Warming Center Opening at NYAPC

by Jim Spearman

On behalf of the Trustees, I’m delighted to share that, in keeping with our strategic plan core value of radical hospitality, we’ve agreed to host a new Warming Center in the Radcliffe Room. 

The Warming Center is intended to provide respite from cold winter weather for a maximum of 30 people at one time.  It will operate Monday to Friday, 8:30-5:00pm, Monday through Friday, starting this weekend and ending 31 March 2020. 

The Warming Center is a project of the Downtown Day Services Center, and it is part of a citywide effort by the Mayor to be announced this Friday.  It will be managed by Day Services Center personnel. The Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) is paying a reasonable rent to cover NYAPC direct costs.

Radcliffe Room Ministry activities on Sundays will not be interrupted. Clothing closet overflow on the stage has been moved temporarily until it can be configured to moveable racks stored in the actual closet during the week.

This opportunity to use our building in a new way arose just recently. Please join me in thanking Trustees and staff, particularly outgoing Facilities Manager John O’Brien, for successfully responding to this opportunity to engage with this mission.

Christmas Flower Dedications

To celebrate the birth of Christ, the Diaconal Ministers organize poinsettias for our sanctuary. The flowers are paid for by donors who request dedications in honor or memory of loved ones. While the sanctuary will remain empty this Christmas, you may still request a dedication this Christmas season.

Christmas Poinsettias in the Sanctuary. This year, Christmas flower dedications will support sending flower arrangements to members each week.

Your donation will help sustain the Flower Fund, which is currently being used to deliver flowers to members of the congregation every week until the sanctuary re-opens for worship services. The delivery of the three small arrangements costs the same as two large arrangements for our sanctuary.

This year’s dedications will be listed on the screen before the worship service on the Sundays before and after Epiphany, January 3 and January 10.

To dedicate your contribution, copy the form below into an email, complete it with your information, and email it to gwenn.gebhard@gmail.com, or call Gwenn at 202-213-1657.

Name of Donor(s):
Phone or email:
A contribution is intended of $
In Memory of:
In Honor of:

Please send your contributions to the church online and select the Flower Fund. If you wish to send a check, please write “Flower Fund” on the memo line.

Any amount is welcome. The deadline is Sunday, Dec. 27, at 5pm.

What’s Going On with NYAPC’s Tenants?

By Hal Hiemstra

It’s been six months since our congregation began social distancing and worshiping online.  During that same time period, The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church’s many tenants have also had to drastically alter their own programs and revise their ways of operating. 

One of our largest tenants – the Downtown Day Services Center had been serving 150 or more clients per day prior to mid-March.  With the closure of our building those services were abruptly halted – but the needs continued.  To meet some of those needs, a new partnership developed between our church and World Central Kitchen resulting in a new lunch program that was launched in Triangle Park next to the church.  Piggybacking off of the new lunch program, the Day Services Center began offering limited services by appointment only during the hours that meals were being served.  When the District of Columbia moved into Phase II reopening in late June, the Day Services program expanded its own program.  Restrooms, showers, laundry, phone charging and emergency clothing are now being offered between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, along with lunchtime meal services seven days a week in Triangle Park.  The Day Services Center is operating at about 30% capacity and hopes to begin operating at 60% capacity by the end of this year.

The group counseling focus of the McClendon Center has meant that it has been unable to restart its own Day Services program at the church at this time.   The McClendon Center’s Day Program identifies different learning levels for clients, who are grouped according to their cognitive ability and degree of motivation. These learning levels, or tracks, include substance abuse recovery groups as well as early recovery groups for those individuals who are beginning to consider the process of recovery.  Because most McClendon clients travel by public transit, and because most McClendon sessions are group sessions, current social distancing requirements make it particularly difficult at this time for the McClendon Center to restart its program at NYAPC.  McClendon Center staff are occasionally using their offices, but the counseling programs that are offered in morning and afternoon sessions at the church remain on hold.

Similarly, Capitol Clubhouse – another group counseling program operated out of NYAPC – primarily utilizing the Radcliffe Room – is also currently on hold.  The Clubhouse model provides mental health services in a clubhouse setting that offers members a path to recovery from mental illness through friendship, meaningful work, and access to education and housing.  Because their client base also primarily travels by bus, and because they work with clients in a group setting, Capitol Clubhouse leaders have not yet felt that they can safely restart in-person meetings.  Some Clubhouse staff have occasionally been using their offices off the Radcliffe Room, but are not yet back in the building on a regular basis.

