Dear Church Community,
I hope to see many of you this Sunday after worship for our annual Midyear Meeting. We’ll share updates on the capital campaign, racial justice audit, and church renovations, talk about fall plans in view of the Delta surge, and highlight a few volunteer opportunities we hope will call your name… As a congregational church, it’s important that we gather in community to talk about our vision and mission. So, please join us and share your thoughts!
For the Midyear Report, click here.
Last Sunday, I preached about Living the Questions, a relevant theme in this time of continued Covid uncertainty. I claimed we live our lives in the space between question and answer. Meaning, we live in the present. The truth is, we can’t change the past by regretting or transform the future by worrying. The most we can do is be present in this moment and act, as best we can, with compassion and grace now. As a church community, we come together to support and encourage one another to live, with intention, right here, right now (God’s time, Kairos) and, from this space, do the next right thing.
This Sunday, I’ll preach about What We Ask by honing in on the questions themselves. For what do you ask or pray? In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there is your heart.” I wonder if this applies to our questions and prayers as well.
Afghanistan and Haiti: My heart is filled with pain for those who want to but cannot get out of Afghanistan and for those devastated by the earthquake and tropical storm in Haiti. If you’re wondering how to help, I’m told these actions and organizations are needed:
- Continue to advocate for refugee resettlement with your representatives.
- Donate airline miles to refugees and asylum seekers who have approval to travel but cannot afford the flight: Miles4Migrants
- Buy a backpack for a refugee student through Rock Spring UCC’s efforts: Rock Spring Backpack Donation
- Support the 2500 refugees expected to settle in the greater DC area in coming weeks: DC Refugee Support
- Support World Central Kitchen and their efforts on the ground in Haiti and other places of need: World Central Kitchen
Fall Covid Response: We’d planned to celebrate a Welcome Back to the Sanctuary Service on September 12. However, with the Delta variant surging, the Church Council has decided to postpone our reopening. I know we have many different feelings about this (I do!) and that some of you are anxious to regather while others are anxious about regathering. In response, we’re working to create more outdoor, in person events for those who feel safe getting together, with the rest of our activities remaining online. Here is the Council’s 8/15 statement:
The church leadership team actively monitors public health data regarding the Delta variant and notes that DC is currently in the CDC’s “high” level category for Covid transmission in community. Given this reality and the likelihood of additional developments over the next 60 days, we recommend the following:
- Postpone our return to in person worship from September 12 to a yet-to-be-determined date.
- Postpone the resumption of in person choir rehearsals.
- Continue Sunday School classes online.
- Continue church programs/groups online.
- Hold Confirmation/COA class outdoors or online.
- Consider outdoor Vespers services at regular intervals this fall.
- Continue monthly outdoor Social Hours this fall.
- Require mask usage inside the church building (including all renters/building users).
- Prohibit the consumption of food or drink inside the church building (including all renters/building users).
The leadership team will continue to monitor Covid developments and make additional recommendation(s) to the Council as appropriate and in full consideration of the latest public health guidance.
Music and Playlists: Though our choir has had to postpone regathering, we continue to be blessed with amazing music, recorded by our music staff, members, and friends. Our wonderful Church Administrator, Meg, has created several playlists, shared below:
If you’d like to participate in our Music Program, we’ll be starting masked rehearsals of the Chimes Choir in September. Please email our Music Director, Dorothy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, a reminder that our church has a robust Congregation Care Committee and Care Team. If you need support, whether one time or ongoing, don’t hesitate to reach out to me or Le Rowell, email@example.com, the CC Committee Chair. We offer listening ears, rides to the doctor, grocery runs, meals, etc. If you’d like to give support by joining the Care Team, please let us know that. We’re here with and for you!
I close with this poem by Adrienne Rich, our lectio divina from this week’s Meditation Group:
My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
so much has been destroyed
I have to cast my lot with those
who age after age, perversely,
with no extraordinary power,
reconstitute the world.
Blessings of Peace to You and Yours,