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Raise the Age Letter Writing Campaign this Sunday after worship

Sunday, February 26, after worship
Raise the Age

Please join us after worship this Sunday, as we join congregations across the city in this letter-writing action!

Did you know that New York is ONE of only TWO STATES that automatically prosecutes 16- and 17-year-olds as adults?

Join Justice League NYC, faith-based groups, community partners and residents for a day of action in calling on the Governor and the State Legislature to end child incarceration in adult prisons.

#RAISETHEAGE @NYJUSTICELEAGUE

Sunday Preview for February 26 from The Rev. Kaji Douša

“Transfiguration” by George Walsh, 2005
Dear Church:

This is a turning point week for us. In some parts of the world, it’s Carnivale! A time to celebrate, throw a big party, live free in the last days before the disciplines of Lent begin. So, in case it was not on your radar, Ash Wednesday is next week, March 1. That means that this last Sunday before Lent is the time we hold that last major Epiphany close – the Feast of the Transfiguration.

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!’ When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Get up and do not be afraid.’ And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.

 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, ‘Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.’ – Matthew 17:1-9

Transfiguration – when Jesus changed before their very eyes – is a curious epiphany, or revelation, because it is so fantastical, almost divinely magical. It is a story that might challenge our friends who have a hard time with things that do not seem…reasonable.

What does this transformation mean for us? This is what we will explore in church on Sunday.

Then, please be sure to join us on Ash Wednesday. The Elders will offer ashes throughout the day on Wednesday, and then we will have a very special Gospel Ash Wednesday service at 7 pm led by our new Artist in Residence, Dr. Tony McNeill. Please be sure to join us for this important day.

See you in church.

Pax Christi,
Kaji

“Leaving Anger Behind” by The Rev. Kaji Douša

Yesterday, someone made the mistake of treating me inappropriately. And I say that this was a mistake, because it didn’t go well for him. However, today is the day after, right? And I am still filled with rage over this incident.

What would God want me to do about this? Jesus said something like, we have to leave our anger behind us. And I wonder about this, because had I not gotten angry, then I wouldn’t have stopped the behavior in the way that I did. That was important. But at the same time, I have to decide what I’m gonna do with the anger next.  And I need my prop for this.

How heavy is this bottle? Part of that depends on how long you’ve been carrying it. And anger can be this way. If you carry this for a whole heap of time, if I tried to carry my anger for weeks, imagine how heavy this would feel. That’s what happens with resentment. I think that Jesus told us to leave our anger before we try to approach the alter, because if we don’t, it takes over. And then we can’t see God anymore. It’s very important that we not carry things forever. We take a drink. And then we worship God. Amen.

See Pastor Kaji’s sermon on this subject here.

Drink imagery borrowed from Robert D. Enright, from his book “Forgiveness Is a Choice”: http://amzn.to/2m93MYd

Still time to apply for Pastoral Residency Opportunity at The Park

Do you know an amazing seminarian in the DOC or UCC who is about to graduate in 2017 and would love to serve our church?  Tell them about our Pastoral Residency program beginning June 1!

Here at The Park, we have decided to begin our own Pastoral Residency program for a Master’s of Divinity graduate in the class of 2017. This program will last one year beginning June 1, 2017, with the possibility of extending for an additional year.

The Pastoral Resident will work full-time through the breadth of pastoral responsibilities in this exciting, justice-focused congregation seeking to follow Jesus in service to New York City. This will include teaching, preaching, care and justice organizing. Throughout the work, the Resident will have the opportunity to collaborate with other ministers in transition and seminarians who, together will benefit from the mentorship of the more seasoned clergy at The Park. The Resident will work on building ministerial skills and habits to sustain a lifelong call to pastoral leadership. Additionally, the Resident will be supported and guided through the complexities of the Search and Call process for their next position after completing the Residency.

Click here for more information regarding the timeline, eligibility and application process.

