by Don Martin who will still be there to greet you. That will not change.  

  • 3D ministry will provide periodic meals of good food and great fellowship. That is the DINE portion.
  • 3D ministry will organize short excursions to places of interest in close-by communities. That is the DASH piece.
  • 3D ministry will provide programs that will entertain and inform. Some of these will happen on days when the meals are served. Some will happen at other times. That is the DISCOVER part.

3D ministry is designed to welcome people of various ages. There will always be advance notice of each event in the Visitor and you will have opportunity to sign up to reserve your spot. (You will still be welcome if you miss signing up!) This is a good opportunity for you to invite a friend to come with you, there is a good chance they will thank you for the invitation. 3D Ministry is presented with YOU in mind.

Our next event will be Wednesday, February 13 at 11:30 a.m.  More details provided on page 1.



Posted by Michael Karunas with

New Artwork in Friendship Center

The ending statement in last week’s minister’s column read, humility will draw each of us nearer to Christ.  In that spirit the amazing capstone of our church’s 2016 renovation is finally installed in the Friendship Center and ready to help us do just that - draw nearer to Christ.   After nearly two years of collaboration, Artist Teresa Camozzi ( of the San Francisco area has created a one-of-a-kind work of art specifically for Central.   One of Teresa’s core beliefs is that “the beauty of nature lifts us toward a higher state of spirituality” and, hopefully, that is transmitted to each of us when we look up at our powerful addition.

We hope that the mixed media, multi-dimensional artwork invites everyone to stop, look up and interpret the piece for themselves.  The goal of the artwork was to be religious in nature, but not necessarily overtly religious.  We wanted the artwork to draw observers in by its use of symbols which, by definition, can be interpreted broadly.  That said, when you look at the artwork, you may recognize the foundations of our Disciples’ faith in the individual panels as well as the collective layers of the artwork.  Take time to “see” the deconstructed communion table - images of wood, wheat and grapevines – conveying one of our core Disciples’ beliefs that all are welcome here.   You may find that the water image is representative of baptism or cleansing or the essence of all life.  You might see the dove as the descending Holy Spirit; the “cellular” motif as the basic building blocks of all life, or possibly as stones in a path that the cross calls us to follow; and the clouds as creation or openness.  Whatever your individual interpretation, we hope the artwork helps you to “draw nearer to Christ” again and again.

We look forward to celebrating the artwork with a church-wide dedication in the near future.

On behalf of the Artwork Committee, comprised of Pamela Bednar, Donna Dash, Steve Funk, Suzie Miller, Mary Jane Oliver and ourselves, we thank you all for your support and prayers throughout this faith-filled process.

Posted by Michael Karunas with

Save the Date(s)

As we move toward the end of 2018, we enter a very busy, and exciting time of the church year.  There are many wonderful events upcoming and we want to make sure you save the date(s) for all of them.  If you have any questions about any of them, feel free to contact the office ( ; 428-4336).  In some cases, more information will be forthcoming as a particular event approaches.

Sunday, November 18 Thanksgiving Sunday

10:30 a.m. Peter Steiner, world-renowned trombonist, will play during our third service, accompanied by a trombone choir comprised of Millikin faculty and students.

12:00 p.m. Annual Thanksgiving potluck in the Great Hall. We will provide the traditional Thanksgiving main dishes and are asking everyone to bring a side dish or dessert. Please RSVP so we can plan accordingly.

2:00 p.m. The duo of Peter Steiner (trombone) and Constanze Hochwartner (piano) will offer the first concert of our 2018-2019 Sanctuary Concert Series. The Concert is free.

Sunday, December 2 First Sunday of Advent

9:00 a.m. We will be decorating our Christmas tree during the Contemporary Service.

10:30 a.m. Our traditional “Hanging of the Greens” service will include special music and decorating the sanctuary in preparation for Christmas. There will be no 8:00 a.m. worship.

Sunday, December 9 Second Sunday of Advent

There will be only two (2) services this day, 9:00 contemporary and 10:30 traditional. This is the day a chamber ensemble from the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra will accompany our choir. This performance is funded in part by a grant from the Symphony Orchestra Guild of Decatur.

