Stewarding Our Gifts: How We’ll Use Our 2020 Grants

In 2020, NYAPC received several grants, totaling $140,000, to help us in “expressing God’s love, engaging in God’s justice:” They will support Radcliffe Room guests and the Orphan and Vulnerable Children program in Kenya, make worship services more accessible online when we return to in person worship, and improve our building’s security for staff, members and guests. These grants also help us begin to fulfill a strategic plan goal to diversify our revenue sources. In addition to these grants, we received a forgivable loan through the Paycheck Protection Program, a generous undesignated bequest of $400,000 from the estate of Amy Gillespie, and many smaller gifts in 2020. Thanks be to God.

Security Grant
The Homeland Security Administration granted us $100,000 for improving building security. Facility Manager Elias Bazezew is currently getting pricing for a variety of technologies to promote better security for staff, members, and guests during daily church operations and worship, including: closed circuit monitor cameras; exterior lighting; internal alarms and motion detectors; and electronically controlled door locks. Then, a committee of the Trustees will determine the configuration of these devices to get the best value for the $100,000. There will also be training for staff and the congregation on our responses to the most likely security risk situations. – from John O’Brien, Trustees

Radcliffe Room
After an employee of one of our office building neighbors, the Phillip Morris Foundation, observed our lunch service in Triangle Park, the foundation provided $25,000 for ministries to our neighbors without homes. Over the next several months, the Radcliffe Room team plans to spend its grant on:

• renovation of the sink in the first floor kitchen (contractor still needed!)
• materials for service, including tables and tents
• six months’ worth of food (meat and sandwich supplies)
• lots of winter coats, thermals, jeans, and hoodies!

– from Phil Telfeyan, Radcliffe Room Team

Sanctuary Technology Upgrades
The worship and music committee applied for and received an $11,000 grant from the National Capital Presbytery’s Church Development Committee “tech team.” The grant will cover half of the committee’s estimated cost of outfitting the sanctuary to enable hybrid in-person and online worship, including the sound system upgrades planned before the pandemic (microphones that comply with new FCC rules and a new soundboard). The worship and music committee’s goal is to provide a fulfilling way for people to participate in worship from home even as we return to in person services. The committee envisions, for example, monitors in the sanctuary that would allow Zoom worshippers to see and be seen, and better cameras and sound than our previous livestream set up. – from Meg Neill, Worship and Music Committee

Kenya Orphan and Vulnerable Children Program
We also received a $5000 grant from the National Capital Presbytery’s Global Mission Program for the Orphan and Vulnerable Children program of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa in Kenya. The grant has been sent directly to that program in Kenya so that they can purchase computers and books for their new library. – from Beth Braxton, Board of Deacons

From Rev. Heather Shortlidge

Dear Friends,

by Lisle Gwynn Garrity | Image from @Sanctified Art | sanctifiedart.org

A dear friend from seminary, who now practices ministry as a licensed professional counselor, calls it a case of the “febs”—that drop in energy and enthusiasm during the dark, cold month of February.

Perhaps you or someone in your pandemic bubble is experiencing a case of the “febs.” If so, know that you are not alone. Do what you can to stay connected to others. Reach out to Pastor Rachel or me. And, even if you’re not really feeling it, try and show up for worship. Being in community can help. And so can the Lenten journey of living simply and reflectively.

Our theme for Lent is Again & Again. During the next five Sundays, we will come to God again and again with our prayers, our dreams, our hopes, and our doubts.

This week, I’m preaching from Mark 1:9-15, the story of God meeting Jesus at the water, reminding us that God meets us where we are—in the midst of our reluctance, doubt, eagerness, weariness, or even when a case of the “febs” has settled in. The NYAPC Sanctuary Choir will be featured in “We Shall Walk Through the Valley in Peace,” a spiritual arranged by the famous African-American composer Undine Smith Moore that features elaborate soaring lines between the vocal parts, giving it an eloquent reflective quality.

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

The church has curated a variety of devotional materials for your Lenten journey. Access written meditations by church members and friends, daily devotional cards that include reflection prompts and a short prayer, and all our Lenten offerings here.

Unfortunately, the church website was down when many of you attempted to join us for Ash Wednesday worship. If you missed it, a link to the entire service is here.

