From Rev. Heather Shortlidge

Dear Friends,

Much has shifted following last week’s CDC updated guidance on masking and distancing. As we begin to re-emerge from fifteen months of restrictions, I look forward to a more relaxed summer. Worship will still continue online, however, there will be several opportunities to physically gather together throughout the summer months. Stay tuned for updated events and a summary of the recent congregational survey.

For the time being, masks will still be required inside the church. While it is true that many people are getting vaccinated, it is also true that many are not – including children and those at risk, all of whom are important parts of our community. Continuing to wear a mask indoors is a way we can honor and respect the community as a whole.

Currently, our Facilities Staff is working inside the building, managing the HVAC construction project and readying the 5th floor for our tenant, the McClendon Center, to return in a couple of weeks. The rest of the NYAPC church staff, including your pastors, continue to work remotely with occasional trips to the building.

In worship this Sunday May 23rd, we’ll celebrate Pentecost, the day the church celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit, which came with wind and flame, empowering the disciples to proclaim the good news of the risen Lord to all people. Worshippers are encouraged to wear red as part of Sunday’s celebration. Guest preacher, Rev. Larissa Kwong Abazia, currently serves as the pastor at Hillsborough Presbyterian Church in New Jersey and works as a consultant with Vandersall Collective. Previously she served as the Vice Moderator of the 221st General Assembly. This Sunday’s worship is one of our simplified summer services, still live on Zoom, but with a more streamlined liturgy, recorded guest preacher, and a few less bells and whistles.

Join us on Zoom at 10:00am
Dial: 1-929-436-2866 with Meeting ID: 150 620 342

Finally, a Pentecost blessing from Jan Richardson to nourish your spirit this week:

This Grace That Scorches Us
A Blessing for Pentecost Day

Here’s one thing
you must understand
about this blessing:
it is not
for you alone.

It is stubborn
about this.
Do not even try
to lay hold of it
if you are by yourself,
thinking you can carry it
on your own.

To bear this blessing,
you must first take yourself
to a place where everyone
does not look like you
or think like you,
a place where they do not
believe precisely as you believe,
where their thoughts
and ideas and gestures
are not exact echoes
of your own.

Bring your sorrow.
Bring your grief.
Bring your fear.
Bring your weariness,
your pain,
your disgust at how broken
the world is,
how fractured,
how fragmented
by its fighting,
its wars,
its hungers,
its penchant for power,
its ceaseless repetition
of the history it refuses
to rise above.

I will not tell you
this blessing will fix all that.

But in the place
where you have gathered,
wait.
Watch.
Listen.
Lay aside your inability
to be surprised,
your resistance to what you
do not understand.
See then whether this blessing
turns to flame on your tongue,
sets you to speaking
what you cannot fathom

or opens your ear
to a language
beyond your imagining
that comes as a knowing
in your bones,
a clarity
in your heart
that tells you

this is the reason
we were made:
for this ache
that finally opens us,

for this struggle,
this grace
that scorches us
toward one another
and into
the blazing day.

—Jan Richardson
from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons

Peace and Courage,

Heather

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