Fabrangen, a Jewish fellowship founded in 1971, has been renting our sanctuary and holding its High Holiday Services at NYAPC for the last 34 years. This year it is unable to do so. Fabrangen is a havurah, a fellowship that is led by its members, not by one rabbi, with services that are known for their vitality and depth.  The High Holidays provide an essential spiritual practice of critical introspection and self-awareness, delineating a holy time for thoughtful re-examination of actions and inactions – and times when we have failed to follow our values. This year, Fabrangen writes that current events have focused their fellowship on systemic racism and have highlighted societal norms that have discriminatory impacts. The Fabrangen fellowship recognizes that “we must engage in the work of confronting racism to create a reality that honors the fact that Black Lives Matter.”  In support of NYAPC’s own ministry around social justice issues, even though Fabrangen is not able to worship in our sanctuary this year, they have pledged to make a significant donation to our church in support of our social justice efforts.

The Downtown Cluster of Congregations, directed by Terry Lynch, has more frequently used their office space, the Thelma Odem room located just off the main lobby, but is not back in our building on a regular basis.

Other tenants, including the DC Concert Orchestra, which typically practices on Sunday afternoons in Peter Marshall Hall, has been unable to restart its program at this time and is struggling for funding but is hopeful that its program can restart by January 2021.

Two smaller congregations – Kingdom Life Ministries, and Faith Temple also typically hold Sunday afternoon services at our church. Kingdom Life Ministries is well-known for its enthusiastic musical performers and singing.  Neither congregation has been able to worship at NYAPC since mid-March and will not be able to do so until our own congregation is once again back in our sanctuary.

All of these tenants are part of the New York Avenue family and mission, and they need our prayers and support as they, like us, work to stay together and come out on the other side of this pandemic.

Q & A: Meet Rev. Rachel Pacheco!

Last week, we “sat down” (via email) with Rev. Rachel Pacheco, our new stated supply associate pastor, for a quick interview. Watch for an expanded version in the next version of AveNews!

How did you decide to become a pastor?
I participated in the Presbyterian Young Adult Volunteer program where I gained tools for vocational discernment. I thought about what gives me energy and what I would do with my time if I could do whatever I wanted. I realized I enjoy talking with people about big questions and difficult questions. This is part of being a pastor: creating space for questions, wondering, searching, and walking with people through difficulty.

What do you enjoy about working with children & youth?
I enjoy encouraging young people to make their own observations, to be curious, and to think of their own answers to questions. This is one way we build our faith and our individual voices which is vital for young people who are often told what to think or believe. I also enjoy learning to explicitly include children and youth in worship so that we can practice worshipping together as one body.

How do you cultivate your personal faith?
Ever since my family began attending church when I was five years old, I have participated in worship through music. So, playing and singing is a significant way that I cultivate my faith and center myself, both in worship and on my own. Not being able to gather in congregational song has been such a loss for all people of faith, in part because we are not able to join our voices together at the same time in the same space. Making music together reminds me that I am not alone in this life of discipleship. It also helps me to pray and connect with God’s presence among us. In light of the pandemic, I am very fortunate to live with another musician! My roommate, Abby Madden, is currently the Minister of Music at Arlington Presbyterian Church.

How are you planning to spend your first weeks with us?
My first weeks will be focused on meeting you all, learning about your congregational culture, and working with the dedicated Christian Learning leaders to prepare for a new Sunday School year. My first week has already been full of fun and collaborative conversations.

Are there other parts of your job that you’re especially looking forward to?
I have heard many times that this church is full of committed people. I have already started to experience this and to understand what that means. I am really looking forward to hearing your stories and being partners in the work of the church. I am also excited to work with the Communications team. Communicating well has an impact on the ministry of any congregation, so I am glad to invest in this work.

What can we do to help you as you get started in your work?
Contact me! I will be reaching out to you all, especially once Sunday School is underway, but don’t hesitate to reach out. Start thinking about what you want me to know about you and about this community.

You can contact Rachel at Rachel.Pacheco@nyapc.org

From Rev. Rachel Pacheco

Hello, New York Avenue Community! 