I’m delighted to announce that the Personnel Committee was able to move quickly to fill the Office Manager vacancy. Maila Cardoso, our Interim Office Manager from this fall, has been hired permanently to fill this important position and will begin on Monday. Maila knows the job well and will be able to hit the ground running, ensuring a seamless transition in the church office. A warm welcome back to Maila Cordoso (maila.cardoso@nyapc.org).

Finally, a prayer to nourish your spirit this week:

God never begins letters with the words
“I hope this finds you well,”
For those words imply distance.

Instead, God begins God’s letters to you with the words,
“Remember when?”

Beloved child,
Remember when we dipped our toes into the water?
Remember when we dove right in?
Remember when the ice cream dripped down our hands
And the cicadas sang their song,
And the seasons changed,
And the days were long?
Remember when we fell in love and the world was new?
Remember when our heart was broken?
Remember the tears?
Remember the long nights?
Remember when we laughed again and the sound surprised us?
Remember when we marched in the street?
Remember when we cast our vote?
Remember when we believed in hope?
Remember when?
I do.

That’s what God’s letters say.
So on this day, and every day to come,
Remember: God is meeting you.
If you look back, you might remember when.

Prayer by Rev. Sarah Are | A Sanctified Art LLC | sanctifiedart.org

Peace and Courage,
Heather

Strategic Plan Progress: 2020

Despite the many disruptions in 2020, we moved forward on portions of all three goals set out in the Strategic Plan, adopted by Session in December 2019. While the pandemic and other events disrupted some work related to the plan, at times those very disruptions forced us into taking action.

Some of our biggest accomplishments under the plan this year relate to Goals #2, Broadening our Understanding and Practice of Stewardship, and #3, Optimizing our Organizational Structure. Finance Committee helped us toward better understanding and communication about our finances, both the good news and the bad. Our Stewardship Committee ran a successful pledge campaign, and our Trustees and Facility Manager helped us to steward the gift that is our church building. Crises related to our building’s security and the pandemic led us to receive funds beyond our usual sources, including a security grant, a forgivable loan under the CARES act, and a grant to the Radcliffe Room. There is more important work to be done, but good momentum is moving us forward into 2021.

Another major accomplishment, under Goal #3, is Personnel Committee’s re-organization of our staff structure to form a management team to support our pastors. While 2020 was full of transition, we ended the year with this new team in place. The challenge of optimizing our lay leadership structure continues, with a team working on ideas for implementation in 2021.

Much of our work this year related to keeping going as we responded to disruption. In addition, the impossibility of gathering in person prevented us from pursuing some activities—such as retreats, in-person Sunday School and other gatherings—that we might have used to work toward Goal #1, Cultivating Deeper Faith. However, many of these activities continued on Zoom, with groups and classes forming to address this goal. The music program, perhaps most dependent on being in-person, has successfully and consistently supported online worship, but hasn’t been able to explore how it might further support this cultivating faith goal. The coming year(s), which will include welcoming a new pastor and a return to in-person activities, will give us new opportunities to work toward Goal #1.

The pandemic has pushed us to embrace new technologies, which resulted in innovation in worship and in how we meet, and in our communications strategies. As we move beyond the pandemic in 2021 and 2022, we will need to decide what innovations and new practices we might want to take with us as we return to a “new normal.”

The specific goals and objectives of our Strategic Plan are not exhaustive, so this summary does not include many of the other activities of 2020. The three goals in our Strategic Plan represent what Session sees as top priorities for us to work on first as we live into our mission and core values. As we continue to make progress, we should consider other priorities that arise, along with those that come out of the September 2020 Church Assessment Tool facilitated by the Pastoral Nominating Committee.

The full 2020 annual report will provide more specifics related to the strategic plan and a fuller picture of our year. See this pdf for a task-by-task report on our Strategic Plan progress.

How Did We Do Financially in 2019 & 2020?

From Finance Committee’s Doug House and Brent Ling

At the Annual Meeting on Feb. 7, your Finance Committee will give a high-level summary Session’s budget for 2021. (To get into the nitty-gritty, you can review a detailed 2021 budget here.) It includes funding for essentially all requests made by NYAPC Boards, Committees and Programs and provides for enhancements to staff, a major improvement to Sanctuary technology, and much more.

It also calls for us to spend about $180,000 more than we take in from ordinary revenues and annual endowment draws – before the planned HVAC project. 

