From Rev. Heather Shortlidge

Dear Friends,

160,000 Covid-19 deaths. Isaias pummeling the East Coast. An administration making blatant noises about undermining the upcoming election. Black mothers with children terrorized at gunpoint. Double digit unemployment and an economic recession. Schools in limbo. The news keeps getting harder and harder to stomach. And many of you, rightfully so, are tired and ready for some good news.

So tune into online worship this Sunday, August 9th at 10:00am for prayer, beautiful music, community, and the Word of God for the people of God. I’m preaching on Judas and his infamous betrayal of Jesus from Mark 14:41-50 and we have a wonderful anthem, “Ella’s Song,” from Bernice Johnson Reagon of Sweet Honey in the Rock.

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

Tomorrow (Saturday August 8th), I’m hosting the fourth Summer Justice Film Series at 4:00pm. We’ll be discussing the film Dark Waters, the 2019 legal thriller that dramatizes Robert Bilott’s case against the chemical corporation, DuPont, after they contaminated a town with unregulated chemicals. The film is excellent. If you haven’t yet joined us for one of these discussions, I highly encourage you to watch the film and join us tomorrow. Here’s the study guide including more details about where to find the film.

And a blessing from Jan Richardson to nourish you this week:

To all that is chaotic in you
let there come silence.

Let there be
a calming
of the clamoring,
a stilling
of the voices that
have laid their claim
on you,
that have made their
home in you,

that go with you
even to the
holy places
but will not
let you rest,
will not let you
hear your life
with wholeness
or feel the grace
that fashioned you.

Let what distracts you
Let what divides you
Let there come to an end
to what diminishes
and demeans,
and let depart
all that keeps you
in its cage.

Let there be
an opening
into the quiet
that lies beneath
the chaos,
where you find
the peace
you did not think
and see what shimmers
within the storm.

“Blessing in the Chaos” from The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief by Jan Richardson

Peace and Courage, Heather

Sunday Service: Communion & the Thief on the Cross

Join us for online worship this Sunday August 2nd at 10:00am. I’m continuing our summer sermon series, Faces of Faith: Bold and Untold Stories of the Bible, and will be preaching this week from Luke 23:32-43, the story of the thief on the cross.

Together, we will celebrate the sacrament of communion, so please remember to gather your elements.

And we will also be honoring the many Radcliffe Room volunteers who have stepped up over the past eighteen weeks to serve a daily hot lunch to hungry guests in Triangle Park. We hope to see you on Sunday morning.

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

And a prayer from the Iona Abbey Worship Book to nourish you this week:

God, in whose heart is love and justice,
show us this day whom we must love
and what we should challenge or change
in order that your will for the earth might be done.
Increase our hope,
dispel our apathy;
inspire our imagination,
and deepen our commitment
until we become the signs of your kindom.

Peace and Courage,

‘Courage out of Crisis’ – Dr. Judy Fentress-Williams

Dear Friends,

Join us for online worship this Sunday July 26th at 10:00am. Our guest preacher, Dr. Judy Fentress-Williams, will be preaching “Courage Out of Crisis” from II Kings 4:1-7. Dr. Fentress-Williams is Professor of Old Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary and Senior Assistant to the Pastor at Alfred Street Baptist Church.

Join us for 10:00am Sunday Worship here

Dial-in#: 1-929-436-2866 Meeting ID 150 620 342

The Personnel Committee is pleased to announce that the Rev. Rachel Pacheco will be joining the staff as our new Associate Stated Supply Pastor. Rachel will begin this ¾ time position (30 hours per week) on August 18th and will be with us for at least twelve months. She comes from Church of the Pilgrims in Dupont Circle where she’s been serving as the Director of The Pilgrimage, a service-learning hostel that connects faith formation to social awareness and action. 

A huge thank you to the 30+ volunteers who have helped with the daily hot lunch program in Triangle Park. For the past four months, our Radcliffe Room volunteers, under the steady leadership of Phil Telfeyan, have been distributing 175 daily lunches that have been graciously provided by World Central Kitchen. Thank you to all who picked up food at Nats Stadium or area restaurants, who braved law enforcement blockades to deliver it, who helped reheat the meals and serve them to our hungry guests. By our calculations, that’s 130 back to back days of lunch service, over 22,000 World Central Kitchen meals, and 1,300 volunteer hours. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of so many people. Even in the midst of a pandemic, the church has continued to be the church.

