As we move forward this season, I remind you that our Lenten theme is Seeking: Honest Questions for Deeper Faith. Our worship services are exploring a series of questions that began with Who will you listen to? followed by How do we begin again? and continue with Will you give me a drink?
I hope you’ll join me for worship, but either way I encourage you to consider these and the following questions in the weeks before Easter:
- To whom do I listen?
- In what areas of my life would I like to start fresh?
- Do I confuse my responsibility and God’s?
- Who/what is God for me?
You might also want to pick up some of the Daily Devotional Cards I’ve placed in the pews and entryway. These can spark new lines of questioning and reflection.
Did you know our denomination has NEVER been led by a woman?! I have many feelings about this, but the good news is that Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson has just been nominated by the UCC Board as our next UCC General Minister and President. These photos show her and Rev. John Dorhauer, our current General Minister and President. Rev. Thompson will be elected at this summer’s General Synod in Indianapolis. She spoke to the Board prior to its vote saying:
“I am the descendant of people who were brought from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Kenya, and Ghana into the Americas as enslaved people. I stand before you today because they believed and knew we are more than we were declared by those who deemed them to be less than human. I stand before you today carrying the wisdom they bore as healers, seers, spiritualists, and interpreters of dreams. I am here because my parents who did not have as much as a high school education sent me to school and believed I could be more than they could be.”
She explained that her interlocking identities as a Black woman, an African descendant, a Jamaican immigrant, a poet, and a public theologian are all central to her life, work, and ministry. I look forward to welcoming her!
Our church has been working on DC Housing Justice for the past several years. Next Saturday, March 18, from 3-5 pm, Plymouth Congregational UCC will host an in-person meeting to discuss housing justice in the Shaw Neighborhood of DC. Our church has long supported the Shaw Community Center (Serena Wiltshire currently serves as President of the Board), and we’re concerned about gentrification in that neighborhood pushing out longtime residents of color. This event will look at the DC Comprehensive Plan and ways UCC congregations can advocate for housing justice and help Shaw residents remain in their community. Please join me by registering here.
We need you to help spread the word about our great church community! We’re looking for congregation members and friends to post church events every few months on your neighborhood listserv or Nextdoor. The church will send a reminder and template for these postings, and you can modify the message however you wish. If you can help, please email Mark Turner, our Communications & Technology Chair, or Meg House, Church Administrator. For information about joining Nextdoor, click here. After joining, use these instructions to post. If we want our church to grow, we need to let others know we’re here!We also have a brand-new Instagram account. If you’re on Instagram, please follow us. We’re also on Facebook and Youtube which now stream our services live!
I hope you’ve had a chance to check out our congregation’s new Racial Justice Library in the church parlor. You’re invited to borrow any book using the simple sign-out system. Right now, there’s a small collection of history, biography, memoir, and YA/children’s books, and there will soon be more, including fiction. If you have a book you’d like to donate or one you suggest for the library, email email@example.com. Please do not just drop off books at the church. Thank you!
As part of the American University Honors Program, a group of undergraduates are conducting research about the experience of queer people within Christian spaces. Straight and cisgender folks are also invited to participate. If you’re interested, please click on this link to take a quick survey about your experiences. If you have any questions, you can reach out to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I leave you with this blessing from last Saturday’s Lenten Retreat:
a blessing for the seekers
Blessed are you who turn your face up to the sky,
who open your arms to feel the wind,
who notice all the things that we should notice.
Blessed are you who are fluent in wonder
and familiar with awe.
Blessed are you who, even now, dream dreams,
who have not lost hope,
who swear the glass is still half-full.
Blessed are you who plant trees
and sing the harmony,
who tell the children how this world can be magic.
Blessed are you who
walk and seek
and turn over every stone,
pointing out all the corners and colors
that God lives in.
Blessed are you.
– Rev. Sarah (Are) Speed
Blessings and Peace,
P.S. Daylight Savings Time begins this Sunday. Set your clock one hour ahead!