Alternative Christmas 2018

IMG_4747Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way….to the Alternative Christmas gifts in the back of the sanctuary! This year’s eight gift projects include four local and four international recipients, plus the always-popular Fair Trade Olive Oil from Palestinian farmers. All of our projects have been connected with NYAPC as part of our mission and partner relationships.

Locally we have our traditional:

  • Open Arms Housing supporting 90 of the city’s most vulnerable women
  • Geriatric Day Care for 40 DC senior residents and their caregivers
  • Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, led by our own Kathy Doan, was a new addition to our projects last year.  It provides legal services annually to 500 children— toddlers through teens- -through CAIR’s Detained Children’s Program
  • Our new program this year is One  D.C., with a grassroots organizing mission involved in worker co-ops, job apprenticeships and training

Internationally, you are familiar with

  • The Kenya Orphans and Vulnerable Children program that helps 35 children each Saturday and provides comprehensive assistance.
  • First Presbyterian of Havana with its new pastor, Rev. Liudmila Hernández, who is working to expand First Havana’s mission outreach, especially with children and youth, and is  embarking on church renovations including the library to provide computers for young people.
  • The Presbyterian Churches in Baghdad and Basra, Iraq struggle to continue their missions with internally displaced refugees, their Pre-K schools, and FM radio outreach.  In October, the Baghdad Church opened three new grades to its Pre-K school and needs school desks and equipment.
  • The Presbyterian Churches in Homs and Damascus, Syria continue to cope with war and bombing while welcoming back Syrian refugees and continuing their thriving services and missions.

Finally, you know about that wonderful Palestinian olive oil that you love to use and give as perfect gifts.  Just $20 a bottle and it goes fast!! Get your bottles before they run out.

So jingle your way to the Alternative Christmas tables, look at the wonderful projects, get more details and inspiration from the catalog.  You may buy your gifts at the tables today and the next two Sundays, or go online to the NYAPC web site.  Pick up a catalog for details on giving and the projects.

GIVE LOVE THIS CHRISTMAS!!  During Advent, bring Hope, Joy, Love, and Peace to those who need it most.  Give Alternative Christmas gifts in anticipation of the coming Emmanuel.

-Marilyn Seiber, December 2, 2018


Nominating Committee Seeking Recommendations

The Nominating Committee is currently working to fill the 15 or so church board slots for new terms that begin in January and we can use your help. If you know someone at church that you think would be a good candidate, please let us know. Also, self-nominations are welcomed and encouraged. If you have served before and are ready to do so again, or never have but are interested, please contact David Gillies at or Miriam Dewhurst at Your help is greatly appreciated, as it will help ensure we have effective lay leadership in the years ahead.

Thanks – David Gillies

All Saints Sunday

This month, when we focus not only on giving thanks, but also on the saints who now from their labors rest, I invite you to remember and give thanks for those saints who helped to shape you as a person of faith.  Name the gifts they brought, the ministries in which they engaged. Thank God for those saints.

The saints have shown us that generous living is about approaching each day with an open heart, an open mind and an open hand.  I believe that God uses the church to equip us for our ministries in the world,  legacies that will influence godly lives of generations coming behind us. Think of the past, look to the present and dream of the future.  Determine what you can do today to live more generously and to make a difference in the future for our church family and community.  In everything, give thanks.  Live in gratitude, for gratitude strengthens our character and moral resolve. By the grace of God, we will be filled with hope as we do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God.   

Each of us is invited to the Table today to join with angels and archangels and the company of Heaven–the saints–to sing the Sanctus, the Holy, Holy, Holy.  It is an awesome thought that those who have gone before will be singing with us today. I would hope that during this time the distance between heaven and earth might collapse, allowing you a glorious glimpse of the divine. There is a place for you at the table.

Catherine Schultheis

Dedication Sunday


Every fall when I start thinking about my pledge for the next year, I usually think about all the big things that New York Avenue does. Our big ministries that meet on a weekly basis like the Radcliffe Room and Community Club, Sunday School for all ages, and more Bible Studies and small groups to join that I can even name. I think back on growing up at a Presbyterian Church in North Carolina and remember my mom teaching me how important it is to give as a spiritual practice.

This year I have been reminded of the not so big things that our community provides for each other, that often go unnoticed. Spontaneous offers of help, unnecessary but appreciated thank yous, meals for both joyful times and sad. I have also been thinking about all of the things I want New York Avenue to accomplish, like a well attended regularly meeting youth group, a successful partnership with the BID, the ability to plug in visitors and new members to the right groups for them, and that everyone who wishes to go visit our international partners in Kenya and Cuba will have the chance to do so.

