From Rev. Heather Shortlidge

Dear Friends,

Join us for worship this Sunday January 24th at 10:00am on Zoom. I’m preaching from Mark 1:14-20, in which Jesus calls the disciples to repent and believe, for the kin-dom of God has come near. Immediately following worship, you won’t want to miss an update from the Pastoral Nominating Committee (PNC) and a deeper look at the results of the congregational study (CAT) that was completed in fall 2020.

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

A prayer from Howard Thurman, African American theologian and civil rights leader to nourish your spirit this week:

I Need You

I need your sense of time.
Always I have an underlying anxiety about things.
Sometimes I am in a hurry to achieve my ends
and am completely without patience.
It is hard for me to realize that some growth is slow;
that all processes are not swift.
I cannot always discriminate between
what takes time to develop and what can be rushed,
because my sense of time is dulled.
I measure things in terms of happenings.
O to understand the meaning of perspective
that I may do all things
with a profound sense of leisure of time.

I need your sense of order.
The confusion of the details of living is sometimes overwhelming.
The little things keep getting in my way
providing ready-made excuses for failure
to do and be what I know I ought to do and be.
Much time is spent on things that are not very important
while significant things are put into an insignificant place in my scheme of order.
I must unscramble my affairs
so that my life will become order.

I need your sense of the future.
Teach me to know that life is ever on the side of the future.
Keep alive in me the forward look,
the high hope, the onward surge.
Let me be not frozen either by the past or the present.
Grant me your sense of the future,
without which all life would sicken and die.

Peace and Courage,

Heather

From Rev. Heather Shortlidge

Dear Members and Friends,

Join us this Sunday January 17th at 10:00am for worship—our weekly ritual of coming together, attuning our ears, bolstering our spirits, and remembering our call as people of faith. I’m preaching from Mark 12:41-44, the story of the widow’s small gift to the treasury and how so often we ask those with the least to give up the most. The liturgy and prayers will be in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., including a stunning choral anthem that intersperses songs and readings, written by U2’s Bono.

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

It is an anxious time in our city, as security significantly tightens in the downtown area. In order to keep our staff, volunteers, and guests as safe as possible, the Trustees have decided to close the building from today through next Thursday, January 21st. The Downtown Day Services Center will also close next Monday through Wednesday. As of today, the Radcliffe Room will operate on Sunday, however, plans are subject to change as the situation unfolds. If you have any questions about our building, please contact Facility Manager, Elias Bazezew (elias.bazezew@nyapc.org). With prayer and discernment, the Session has also made the difficult decision to not provide hospitality on the day of the inauguration. Read their detailed statement here.

Finally, a heartfelt thanks to Pastor Rachel for holding down the fort, so that I could finish out my vacation last week. It’s never easy to juggle all the things when the Head of Staff is away, essentially doing two jobs at once, but last week was particularly challenging. Rachel’s leadership and pastoral care are a gift and I am grateful to have her as a colleague. In order that she might rest and process last week’s events, she will be off this weekend.

I leave you with Dr. King’s own words to the white moderate, an excerpt from “Letter From Birmingham Jail.”

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically feels that he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time; and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection…

…You spoke of our activity in Birmingham as extreme. At first I was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would see my nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist… But as I continued to think about the matter, I gradually gained a bit of satisfaction from being considered an extremist. Was not Jesus an extremist in love? — “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you.” Was not Amos an extremist for justice? — “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” Was not Paul an extremist for the gospel of Jesus Christ? — “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Was not Martin Luther an extremist? — “Here I stand; I can do no other so help me God.” Was not John Bunyan an extremist? — “I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a mockery of my conscience.” Was not Abraham Lincoln an extremist? — “This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.” Was not Thomas Jefferson an extremist? — “We hold these truths to be self- evident, that all men are created equal.” So the question is not whether we will be extremist, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate, or will we be extremists for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice, or will we be extremists for the cause of justice?

