As we begin this forty-day season, what are you called to do?
Last weekend LaTia Barrett and I participated in a Racial Justice Facilitator Training with thirty other UCC congregation members from the Central Atlantic Conference. To be honest, it wasn’t quite what we’d expected (or hoped), but it did provide an opportunity to think carefully about where our congregation is and what work lies ahead. At the moment, I’m letting these thoughts percolate, but I’ll soon meet with LaTia and talk with the Adult Programs and Mission & Social Action Committees. If you feel called to work on racial justice, please contact me. This work is as critical now as it’s ever been for our country and culture. For a useful read, see: Ten Myths White People Believe About Racism.
Asylum Seekers Concert: Thank you to everyone who participated in, attended, and/or contributed to this wonderful 2/23 event! We listened to great music, met new friends, learned more about the issues faced by asylum seekers, and raised over $5000 for ASAP. If you haven’t had a chance to donate (or want more info), go to: www.asylumprojectdc.org.
Next Steps with ASAP: At the 2/24 Coffee Hour Conversation with staff and clients, we learned ASAP relies heavily on volunteers, who assist clients with resume writing, interview practice, job searches, and other skills needed to navigate the American employment system (and day to day life). If you feel called to volunteer (any amount of time), please fill out this ASAP Volunteer Form: it lets you know what help they need.
Asylum Seeker Fellowship: On 2/24 we also discussed the possibility of inviting ASAP clients to regular church events and/or hosting an ASAP Coffee & Conversation once a month. The clients with whom we conversed were excited about being invited to any event. Asylum seekers are often quite isolated and truly need opportunities to interact with others: in short, to have their humanity affirmed. If you feel called to help host or support a church event that includes ASAP clients, please let me know.
As we enter this Season of Lent, we are called to care for our siblings of every color, culture, and creed—whoever they are, wherever they were born. In these words from Isaiah, 58:6-9.
Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Peace and Blessings,
P.S. Remember to set your clocks forward Saturday night: Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday!
Lenten Retreat: Slow Down, 3/9—Join Pastor Ellen from 1-5:00 pm for an afternoon of slowing down, soul searching, and spiritual reflection. Please wear comfortable clothing, bring a yoga mat and/or blanket and pillow, and a journal and pen.
Bible Study Group 3/10—We’ll meet after coffee hour to continue study of the book of Exodus. All are welcome! For more information and specific readings: Dit Talley at email@example.com.
Cabinet Meeting & Lay Leader Orientation, 3/10—We’ll gather in the library for our bi-monthly meeting of the church’s lay leaders. This month’s gathering will include lunch and a lay leader orientation. Please join us!
Poetry Hour, 3/17—Join us from 4-5 pm and bring one or two poems on any theme (with 8 copies to share). Friends are welcome! Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org
Dinner and a Movie, 3/22—Kumail and Emily love each other. Their families don’t know how to feel. In The Big Sick (2017 comedy), they all struggle with cultural and religious differences, illness, and family dynamics. Join us for a light dinner at 6:30 and film at 7 pm. RSVP by 3/20 to Dan Sack: email@example.com.
Coffee Hour Conversation, Aging for All Ages, 3/24—Carol Kaplun, Care Manager at Iona Senior Services, will lead a discussion about decisions to be made as we age and/or care for aging loved ones. Come with questions and real-life scenarios; Carol will offer answers, resources, and next steps.
Coffee Hour Conversation, Capital Campaign: Your Input Desired! 3/31—As our congregation’s Board of Trustees begins planning a Capital Campaign, they want YOUR input! Please join us for a conversation about nuts/bolts, leaky pipes, and hopes/dreams.
Maundy Thursday Service, 4/18—Join us for a 7:00 pm service of Communion and Tenebrae (Latin for “shadows”). This hauntingly beautiful Holy Week Service celebrates Jesus’s Last Supper & New Commandment and commemorates his death at Calvary. If you’d like to read one of the parts in the Passion Story, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good Friday Meditation, 4/19—Come between 1 and 3:30 pm for a time of silent meditation and gospel reflection. At 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30, and 3 pm Pastor Ellen will read from the gospels and provide prompts for reflection. We’ll meditate in silence between readings.
Easter Sunday, 4/21—Join us for a 10:30 am service of Joyful Alleluias! The choir will perform special music, children and youth will participate in a celebratory Sunday School and Easter Egg Hunt, and we’ll all enjoy a festive Coffee Hour.