I look forward to meeting and working alongside you being church together and in the world. I have lived in the DC area for 10 years and have come to love and care about this city. I still feel privileged to live and work in ministry here. 

I am excited to learn your stories and the story of this congregation. I hope to build relationships with you so that we can participate together in fulfilling the baptismal vows made as a congregation to support families in the spiritual formation of our children and youth. As we continue to adapt to the pandemic, I look forward to being creative together to try new ways of connecting and being community.

I enjoy listening and learning about people, so please don’t hesitate to reach out. I am coming from a congregation that has been through a lot of difficult change in the past few years, so I know that times of transition can take quite a toll. For however long we are in ministry together, I am committed to holding these challenges with you. I trust that the Holy One has been at work among you and remains with us as we walk forward together.

May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you this day!

Rev. Rachel Pacheco 

Unraveled and Uncertain? (from Rev. Heather Shortlidge)

Dear Members and Friends,

Join us for worship this Sunday May 3rd at 10:00am. I’m continuing our preaching series, Unraveled: Seeking God When Our Plans Fall Apart.
This week I’m preaching about uncertainty, from the story of Peter walking (and sinking) on water.

Remember to prepare your elements for the sacrament of communion. Since we are in the middle of a stay at home order, it is acceptable to use what you have—crackers, wafers, cookies, even a muffin—and whatever liquid that most resembles the fruit of the vine—juice, wine, a cup of tea. It is not the elements themselves that make the sacrament holy—it is God’s presence—and God is just as present in your living rooms and kitchens as in the sanctuary at 1313 New York Avenue. See our website for the Zoom worship link.

Please keep the feedback coming about Zoom worship. Eight weeks into online services, I’ve enjoyed hearing your stories about how life is different during the pandemic and how worship has been a part of that difference. We continue to refine the service and welcome your insights and suggestions.

With sadness, we write to let you know that Bob Doan died on Sunday afternoon. A Zoom Memorial Service has been scheduled for Saturday May 9, 2020 at 11:00am. (See our website for Zoom information.) Please plan on joining us to mark Bob’s death and to remember that in life and in death, we belong to God.

Finally, the Nominating Committee is actively at work putting together a slate of nominees for the Pastoral Nominating Committee (PNC). If you know a member who would be a good addition to this team, please send their name and a short description of why you’re nominating them to the Chair, David Gillies (dcgillies@verizon.net). The hope is to elect the PNC by early summer.

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

Peace where there is war
healing where there is hurt
memory where we have forgotten the other.
Vision where there is violence
light where there is madness
sight where we have blinded each other.
Comfort where there is sorrow
tears where there is hardness
laughter where we have missed life’s joy
laughter where we remember the joy.

Praying with the Earth: A Prayerbook for Peace

Peace be with you,

From Rev. Heather Shortlidge

Dear Members and Friends,

Caravaggio_-_The_Incredulity_of_Saint_ThomasJoin us for online worship this Sunday, April 19, 2020. I’m preaching from John 20:19-29, the story of Jesus appearing to the disciples and Thomas’ need for more proof, when he misses the initial encounter.

Worship link https://zoom.us/j/150620342

Worship is now “produced” by a fantastic team of volunteers. A special thank you to Will Timmons, Joe Thierry, Jessica Tate, John Moran, and Don Campbell for their dedication over the past 4 weeks. We’re still looking for people to serve as virtual ushers, liturgists, and as part of our technical team—if you are interested in helping with Sunday worship, please let us know (donald.campbell.esq@gmail.com).

The Rev. Billy Kluttz, Minister of Congregational Life and Connection, started this week. As Billy finishes up another call in the Presbytery, he will be working 20 hours a week with NYAPC, primarily on our online programming efforts during this time of suspended in person activities. Hired by the Personnel Committee, Billy is serving a 3-month contract, that can potentially be renewed. He is creative, energetic, and an excellent theologian. I’m excited for you to meet him and delighted to call him a colleague.

The church mourns with the Neill family (Rob, Meg, and Sam) at the death of Rob’s mother, Anne Neill. An online memorial service will be held next Wednesday, April 22 at 11:00am. Although we cannot gather in person, I invite you to attend virtually to show the Neill family that they are not alone in their grief by using this link.

