From Rev. Heather Shortlidge

Dear Friends,

It has been a heavy week. With 112 DC homicides this year, the city has been grappling with gun violence. However, on Sunday afternoon, this violence hit particularly close to home, when 22-year-old Jovan Hill was fatally shot. A former Community Club student, Jovan and his family were well known to many in the NYAPC community. Our prayers continue for our city, our disenfranchised neighbors, and leaders who are seeking solutions.

Join us this Sunday, August 1st, for Zoom worship at 10:00am. I’ll be preaching and we’ll celebrate the sacrament of communion. Immediately after worship, we’ll be gathering in small groups to hear feedback from last week’s Virtual Visit Sunday. We hope you’ll stay and share your experience with members of the Worship & Music Committee

Join us on Zoom at 10:00am
Dial: 1-929-436-2866 with Meeting ID: 150 620 34

Our building continues to be under construction. This week the HVAC project continues. And inside the sanctuary, the pews are being sanded and polished, so that when we return, those little white specks will no longer slough off and appear on your clothing.

Many of you have inquired about a plan for the fall, seeing that our construction completion date has been delayed until October 21st. Your Session is meeting next Tuesday to discuss and decide upon options. We appreciate your continued patience as we work to develop a clear plan for September and October, knowing that people are hungry for continued connection and community.

Finally, a prayer by Ted Loder, to help center and nourish you this week:

Now,
O Lord,
calm me into a quietness
that heals
and listens,
and molds my longings
and passions,
my wounds
and wonderings
into a more holy
and human
shape.
Amen.

Peace and Courage,

Heather

From Rev. Heather Shortlidge

This Sunday July 25th is our second Virtual Visit Sunday. Rather than worshipping at NYAPC, you are invited to visit a congregation of your choice and return next week, Sunday August 1, to share your experience. As the Worship Team continues to think through hybrid worship, a service that accommodates people onsite as well as online, we welcome your insights and learnings about what other congregations are doing. Feel free to worship at a congregation you’ve always wanted to visit or have heard good things about. If you need suggestions, here’s a list of churches with good preachers in a variety of time zones.

If you’re craving community and connection with your church family, please join us at the All Church Picnic on Sunday afternoon beginning at 3:30pm in Rock Creek Park. Bring your own food. The Nurture Committee will provide charcoal for grilling, dessert, water, and icebreakers and games for all ages. We hope to see you in person on Sunday afternoon.

Over the past week, Ward 2 Clergy have been organizing around the DC Council budget vote, inviting elected leaders to make historic investments in homelessness prevention funding. You can read more about that here.

I’ve also been in conversation and prayer with other faith leaders about the continued gun violence in our city, including the shooting that happened Thursday evening in Logan Circle, just a few blocks from the church. Please join me in praying for residents who are forced into dead end systems and cycles, for grieving families, for MPD and their role in trying to make our communities safer, and the church as we maintain a downtown presence, proclaiming love and justice.

Finally, a prayer from Jesuit Priest, James Martin, S.J., “Sad, Tired, and Angry: A Prayer in the Face of Gun Violence” to nudge you closer to God’s Spirit and call:

Almighty God,
I come before you,
once again,
after another shooting.

I am sad, God.

So I ask you
to receive into your loving care the souls of those who were killed,
to care for those who were wounded or hurt in any way,
to console the family members and friends of those who died or were wounded,
to strengthen the hands of the rescue workers, medical professionals and caregivers
I pray too for the shooter, as I must as a Christian.

All this makes me inexpressibly sad, God.
But I know that the sadness I feel is your sadness.
It is the same sadness your son expressed
when he wept over the death of
his friend Lazarus.

I know that the sadness I feel is your sadness.

I am tired, God.
I’m tired of the unwillingness to see this as an important issue.
I’m tired of those in power who work to prevent any real change.
I’m tired of those who say that gun violence can’t be reduced.

All this makes me tired.
But I know that the tiredness I feel is your tiredness.
It’s the same tiredness that Jesus felt after his own struggles against injustice
that led him to fall asleep on the boat with his disciples.

I am angry, God.
I’m angry at the seeming powerlessness of our community to prevent this.
I’m angry at the selfish financial interests who block change.
I’m angry that these shootings happen at all.

But I know that this anger is your anger
It’s the same anger Jesus felt when he overturned the tables in the Temple,
angry that anyone would be taken advantage of in any way.

Help me see in these feelings as the way that you move me to act.

Help me see in these emotions your own desire for change.
Help me see in these feelings your moving me to act.
Help me see in these reactions your pushing me to do something.

Because I know this is the way you move people to action.
And I know that you desire action.
For Jesus did not stand by while people were being hurt.
He plunged into their lives.

So help me to answer these questions:
How can I help?
How can I fight against gun violence?
How can I urge my political leaders to enact change?
How can I help people understand that this is
an issue about life?
I am sad over the loss of life,
tired of excuses for the loss of life,
and angry that we are paralyzed by the loss of life.

Turn my sadness into compassion. Turn my tiredness into advocacy.

So
Turn my sadness into compassion.
Turn my tiredness into advocacy.
Turn my paralysis into the freedom to act.

Help me
to be compassionate,
to advocate
and to act,
as your son did,
Almighty God. Amen.

May it be so,

Heather

From Rev. Heather Shortlidge

Dear Friends,

Join us for Zoom worship this Sunday, July 18th at 10:00am. I’ll be back in our virtual pulpit and preaching. Our liturgy will include a celebration of all those who have served as NYAPC deacons as well as many of the mission and ministry projects of this influential board, now gracefully retired as part of the new church governance structure.