A Moment to Celebrate. As we get ready to discuss 2021, it’s useful to look back at what’s happened financially in 2019 and 2020. And to take a moment to celebrate what were really two very, very good financial years for NYAPC! Read more.

Let’s start with nuts and bolts: Accounting. As you’ll recall from Finance Committee’s last communication with you, our accounting team has been playing catch-up since Q4 2019, fixing some posting issues caused by our amazingly complex web of Funds, investments, and GAAP accounting requirements. And dealing with floods, building closures, and responding to the needs of the church in pandemic-times.

The first piece of good news: we’ve caught up! We finally closed 2019 financials this past summer and posted November 2020 reports right on time, around the 22nd of the following month. December Financials, reflecting the “close” of the year, normally post the second week of February. We’re on course to do that and deliver January Financials in late February, right on schedule. Add in a “clean” audit for 2019 and we can say our accounting function is back on its game. And with more improvements to come.

Excellent 2019 and 2020 Results. What do those completed and now-timely reports show? Financial results in 2019 and through November 2020 are…shockingly great! Our annual budgets as configured today look at a slice of the church’s financial life that we can call “operations.” The budgets pay attention to “ordinary” revenues like pledges, other contributions, income from trusts, building use revenue, and grants and ignores any investment income or losses (since they mainly impact endowments versus our “spendable money”). And we include in the budget our cash operating expenses for things like salaries, supplies, utilities, and any grants we make to other organizations but ignore “non-cash” expenses like depreciation and benefits accruals and omit large capital projects supervised by Trustees.

In 2019 we budgeted and almost $800,000 gap between our operating revenues and operating expenses. In 2020, the budgeted gap was around $440,000. After applying our annual “draw” from endowments to those numbers, our 2019 budget called for us to “burn” around $550,000 in cash in 2019 and around $180,000 in 2020.

What actually happened? Instead of “burning” cash on operations, we actually collected more revenue than we spent! In 2019 revenues from operations exceeded operating expenses by $112,000. Through November of 2020, that number is around $115,000 and will go higher. A HUGE turnaround from the budget!

Even after adding non-budgeted capital expenses into the picture, things look pretty good. In 2019 we booked capital expense (capex) of around $600,000, mostly on the work getting our building ready for the Business Improvement District’s Downtown Day Services Center. In 2020 (through November), we’ve booked around $165,000 in capex for security improvements and asbestos and mold abatement. Which means that overall, we still “burned” some cash both years. But the bulk of 2019’s capex is being paid for by the BID over time. So even with capex, we’ve been doing great!

Why were the 2019 and 2020 results so much better than budget? Lower than expected costs both years tell a lot of the story. In 2019, personnel costs were under-budget following Roger’s departure, and interest payments were below expectations because rates remained gloriously low. And we booked $135,000 less than budgeted to repairs and maintenance due to a mixture of work that did not need doing and moving some of the work we did do to capex vs the budget. [If you don’t understand that last sentence and want to, let us know.] In 2020 most expense categories were under budget because of pandemic-related disruptions.

But higher than expected revenues are important as well, with overall revenues $785,000 over budget in 2019 and $322,000 over full year budget already in November of 2020. What’s going on with that? Three things:

1) Big increases in non-pledge giving in 2020. There was a pandemic. There was great need. You and many of our neighbors stepped up and sent NYAPC money to use to respond. A huge blessing.

2) Bequests. Our budget generally ignores bequests because projecting them feels a bit ghoulish and it’s hard to know in advance if a bequest we do receive is available to pay for regular operations or it’s going to be designated to pay down debt or to add to our endowments. Our budget for bequests in 2019 and 2020 were $0 and $90,000 (the latter a bequest we were notified of in 2019). Our actual bequest receipts were $411,000 in 2019 and $395,000 in 2020 (through November and not even including the astonishing gift from Amy Gillespie).  We need to do more work to fully unpack the details of these bequests and understand how they shape our overall financial condition. We may want to report on them differently in the future. More to come!

3) Under-budgeting for Pledges and Contributions. In 2019 we received $315,000 more in pledge and non-pledge contributions than budgeted. In 2020, through November we’ve received $98,000 more than the total we expected for the whole year.