I had hoped that the white moderate would see this. Maybe I was too optimistic. Maybe I expected too much. I guess I should have realized that few members of a race that has oppressed another race can understand or appreciate the deep groans and passionate yearnings of those that have been oppressed, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent, and determined action. I am thankful, however, that some of our white brothers have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it. They are still all too small in quantity, but they are big in quality. Some, like Ralph McGill, Lillian Smith, Harry Golden, and James Dabbs, have written about our struggle in eloquent, prophetic, and understanding terms. Others have marched with us down nameless streets of the South. They sat in with us at lunch counters and rode in with us on the freedom rides. They have languished in filthy roach-infested jails, suffering the abuse and brutality of angry policemen who see them as “dirty nigger lovers.” They, unlike many of their moderate brothers, have recognized the urgency of the moment and sensed the need for powerful “action” antidotes to combat the disease of segregation.

Peace and Courage,

Heather

Christmas Letter from Rev. Heather Shortlidge

Dear Friends,

During this sacred season, it’s hard to not focus on all the things we cannot do—gather inside the sanctuary, feel the vibration of a festive organ prelude, sing together side by side, stand in line to take bread and wine, and hug and mingle after the service, watching kids race between the pews.

I’ve only had the privilege of spending one Christmas Eve in your midst, but I’m already missing those things, longing for the day when we can come together again, not bound by physical distancing rules.

And yet, like Mary and Joseph, who needed a landing place to birth a child, we work with what we have.

On Thursday evening at 5:30pm, we’ll gather on Zoom, where we can still see one another face to face, experience beautiful Christmas tunes, break bread together, light candles to shine light in the darkness, and linger afterwards with new and old friends. Our worship team has literally been working around the clock to curate meaning and beauty for Christmas Eve. We do hope that you will join us and invite others to as well.

Join us on Zoom at 5:30pm
Dial-in: 1-929-436-2866 Meeting ID: 817 4664 4053

Wherever you may be this week of Christ’s birth, stay safe, wear your mask, avoid large gatherings, and reach out if you need love or extra support.

And an Advent Credo from Allan Boesak, to nourish and challenge you this week:

It is not true that creation and the human family
are doomed to destruction and loss—
This is true: For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life;

It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and discrimination,
hunger and poverty, death and destruction—
This is true: I have come that they may have life, and that abundantly.

It is not true that violence and hatred should have the last word,
and that war and destruction rule forever—
This is true: Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, his name shall be called wonderful councilor, mighty God, the Everlasting, the Prince of peace.

It is not true that we are simply victims of the powers of evil
who seek to rule the world—
This is true: To me is given authority in heaven and on earth, and lo I am with you, even until the end of the world.

It is not true that we have to wait for those who are specially gifted,
who are the prophets of the Church before we can be peacemakers—
This is true: I will pour out my spirit on all flesh and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions and your old men shall have dreams.

It is not true that our hopes for liberation of humankind, of justice,
of human dignity of peace are not meant for this earth and for this history—
This is true: The hour comes, and it is now, that the true worshipers shall worship God in spirit and in truth.

So let us enter Advent in hope, even hope against hope. Let us see visions of love and peace and justice. Let us affirm with humility, with joy, with faith, with courage: Jesus Christ—the life of the world.

Walking on Thorns, by Allan Boesak, Eerdmans, 2004.

Peace and Courage,

Heather

How to be Hopeful – The First Sunday of Advent

Dear Friends,

This Sunday, November 29, we will celebrate the first Sunday of Advent. Rather than a live Zoom service, worship will be pre-recorded, available for you to view on Sunday whenever it is most convenient. We went this route so that our worship team could have more flexibility and family time during this holiday weekend.

We hope that you will be nourished by beautiful music from Taisha Estrada and Whitney McColley, a Call to Worship from Leo Brigham, Advent Candle lighting by Grace and Erica Morgan, and an Affirmation of Faith from the Spearman family. I’m preaching a sermon about John the Baptist from Mark 1:1-8 and Rachel Pacheco is doing prayers and time with our children. The worship service can be viewed here, anytime on Sunday November 29th.

Trustees will have a live Listening Session via Zoom this Sunday at 11:00am. Come and hear an update on our facility and renovation plans in the works for 2021. Join the conversation on zoom And if you miss it, know there will be a second opportunity to interact with Trustees on Sunday December 13.

