As regular readers of these memos know, I have been asking members of our church to contribute a paragraph or two about how they came to CPC and what has kept them coming back. A month or two ago, I asked David Grimsted if he would participate. David agreed, and I immediately told him he was welcome to send me his contribution in verse form. You see, David and I both participate in the monthly Poetry Group, and David has shared a number of his own poems at these gatherings. I didn’t really expect him to follow through on this suggestion, but he did!
David has attended CPC for a number of years, but he did not become an “official” member of the church until May 20. On that day, as part of the new member ceremony, Pastor Ellen shared a somewhat more traditional biographical sketch that David wrote for the occasion. Here is David’s story, in his own words, in both prose and poetry form. Thanks David!
(By the way, I am looking for more stories to include. I am going to put this project on hold for the summer but hope to resume it in the fall. I would love to have a stockpile of stories to draw on at that time, so please take advantage of the summer slowdown to compose your story and send it to me before September. I would love to highlight the creativity of our congregation by including additional nontraditional offerings such as poems, photos, pictures of paintings, sculptures, etc.)
Who We Are:
Here is David’s prose version:
David was born in rural Wisconsin, the first of nine children. He was the only child in the first grade at the local two-room school, but his teacher Miss Johnson was the most beautiful person he ever saw, so he decided he’d never leave school. He managed this by becoming a professor and teaching college students for fifty years, stressing history’s comforting lesson: many things are awful now, but they always have been. It was always fun —for him, anyway— as was his research (it allowed him to have close friends from 150+ years ago). He’s always liked work, curiosity, learning things (to make up for what he’s forgotten), keeping surprised by joy, and making sense and nonsense of life’s weirdness. He keeps fighting his myriad sins and idiocies and has almost stopped swearing at our nation’s brassy Trumpeteers. That’s the essence, though there have been schools, books, wives, children, pets, hassles—all of them raising him in the ways he would grow.
And here is the poem:
My GPS Journey to 34th and Lowell
by David Grimsted
Having just finished reading the Koran,
I decided I should more closely explore
The holy book that’s touched my life more
Pondering the ways God’s created by man.
I liked the aging explorers in that class
Stumbling over the treacherous terrain of text
That leaves one both awed and perplexed
In ways that no secular spiel can surpass.
It begins with God creating this world twice,
Once to prove His encompassing creative powers,
Twice to make clear that, for life’s bleak, the fault’s ours.
We taste good and evil, and learn naked’s not nice.
So comes men’s burdens, women’s bearings, Death—
All life’s joys and miseries inhaled with first breath.
Eden closed, at our church we always wear clothes,
Though shoes, shorts, and t-shirts can answer for that
(But to prove “openness”, you’ll find a tie or two and one hat.)
That we’re a chosen people no one could suppose:
We’d not raise Cain for murder to be King of Nod,
Nor on God’s whim slaughter a young loving lad,
Nor dress up real hairy to con dying dad.
Yet we retain honest liking for a likable God.
Most neighbors we like, we don’t kill our foes—
Not up to Christ’s rules, but decent enough,
Thinking most differences good and such kindly stuff,
And doing a bit for deep sufferers’ woes.
The music is great, good the talk and the laughter.
We dine on rich sermons and eat dessert after.
No chosen people, but ones honestly choosing
A hoped holy way, with hands out to the losing.
A good choosing people, if not clearly chosen,
With hearts, minds and kindness seldom quite frozen.
Did You Know:
- Did you know that DC’s Pride Festival is happening this Sunday on Pennsylvania Ave. between 3rd St. and 7th St.? It starts at noon and lasts into the evening. Several of our members will be there representing our church and the UCC. Please drop by the UCC Open and Affirming booth and say hello.
- Did you know that we are holding our Second Annual Social Documentary Film Series this summer? The first film in the series is Before the Flood, which will be shown on June 20. We hope to see you there. For more information, please check out the announcements below.
EVENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
DC Pride Festival, 6/10—Come celebrate the LGBTQ community and visit our UCC Open and Affirming booth after worship. The festival is located on Pennsylvania Avenue, between 7th and 3rd Streets, NW.
Parents of Young Children, 6/10—Please join Pastor Ellen for lunch after worship. Childcare provided!
Bible Study, 6/10—This monthly group will meet after Coffee Hour to discuss Genesis, chapters 12-20. All are welcome. firstname.lastname@example.org.
100th Anniversary 60s & 70s Service, 6/17—Join us next Sunday for a service celebrating these groovy decades, followed by a Coffee Hour lunch and mission activity. We’ll also celebrate Father’s Day and two baptisms!
Summer Social Documentary Series, 6/20—We’ll kick off this series with Before the Flood, a National Geographic documentary focusing on climate change and its effects on communities around the world (www.beforetheflood.com). Join us at 7 pm for the movie followed by a discussion. Admission is free, with donations going to the environmental group, Interfaith Power and Light.
Poor People’s Campaign Rally, 6/23—Join us on the National Mall at 10 am between 7th and 9th Streets for words of inspiration, spirit-filled music and the chance to connect and strategize with advocates from around the country. If you plan to attend, please tell Lisa Jenkins or Pastor Ellen, so we can RSVP to the UCC. Thanks!
Youth Mission Trip, 7/9-7/14—Five of our teens and their friends will participate with Christ Congregational UCC in a work project to help with the ongoing clean up after Super Storm Sandy. Next summer (2019) we’re planning a trip to Puerto Rico to help with the ongoing clean up after Hurricane Maria. If interested in the 2019 trip, please contact Pastor Ellen now, as we’ll begin planning this summer: email@example.com.