In preparing the 2018, 2019 and 2020 budgets, Session (on recommendation of Finance Committee) took a conservative approach to budgeting two of our three main sources of revenue: pledges and non-pledge contributions. Why? Because our accounting challenges of 2010-2015 meant we had little definitive data on what had actually been happening. And the Finance Committee felt it was safest to assume that our only pledge revenue would be whatever amount of pledges were in-hand when the budget was finalized in early December. And that non-pledge revenue budgets should be built up from best estimates of likely giving to specific programs and accounts.

Looking at 2021. As we’ve finally had three full years (2017-2019) and one partial year (2020) of data, we can see that this approach way, way underestimates how much we’ll actually collect in pledge and non-pledge contributions. So our 2021 budget for contributions is substantially higher than what you’ll find in either the 2020 or 2019 budgets. But, we think, much closer to what we’ll actually experience.

In fact, “much closer to what we’ll actually experience” is a theme that runs through many different sections of the 2021 budget. Using now-available multi-year spending history, Trustees were able to develop a full and robust projection of what we’ll be spending on things like software licenses, maintenance contracts, legal fees, and more. The 2021 budget includes these items – many of which have been missed in previous budgets – as well as a $45,000 allowance for unplanned repairs and maintenance because, you know, things break! And that’s about what we’ve spent on non-HVAC-related repairs over each of the past three years.

As you’ll see at the annual meeting, that doesn’t mean we know what’s going to happen. We’re unsure how the pandemic and limited building operations impact our tenants and what that will mean for building use revenue. At the time the budget was drafted, we were looking towards returning to the building for worship at the start of Lent. That timetable now seems unlikely to materialize. And while the budget carries a substantial allowance for debt service, we won’t really know what we’ll need there until HVAC contracts are let, the work done, and the dust (and cool breezes) settle over the final bills. Think of the budget as a tool that the governing boards of the church can utilize to notice irregularities, and make decisions about spending or saving funds based on the performance we are seeing in real time.

We’ll need to walk that path and see what happens together. But for now we hope you’ll join us in celebrating two great financial years at NYAPC, years in which we learned, grew, and built resources we can use to answer God’s call to us on this corner of Washington, DC.

Radcliffe Room Continues Despite Security Obstacles

Despite downtown blockades and security fences bisecting our church’s building, the Radcliffe Room team continued to provide food and companionship to our neighbors experiencing homelessness on Sunday.

Security allowed Radcliffe Room leaders access to the New York Avenue door, just inside the city’s red zone. This made it possible to serve lunch and open the clothing closet to over 40 people. Thanks to all our volunteers for their perseverance!

From Rev. Heather Shortlidge

Dear Friends,

Don’t miss worship this Sunday, December 20th at 10:00am. We will celebrate the season with a special Service of Lessons and Carols, lifting up the Advent story in word and song, heralded by carols with the NYAPC Sanctuary Choir, soloists, and festive brass/organ music. Special thanks to Will Timmons, Audio Video Production Coordinator, for helping organize the brass group from the US Military Bands as well as an extensive 4-camera video shoot that has been edited into special holiday anthems for the day. Following worship, we will celebrate the retirement of John O’Brien, our Interim Facility Manager.

Join us on Zoom at 10:00am
Dial-in: 1-929-436-2866 Meeting ID: 150620342

And in keeping with our core value of radical hospitality, the church has entered into an agreement with the city to serve as a warming center. During regular day time hours (8:30am-5:00pm), the Downtown DC BID will be using our Radcliffe Room in order to provide respite from cold winter weather. This agreement was signed by our Trustees and is in place between now and March 31st. This week day warming center will not interrupt our regular Sunday Radcliffe Room Ministry.

A poem to nourish your spirit this week:

On the Mystery of the Incarnation

It’s when we face for a moment
the worst our kind can do, and shudder to know
the taint in our own selves, that awe
cracks the mind’s shell and enters the heart:
not to a flower, not to a dolphin,
to no innocent form
but to this creature vainly sure
it and no other is god-like, God
(out of compassion for our ugly
failure to evolve) entrusts,
as guest, as brother,
the Word.

—Denise Levertov (1923–1997)

Hope to see you on Sunday,

Heather

From Rev. Heather Shortlidge

Dear Friends,

As the world remains unsettled, I hope and pray you are finding ways to tend to yourself in body, mind, and spirit. Please reach out to Pastor Rachel or me, if you would like conversation, care, or prayer. We are here to listen with you, to be a safe space for lament, and to hold space for questions and complications. Whatever you are feeling this week, please know that you are not alone.