Finally, here is the Praise Song for a Pandemic, the video prayer used on Easter. May the words, music, and images continue to nourish you.

Praise Song for the Pandemic

Peace and Grace,

Upcoming Events and Announcements

Sunday Worship begins at 10:00 a.m. via Zoom. Join by video here. Join by phone at 1-929-436-2866 and use meeting ID 150 620 342.

Neighbors in Need. NYAPC continues to care for neighbors experiencing homelessness, now providing food seven days a week. Lunch is served in Triangle Park from 12:00-1:00pm, Monday through Saturday. Breakfast is served on Sundays from 8:00-9:00am. 175 hot meals and fresh fruit are generously being provided by Jose Andres’ organization, World Central Kitchen. Support is also being provided by BID. We are in need of volunteers to sustain this important ministry. Please spread the word and sign up at www.nyapc.org.

Clothing Donations. The Radcliffe Room requests clothing donations to support the homeless community. The most-needed items right now: new packs of men’s boxers. Guests also need toiletries and used clothing (men and women), particularly pants and jackets. Donations may be dropped off at the front desk of the church every day of the week from 11:00am to 1:00pm during COVID closures. Or, you may ship items directly to Dara Satterfield. Please contact Dara at dara.satterfield@gmail.com or Phil Telfeyan at ptelfeyan@post.harvard.edu if you have questions.

Join the (Virtual) Choir!
There’s never been a better time to join in singing: No need to search for parking on Thursday nights, no need to arrive early for church. Sing one song a week, or all; sing occasionally, or regularly … all from the comfort of your home. If you’d like to add to the voices heard at our online services, contact Meg Neill at megneill99@gmail.com.

Gathered in Prayer. Sunday April 19 at 9:15 a.m.
Join others in a time of prayer for our community, the world, neighbors in need, and our own members and friends on our Care/Prayer list. Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/226396834

Morning Prayer. Tuesday April 21 at 8:00 a.m.
Led by Rev. Billy Kluttz. ZOOM Link: https://zoom.us/j/229424538

Children’s Story Time. Tuesday April 21 at 11:00 a.m.
Join us for wiggles, singing, a story, and a fun chance to connect with church friends. Led by Rev. Billy Kluttz and Karen Dunlap. ZOOM Link: https://zoom.us/j/354589220

Morning Prayer. Thursday April 23 at 8:00 a.m.
Led by Rev. Heather Shortlidge. ZOOM Link: https://zoom.us/j/553049565

Community Book Study. Thursday April 23 at 10:00 a.m.
Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of the New Spiritual Awakening. Led by Rev. Billy Kluttz and Tom Dunlap, join the discussion of Diana Butler Bass’ bookthat outlines the shift in culture and the church.  Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/134791118

Children’s Story Time. Thursday April 23 at 2:00 p.m. **New Time**
Join us for wiggles, singing, a story, and a fun chance to connect with church friends. Led by Rev. Heather Shortlidge. Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/633801772

Compassion, Peace & Justice Training Day. Friday April 24 12:00 p.m.
A Virtual Compassion, Peace and Justice Training Day will be held from 12 to 1:30 p.m. on April 24, a Friday, featuring several of the panelists who were originally scheduled to appear in person at The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. Click here for more details and information on how to register to attend via Zoom.

Friday Concert. Friday April 24 (Pre-recorded)
Stan Engebretson, Director of Music, and others join together for a short recital to bring beauty and music into the midst of your week. This concert will be pre-recorded. Link: https://www.nyapc.org/events/friday-concert/

Parents Gathering. Friday April 24 at 8:15 p.m.
All parents are invited to join us as Kristin Ford will facilitate a time of sharing about how you are coping during this pandemic, as well as the tips, joys, and surprises you are discovering along the way.  Parents click here.

DC History with Melissa Jane Taylor. Saturday April 25 at 4:00p p.m. Join us here.

Young Adult Faith on Tap. Monday April 27 at 6:30 p.m.
All Young Adults are invited to our first Zoom Faith on Tap on Monday, April 27 at 6:30pm! Grab your favorite drink and snacks, and join in on the discussion with Len Shabman. If you are new to New York Avenue and the Young Adult group you are especially invited to join us virtually! Please RSVP to Helen Anthony (shanthon@ncsu.edu) for the Zoom details!

