Happy All Souls Day!
In Christian tradition, today is part of Allhallowtide, the three-day celebration of All Hallows Eve (Halloween), All Saints (or Hallows) Day, and All Souls Day. The latter is a time to remember and commemorate those who have died, particularly the loved ones in our lives. This is what we’ll do on Sunday during our Ritual of Remembrance. It will be a service for all ages, with opportunities to reflect on those who have died and light a candle in their memory. We’ll also acknowledge other losses in our lives, for beginnings and endings mark every season. I hope you can join us!
Strategic Plan Progress: Many thanks to all who participated in the 9/24 and 10/22 Strategic Plan Listening Sessions. We shared energizing reflections and feedback on what we appreciate about our church and made suggestions for areas of growth. Kris Davis summarized these sessions and welcomes additional feedback whether or not you attended. Please see below for the summary and send any comments, reflections or suggestions to email@example.com by Sunday, 11/12.
Pledge Drive: You’ve received your mailing by now, so you know we are Called Together to support our wonderful congregation and its mission to nurture love of God and love of neighbor in the world. Our 2018 budget requests an 8% increase in pledges, primarily due to the ongoing repairs and maintenance of our historic building, so we ask that you prayerfully consider your contribution to this need. As I preached last Sunday:
I encourage each of us to ask ourselves (in case you ever wondered, I pledge, too): How important is this church community to me? Do you think it matters that we’re here?
I do. I think it matters greatly that a community of faith, in this day and age, is intentionally focused on nurturing LOVE… of God and neighbor in the world. Because that’s the core of the gospel. It’s what Jesus was all about. And it’s a message our neighborhood, city, country and planet greatly need.
To make a pledge, please return your pledge card to the church. You can fulfill it by check or online using the donate button on our website. Please remember to return the pledge card as well so that we can record and include it in our budget.
Shaw Community Center: As Serena Wiltshire shared a few weeks ago, Shaw Community Center is greatly in need of financial contributions to continue its after school program for at-risk youth. If you can help, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Shaw is also requesting donations of $40 Giant Gift Cards for families to purchase Thanksgiving dinner supplies. If you can donate one (along with a greeting card wishing “Happy Thanksgiving”) please bring it to church by Sunday, 11/12. Email Ashley Holst at email@example.com with any questions.
May the grace and peace of God be with you and yours!
P.S. Whether or not you can join the Confirmation/Coming of Age Class for Saturday’s Walk to End Homelessness (details below), we hope you will make a donation to Friendship Place on our Team Page. 🙂
Walk to End Homelessness, 11/4—Join our Cleveland Park Confirmation/Coming of Age Class for a walk on the National Mall to raise money for Friendship Place. To register with the Cleveland Park Team (and/or donate to Friendship Place!) please go to: Walk to End Homelessness. We’ll meet at 10:15 am at Constitution and 20th Sts. NW (see map).
Art Exhibit & Charity Auction, 11/11—Join us from 5 to 7 pm for an Art Exhibit featuring Donald Clarke and other local artists. There will be a Silent Auction to raise funds for Joseph’s House (hospice care for those who are homeless) and we’ll enjoy a wine and cheese reception, accompanied by live music. Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org.
100th Anniversary Kick Off, 11/12—Our congregational charter is dated November 1917. We’ll kick off a year of 100th Anniversary events with a special service, followed by a Coffee Hour Conversation on the many decades of our church led by our very own historian, Richard Bambach.
Poetry Hour, 11/19—Join us from 4-5 pm in the church parlor and bring one or two poems on any theme to read (with 8 copies to share). Invite a friend! Questions? email@example.com.
Winter Warmth Drive for Friendship Place, 11/19—Begin sorting your gently used winter coats, gloves, scarves, socks, hats, and blankets. We’ll collect them along with new long underwear (L-XXL sizes preferred) on November 19 and 26. Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org.
STRATEGIC PLAN LISTENING SESSIONS SUMMARY
Welcoming/Engaging with Neighbor
We already do a lot that is welcoming, in worship, following worship, with adult ed and spiritual practice programs and internal and external communications.
Largest category of responses by far, both in affirmations and suggestions for growth.
Growth areas include: Disability access. Using technology to expand outreach. Extending personal outreach and invitations to programs and events, especially to families and to underrepresented groups. Engaging even more with the local community, the UCC and other faith communities.
Worship, Faith Development, Spiritual Growth
Much affirmation of what we are doing already: people like worship, retreats, spiritual practice programs, adult-ed programs, children’s programming, music
Growth areas include: A/V, technology, sound system upgrades. Various programming suggestions, including more retreats and programming with outside leaders.
Mission and Social Action
Again, much affirmation of our current outreach efforts, volunteer opportunities, tithing and programming.
Growth areas include: Many suggestions to serve Ward 3 shelter in some way and to engage in social justice and service with other faith communities. Other suggestions included: Greening the church. Divesting from fossil fuels, multinational investments, occupied territories. Doing more social justice advocacy work
Lots of praise for pastoral and member care, informal “looking out for one another,” social events, family-like community, opportunities to share joys, concerns, check-ins.
Suggestions for growth: Get more people engaged in member care and expand some of our member care practices, such as a written list of prayer requests. Consider hiring paid staff for building & grounds and children & youth support. Improve disability access. Create an endowment for special project. Care for the building.