From Rev. Heather Shortlidge

Dear Friends,

Join us this Sunday, September 13th, for online worship at 10:00am. I’m preaching the wonderful story of the Daughters of Zelophehad from Numbers 26:63-27:1-11.

This week our music features Taisha Estrada in a fun and joyous spiritual, “I Got Shoes,” also known as “I’m Gonna Shout All Over God’s Heaven.”

Other special music includes the blues favorite “Come Sunday,” by DC composer Duke Ellington. This beautiful ballad opened one of Ellington’s longest and most ambitious compositions, entitled Black, Brown, & Beige in his first Carnegie Hall concert in 1943. Originally billed by the Duke as “a parallel to the history of the Negro in America,” Mahalia Jackson later recorded and popularized it in a jazz album in 195

Join us for 10:00am Sunday Worship here
Dial-in: 1-929-436-2866 Meeting ID: 150 620 342

Sunday School begins for children and youth this Sunday with a large group gathering at 9:15am.

Adult Education kicks off on Saturday at 4:00pm with Jonathan Lacock-Nisly of Interfaith Power and Light presenting “Genesis in Reverse: Addressing Climate Grief and Our Role as Co-Creators with God.” There is a wide array of educational opportunities being offered this fall. Click here for the full list.

Your Pastoral Nominating Committee (PNC) has been hard at work, meeting every Sunday evening. Over the next several weeks, they are asking all members and staff to participate in an online congregational assessment, which will help them in their work of seeking your next pastor. Click here for an important update from the PNC.

Just a head’s up that I’ll be on vacation next Tuesday 9/15, Wednesday 9/16, and Thursday 9/17. Please reach out to Rachel Pacheco ( or 267.981.1373) with any pastoral care needs.

Finally, a poem by Toni Morrison to help us reflect upon this tragic day nineteen years ago:

The Dead of September 11

Some have God’s words; others have songs of comfort
for the bereaved. If I can pluck courage here, I would
like to speak directly to the dead–the September dead.
Those children of ancestors born in every continent
on the planet: Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas…;
born of ancestors who wore kilts, obis, saris, geles,
wide straw hats, yarmulkes, goatskin, wooden shoes,
feathers and cloths to cover their hair. But I would not say
a word until I could set aside all I know or believe about
nations, wars, leaders, the governed and ungovernable;
all I suspect about armor and entrails. First I would freshen
my tongue, abandon sentences crafted to know evil—wanton
or studied; explosive or quietly sinister; whether born of
a sated appetite or hunger; of vengeance or the simple
compulsion to stand up before falling down. I would purge
my language of hyperbole; of its eagerness to analyze
the levels of wickedness; ranking them; calculating their
higher or lower status among others of its kind.

Speaking to the broken and the dead is too difficult for
a mouth full of blood. Too holy an act for impure thoughts.
Because the dead are free, absolute; they cannot be
seduced by blitz.

To speak to you, the dead of September 11, I must not claim
false intimacy or summon an overheated heart glazed
just in time for a camera. I must be steady and I must be clear,
knowing all the time that I have nothing to say–no words
stronger than the steel that pressed you into itself; no scripture
older or more elegant than the ancient atoms you
have become.

And I have nothing to give either–except this gesture,
this thread thrown between your humanity and mine:
I want to hold you in my arms and as your soul got shot of its box of flesh to understand,
as you have done, the wit
of eternity: its gift of unhinged release tearing through
the darkness of its knell.

Peace and Courage,

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