The Session has called a Congregational Meeting for Sunday December 6 in order to elect new officers. Please plan on staying after worship next Sunday to vote on new elders, deacons, trustees, and diaconal ministers.

And some poetry from Barbara Kingsolver, “How To Be Hopeful,” to help you wade through this week:

Look, you might as well know,
this device is going to take endless repair:
rubber cement, rubber bands, tapioca,
the square of the hypotenuse,
nineteenth century novels, sunrise —
any of these could be useful. Also feathers.
The ignition is tricky. Sometimes
you have to stand on an incline
where things look possible. Or a line
you drew yourself. Or the grocery line,
making faces at a toddler, secretly,
over his mother’s shoulder.
You may have to pop the clutch
and run past the evidence. Past everyone
who is praying for you. Passing
all previous records is ok, or passing
strange. Just not passing it up.
Or park it and fly by the seat of your pants.
With nothing in the bank, you will
still want to take the express. Tiptoe
past the dogs of the apocalypse
asleep in the shadow of your future.
Pay at the window. You’ll be surprised:
you can pass off hope like a bad check.
You still have time, that’s the thing.
To make it good.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Heather

From Rev. Heather Shortlidge

Dear Friends,

Join us this Sunday November 15th at 10:00am for Zoom worship. I’m preaching from Matthew 22:15-22, where the Pharisees and Herodians seek clarification about paying taxes to the Roman Empire. Music this week will include the traditional favorite “All Creatures of Our God and King” and the poignant “Seek Ye First The Kingdom of God” sung by the full Sanctuary Choir. There will be virtual coffee hour following worship.

Join us for 10:00 am Sunday Worship here
Dial-in: 1-929-436-2866 Meeting ID: 150620342

During worship, we will honor and thank the 113 households who have made a pledge to the 2021 Stewardship Campaign, Celebrating God’s Presence, Securing Our Future. Thus far, we’ve raised $618,000. Thank you to everyone who has faithfully invested in our community for the upcoming year. In order to reach our goal, we still need to raise $81,000. If you have not yet done so, we invite you to prayerfully consider a financial gift to the church (www.nyapc.org/pledge). The New York Avenue Presbyterian church is able to stand with the oppressed, lift up the broken-hearted, and make God’s love and justice visible to all because of your generosity.

Please hold Elder Laura Brouse-Long in your prayers. Sadly, Bill Long died on Thursday afternoon at home under hospice care. At this time, Laura welcomes calls and cards and will share any service information once it is available.

Finally, the Personnel Committee has heard a desire from some of you to help support staff whose employment has been affected by the pandemic. We are encouraging those wishing to provide support to contribute to the NYAPC Benevolence Fund, which can provide monetary assistance, to individuals in need, including former and furloughed church staff. Please contact Edie Snyder (edithholmes@aol.com) with any questions. More details below.

And to nourish your spirit this week—the beatitudes, rewritten for today, by Rev. Alison Paden, Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Mendham, NJ:

Blessed are those who are weary of constant change,
canceled plans, and comparison fatigue,
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who weep
for someone they have lost
and the complications of finding closure during this challenging season,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are those who are quietly holding their family and friends together—
providing comfort and consistency even if it is wearing them out,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who are marching and advocating and seeking justice
for those who cannot fight for themselves,
for they will find God’s righteousness.
Blessed are those who are providing care
even when it is a danger to themselves,
for they will receive care.
Blessed are the children
who are experiencing this moment through innocent eyes,
for they will see God.
Blessed are those who are trying to build bridges and create consensus,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who boldly speak the message of the Gospel,
in person and online—unsure where and how their message is being received,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Peace and Courage,

Heather

This Sunday: Reimagining and the Widow’s Mite

Dear Friends,

Join us for worship this Sunday October 11th at 10:00am via Zoom. This week I’m preaching the third of four sermons in the series Our Money Story, with Sunday’s focus on reimagining. We’ll revisit the story of the widow’s mite (Mark 12:38-44), a scripture that begs for reimagination and reinterpretation from the harmful ways it has been used. Instead of commending the widow’s giving practices, perhaps Jesus is condemning the economic system that created her poverty.

