Today, I am writing in my role as Moderator and also as someone worried about the level of gun violence in this country. That is why I joined with other congregation members to attend last Saturday’s March for Our Lives. I am including a picture of some of our participants as well as a picture of one of my favorite signs from the march.
Over the past year, I have marched on behalf of women and the environment. I suspect that my marching days are not over given the inequality and social justice issues that continue to plague our country. In fact, I will be marching again early next month. More on that later. Back to the most recent march.
It was energizing to see the huge numbers of people who showed up to march here in DC and around the world and to witness the commitment and dedication of the organizers and participants. It was inspiring to see the youth of our country taking the lead on such an important issue and to hear from a diverse group of participants sharing their perspectives and experiences. And it was heartbreaking to hear the personal stories of lives lost and lives disrupted. But, given all the emotions the event raised, perhaps the most surprising one for me was the sense of hope I felt at the end of the event. Everywhere I looked, I saw people with clipboards offering to help people register to vote and signs saying “this is a movement, not a moment.” I overheard numerous conversations about the need to continue the work that has begun and various ideas on how to move the work forward. And I was left with hope that this really is the beginning of a change in our country.
As I mentioned above, I plan to march again and attend the ACT to End Racism Rally on the National Mall on April 4. This is the launch of a multi-year initiative sponsored by the National Council of Churches and supporting organizations (of which the UCC is one) to address racism in our country. The rally coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Although this is a school and work day, I hope that some of you will be able to join me in support of this important cause. The UCC will have a tent on the mall between 12th St. and 14th St. Also, First Congregational UCC will be open during the rally and will be hosting a post-rally gathering at the church.
Who We Are:
Today’s story comes from Ellen Campbell Pskowski, one of our Deacons and our Clerk.
Ellen Campbell Pskowski: Faith communities have always been important to me—Quaker, Unitarian and now CPUCC. My earliest childhood days were on the Haverford campus. Later we moved to Rockville; I attended Cedar Lane Unitarian and Sandy Spring Friends during the years of the Civil Rights movement and Vietnam war. After college I lived for a time in a Quaker collective in London, moving to Boston where I met my husband Harold, and worked in a prison legal assistance project before attending social work school. We relocated to Rockville to be near my parents after the first of our three children was born. Rockville Unitarian became our church home, and I worked as a psychotherapist at the Jewish Social Service Agency for many years. Swimming, reading, and writing are sustaining practices. For over fifteen years I have been writing and publishing fiction (please check out my website www.ellencampbell.net). Kids launched, Harold and I moved to Cleveland Park in March 2015. Soon after, my beloved aunt Eleanor C. Schlaretzki (a founding member of the Bethesda UCC) died. Her spirit surely led me to CPUCC for the 2015 Christmas pageant. The beautiful sanctuary, the glorious music, the welcoming gathering in the warm parlor—I knew immediately I was home.
Did You Know:
- Did you know that Easter is only a few days away and that, for the first time since 1956, it falls on April 1? Since the founding of our church in 1918, Easter has fallen on April 1 only four other times—1923, 1934, 1945, and 1956. Interestingly, the first of these dates (4/1/1923) was the day of the first service celebrated in our current building.
- Did you know that Ela Hefler is moving to Nairobi, Kenya in a few months? In August, she will be starting a new job with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in the Somalia national office.
EVENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Maundy Thursday Service, 3/29—Join us for a 7:00 pm service of Communion & Tenebrae (Latin for “shadows”). This Holy Week Service celebrates Jesus’s Last Supper and new commandment (Love One Another) with a participatory reading of the Passion Story.
Good Friday Vigil, 3/30—We’ll gather at 1:00 pm for a vigil that includes meditation to the powerful tones of a gong at 1, 2 and 3 pm. Scripture readings and periods of silent meditation will take place in between. You are welcome to participate in any or all of the vigil.
Easter Sunday, 4/1—Join us for a 10:30 am service of Joyful Alleluias on this special day! The choir will perform Mozart’s Alleluia, and our children and youth will enjoy a celebratory Sunday School program and Easter Egg Hunt followed by a festive Coffee Hour.
Unite to End Racism Rally, 4/4—On the 50th anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, the National Council of Churches (NCC) is gathering people from across the country to remember the past, recognize King’s work, and launch a comprehensive effort to end racism. The UCC will be actively engaged in this multi-year initiative. April 4 begins with a silent prayer walk to the mall, followed by an interfaith prayer service before the rally. April 5 is a lobby day. For more information: Rally to End Racism.
St. Paul’s Food Pantry, 4/7—We need six volunteers to serve from 9 am-Noon at St. Paul’s Food Pantry, located at 4900 Connecticut Ave, www.stpaulslutherandc.org. Please email Jennifer: email@example.com.
Coffee Hour Conversation, How We Worship, 4/8—Dan Sack will lead us in the second of two discussions about the theology and experiences that shape how we worship. In this conversation, we’ll talk about the sacraments: baptism and communion. There are multiple understandings of both in the Christian tradition. What has been your experience? What do these rituals mean to you? Which ways of celebrating in our church and other churches have you liked/not liked?
CPC Through the Decades: The 40s and 50s, 4/15—Join us for worship as we continue to celebrate our 100th Anniversary year. Come in period costume or bring personal artifacts from these decades, then browse the “museum table” during coffee hour.
Poetry Hour, 4/15—Join us from 4-5 pm in the church parlor and bring one or two poems on a Free for All theme (with 8 copies to share). Friends are welcome! Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org