From Our Moderator

Evangelism? Part I

At a recent meeting, our crackerjack Communications Committee strategized a bit about reaching out to our community, particularly with the goal of attracting potential members. That led to a discussion of — shudder — evangelism, often a dirty word for churches like ours. It conjures up images of threats of hell, social pressure, conservative politics, and fervent altar calls, the kinds of things many of us came to the UCC to avoid. We are not, we believe, that kind of church.

But I hope we can overcome our natural diffidence and talk a bit about evangelism, in a way that fits who we are as individuals and as a congregation. We are all at Cleveland Park UCC because we have found something good here, something that meets our needs and speaks to our soul. We have a warm fellowship, thoughtful programs, and a clear sense of mission. We should want to share that with people we think might have the same needs.

I am horrible at that kind of thing, though. I am very bad at saying to anyone, friend or a stranger, “You need what I am offering you.” I am an analyst rather than an advocate. That’s why I am an academic instead of a salesperson or lawyer. I am also, frankly, a coward. I am bad at talking about intimate things with strangers, and sometimes even with close friends. I suspect all of this is true for many of us.

But I still think it would be great if we could talk about ways to do evangelism in a Cleveland Park-like way. This should be a job for all of us, not just Ellen, or the Communications Committee, or the New Member Committee. We might do a coffee hour discussion on these issues.

But who should we be reaching out to, and how? That’s a question for another week. In the meantime, please check out the upcoming coffee hour discussions, on migration and on supporting returned soldiers. They will be interesting and help us think and talk about our mission.



Mike Durst
Barb Goff
Dinora Padrino
Ellen Pskowski
Dan Sack
Jennifer Singleterry
Dawn Straitz
Sybil Tasker
Harold Walbert
AJ Maner
Mary Abernethy
Emily Conforto


Coffee Hour Conversation: Refugees, 2/19—Join Rev. Sharon Stanley-Rea, Director of Refugee & Immigration Ministries, Disciples of Christ, for a discussion about current national policy and ecumenical responses.  She’ll provide us with an overview of the situation and offer ways that we, as individuals and as a congregation, can make a difference.
Many Ways to Pray, thru 2/28—Join fellow spiritual seekers Tuesdays from 7 to 8:15 pm in the parlor as we continue our exploration of the many forms of contemplative prayer.  All are welcome!
Coffee Hour Conversation: Armor Down, 2/26—Ben King, Veteran of the Iraq War and founder of Armor Down and The Mindful Memorial Day Foundation, will describe how he is helping himself and others to “armor down” from their war experience, while bringing together veterans and civilians to mindfully honor the fallen.  Friendship Place will update us on their Veterans Program.  And, Rosemary Peters will conclude with a short period of mindful meditation to the deep vibrations of the gong.
Ash Wednesday Service, 3/1—On this first day of the Lenten Season, we’ll gather at 6:30 pm in the parlor for a short and meaningful Service of Ashes that honors both our life and our mortality.
Farewell Luncheon for Bob Abernethy, 3/5—Join us for a Potluck (bring main dish, salad or dessert) after worship as we celebrate Bob’s many years with our congregation and wish him Godspeed as he retires and moves to New Hampshire.  RSVP: Rosemary Peters,