Dear Church Community,
Yesterday, over a dozen congregation members gathered for afternoon tea in the parlor as we discussed what it means to age with grace and gratitude. Spanning the ages of (almost) 60 to (almost) 90, we agreed that getting together in person is key to connecting as a community, and we hope to do so once a month. We may not always have a wild adventure (per this quote from Peter Pan), but I’m certain the conversation and connection we share will provide support and nurture each time we meet.
The United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) were among 27 Christian churches and agencies to address a letter to members of Congress last week. This letter, in the context of the ongoing war in Israel/Palestine, urges Congress to:
- Publicly call for ceasefire, de-escalation, and restraint by all sides.
- Prioritize steps to secure immediate release of hostages and ensure international protection for civilians.
- Call on all parties to abide by the laws of war, including the Geneva conventions and customary international law.
You can read the full text here.
In addition, the UCC encourages us to contact our members of Congress, urging them to support de-escalation, ceasefire, and steps toward lasting peace. Please send the same message to the White House. Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a national, grassroots organization working towards Palestinian freedom and Judaism beyond Zionism, writes: “We call on all people of conscience to stop the imminent genocide of Palestinians.” You can access the JVP action alerts here.
I recently discovered a wonderful Substack, Life is a Sacred Text by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg. I highly recommend her essays entitled, A Lot of Things Are True and A Peacemaking Lens, parts of which may show up in this Sunday’s sermon. As I say during our candle lighting each week, “may this Light illumine all places, beings, and situations, without exception, near and far.”
The Jerusalem Youth Chorus, an Israeli-Palestinian music and dialogue project, had to cancel its fall US tour due to the war. They write: Our flights were cancelled—almost all flights are cancelled—and despite our music and message being more critical now than ever, it just isn’t safe or possible for us to travel. Instead, the chorus will offer an online gathering, Voices of Peace in Times of War, this Sunday, October 22, at 1 pm ET, to musically process what is going on and point a hopeful way forward. We must keep our hearts open to one another even as they are breaking; otherwise, there is no way out of the cycle of violence. Register here for free.
While advocacy, education, and action are important, so is prayer. I share here a short prayer for peace from MSC Missions and a link to this longer Prayer for Peace in Israel and Palestine by Rose Marie Berger, recently published in Sojourners magazine.
For those who are fleeing: sanctuary
For those who are staying: safety
For those who are fighting: peace
For those whose hearts are breaking: comfort
For those who see no future: hope
Peace, Salaam, Shalom,