Do you like staycations? I love them and have spent a lot of time “staycationing” over the years. When one of my ESL students recently asked me to explain what a staycation is, I decided that this was the perfect excuse to ditch part of the day’s lesson plan and invite everyone to share their staycation stories. My story involved spending summer weekends in New York. Instead of joining the throngs leaving the city every Friday, I stayed in town and spent my weekends visiting museums, relaxing in Central Park, and attending free outdoor concerts.
Since moving to DC, I have continued to enjoy “staycationing.” As the dog days of summer approach, I like the way DC transforms into a slightly more laid-back version of its usual self. Although I don’t necessarily enjoy the heat and humidity, I do enjoy finding empty seats on Metro, attending less crowded yoga classes, exploring relatively uncrowded museums, and getting new book releases from the library without having to wait for months.
Summer also brings changes at our church. Most regular gatherings (book group, poetry group, choir practice, Sunday school, etc.) are suspended. Many in our congregation are out of town for at least part if not all of the summer, which means that we have fewer people attending Sunday services. While there is nothing quite like the energy of a full house on a Sunday morning, I have come to appreciate, just as much, the quieter, more contemplative atmosphere that takes over the church during July and August.
For the past two weeks, we have spent time contemplating the Book of Job with our July Preaching Fellow, Tonetta Landis-Aina. We will continue our exploration of Job over the next few weeks. If you are still in town, please join us. You can also read her first two sermons on our website. And, wherever you are, I hope you are enjoying summer as much as I am.
P.S. We had a good turnout last night for Returning Citizens, the second film in our Summer Documentary Film Series. Thanks to everyone who attended, especially those who shared their personal stories. Thanks also to Tanisha Murden from the W.I.R.E (Women Involved in Reentry Efforts) for moderating the lively and informative discussion after the film and to Emily Parker Hammill for organizing the event. Here are a few pictures of last night’s attendees and participants. Mark your calendars for 3 AM Girls, 7 pm on August 15 (see details below).
EVENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Coffee Hour Conversation, 7/22—Our summer preaching fellow, Tonetta Landis-Aina, will lead a discussion related to her sermon series, “Sassy Love, Sacred Faith,” based on the book of Job. We’ll discuss the question: If God is all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful, how can such gratuitous evil exist? We’ll talk about the ways the biblical authors answer this question and then move into a discussion of how the question shapes our faith journeys and service to the world. Tonetta will continue preaching through August 5, while Pastor Ellen is on vacation. Tonetta graduated from Wesley Seminary and has served in ministry positions at Baptist and Methodist churches and as a chaplain intern at the National Institutes of Health. You can read her July 8 and 15 sermons at this link.
Dick Jorgensen Memorial Fund—We invite you to honor this long time member who died May 20 in Santa Barbara, California. Dick loved our church and its building and grounds, took great interest in any renovations, and helped keep them in period “arts-and-crafts” style. Donations will support renovation of the church library and can be made by check payable to Cleveland Park Congregational UCC, with “Jorgensen” in the memo line. You may also donate via our website, using Vanco or Paypal. Please include “Jorgensen” in the appropriate box when making an online donation.
Cabinet Meeting, 8/12—The bi-monthly meeting of our church’s lay leadership will take place after worship this Sunday in the library. All are welcome.
3 AM Girls: Summer Social Documentary Series, 8/15—3 AM Girls is part of the documentary television series, “Our America,” narrated by Lisa Ling. She goes undercover with a former teenage sex worker to witness the “rules of the streets” and see if they can identify young, missing girls. This film explores the shadowy, dangerous and tragic world of underage sex trafficking here in DC. www.oprah.com. Movie starts at 7 pm. Admission is free with donations going to Courtney’s House.
Mid-Year Congregational Lunch & Meeting, 8/26—Join Pastor Ellen, the Cabinet and other Lay Leaders for a festive lunch and mid-year check in.
Pastor’s Vacation—Pastor Ellen is on vacation through 8/5, but available in case of a pastoral emergency. For other concerns, contact Church Administrator Meg House: email@example.com.