At the end of next week, our Radcliffe Room volunteers will be scaling back to their original schedule of Sunday only. World Central Kitchen is scaling down and no longer able to provide us with meals, hence the change. Our partners at the Downtown Day Services Center (DDSC) will continue to provide their meals, but without the donated food from World Central Kitchen, there isn’t a need for week day Radcliffe Room volunteers. You can still support those experiencing homelessness, by volunteering on Sundays. Sign up here.

And a prayer from Sister Joan Chittister to leave you nourished this week:

Loving God,
lead us beyond ourselves
to care and protect,
to nourish and shape,
to challenge and energize
both the life and the world
You have given us.

God of light and God of darkness,
God of conscience and God of courage
lead us through this time
of spiritual confusion and public uncertainty.

Lead us beyond fear, apathy and defensiveness
to new hope in You and to hearts full of faith.

Give us the conscience it takes
to comprehend what we’re facing,
to see what we’re looking at
and to say what we see
o that others, hearing us,
may also brave the pressure that comes
with being out of public step.

Give us courage we need
o confront those things
that comprise our consciences
or threaten our integrity.

Give us, most of all,
the courage to follow those before us
who challenge wrong and changed it,
whatever the cost to themselves.
Prayer for Conscience and Courage by Joan Chittister

Peace and Courage,


From Rev. Heather Shortlidge – Anna’s Story

Dear Members and Friends,

Join us for worship this Sunday July 19th at 10:00am via Zoom. Our summer sermon series, Faces of Faith: Bold and Untold Stories continues, focusing this week on the widowed prophet Anna, who meets the newborn Christ. You can find Anna’s story in Luke 2:21-38.

Join us for 10:00am Sunday Worship here

The Personnel Committee has been hard at work, ensuring that the church is properly staffed. Last week, we said goodbye to Rev. Billy Kluttz, who has moved on to serve as the Associate Pastor at Govans Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, the city in which his husband is now doing a residency. The Personnel Committee is currently negotiating with someone to serve as a ¾-time Associate Stated Supply Pastor. This person will begin mid-August—more details coming soon. We’ve also brought on board Will Timmons to serve as a paid Worship Coordinator, an 8-10 hour a week contract position. Will began in this new role on Tuesday and will now direct the production of online worship, ensuring that we continue to have a high-quality Zoom experience. Will has been volunteering on the worship tech team since March and has been essential to NYAPC’s successful transition to online worship.

Your Pastoral Nominating Committee (PNC) is now meeting regularly on Sunday evenings from 7:00-9:00pm. Please continue to keep this group in your prayers as they begin the faithful process of discerning NYAPC’s next Lead Pastor.

Finally, a prayer for the life of the world by John Philip Newell. Since returning from vacation, I’ve been hearing from many of you about the fear that is welling up inside you—how long will we need to keep up this virtual reality, the rising Covid-19 death count, the trampling of truth by elected leaders, and deep concern for those who are stuck in homes that are not safe and essential workers who take risks in order to help the many. We gather these very real fears and take them to God in prayer:

To the home of peace
to the field of love
to the land where forgiveness and right relationship meet
we look, O God,
with longing on earth’s children
with compassion for the creatures
with hearts breaking for the nations and people we love.
Open us to visions we have never known
strengthen us for self-givings we have never made
delight us with a oneness we could never have imagined
that we may truly be born of you
makers of peace.

Peace and Courage,


From Rev. Billy Kluttz

Grace and peace be with you!

As we remember our country’s beginnings this July 4th holiday weekend, we will consider stories of our spiritual beginnings, as well. Our sermon series, Faces of Faith, gives us the story of Genesis 2 this Sunday (to which I am adding a small portion of chapter 3). Together, we’ll remember the story of Eve and Adam’s creation, their initial connection in the garden, and the quick deterioration in human relations. I hope that you’ll join us for worship online

We’ll also celebrate communion together online this Sunday. You’re encouraged to prepare a table in your home for worship on Sunday. Any food and drink will do to remember Jesus’ life and calling. 