Sunday morning is shaping up to be a joyful gathering of two congregations as we worship with Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church. We will gather at 10:00am via Zoom to remember that God is making all things new, even now, and to keep learning how to love our neighbors in new and greater ways.

Brown’s pastor, Rev. Andrew Foster Connors, and I will be preaching a dialogue sermon from the lectionary text, Matthew 25:1-13, the Gospel story of the ten bridesmaids and their oil lamps. As I’ve mentioned before, Andrew is one of the best preachers I know, so you are in for a real treat. Our combined choirs have also recorded John Rutter’s eloquent Gaelic Blessing for our anthem. And Pastor Rachel and Pastor Michele Ward (from BMPA) have written exquisite liturgy to help make sense of this week and our world. Please join us on Sunday morning and invite others to as well.

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

Immediately following worship, Brown Memorial is hosting an adult education class, “Democracy and Our Faith” to help us learn more about our representative democracy and to get an update on what this means for the current national election. All are welcome to remain on Zoom following worship and participate. This is in addition to NYAPC’s class, Faith and the Election, on Saturday at 4 pm with Mike McCurry, director of Wesley Seminary’s Center for Public Theology and former press secretary for President Bill Clinton.

Many thanks to our Protest Hospitality Team and all their work to help make the church ready for post-election hospitality. Downtown has been incredibly quiet, with roving street closures and most of our neighbors boarded up. At the moment, it is a sea of blank plywood. We’re grateful that things have remained peaceful and will continue to make daily decisions about whether to be open. A special thank you to all who have dropped off or shipped donations. If they are not used this week, they will be saved for the inauguration and our Radcliffe Room guests.

Finally, the Trustees have been diligently working to keep our building in good shape, even as we continue to gather and hold meetings online. The Downtown Day Services Center is currently open during the week for appointment-based services, however, none of our other tenants have elected to return yet. The Radcliffe Ministry continues to serve lunch and provide fresh clothing items for neighbors in need on Sundays from 11 am to 1 pm. And in order to continue to care for our complex and aging building, a new full-time Facility Manager position was approved by the Session this fall. The Personnel Committee is currently interviewing candidates and hope to have someone in place by early December. We’re continually grateful for John O’Brien, Interim Facility Manager, who stepped in this year to help us manage and evaluate best practices. If you need to access to the church building, arrangements can be made by calling John at (202) 725-7779.

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

When it seemed there was no hope you showed us new ways forward, O God.
When it seemed there were only endings you showed us new beginnings.
Strengthen our belief in the power of life over death.
Strengthen our belief in the force of truth over falsehood
that we may be bearers of hope in the world,
that we may be bearers of hope.

Peace and Courage,

Heather

Sunday Worship & Election Week Plans

Dear Friends,

Join us this Sunday November 1st at 10:00am for Zoom worship. We will be celebrating All Saints, honoring the members of our community who have died in the past year as well as the 228,000 Americans who have perished from Covid-19. We’ll celebrate the sacrament of communion, so please prepare your table and elements in advance. During a pandemic, whatever bread and drink you have on hand will be blessed by God.

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

Please keep our church and the city in your prayers as we head into next week. NYAPC is tentatively planning on being open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday to provide post-election/protest hospitality. We will make a decision each day as to whether or not our building will be open for physically distanced, Covid-19 safe hospitality. Please stay tuned to our social media accounts (@nyapcdc) for the most up-to-date information.

If you are healthy and able, we need onsite volunteers for two-hour shifts. Sign up here and direct any questions about volunteering to Madison Neimer mneimer26@gmail.com. We are also in need of supplies—bottled drinks, non-perishable snacks, hand sanitizer/wipes, masks, small flash lights, and handwarmers. Donations can be dropped off at the church on Monday from 5:30-7:30pm or shipped directly from our Amazon Wish List. Please direct all donation questions to Aryn Myers aryn.myers@gmail.com.

If you are feeling anxious about the upcoming election, here is an at home liturgy that can be used for prayer, reflection, and meditation in the days ahead. Link Here.

And there is an in-person, non-partisan Election Eve Prayer Vigil scheduled for Monday November 2nd from 5:30-6:30pm – see this Facebook Events page .