Sunday, December 16 Come Home for Christmas

We will be offering two meals this day. At 9:00 a.m., there will be brunch for those leaving 8:00 a.m. worship and to be served during the 9:00 service. At 12:00 p.m., there will be a fellowship meal in the Great Hall following the 10:30 a.m. service.



Posted by Michael Karunas with

Rest from our Labors

I have been asked to perform the Gospel of Mark from memory in October at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago.  Thus, I have been re-learning and rehearsing the lines of Mark’s gospel that I first memorized in 2010.  Every time I do this, there are two verses  that stand out in my mind.  Both are related.  The first is one I mentioned in this article last week – Mark 6:31.  Jesus said to his disciples, “Come away, by yourselves, to a deserted place and rest.  For many were coming and going and they had no leisure not even to eat.”  Rest is important to Jesus, for the very fact that we cannot fulfill our purpose as his disciples without it.  The second is a verse nearly hidden amid all the frenetic activity of chapter 1 (healings, exorcisms, temptations by Satan…): “Early in the morning, while it was still very dark, Jesus got up and went away to a deserted place.  And there he began to pray (Mark 1:35).  Rest is likewise important for spiritual renewal.


At our retreat last weekend at Villa Maria, Rev. Al Keeney told a story about the importance of rest as it pertains to               perspective and clarity of vision.  A seeker of truth sought out the wise, old hermit, renowned world-wide for his wisdom.  The seeker, finding him in a hut in the farthest reaches of the wilderness, begged to know his secrets.  “I do not know how to see clearly; how to live or act; how to make my way in the world.”  The hermit silently nodded, then beckoned the          seeker to follow him.  He took a drinking glass before leaving the hut and walked slowly down to the shallow, muddy stream that rolled gently by his hut.  He dipped the glass into the brown, murky water and then returned slowly to the hut.  He motioned for the seeker to sit down opposite him, and he placed the glass of water on the ground between them.  For hours they sat like that, watching the water in the glass.  First it swirled, with all manner of dust particles in movement.  After some time, the particles stopped moving and began to settle.  Finally as the sun was going down, all of the sentiment rested on the bottom and what sat upon it was crystal, clear, transparent water.  Sometimes, the lesson learned by the seeker that day, true wisdom in life comes only by “resting” and letting the chaos swirling around us to settle.   


Sadly, rest for us may seem like a rare and prized commodity.  Many businesses are open “on the sabbath” and,                    correspondingly, their employees are expected to work.  Finding time to rest and let things settle may seem like a           tremendous luxury.  True, we have days like Labor Day, which has been a national holiday since 1894 and the result of the late 19th century labor movement’s desire to celebrate the accomplishments of factory laborers.  But even on this holiday, many businesses – such as hospitals and long-term care facilities – simply must remain open.


And yet rest remains of great emotional, spiritual, and intellectual value.  So as you read these words, consider the          following, when it comes to rest:

Assess your ability to rest.  How often during the week/month, outside of sleeping, do you take time to do             nothing but “rest”?  And are you resting enough at night (in your sleep)?  In whatever free time you have from work, are you able to rest?  Or do you tend to pack more activities into that time?


                                                        Minister’s Article Continued On Page 3….

Are you able to take a complete day off from you place of employment?  If so, how do you fill that time?  It may not be on Sunday (the                traditional sabbath),  but can you find your sabbath day at another time during the week? 

Are you able to carve out any sabbath time (time for rest) at all over the course of any given week/month?  If not, what is motivating you to fill your time with the activities that you undertake?  What would happen if you didn’t undertake them all?


As a pastor, who clearly works every sabbath day, I do  believe it is possible to find “sabbath time” at other times during the week/month.  It may not seem like it’s obvious, but the time is there.  Just think how much more clearly we would be able to see, if we took the chance to let things settle in our lives from time to time.  That is my prayer for all of us.


Blessings – Michael


Posted by Michael Karunas with

12...10111213141516171819 ... 2122