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

Our Board of Trustees received news this week that our HVAC construction project has unfortunately been delayed by another six weeks. Our new goal for substantial completion is October 20th. Although not the news anyone was hoping for, it’s not surprising for a project of this scope and size to have delays. Be assured that church staff and leaders are working through a pivot for the months of September and October. We will keep you updated as plans come together. A special thank you to Karl Hoffman, Jim Spearman, and Elias Bazezew for their dedication to making sure this construction project is completed well.

And a poem, “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver to nourish your spirit this week:

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Peace and Courage,
Heather

Q&A – Forward in Faith, Together in Mission

What is the Forward In Faith, Together In Mission Campaign?

The Forward In Faith, Together In Mission Campaign is one campaign with two purposes and two pledges, similar to the campaign approach implemented in 2015.

  1. The first purpose is to receive commitments for our 2022 Stewardship Appeal. Each Fall as a congregation we prayerfully consider a financial commitment to support the day to day mission and ministry of NYAPC for the upcoming year. This is a one-year commitment.
  2. The second purpose is to receive a capital commitment payable over three years that is over and above our yearly stewardship commitment for 2022.

When will the Forward In Faith, Together In Mission Campaign begin?

The campaign is scheduled for this Fall and will follow our usual Stewardship Appeal timeline. The campaign will be launched on the last Sunday of September and commitments will be received through the middle of November.

What is the purpose of this Q&A?

We are initiating a pre-campaign communication program to inform you, offer opportunities for feedback, and answer questions and concerns. The hope is that when we launch the campaign, you will be grounded in an understanding of the objectives, so the campaign focus will be on growth in faith and generosity together.

How much was raised for capital improvements in 2015 and what was accomplished?

We raised $1.5M for capital improvements. The following was accomplished with the funding:

  • Renovation of the church exterior including brick pointing and cleaning, stabilization of the structure and limestone trim, new outer sanctuary windows improving energy efficiency and protecting the inner stained glass windows, and cleaning and lighting of the steeple, increasing our visibility in the neighborhood.
  • New Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) on the 5th floor, improving control and performance, and replacement of our building’s 50 year old boiler, improving efficiency/reducing consumption.
  • Roof replacement with a more energy efficient roof that has a twenty-year warranty.

What are our capital financial goals now and what do we hope to accomplish?

  1. After prayerful consideration and discernment, consensus for our 2022 Stewardship goal is that it will be set at the same level as for 2020, or $700,000. Your stewardship gifts for the church each year are the top priority because they support our day to day ministries.
  2. Our capital goal is to raise $1.2M – $1.5M, or more, over the next 3 years.

The priority capital needs are a new and energy efficient HVAC system that will serve for decades to come and renovation of the first and fifth floor restrooms. The campaign plan is to address both needs. The initial $1M received will begin to pay down the loan taken to install the HVAC system. With these committed funds in hand, the remaining debt will become more manageable, and a bathroom renovation project can then be initiated, beginning we would hope during the third year of the campaign.

How will this campaign impact our mission and ministry at NYAPC?

Your Stewardship commitment for 2022 will support our day to day ministry and ensure we stay strong and grow in our service, support, and outreach to the congregation and community. Your capital commitment will support our facility, which is a vital tool for ministry and mission. Many of our ministries and overall mission as a congregation depend on the space we provide to be impactful to our community. Your support will provide the fuel to keep our presence visible and service oriented.

Will we need to implement other capital campaigns?

Yes. Depending on what is raised in each campaign, we most likely will need additional campaigns after this one to fully pay off the HVAC loan ($3,000,000) and the work on the restrooms.

What can I do if I have questions or would like more information?

Your ongoing feedback is crucial to our collective success in this important financial effort. You have two ways to convey feedback, ask questions, and receive more information.

  • Come to our next information forum on Zoom, July 21 at 6 pm
    Go to Zoom Meeting or dial 301 715 8592 with Meeting ID: 829 7481 8976

From Rev. Rachel Pacheco

Dear Friends,

The older I get, the faster summer seems to fly by, except possibly last year. I hope you are getting the rest, sunshine, and recreation that you need this season.

This Sunday, July 11, Rev. Shanea Leonard will preach on walking in the light (John 3:19-21). Stan is back this week with some live music and we will sing traditional hymns “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and “Blessed Assurance.” After worship, there will be a Capital Campaign listening session.

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

Since it’s already in my head, here is the first verse of “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” for you to hum along with me throughout the weekend.

Come Thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love

Peace,
Rachel

Forward in Faith, Together in Mission

Pre-Campaign Information Initiative

You will soon receive a brochure in the mail about our planned Forward in Faith, Together in Mission campaign, scheduled to begin this fall. We are providing this information to inform you, offer opportunities for feedback, and answer questions and concerns.

This will be one campaign with two purposes and two pledges:

  1. The first purpose is to receive commitments for our 2022 Stewardship Appeal. Each fall we prayerfully consider a financial commitment to support the day-to-day mission and ministry of NYAPC for the upcoming year. This is a one-year commitment.
  2. The second purpose is to receive a capital commitment payable over three years that is over and above our yearly stewardship commitment for 2022. The priority capital needs are a new and energy efficient HVAC system that will serve for decades to come and renovation of the first and fifth floor restrooms. The initial $1M received will begin to pay down the loan taken to install the HVAC system. With these committed funds in hand, the remaining debt will become more manageable, and a bathroom project can then be initiated, we hope during the third year of the campaign.

The brochure mailed out on Friday, July 2, contains more information.

Your ongoing feedback is crucial to our collective success. You have two ways to convey feedback, ask questions, and receive more information:

  1. Complete a survey about this campaign. The deadline for responses is July 31.
  2. Come to one (or both!) Information Forums on Zoom:

    – Sunday, July 11 – Following Worship
    – Wednesday, July 21 – 6:00 pm (Watch for the link in the Weekly or on our Events page.)