Building Projects Update

Last Sunday, Trustee Karl Hoffman shared a status update – with photos – on the HVAC installation, and other projects. He gave a visual tour of what’s been happening, including pew refinishing, solar panels, security lighting, and, of course, the new system that will heat and cool the first through fourth floors. (The fifth floor and basement levels already have updated heating/cooling systems.) You can see Karl’s full presentation here.

Karl began with responses to the questions many are asking:

Q: Will the HVAC project be completed in time for the October 24th return to in-person worship?​

A: Substantial completion (ie. system up and running) of the project is expected to be October 21st. Our contractor has reconfirmed that date this week, and we have confidence in their assessment​

Q: Are we on budget?​

A: Some Change Orders have added to the expense of the project, but we also had contingency dollars built into the budget. We expect to be in range of a couple of percent of the $3.5M total price tag.​

Then we got a virtual tour of all the work being done! Including the beautiful work done on refinishing the sanctuary pews.

And the solar panels on our roof:

And we got an idea of what some the new heating/cooling units will look like:

Want to see more? You can see Karl’s full presentation below.

From Rev. Heather Shortlidge

Dear Friends,

Join us for Zoom worship this Sunday, September 12 at 10:00am. I’m preaching the third sermon in our series, “I’ve Been Meaning to Ask,” focusing this week on the question, “What Do You Need?”

During the service, there will be a special Back to School Blessing as well as a remembrance of the 20th anniversary of September 11th. Immediately following worship, there will be an update from the Board of Trustees about the building and various construction projects. We look forward to seeing you on Sunday.

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

A poetry prayer by Rev. Sarah Are, “Here If You Need Me,” to nourish your spirit this week:

I got the call and almost
rushed right over.
I wanted to hold your hand and
tell you it would be okay.
I wanted to start a meal train.
I wanted to bring casseroles and flowers
and hope of better days.
I wanted to take my heart
out of my chest
and put it in yours
so that the ache might fade.
I wanted to speak, and fight,
with the person in charge.
I wanted to get justice,
I wanted to make it fair.
I wanted to start a campaign.
I wanted to rewind time,
to easy, better days.
There is so much that I want to do,
but it’s not about me.
It’s about you.
So tell me—
what do you need?
I am here.
I am listening.

Peace and Courage,


From Our Pastor Nominating Committee

As we shared in July, we cannot wait to introduce you to the pastor we selected as our candidate to serve as NYAPC’s next senior pastor.

NYAPC will hold a special hybrid worship service at 3pm on Sunday, September 26 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2701 Cameron Mills Road in Alexandria, to introduce you to her. Following the service, we will hold a congregational meeting to vote on her candidacy and potentially host an outdoor reception. We will also have a soft launch of our Stewardship and Capital Campaigns at this service, followed by a formal launch at our regular Zoom worship service the following Sunday, October 3.

The special service on Sunday, September 26 will be a hybrid service and we invite you to participate on Zoom, as we have been doing since March 2020, or if you are comfortable, to join us at Westminster Presbyterian Church in-person.

Masks will be required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, and we will refrain from congregational singing and communion for everyone’s health and safety. For planning purposes, please let us know if you plan to join in-person at 3pm on Sunday, September 26 by filling out this form. Registration is not required but having a head count will help us prepare!

(We are unable to hold the service in our own sanctuary because of the ongoing HVAC work in our own building, but Westminster is about 15 minutes from NYAPC, with plenty of parking. If you have any transportation issues but would like to attend in person, email and we will work to arrange carpools.)

In this era of social media and with a deeply interconnected denomination, confidentiality in this process is paramount, especially as our candidate prepares to bid farewell to a congregation where she has served faithfully for a number of years.  We will send out materials the day of the congregational meeting sharing her name, background, statement of faith, and more about how we felt God calling her to NYAPC and how she too felt called to join us in ministry, and ask everyone to maintain confidentiality and refrain from posting on social media until she has informed her current congregation of a call to NYAPC. 

If the congregation affirms our nomination of this candidate as our senior pastor, she will inform her current congregation later that day. She’ll then prepare to move to Washington, D.C. and join us as our new Senior Pastor by the first Sunday of Advent, November 28, 2021.

This timeline is increasingly the standard across our presbytery, and while we know it may feel far away, we are in good hands with Rev. Heather Shortlidge in the final months of this transitional period and we really want to allow our next senior pastor to focus on ending her current ministry with thoughtfulness and integrity before turning the page and beginning a new chapter with us at NYAPC.

