7-2-9 40th Anniversary

20180606_194314On February 14, 1979 the following persons met with friends from St. Elizabeths Hospital to become charter members of the 7-2-9 Club:

Nell Cloer, Jack McClendon, Susan Eager, Wilma McKee, Jerry Evans, Mary Prothro, Betty M. Jackson, Alice Shafer, John Leitch, Anna Thomas, Fran Lynch, Paul Tomlinson, Will Myers, Betty Tupman

All but Ms. Eager have joined the heavenly host which cheers us on as we run the race.  Throughout the 40 years many individuals have regularly volunteered or made contributions to programs for the in-patients who come by bus from St. Elizabeths or the community-based out-patients who attend.  It would be impossible to name or thank all these dedicated individuals.  I do, however, wish to mention several past volunteers who have made significant contributions:  Ella Cleveland who has provided musical entertainment for 30 years; Willie Harley and John Quinones who have provided karaoke monthly for 10 years; and Bob and Imogene Wilden who for many years were inspirational volunteers.  In addition, Mr. Lectoye Oliver, Recreational Therapist at St. E’s and his staff have been  faithful in their providing transportation and supervision every Wednesday evening.   We are indebted to the NYAPC Board of Deacons for their financial and spiritual support for these forty years and our current liaison with the Decaons, Ms. Mary Nell Clark.  I do thank those who today stand here as a core of current volunteers on Wednesday nights:  Britton Walker, David Super, David Wooden and Mike Kuban.  Jim Martin, Kristina Majewski Sally Stearnes and Phil Telfeyan were unable to attend today.  Most of our current volunteers are not members of NYAPC but we are always hoping more members will volunteer.

St. Elizabeths has given the 7-2-9 Club the first Community Partner Award in 2014 (also awarded in the early 90’s but forgotten by the institution).  The program, initiated by Dr. Jack McMcClendon is designed to serve a population of those recovering from mental illness who are often overlooked in typical mission or outreach activities by churches.  It provides a purely social experience outside the structure of the hospital institution where informal conversations, games, entertainment and refreshments are the primary activities.  As Mary Prothro used to say, “we just have fun!”  It provides a venue for those preparing for transition from the hospital for “real life” social experiences without the structure required in most institutional settings.

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The following is from a note written by a recent volunteer who was asked “What does 7-2-9 mean to you?”  I feel it beautifully captures both the goal and the achievements of 7-2-9:

I have been thinking about 729 today because it is one of the things for which I am most thankful.  As a newcomer, what has struck me the most is how comfortable our guests have come to feel in the program.  Many have various ways of making it their own that are meaningful to them and accepted by the larger group.  Before I came to 729, I did not realize that favorite Christmas carols included the Star-Spangled Banner and The Battle Hymn of the Republic, nor had I heard The Old Rugged Cross performed at karaoke.  Sometimes members just want to go over to the windows and look down on the dynamic activity of downtown Washington, from which they are otherwise locked away.  When we play bingo, some members systematically manage six or more boards to maximize their chances of winning; others have one card but play it intently; still others are mostly talking with other people at their table, recording perhaps one in two or three the numbers called.  Occasionally, a couple of members’ urge to play chess overwhelms their desire to follow the day’s planned activities.  But it is all done and received positively and good-naturedly, and the ability to exercise those small bits of personal freedom likely mean a lot to the members.  All this makes me proud to be a part of it and grateful to NY Avenue Presbyterian for its steadfast support of the 729 Club.

To this, I say AMEN.

Spencer Gibbins, Co-Coordinator

February 17, 2019

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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 dcgillies@verizon.net or Miriam Dewhurst at Miriam.Dewhurst@gmail.com. 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

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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

Stewardship

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Stewardship

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