We’re #Gathering Again this Sunday after Worship to Nurture the Call of Activism

February 19, after worship
The Gathering: Spiritual Conversations to Engage, Activate & Nurture Your Call of Activism  

You’re invited! We are a few weeks in and there’s more ground to conquer on our journey to lead the charge of nurturing your call of activism. Your first time? No problem. Bring a friend and join our community!

Led by Klay S. Williams, The Gathering is a group of awakened activists, visionaries and burgeoning community leaders interested in creating spiritualpathways to develop/nourish one’s purpose, build community and discovery of wellness practices to live an empowered life.

Future Dates: March 5, 12 and 19, after worship – we’ll meet at The Park after worship service on these dates and then walk together to The Manse.

Need more information? Contact Klay directly – Klay@PlanAwithKlay.com

Klay S. Williams is an author, holistic lifestyle expert and media personality specializing in holistic personal and professional development. Klay has created a lifestyle-consulting firm, Plan A Enterprises, LLC that is a one-stop-shop for the entire person. Whether he is leading a conversation on spiritual progression of the self, supporting clients with closing the gap between their past and present or having a full service image/wellness conversation, it all points towards living what Klay calls, one’s “Plan A”.  He is the author of There Is Only Plan A— A Journey Toward Self- Discovery and Renewed Purpose and 365 Plan A Nightly Meditations.  A graduate of Kalamazoo College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Religion with a double minor in Economics and Business, he also holds a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary.   Klay has appeared/partnered with a host of media platforms, including but not limited to: Fox 5 NY, fyi, NPR, iHeart Radio, Lululemon and ABC.   For more information on Klay, visit: KlaySWilliams.com

Sunday Preview for February 19 from The Rev. Kaji Douša

Dear Church:

Our text this week comes from Matthew 5:21-26:

‘You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, “You shall not murder”; and “whoever murders shall be liable to judgement.” But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgement; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, “You fool”, you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.’

What do we do with the anger that lingers? Why would God care?

Some of this may have to do with control. Anger, particularly lingering anger, can exert a tremendous amount of influence in our lives.

Are you holding on to some anger? Is it serving your faith, or is it holding you back from something?

These are the kinds of things we will explore in worship on Sunday.

If you have a friend who needs to think this through, too, please consider bringing them along.

Pax Christi,
Kaji

“Listen” by The Rev. Kaji Douša, from the StillSpeaking series published by the United Church of Christ

February 16, 2017

DSC_2115 crop LRI said, ‘Here I am, here I am’,
   to a nation that did not call on my name. – Isaiah 65:1

Stand in line with a pastor after a sermon and see what happens. There will be a host of responses.

Stand in line with a woman pastor often enough and you will often hear this critique: You need to speak louder. Now, it is important to get sound right and to take people’s different abilities to hear very seriously. Meeting people’s hearing needs in worship is important.

But here’s the thing: when many professional women speak publicly, they are not speaking softly. They are not dropping their voices at the end of sentences; this is a skill they have cultivated throughout their professional life. But the truth is that as hearing is lost, it is often the higher registers that go first.

After the critique, many women will also hear some version of: But I could always hear Pastor. “Pastor,” of course, was a man. Maybe a senior colleague, maybe a predecessor. In this way, the hearing feedback becomes a critique of womanhood that comes just after this woman has preached her heart out. And this can hurt.

God (who, clearly, we are not) cries out:

Here I am! Here I am! to a people who will not hear God. God, who I so often, despite myself, expect to speak with a male voice.

What if God’s voice were in a higher register than we were prepared to hear? What if we were so busy tuning in for a lower pitch that we could not hear the sacred feminine calling just for us? Could it be that if we’d been looking for a woman’s voice, too, we might have heard God long ago?

Prayer

God, help me to listen to you above all else. Amen.

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This devotional is from the United Church of Christ’s StillSpeaking Series. The original devotional is available here.



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