We continue to be so grateful for your excitement and know you are eager to meet her. We similarly eagerly await September 26, for the opportunity to worship together and introduce you to a candidate who we believe deeply embodies everything we were looking for in our next senior pastor, including prophetic and intellectual preaching, an unshakeable commitment to social justice, empathetic and intentional congregational care, and a talent for management and administration.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to any member of the Pastor Nominating Committee or email us at

In faith and hope,

The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church Pastor Nominating Committee

Heather Choi (co-chair), Kristin Ford (co-chair), Adlai Amor, Helen Anthony, Doug House, Beth Law, Rob Neill, Matt Webster

‘I’ve Been Meaning to Ask … Where Does it Hurt?’

Dear Friends,

Our worship series “I’ve Been Meaning to Ask…” brings us this week to the question “Where does it hurt?” These days, this week, this question seems to have an overwhelming number of answers. This question acknowledges that everyone experiences pain. Worship this week will be sacred space to name places of pain in the world, to wonder about the pain of others, and to notice our own places of pain. 

From A Sanctified Art –

Our biblical stories are about Hannah struggling with infertility and a woman with hemorrhaging seeking healing – people who were misjudged and isolated in their suffering. These and contemporary stories will invite us to lament with God, ask others about how they really are, and remember that God draws close to us in our suffering. As we share communion this week, we will share our prayers with one another and remember that Jesus knows suffering and shares those wounds with us.

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

Again, we find ourselves beginning a new season that is more difficult than we hoped it would be. The evolving Delta variant and global crises are layering our days with stress and anxiety, especially as some start a new school year with new parameters and others are pivoting once again at work or with family. If you need support, you do not need to suffer alone. Please reach out to someone, such as Rev. Heather Shortlidge or me. We are here to talk with you or help you find counseling.

We continue to pray for those who are suffering from political and environmental crises around the world. If you are looking for ways to support Afghan refugees or those affected by Hurricane Ida, below is information on two trusted organizations doing this work: Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.

There are many opportunities in the next couple of weeks to be connected with one another as congregational life picks up with the program year. See upcoming events about the Youth Hike and Church Picnic this Sunday, Back-to-School Bags for all children (infants-12th grade), Sunday School for children and youth on September 12, a Young Adult Gathering on September 12, the All-Church Retreat, and other opportunities for all ages to learn and reflect. If you’re ever not sure how to get plugged in, I would be happy to think through this with you.

As you move through this week, be kind to yourself, be gentle with those around you. May you be inspired and comforted by this poem from our worship series from A Sanctified Art:

When It Hurts
By Rev. Sarah Are

I can tell that you’re hurting.
It’s the way your eyes cast down,
the way you shuffle through the house,
distractedly bumping into things.
It’s the restless sleep and
the quiet space between us which
turns us into icebergs.
We float by, silent in the night,
most everything existing
under the surface.
I can tell that you’re hurting.
It’s the way your prayers were quick
at first, and then—none at all;
your silence challenging God,
daring God to say something to the void.
I can tell that you’re hurting,
but I don’t know what that feels like.
Tell me—
where does it hurt?
I’m not offering to fix the pain,
I’m not that powerful.
However, I am offering to see it.
Show me your scars,
and I’ll show you that
you’re not alone.


Be a Peacemaker! Witness to God’s Love and Peace

Now more than ever, we are asked as peacemakers to confront hopelessness and thwart division by becoming peacemakers as congregations and individuals.

The annual PC(USA) Peace & Global Witness Offering allows us to tackle this peacemaking work and challenge in partnership with PC(USA) by empowering congregations and individuals to make a difference in our neighborhoods, nation, and world.

During the next four weeks, September 5—October 3, 2021, you will have the opportunity to think about how we might as a congregation and as individuals work to promote peace, and to prayerfully consider providing financial support for this effort through giving to the Peace & Global Witness Offering.

Our NYAPC congregation will retain 25% of the Offering for its peacemaking efforts; 25% is sent to National Capital Presbytery for its peacemaking work; and 50% of the Offering is returned to PC(USA) for its ongoing peacemaking programs, including the International Peacemaking program that brings Presbyterian peacemakers from around the world to our churches, several of whom have visited NYAPC.

Culminating on World Communion Sunday, October 3, during the four weeks of A Season of Peace, we on the Peace & Justice Committee hope you will take the opportunity and join in prayerfully supporting this year’s Peace & Global Witness Offering.

Go to NYAPC/give-now and choose Peacemaking and Global Witness from the drop down menu. We ask that you prayerfully and joyfully support peace in our world!