Pastor Ellen and congregation member Laura Kisthardt (who is a student at Yale Divinity School and also our UCC delegate) recently attended a gathering for the new Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. The purpose of this movement is to unite people to work toward a just, sustainable, and participatory society. It draws on the history, vision, and unfinished work of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign. Laura sent me a write up of her impressions of the event, and I am including a condensed version here:
On Monday, February 18th, I joined Pastor Ellen at Shiloh Baptist Church for the Poor People’s Campaign Mass Meeting in Washington, DC. I knew right away that it was going to be a special evening because of the wonderful music that was playing before the program even began. After the announcements, the real fun began of singing! The worship music was led by Yara Allen from Repairers of the Breach. The spirit and energy in the room was incredible. Hundreds of people singing and clapping together. We continued singing for about thirty minutes with many songs including “Go tell the President/ We shall not be moved/ Go tell the President/ We shall not be moved/ Just like a tree planted by the water/ We shall not be moved.”
Transitioning from the singing to the speakers, Terrence Mayo reminded us of the realities faced by many poor people in DC and the 7,473 homeless people who were counted in 2017. Rev. Dr. Barber spoke to the room on live video chat. He began by explaining why we need a moral movement in this country. Rev. Dr. Barber gave many poignant reasons. One that especially struck me was when he said, “When you can buy unleaded gas, but can’t buy unleaded water – we need a moral movement!” Rev. Graylan Hagler introduced five individuals directly impacted by poverty in various ways. Each testimony was powerful and real.
Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis gave the closing remarks. She reflected back on King’s original Poor People’s Campaign and drew connections to the current campaign. She shared that the current state of our country is an emergency and we need to be willing to do whatever it takes to fix it. It was energizing to see such a large room full of people ready to take action.
If you are interested in learning more about the Poor People’s Campaign or getting involved, please check out the following website: www.poorpeoplescampaign.org.
Who We Are:
Today’s story comes from Allen Hengst, a member of our Building & Grounds Committee:
I first visited CPC as a Methodist refugee on May 31, 2009, five days after my Glover Park spiritual home at St. Luke’s UMC was swallowed by the much larger Metropolitan Memorial Church on Nebraska Avenue. On that day nearly nine years ago, glancing through CPC’s nave door window, I mistakenly thought it opened onto the altar at the front of our small sanctuary. Once inside, it felt like I’d entered a time machine and emerged during an old time worship service from the Fifties. Apparently it was just what the doctor ordered, since I’m enthusiastically participating 455 Sundays later. Aside from our pastor’s incisive sermons, my favorite part of worship service is listening to the choir sing traditional hymns — the older, the better. In 2012, I joined the Building & Grounds Committee to help with weekly gardening chores.
During the turbulent 60’s I moved to DC from Newtown, Pennsylvania, to earn a BA degree in English literature at Georgetown University. After graduating I edited a small daily newspaper, worked for Church World Service in West Africa and Central America and lived on an 1,100-acre commune in rural Kentucky. I returned to DC in 1982 to begin my career in libraries — eventually becoming the circulation manager at American University’s law library. My hobbies include biking, visiting museums and art galleries, exploring seldom seen corners of DC’s many parks and reading. I edit the “Weapons of Mass Destruction in DC” photoblog, which documents the (ongoing) 25-year cleanup of World War I-era chemical weapons that the Army clandestinely buried across Spring Valley almost hundred years ago.
Did You Know?
- Did you know that the Smithsonian recently opened an exhibit on the original Poor People’s Campaign of 1968? The exhibit is called “City of Hope: Resurrection City & the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign,” and it is at the National Museum of American History through January 2019.
- Did you know that The Washington Post recently featured an article about Friendship Place, one of the social action organizations we support? In case you missed it, here is a link to the article.
EVENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Last Supper Service Sunday, 3/4—We’ll gather in the church parlor for an intergenerational service that explores the roots of our Communion Service in the Jewish Passover Seder. This will be a service for all ages to enjoy!
One Great Hour of Sharing, 3/4—We’ll take this special collection this Sunday to support disaster relief, refugee/immigration assistance and development projects throughout the world. To donate, please put cash in the envelope, write a check to Cleveland Park Congregational UCC with “OGHS” in the memo line, or contribute via the donate button on the home page of our website, www.cpcchurch.org.
Spring Spiritual Practice, 3/6—Join Rosemary Peters for a four-week series (through 3/27), Tuesdays from 7 to 8:15 pm in the parlor, continuing online on 4/3 and 4/10. Rosemary, an experienced yoga teacher, will share a variety of breathing and relaxation practices during this Lenten Season. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
100th Anniversary Commemoration Service, 3/11—Join us for a service that celebrates our 100 years as a worshiping community! We’ll see friends old and new, hear stories from ten decades of life together, and enjoy a choral piece commissioned and donated in honor of the occasion by our Music Director, Dorothy Mora, and her mom, Georgie.
Bible Study Group, 3/11—This new group will meet once a month after worship, beginning at the beginning, with Genesis chapters one and two, and decide where to go from there. All welcome! Questions? Contact Dit Talley: DitTalley@aol.com.
Poetry Hour, 3/18—Join us from 4-5 pm in the church parlor and bring one or two poems on a “Change” theme (with 8 copies to share). Friends are welcome! Questions? email@example.com.
Many Ways to Pray Retreat, 4/6-7—Join Kris Davis, Rosemary Peters and Pastor Ellen at Bon Secours Retreat Center. Using prayer, meditation, art and nature, we’ll explore many ways to open our hearts and minds in this season of rebirth. Cost: $175 single (overnight/3 meals) or $110 double. Space is limited, so please register early: firstname.lastname@example.org.