Finally, a Mary Oliver poem, “When Death Comes” to nourish you this week:

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

Peace and Courage, Heather

What’s Going On: The McClendon Center

by Dennis Hobbs, Executive Director

The McClendon Center, one of our long-term tenants, usually provides day services to clients recovering from mental illnesses in Peter Marshall Hall.  

It’s been extremely difficult to be out of the church building. Our clients love coming to the day program, and it is like a second home to them.  As such, we’ve had some sad outcomes because people weren’t being seen. 

One client died of a PCP overdose in May.  Another died from a heart attack in June.  Both of these clients had been monitored daily by our nurse at the day program, but that just wasn’t possible when we were closed.  Another client with whom I met weekly has had such a disruption in her routine that she stopped taking her medication and has now lost 30 pounds. I’ve gone to her house numerous times but can’t get her to change her mind.  Also, the deaf clients we had in the afternoon miss us terribly.  The staff are having monthly video calls with them that wind up in tears on both sides of the screen.

Providing Virtual Services. On the positive side, we’ve developed a pretty robust “virtual” service in a lot of group homes.  Some of these homes depend on their residents leaving during the day and, thus, weren’t providing lunch.  Now that we’re “in” the homes, we have lunch dropped off for everyone in the house (so no more scrounging for food on the street). 

We’ve also been able to reach a lot of people this way whom we had never seen before. One day we actually served 73 people virtually!  But this effort takes a lot more staff, so we’ve diverted three staff members into the day program to handle this. 

A big success story is that we gave a scholarship to a client who was at St. Elizabeth’s for 11 years.  That was last fall. (The Department of Behavioral Health will no longer allow St. E patients to attend outpatient programs before they leave the hospital: we basically gave away around $15,000 of services for him, but it was worth it.) He finally got released from St. E with the requirement that he continue in our virtual day program, and luckily he was going to one of the houses where we’re set up to provide this service.  So we are still helping people, and seemingly re-inventing ourselves every day.

For FY2021 the McClendon Center is projecting an overall loss of over $1 million. So we’ve cut back on the amount of space we’re renting from NYAPC, since we’re not even there. That will help a little, but I’m hopeful that things will turn around soon and that the loss will be far less than anticipated. Thank God we had some good years to act as a cushion for this coming bad year!

Finally, I’m retiring on January 4th!  The Board is conducting a search now for the new CEO and I’m sure they’ll find someone who will continue the good work I’ve been privileged to continue–that started with Jack McClendon 40 years ago.

This Sunday’s Worship Service; ‘Pocket-Sized Moments’

Dear Friends,

Join us this Sunday for Zoom Worship at 10:00am. Our guest preacher, Rev. Sara Varnado, is preaching about loving neighbors from 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8. Sara graduated from Columbia Seminary in 2007 and was ordained in 2009. Since moving to D.C. in 2016 with her husband, Rev. Matthew Schlageter (Parish Associate and Chaplain at Children’s National), Sara has worked as a Homeless Services Advocate at Community Connections, a Behavioral Health Agency, ministering is in the streets of D.C.
The music this week “Old American Songs” features Whitney McColley in Aaron Copland’s setting of Simple Gifts, with a complete set of arrangements by Copland.

Immediately following worship, there will be a virtual coffee hour. For those who would like to stay, you’ll be invited to grab some caffeine and sugar, and then join others in a break out room for conversation and connection.

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

And some poetry, “Pocket-Sized Moments” from Rev. Sarah Are to nourish your spirit this week: 

I wonder if we will know when restoration comes.
Will it feel big and dramatic like a summer rain?
Joyful and overwhelming, like an end-of-war parade?
Maybe.

Or will it be small?
Will it be pocket-sized moments, like wishing on stars,
The sun through the curtains, or lightning bugs in the yard?
Maybe.

I don’t know how God will restore this world,
Just like I don’t know how to make the summer rain.
But I do know how to say I’m sorry.
And I do know how to love with all of me.
And I know how to say, “This cup is for you,”
And I know how to taste grace in grape juice.

So on the off-chance that restoration will be small,
Pocket-sized moments of love for all,
I will bake bread and save a seat for you.
I will say I’m sorry and say I love you too.
I will plant gardens and look for fireflies.
I will say prayers on shooting stars at night.

And when the sun shines through my curtain windows,
Remind me to open them wide.
I would hate to miss God’s parade,
These holy ordinary days.

Peace and Courage,

Heather