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

Stan Engebretson, Director of Music, is off this Sunday, so hymns and service music has been recorded in advance, including an eloquent Renaissance anthem, “If Ye Love Me,” first published in 1565 by the English composer Thomas Tallis.

Please extend a warm welcome to Maila Cardoso, our new temporary Office Manager, who will be filling in for the next ten weeks while Nicole Johnson is on Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) leave. Maila can be reached at maila.cardoso@nyapc.org or by calling (202) 393-3700.

Finally, more poetry by Rev. Sarah Are, “Love, By Another Way” to nourish you this week:

I used to think that love was simple.
You would know when you know,
What was meant, would be.
But I fell in love
And it’s not that easy.
It’s compromise and identity,
Mountains and valleys,
Apologies and memories,
Imbalance, recentering.
It turns out,
Love took reimagining.

I used to think that Church
was simple.
Church was community, not
the walls,
Faith and hope mixed with call.
But then the world grew
violently sick
And the way to be Church
Was to keep distance.
So doors were closed,
And people sent home.
It was all love, by another way.
And yet it was not how we
imagined Sunday.

I used to think that justice
was simple,
That I could make a difference,
all by myself.
There was a clear right and
wrong, a way I could help.
But then I learned of privilege
and bias,
Of white savior complex and our
Church’s silence.
And all at once, it wasn’t so easy.
I needed to learn. I needed to listen.
I needed to reframe my
original vision.

I guess what I’m trying to say is
Life will throw first drafts
our way.

The chance to dream,
To lead, to sing,
To love, and give,
To pray, and be.
But in order to grow,
To follow God’s lead,
We have to do the work—
Reimagining.

And despite our best efforts,
Love will fail.
Churches will close.
Justice will leave the
vulnerable exposed.
And when that happens,
We must own our part,
Say we’re sorry
And try to restart.

So write it all down.
And write it again.
A first draft,
A second,
An epilogue, and then
Share it with me
And we will pray.

And the spirit will move,
And maybe one day,
We can write this world
inside heaven’s gate.

For I am
Starting to believe
That what matters in life
Will never be easy.
So we must imagine and
imagine again.
We must dream and try, die and rise.
And in our rising, may we see
The next right reimagined thing
Until step by step we are home.

Love, by another way.

Peace and Courage,
Heather

From Rev. Heather Shortlidge

Dear Friends,

Join us this Sunday, September 13th, for online worship at 10:00am. I’m preaching the wonderful story of the Daughters of Zelophehad from Numbers 26:63-27:1-11.

This week our music features Taisha Estrada in a fun and joyous spiritual, “I Got Shoes,” also known as “I’m Gonna Shout All Over God’s Heaven.”

Other special music includes the blues favorite “Come Sunday,” by DC composer Duke Ellington. This beautiful ballad opened one of Ellington’s longest and most ambitious compositions, entitled Black, Brown, & Beige in his first Carnegie Hall concert in 1943. Originally billed by the Duke as “a parallel to the history of the Negro in America,” Mahalia Jackson later recorded and popularized it in a jazz album in 195

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

Sunday School begins for children and youth this Sunday with a large group gathering at 9:15am.

Adult Education kicks off on Saturday at 4:00pm with Jonathan Lacock-Nisly of Interfaith Power and Light presenting “Genesis in Reverse: Addressing Climate Grief and Our Role as Co-Creators with God.” There is a wide array of educational opportunities being offered this fall. Click here for the full list.

Your Pastoral Nominating Committee (PNC) has been hard at work, meeting every Sunday evening. Over the next several weeks, they are asking all members and staff to participate in an online congregational assessment, which will help them in their work of seeking your next pastor. Click here for an important update from the PNC.

Just a head’s up that I’ll be on vacation next Tuesday 9/15, Wednesday 9/16, and Thursday 9/17. Please reach out to Rachel Pacheco (rachel.pacheco@nyapc.org or 267.981.1373) with any pastoral care needs.

