From Rev. Heather Shortlidge

Dear Friends,

As the world remains unsettled, I hope and pray you are finding ways to tend to yourself in body, mind, and spirit. Please reach out to Pastor Rachel or me, if you would like conversation, care, or prayer. We are here to listen with you, to be a safe space for lament, and to hold space for questions and complications. Whatever you are feeling this week, please know that you are not alone.

Sunday morning is shaping up to be a joyful gathering of two congregations as we worship with Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church. We will gather at 10:00am via Zoom to remember that God is making all things new, even now, and to keep learning how to love our neighbors in new and greater ways.

Brown’s pastor, Rev. Andrew Foster Connors, and I will be preaching a dialogue sermon from the lectionary text, Matthew 25:1-13, the Gospel story of the ten bridesmaids and their oil lamps. As I’ve mentioned before, Andrew is one of the best preachers I know, so you are in for a real treat. Our combined choirs have also recorded John Rutter’s eloquent Gaelic Blessing for our anthem. And Pastor Rachel and Pastor Michele Ward (from BMPA) have written exquisite liturgy to help make sense of this week and our world. Please join us on Sunday morning and invite others to as well.

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

Immediately following worship, Brown Memorial is hosting an adult education class, “Democracy and Our Faith” to help us learn more about our representative democracy and to get an update on what this means for the current national election. All are welcome to remain on Zoom following worship and participate. This is in addition to NYAPC’s class, Faith and the Election, on Saturday at 4 pm with Mike McCurry, director of Wesley Seminary’s Center for Public Theology and former press secretary for President Bill Clinton.

Many thanks to our Protest Hospitality Team and all their work to help make the church ready for post-election hospitality. Downtown has been incredibly quiet, with roving street closures and most of our neighbors boarded up. At the moment, it is a sea of blank plywood. We’re grateful that things have remained peaceful and will continue to make daily decisions about whether to be open. A special thank you to all who have dropped off or shipped donations. If they are not used this week, they will be saved for the inauguration and our Radcliffe Room guests.

Finally, the Trustees have been diligently working to keep our building in good shape, even as we continue to gather and hold meetings online. The Downtown Day Services Center is currently open during the week for appointment-based services, however, none of our other tenants have elected to return yet. The Radcliffe Ministry continues to serve lunch and provide fresh clothing items for neighbors in need on Sundays from 11 am to 1 pm. And in order to continue to care for our complex and aging building, a new full-time Facility Manager position was approved by the Session this fall. The Personnel Committee is currently interviewing candidates and hope to have someone in place by early December. We’re continually grateful for John O’Brien, Interim Facility Manager, who stepped in this year to help us manage and evaluate best practices. If you need to access to the church building, arrangements can be made by calling John at (202) 725-7779.

And a prayer by John Philip Newell to nourish you this week:

When it seemed there was no hope you showed us new ways forward, O God.
When it seemed there were only endings you showed us new beginnings.
Strengthen our belief in the power of life over death.
Strengthen our belief in the force of truth over falsehood
that we may be bearers of hope in the world,
that we may be bearers of hope.

Peace and Courage,


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