All of these things are supported by your time volunteering as part of this community. And many of them are supported by our pledges and gifts throughout the year. Today on All Saints’ Sunday, remember that Pledging is a way to honor and continue the legacy of those we remember today.

If you have not yet had the opportunity to pledge, I hope you will remember the little things that you love about New York Avenue in deciding how much you pledge this coming year.

Thank you!

Helen Anthony


Good morning. I’m Astrid Brigham. I was asked to talk this morning about Stewardship.

A lot of activities that I take part in here at New York Avenue are able to happen because of funding help from the church.

Penny, Astrid, and Jacob at Massanetta

As you might know, in July I went to Massanetta, a church summer camp in southern Virginia, with Penny, Jacob, Helen, and Sarah. I had an awesome time. The food was delicious, and I probably had more sugar there than I ever have in my life. I made friends in the mini groups, and everyone there was amazing. We all stayed up until almost 11 o’clock each night, and on the first evening, we made 10,250 bags of rice, soy, dried vegetables, and a vitamin packet to send to people in need.

Astrid packing meals with Rise Against Hunger

One thing that I look forward to every year is the Youth Day of Service to Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Kids of all ages from churches across Washington, DC gather right here to make lunch, organize the clothing closets, and make care packages for the homeless.26231655_10155713093123941_3163252311497586240_n

Just about a month before that, one of my favorite parts of the holiday season takes place. The Christmas Pageant takes place every December, and I love rehearsing the songs and the pageant itself. I have taken part in the pageant for years, starting when I was a sheep.

2018 Christmas Pageant

I also enjoy taking part in Youth Sunday. I enjoy spending time with my friends to help create an entire church service that everyone enjoys.

All of these activities are at least partially funded by the church.

In order to keep activities like these going for the youth of the church, please consider filling out a Stewardship Pledge. When you fill out a stewardship pledge, New York Avenue has a better idea of how much money there will be and what activities we can plan for the coming year.

Thank you!


IMG_2505As we focus for the past and coming weeks on stewardship, I wanted to share with you how I came to recognize financially giving to the church as an important part in my contribution to the church mission.If any of you study personality types, you may sympathize with the fact that I grew up as a free-spirit non-planner in a family of A-type schedule oriented family members. I frustrated my parents to no end by being non-committal to family gatherings, springing last minute plans and liking to keep my options open. I must admit, even today the most alluring option on a Facebook event invitation is the famous “maybe” RSVP.

But I will say as I’ve gotten older and become a professional, gotten more involved in many activities and joined the session here at New York Ave, I’ve recognized the need to plan and yes, even enjoy the thrill of a well balanced calendar. Most importantly in my role on session I’ve realized the importance of financial planning that I hadn’t recognized before. I have previously given to the church in random denominations of bills in the offering plate based on whatever I had in my wallet. While that contribution is important, I realize now the amount of importance we in session put on planned budget for the year, and how important pledged amounts are for our planning process. That may sound a little boring but it allows us the ability to plan the financial year and fund all of the things that we as church members see as the life of our church here in DC, including our missions in the city, with our communities and those in need, and the overall operations of our church.

Recognizing this I am personally recommitting my planning, as much hard work as it is, to ensure I am making my pledge for 2019 and following through on that commitment. I hope you will join me in prayerfully committing your pledge this year so that we can continue to invest in the wonderfully impactful programs for our community here at NYAPC.

Thank you,

Erica Morgan

Stewardship at Fall Retreat

WaterfallMy husband Matt and I have calls every six months with our financial advisor. These calls are often a reminder of how much more money we need to be saving to meet our retirement goals, send our kids to college, or ever afford a bigger place to live in DC. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by how much more money we should be saving that we’re not, but something I find, year after year, is that when Matt and I sit down to determine our annual church pledge, and when we make a commitment to not cut our donation short because of other financial stresses, there is a peace and comfort in knowing that God is in charge and ultimately responsible for our well-being. As much as the world tells us that 401Ks and 529s are the place to be, I’m reminded that our first priority must always be a financial commitment to the church – to further God’s will in our community. Who better knows our needs and knows how to care for them than God?
While I might forget this truth time and again, stewardship season is an opportunity to be reminded of God’s abundance, generosity, and overwhelming desire to provide for each one of us. This stewardship season, I pray you too might find comfort in God’s care and ministry, and the ways in which God’s call is alive and well at New York Avenue. One of the many things church pledges support is to help offset the costs of the annual church retreat. The date has been set for next year’s retreat (the weekend of October 18, 2019), and despite an increase in facility prices the church budget will help cover expenses to ensure the retreat is affordable for all.
Making a financial commitment to New York Avenue is one way we can live out Micah 6:8 and do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God. In so doing we are a part of God’s ministry and provision in a way that beats any 401K or 529 plan. Make your pledge today!