Finally, a poem by Toni Morrison to help us reflect upon this tragic day nineteen years ago:

The Dead of September 11

Some have God’s words; others have songs of comfort
for the bereaved. If I can pluck courage here, I would
like to speak directly to the dead–the September dead.
Those children of ancestors born in every continent
on the planet: Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas…;
born of ancestors who wore kilts, obis, saris, geles,
wide straw hats, yarmulkes, goatskin, wooden shoes,
feathers and cloths to cover their hair. But I would not say
a word until I could set aside all I know or believe about
nations, wars, leaders, the governed and ungovernable;
all I suspect about armor and entrails. First I would freshen
my tongue, abandon sentences crafted to know evil—wanton
or studied; explosive or quietly sinister; whether born of
a sated appetite or hunger; of vengeance or the simple
compulsion to stand up before falling down. I would purge
my language of hyperbole; of its eagerness to analyze
the levels of wickedness; ranking them; calculating their
higher or lower status among others of its kind.

Speaking to the broken and the dead is too difficult for
a mouth full of blood. Too holy an act for impure thoughts.
Because the dead are free, absolute; they cannot be
seduced by blitz.

To speak to you, the dead of September 11, I must not claim
false intimacy or summon an overheated heart glazed
just in time for a camera. I must be steady and I must be clear,
knowing all the time that I have nothing to say–no words
stronger than the steel that pressed you into itself; no scripture
older or more elegant than the ancient atoms you
have become.

And I have nothing to give either–except this gesture,
this thread thrown between your humanity and mine:
I want to hold you in my arms and as your soul got shot of its box of flesh to understand,
as you have done, the wit
of eternity: its gift of unhinged release tearing through
the darkness of its knell.

Peace and Courage,
Heather

From Rev. Heather Shortlidge

Dear Friends,

Join us this Sunday for Zoom worship at 10:00am. I’m preaching from Luke 23:44-56, the story of Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Jewish establishment who had the guts to go to Pilate and ask for the dead body of Jesus so he could give it a decent burial.

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

The music for this coming Sunday celebrates communion while remembering Labor Day. It is also officially our first Sunday of fall! Normally this would be a time of celebrating together in the sanctuary but this year of course, we celebrate together but from afar online! The up-side is that wherever you are around the world (and we have several members abroad), you can dial in and always be an important part of NYAPC which is a delightful “benefit” of Covid, (if we can say such a thing!).

Taisha Estrada is our featured soloist this week in the hymns and in a moving rendition of Let Us Break Bread Together arranged by the great spiritual arranger Moses Hogan. She is an amazing artist building her career in jazz and popular music in the DC area and will be a major future force in this field, I predict! We are blessed to have her with us.

This Sunday, there will be a special time during worship to pray for students, teachers, parents, and school staff who are starting a new school year. Have some of your virtual school materials and devices with you for worship.

Additionally, the sacrament of communion will be served. Remember to gather your elements in advance. Any bread and drink are acceptable in the midst of a pandemic. Set your table and be prepared to welcome the Spirit of God into your space.

And a tiny prayer this week for anyone who is finding it difficult to be optimistic:

May you welcome the non-binary knowledge
that optimism and pessimism are not your only choices,
and may you commit to a truth in between,
a truth that exists even when you don’t remember it,
that you have resources, community,
and your own gifts to offer,
that there is meaning,
even when the path ahead is unclear,
and may you stop trying to force assured steps
and instead wander with the rest of us for a while.
Amen.

– From Tiny Prayers for Protests

Peace and Courage,

From Rev. Heather Shortlidge

Dear Friends,

Join us this Sunday for Zoom worship at 10:00am. I’m preaching from Acts 20:7-20, the peculiar and fun story of a teenager named Eutychus.

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

As always, we hope that Sunday’s music will continue to inspire and nourish you. This week, we are pleased to introduce Jacob Gagosian again as one of our featured young artists, now playing advanced repertoire while studying in this summer’s Interlochen Academy of the Arts. New York Avenue Presbyterian has always had a wealth of young talents in voice and instruments, so we are happy to hear him in Bach’s Concerto in A Minor for the prelude.