Stories of our human relations are also stories of grief. And so, I will leave you with a poem from Jan Richardson that we read together on Tuesday morning this week during our prayer group:

Blessing for the Brokenhearted
by Jan Richardson

Let us agree
for now
that we will not say
the breaking
makes us stronger
or that it is better
to have this pain
than to have done
without this love.
Let us promise
we will not
tell ourselves
time will heal
the wound,
when every day
our waking
opens it anew.
Perhaps for now
it can be enough
to simply marvel
at the mystery
of how a heart
so broken
can go on beating,
as if it were made
for precisely this—
as if it knows
the only cure for love
is more of it,
as if it sees
the heart’s sole remedy
for breaking
is to love still,
as if it trusts
that its own
persistent pulse
is the rhythm
of a blessing
we cannot
begin to fathom
but will save us

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 ( 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,

“Unraveled: Seeking God When Our Plans Fall Apart”

Dear Members and Friends,

unraveled_background_logoJoin us this Sunday for online worship at 10:00am. We’re beginning a new preaching series titled “Unraveled: Seeking God When Our Plans Fall Apart.” This Sunday, I’m using Jeremiah 29:1-7, where the prophet encourages the Israelites in exile to plant gardens and build houses. My sermon will explore what happens when dreams unravel.

This will be our seventh Zoom Sunday worship service. Now that we’ve gotten through the initial challenge of moving worship completely online, the worship committee is starting to process what we’re learning and reflect on what that means for future services. If you have feedback to share about the past seven weeks, please send it to me ( We’re also still in need of two virtual ushers every Sunday, whose responsibilities include admitting participants from the waiting room, responding to the chat box, and scanning screens for any nefarious imagery or behavior. If you are familiar with Zoom (or willing to learn) and can serve on Sunday morning, please reach out to Don Campbell, Chair of the Worship Committee. (

Finally, a portion of a prayer written by Rev. Meg Peery McLaughlin, Co-Pastor of University Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to sustain you this week:

God, we are looking at you.
Seeking, knocking, asking for permission to grieve. 
That is what we need O God.
We need freedom to grieve the losses of this pandemic—
the loss of life and health,
loss of jobs and security,
loss of routine and sanity,
loss of touch and travel. 
Pretending everything is fine isn’t working.
Help us see it’s okay to tell the truth about our grief,
the grief we already had
and the grief that this new reality brings. 

Balm for the anxiety. 
Will you grant it to us, O God?
Please show up like you are prone to do, God,
speaking your peace,
binding up the brokenhearted,
comforting those who mourn,
befriending the friendless,
hiding us scared chicks
under the shelter of your wings. 

Willingness to admit what we are seeing. 
Might it be that you’d give us courage to speak aloud what we are witnessing: 
that this pandemic is showing
the sinful seams in society—
our systemic racism, and economic inequity,
our refusal to let the earth rest,
our stubborn partisanship.
We’d rather pull the covers over our eyes
to hide us from this brokenness or perhaps just rush back to the way it’s always been
so we don’t have deal with it,
but God, stop us, make us willing to admit
what we are seeing…

Peace and Grace,

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

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 (

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

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 or Phil Telfeyan at 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

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:

Morning Prayer. Tuesday April 21 at 8:00 a.m.
Led by Rev. Billy Kluttz. ZOOM Link:

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:

Morning Prayer. Thursday April 23 at 8:00 a.m.
Led by Rev. Heather Shortlidge. ZOOM Link:

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:

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:

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:

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 ( for the Zoom details!

Easter Sunday (from Rev. Heather Shortlidge)

The-ResurrectionOn Sunday morning, we will celebrate an empty tomb and all the terror and amazement the disciples experienced in Mark’s resurrection story. As I said during the benediction in our Maundy Thursday service—just when Jesus’ plan seems to be falling apart, God’s plan is just getting started.

Easter Worship will be at 10:00 a.m. via Zoom, including beautiful singing from our choir, breathtaking prayers, and a sermon to keep you grounded in the midst of the terror and uncertainty of this pandemic. Although it is through a screen and not in person, I look forward to seeing you and your family on Sunday morning.

