I’m glad to be back after a wonderful month of family gatherings, spiritual retreat, reading and reflection (along with dog walking, son wrangling and housekeeping!). I do kind of wonder if DC now has a monsoon season. If so, it won’t last for three months, will it?
Happily, my time at the Wild Goose Festival in Hot Springs, NC was mostly dry (though very hot). I hereby invite all of you to attend next year, because it’s an incredible three days of faith-inspired justice, worship, music, art and great people. Plus, it’s on the banks of the French Broad River, minutes from the Appalachian Trail! As you can imagine, this comes close to my idea of paradise.
I was also grateful to participate in my second retreat with the wonderful Edwina Gately at Bon Secours. Edwina is a progressive Catholic lay minister who works with recovering prostitutes and drug addicts. Some of you may remember the stories I told after my retreat with her two years ago, and I may tell more this Sunday. Edwina lives the gospel: radical, hospitable, humble, just, authentic… and humorous! “Did you hear the one about…?”
As I reflect on the past couple of years, I feel good about the trajectory of our church. We’re not only doing a lot of important work, but we’re also committed to the journey. We’re learning to listen (to God and one another), take a breath and step back before we act, and make sure we move forward from a place of commitment and connection. This isn’t easy, and it takes practice, but I believe we have the faith to keep at it, checking in with one another to ensure that, as a community, we’re responding to God’s call.
When I returned from sabbatical in 2016, there were three questions I encouraged us to ask ourselves (and one another) when making any decision. They were: 1) Is it joyful? 2) Is it effective? 3) Is it sustainable? And, I suggested that unless we can say yes to all three, the thing may not be “ours” to do. It may belong to someone else, it may belong to God, and/or it may not be the right time for it to happen at all.
I think these are still the right questions. And, as we continue making plans for the coming church year, I’m going to remind us (myself and you) to take a step back, remember to breathe, and ask them. There’s so much in this world that needs to be done (especially now), and we’ll either explode (burn ourselves out trying to do it all) or implode (get so overwhelmed we retreat and do nothing) if we try to do that which is not “ours” (i.e. what God calls us to do).
So, let’s rest and breathe and regroup and reconnect. Then listen for what God is calling our congregation to do. Then commit. And act. And rest again… (repeat).
With love and blessing,
EVENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Communion Sunday, 8/12— This Sunday we’ll share the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. We typically celebrate Communion on the first Sunday of the month.
Cabinet Meeting, 8/12—We’ll meet after worship in the library for this bi- monthly meeting of our church’s lay leadership. All are welcome!
“3AM Girls” and “Critical Missing:” Summer Documentary Series, 8/15— Join us at 7 pm to view and discuss these two short films. The first explores the shadowy and tragic world of underage sex trafficking in DC. The second chronicles the life events of 13-year-old Nisha just days before she’s abducted in DC. Cynthia Dorsey, producer of “Critical Missing,” will facilitate our discussion. Admission is free, with donations encouraged for Safe Shores, an organization that works with and advocates for child and adolescent survivors of violence and trauma.
Midyear Congregational Un-Meeting, 8/26—We’ll meet after worship for a light lunch and midyear conversation about the life and work of our church. We’ll reflect on the strategic plan, hear from our lay leaders, and take a look at the events and activities coming up this year. Please bring your questions and suggestions!
Sunday School Planning & Teacher Orientation, 9/8—The Children & Youth Committee will gather at 9:30 am, followed by an orientation for all teaching assistants at 11 am. This year, we need one adult volunteer each Sunday to assist our Lead Teacher, Kimberly. She does all the planning; you just show up and assist! If you can help, please email Mirabelle: email@example.com.
Welcome Back Sunday, 9/9—After a summer of vacations and time away, we’ll regather for a service celebrating our congregation and the year to come. This will be an intergenerational service designed for all ages (Sunday School reconvenes on 9/16). After worship, the Deacons will serve a traditional Harvest Lunch to everyone.
Yoga at CPC Church this Fall. The Cleveland-Woodley Park Village invites members and friends of Cleveland Park Church to its yoga classes for seniors, offered on Monday mornings in the Parlor beginning Monday, 9/10 at 10 am. Fee per class is $10, payable at each class. The Village offers services and community events to seniors in the Cleveland and Woodley Park neighborhoods. For more information, firstname.lastname@example.org