Sunday’s anthem is drawn from Dr. Engebretson’s gospel and spiritual book, “Hallelujah!” published in Germany. “I Stood on the Banks of Jordan” is set in a triplet, swinging style reminiscent of the water, while exploring jazz and expanded harmonies. It is set by John Høybe from Denmark, one of Europe’s leading popular music arrangers, and is very uplifting.

Pastor Rachel is in her second week of ministry with us, serving as our Associate Stated Supply Pastor. Rachel’s position is 30 hours per week and she will be working virtually on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Reach out to her through rachel.pacheco@nyapc.org.

And a prayer of blessing from John Philip Newell…

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.

Peace and Courage,
Heather

From Rev. Heather Shortlidge

Dear Friends,

Join us for online worship this Sunday, August 23rd, at 10:00 am. I’m preaching from Acts 16:11-15, 40 the story of Lydia, a business woman who helped provide hospitality to Paul and Silas.

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

Sunday’s worship music features…

A contemporary hymn favorite, “You are Mine,” written by David Haas in 1991, and performed in a duet by Molly Johnson with her daughter Penny. Mr. Haas is an active church musician living in Minneapolis, who is part of the “Minnesota School” of liturgical musicians, named for three outstanding composers who all graduated from the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.

The piano talents of Samantha Scheff, our former organ scholar, are on display in the prelude. She is currently the associate organist at St. John’s Lafayette Square, so it’s great to welcome her back to the neighborhood after receiving her Master’s in Organ at Rutgers University!

Our new ¾ time Associate Stated Supply Pastor, Rev. Rachel Pacheco, started on Tuesday. Rachel will be focused primarily on children, youth, and family ministry as well as communications and worship leadership. She’s working remotely from her home in Alexandria on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. She can be reached at rachel.pacheco@nyapc.org or (267) 981-1373. There will be a Meet & Greet with Rachel after worship on Sunday. In order to attend, please register in advance by emailing nicole.johnson@nyapc.org no later than Saturday at noon.

Volunteers will be providing Protestor Hospitality next Friday, August 28th for the March on Washington. If you would like to contribute to this important ministry, donations of individually wrapped snacks, sports drinks, and water are needed. Volunteers will be accepting donation drop off’s next Wednesday, August 26th from 6:00-8:00pm. Please email aryn_m@yahoo.com with any questions.

Finally, we have decided to close the building again. As many of you know, we softly reopened the church building in early July to prepare to accommodate our tenants. We had front desk and custodial staff working inside the building Monday-Friday, 8am-2pm, and Sunday, 10am-2pm. For the next three weeks, we are closing the building and all staff will be working remotely. We make this decision with the following information:

  1. Our tenants are not yet ready to return to the building. The Downtown Day Services Center is providing limited, appointment-based services, and is self-sufficient in locking and unlocking their designated entrance.
  2. Two of our staff members have contracted COVID-19 since returning to work inside the building, and the remaining staff, many who are considered high risk, are scared to return to in-person work.
  3. Except for Radcliffe Room Ministries and Protest Hospitality (which can continue with volunteers), worship and programs remain online until at least the beginning of Lent, which begins February 17, 2021.
    We will reevaluate this decision every three weeks, beginning Wednesday September 9, 2020. If you have any questions or concerns, please direct them my way.

Some nourishment for your soul this week—a poem, “Wait” by Galway Kinnell:

Wait, for now.
Distrust everything if you have to.
But trust the hours. Haven’t they
carried you everywhere, up to now?
Personal events will become interesting again.
Hair will become interesting.
Pain will become interesting.
Buds that open out of season will become interesting.
Second-hand gloves will become lovely again;
their memories are what give them
the need for other hands. The desolation
of lovers is the same: that enormous emptiness
carved out of such tiny beings as we are
asks to be filled; the need
for the new love is faithfulness to the old.
Wait.
Don’t go too early.
You’re tired. But everyone’s tired.
But no one is tired enough.
Only wait a little and listen:
music of hair,
music of pain,
music of looms weaving our loves again.
Be there to hear it, it will be the only time,
most of all to hear your whole existence,
rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.

Grace and Courage, Heather