Worship link

And James Broughton’s poem, Easter Exultet, to nourish you this week…

Shake out your qualms. 
Shake up your dreams. 
Deepen your roots. 
Extend your branches. 
Trust deep water 
and head for the open, 
even if your vision 
shipwrecks you. 
Quit your addiction 
to sneer and complain. 
Open a lookout. 
Dance on a brink. 
Run with your wildfire. 
You are closer to glory 
leaping an abyss 
than upholstering a rut. 
Not dawdling. 
Not doubting. 
Intrepid all the way 
walk toward clarity. 
At every crossroad 
be prepared 
to bump into wonder. 
Only love prevails. 
En route to disaster 
insist on canticles. 
Lift your ineffable 
out of the mundane. 
Nothing perishes; 
nothing survives; 
everything transforms! 
Honeymoon with Big Joy! 

Peace and Grace,

Events and and Announcements

Easter 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. 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

Easter Memorial Flowers
In lieu of Easter flowers this year, we invite you to make memorial contributions to the church general fund. These contributions will help us continue to pay our staff through the duration of the pandemic.

If you would like to support an external charity, we encourage you to support Jose Andres’ organization, World Central Kitchen ( which has been providing the church 125 daily hot lunches that are distributed in Triangle Park to neighbors in need.

Children’s Story Time
Tuesday April 14 at 11:00 a.m. Join us for wiggles, singing, a story, and a fun chance to connect with church friends. Led by Rev. Heather Shortlidge. ZOOM Link:

Morning Prayer
Thursday April 16 at 8:00 a.m. Led by Clerk of Session, Miriam Dewhurst. ZOOM Link:

Community Book Study
Thursday April 16 at 10:00 a.m. Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of the New Spiritual Awakening. Led by Tom Dunlap, join the discussion of Diana Butler Bass’ book that outlines the shift in culture and the church. Zoom Link:

Children’s Story Time
Thursday April 16 at 11:00 a.m. Join us for wiggles, singing, a story, and a fun chance to connect with church friends. Led by beloved adult leaders, Karen Dunlap, Morgan Brown, and Cathleen Lauer. Zoom Link:

Virtual Communion – Weekly Letter from Rev. Heather Shortlidge

Dear Members and Friends,

CommunionJoin us for Palm Sunday worship this Sunday at 10:00am via Zoom. Here’s the link, which is also always available at Don’t forget your communion elements.

Worship link

The PC (USA) has authorized congregations to share communion online during the pandemic. This Sunday, we will gather virtually around God’s table to share the bread and the cup. Please have communion elements on hand in order to celebrate the sacrament. Pull together a slice of sandwich bread, a few crackers, a tortilla, an English muffin—whatever you have on hand. Use grape juice or wine or your closest equivalent to fruit of the vine. God will be present no matter the elements.

This week we’ve had unfortunate, but not unexpected, hackers interrupt some of our Zoom gatherings. These intrusions have been offensive, and we apologize for the language and images that have no place in a faith community. Know that we are working diligently to make our online gatherings as safe as possible. Hackers also continue to send emails and texts claiming that I am urgently trying to reach you or am in need of a gift card, often using names of other staff or church members. Please report these hackers to your email provider and be assured that I would never make such requests.

Please reach out if you would like prayer or pastoral care. I have been meeting virtually this week with people who are working through loss—lost dreams, employment, health, and security, just to name a few. As your pastor, I want to be present for whatever the pandemic is bringing your way. Please keep in touch, remembering there is no lockdown on God’s blessing or quarantine on God’s grace.

And a prayer from Ted Loder to nourish your heart:

How shall I pray?
Are tears prayers, Lord?
Are screams prayers
or groans
or sighs
or curses?

Can trembling hands be lifted to you
or clenched fists
or the cold sweat that trickles down my back,
or the cramps that knot my stomach?
Will you accept my prayers, Lord,
my real prayers
rooted in the muck and mud of my life,
and not just my pretty, cut flower, gracefully arranged bouquet of words?
Will you accept me, Lord,
as I really am,
messed up mixture of glory and grime?

Lord, help me!
Help me to trust that you accept me as I am,
that I may be done with self-condemnation
and self-pity
and accept myself.
Help me to accept you as you are, Lord:
And yet to trust
that your madness is wiser
than my timid, self-seeking sanities,
and that nothing you’ve ever done
has really been possible
so I may dare to be a little mad, too.

Peace be with you,