Dear Church Community,
This Sunday we’ll hold our annual Thanksgiving Service, keeping in mind these words from the 13th century mystic, Meister Eckhart:
If the only prayer we ever say in our entire lives is THANK YOU, it will be enough.
During the service, we’ll pray, sing, and write our “thank-yous.” We’ll create gift packs for people experiencing homelessness and healing handprints for those in need of prayer. And we’ll welcome four new members! I look forward to sharing this Thanksgiving celebration with you, and I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday.
After worship this Sunday, we’ll welcome Dr. Philip Farah and Leah Harris for a presentation and discussion about the History, Conflict, and Prospects for Justice and Peace in Israel/Palestine. You can join us in person or online.
Dr. Farah is a founding member of the Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace and has addressed audiences across the US on Middle East peace and justice issues. Ms. Harris is an independent journalist, writer, and Ashkenazi Jewish-American advocate for Palestinian freedom. She works with organizations such as If Not Now, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the Virginia Coalition for Human Rights.
With both antisemitism and Islamophobia on the rise in our country and elsewhere, it’s critical that we move the dialogue away from divisiveness and polarization and toward communication and conflict resolution. How can we support the right of all people to live with peace and security without oppression or terror from any side?
I know there are no simple answers to these challenges, but we’re called to listen, to learn, and to advocate as people of faith on behalf of peace.
In God’s eyes, there is no such thing as a dead or wounded Gazan child or a dead or wounded Israeli child… there is only a child. I pray we will see through the eyes of God.
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation;
neither shall they learn war anymore.
If you haven’t yet done so, please click on this UCC action alert to ask your members of Congress to support a ceasefire. DC residents can call Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, (202) 225-8050), and ask her to sign the HR 786 Ceasefire Now Resolution.
Last but not least… this week I turned sixty, which was a little weird but mostly wonderful. I’ve spent some time thinking about all the things for which I’m grateful, which is a nice side benefit of being born near Thanksgiving. Notably, I feel a sense of freedom I hope will continue to grow.
I want to say “thank you” to everyone in your 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, for showing me how awesome it can be to (I’m going to say it) GROW OLD! Here’s to aging, as we say in our new group, “gracefully and gratefully.”
With gratitude and love for each of you, whatever your age,
P.S. If you’d like to help a Shaw Community Center family afford a nice Thanksgiving meal, please bring a $25 or $40 grocery gift card to church THIS Sunday You can put it in the offertory plate during the service or drop it through the mail slot in the sanctuary door.
If you’d like to donate new or newly cleaned winter coats or cold weather clothing to the Downtown Day Service Center in DC, please email me TODAY at firstname.lastname@example.org. Their winter clothing distribution is scheduled for this Saturday, Nov 18, and I can arrange a pickup for your donations beforehand.