Rev. Billy E. Kluttz Joins NYAPC Staff

Easter blessings to all!

Rev Billy KluttzWe are pleased to announce that Rev. Billy E. Kluttz will be joining us this week as Minister of Congregational Life and Connection. This is a temporary position, filled by the Personnel Committee in consultation with the Finance Committee, after last month’s Session vote to hire a temporary minister to support our church and Transitional Minister Rev. Dr. Heather Shortlidge.

Rev. Kluttz will start on Tuesday, April 14, and his first week will be a busy one. He will participate in our current online offerings (this week’s online schedule is below). He will also meet with the Session, Christian Learning Cluster, Nurture Committee and Diaconal Ministers.

He comes to NYAPC having served the wider church in several part-time positions, including Associate Pastor for Community Music and Arts at Church of the Covenant (PCUSA) in Arlington, Virginia, and Evening Service Coordinator and Social Media Manager at Immanuel Presbyterian Church (USA) in McLean, Virginia. Prior to these roles, he was Director of Music at Church of the Pilgrims (PCUSA) from July 2016 to June 2018.

Rev. Kluttz holds a Master of Divinity degree with honors from Wesley Theological Seminary. He also has a master’s degree in public affairs with honors from Syracuse University where he concentrated on nonprofit management including fundraising. His Bachelor of Arts degree is from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with highest honors. Billy and his husband, who is completing medical school, live in Washington, DC.

Says Rev. Kluttz: “I believe God is calling me to a ministry setting seeking creative engagement with its community.” In his work with NYAPC, he hopes to continue “to use music as a tool to build relationships,” but also to further his development beyond music ministry through regular preaching, pastoral care, educational leadership, communications work, and community outreach. “I hope to continue to grow as a well-rounded pastor beyond my existing strengths in liturgy and worship leadership.”

Rev. Kluttz will spend 20 hours a week for the first five weeks of his engagement with us, and then 30 hours a week after that. Billy is in the process of leaving his role at Covenant, which will further enable his work with us from May 11 on. Our agreement with Rev. Kluttz runs through July 12 and can then be renewed on a month-to-month basis.

Rev. Kluttz’s duties include maintaining existing and cultivating new ways for Church members and friends to connect, thrive, and grow in their relationship with God and one another. Specifically, he will help maintain and develop NYAPC’s online presence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rev. Kluttz will evaluate our current online programs and use that feedback to develop new offerings. While he won’t be responsible for leading every program, Billy will recruit, schedule, and train leaders and will publicize these events, inviting participation. He will also work with and “staff” the Christian Learning Cluster, Nurture Committee, and Diaconal Ministers, in addition to providing administrative support for Rev. Shortlidge. He is scheduled to preach on Sunday, May 17.

On behalf of the Personnel Committee, we are excited to welcome Billy to NYAPC and know you will join us in making him part of this community of faith.

– Edith Snyder
Trustee and Chair, Personnel Committee

Upcoming Events and Announcements

Children’s Story Time, Tuesday April 14, 11 am – Join us for wiggles, singing, a story, and a fun chance to connect with church friends. Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/354589220

Morning Prayer, Thursday April 16, 8 am – Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/553049565

Community Book Study, Thursday April 16, 10 am – join the discussion of Diana Butler Bass’ book, Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of the New Spiritual Awakening, which outlines the shift in culture and the church. Led by Tom Dunlap,. Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/134791118

Children’s Story Time, Thursday April 16, 11 am – Join us for wiggles, singing, a story, and a fun chance to connect with church friends. Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/633801772

Neighbors in Need – NYAPC continues to care for neighbors experiencing homelessness, now providing food seven days a week. Lunch is served in Triangle Park from 12 – 1 pm, Monday through Saturday. Breakfast is served on Sundays from 8 – 9 am. 125 hot meals and fresh fruit are generously being provided by Jose Andres’ organization, World Central Kitchen. Support is also being provided by BID. We are in need of volunteers to sustain this important ministry. Please spread the word and sign up at www.nyapc.org.

One Great Hour of Sharing – We continue this collection online this week. Go to www.nyapc.org/give-now/ to access our online giving site and choose One Great Hour of Sharing. One Great Hour of Sharing supports efforts to relieve hunger through the Presbyterian Hunger Program, promote development through the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People, and assist in areas of disaster through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.