Worship with us Sundays at 11 - Venga a adorar con nosotros los domingos a las 11

Category: Latest News

Speak – led by Klay S. Williams, continues this Thursday!

Speak continues every Thursday until August 17, from 7:00 – 8:30 PM, at The Manse. If you’re looking for a space to share in community, vibe to dynamic live music and experience the power of storytelling with other curious individuals, please stop by! For more information, please contact Klay Williams at KWilliams@parkavenuechristian.com.

The Ima Jean Kidd Archive

Ima Jean Kidd
March 31, 1927 – May 1, 2017

A Remembrance from Rose Fernandez:

When I first met “Grandma” Ima Jean 10 years ago, I knew she was a very special soul. The only grandparent I had passed away when I was 11 years old and I longed and prayed for a grandparent. And that very first day when I met her in PACC, I knew my prayers for a Grandmother had been answered. But in Ima Jean I also found a spiritual mother and will always be encouraged by her testimony and life while she graced us all with her presence.

She seemed to always know when I was feeling troubled and would reach out with a phone call or a lovely note. I am so glad that I saved each of the notes she sent me! And I have a very special memory that showed how young in heart she was…last year in one of her hospital stays, I gave her a leopard-printed kitty plush with huge eyes. She hugged it and give me a big smile. Later that week when she was back home she told me she would talk to it and hug it all the time. That made me happy knowing that she hadn’t outgrown plushies and that something so simple was bringing her some joy!

And when I last saw her right before Palm Sunday, I read a belated birthday card to her while she sat on her hospital bed. I cried as I read how much she meant to me and how honored I was that she had allowed me to “adopt” her as my Grandma. She also wiped away a tear…it was as if we both knew we wouldn’t see each other again. Not here…but we will, and forever in the presence of our Lord Father! I’ll always love you Grandma Ima Jean, you were the sunshine in my life!

The church is collecting remembrances of Ima Jean to share with members, family, and friends. Please upload your remembrances using this online form, if possible. Remembrances can include images and video.  Hard copies (printed, typed or handwritten) can be given to Stephanie Wilson on a Sunday morning at the church, or mailed to Park Avenue Christian Church, 1010 Park Ave., New York, NY 10028-0903.

Remembrances are being collected in a volume, and deposited in the Ima Jean Kidd Archives at Park Avenue Christian Church, and are also available on the church website.

A quién le damos la bienvenida

Amada iglesia,
Este pasado domingo celebramos la vida de nuestra amada Ima Jean Kidd. Lo que más me impresionó, mientras recordábamos su vida y ministerio, fue su sentido de hospitalidad. Darle la bienvenida a quien nos visita es uno de los aspectos de la iglesia que más satisfacción producen y, a la vez, puede resultar en lo más difícil.

Cuando nos preparamos para darle la bienvenida a alguien en la iglesia, por lo general, pensamos en tener quién le salude, le abra las puertas y le entregue el programa de adoración. Esas personas son importantes. Son las personas que la o el visitante ve cuando llega por primera vez a la iglesia. Sin embargo, lo que pasa después puede representar una tarea más difícil. Queremos que las personas se sientan bienvenidas y se conviertan en miembros activos de la iglesia. Pero, ¿verdaderamente le damos la bienvenida? El acto de darle la bienvenida a alguien a la comunidad tiene su propia dinámica de poder. Pone de manifiesto quién está adentro y quién está afuera. El reto de darle la bienvenida a alguien quien nos visita por primera vez es estar lista o listo al cambio. Darle la bienvenida a alguien nueva o nuevo significa que la comunidad se fortalece en honrar y celebrar la multiplicidad de identidades. A su vez, también significa que esta persona necesita que se le valore en su totalidad y que goza del mismo reconocimiento de alguien con una membresía de toda la vida. Al darle la bienvenida, también descubrimos un sentido de totalidad. No obstante, como vemos en el pasaje bíblico, la satisfacción de la verdadera hospitalidad va más allá de solo sus miembros.

Quien los recibe a ustedes me recibe a mí; y quien me recibe a mí recibe al que me envió.  Cualquiera que recibe a un profeta por tratarse de un profeta recibirá recompensa de profeta; y el que recibe a un justo por tratarse de un justo recibirá recompensa de justo. Y quien dé siquiera un vaso de agua fresca a uno de estos pequeños por tratarse de uno de mis discípulos, les aseguro que no perderá su recompensa».

Jesús nos acuerda que cuando le damos la bienvenida a alguien, recibimos a Dios. No importa su idioma, su cultura, o su expresión de género, darle la bienvenida al forastero quiere decir acoger a Dios. Este pasaje también nos evoca que necesitamos ser intencionales cuando extendemos una bienvenida. Jesús identifica a grupos específicos de personas y les indica a sus seguidores cómo han de recibir a cada una de estas. Esto tiene vigencia en el día de hoy. Tenemos que ser intencionales en cómo las recibimos. Extenderle una bienvenida radical a quien nos visita por primera vez representa un acto de justicia. Cuando les recibimos les dejamos saber que las reconocemos. Les dejamos saber que tú ves a Dios reflejado en ellas y ellos.

Oramos para que podamos en esta semana ofrecer una hospitalidad que sea radical. Ver, abrazar y honrar al extranjero es lo mismo que ver la persona de Dios en él o ella. Oramos para que podamos reconocer que cuando abrimos las puertas al foráneo, le damos la bienvenida a Dios en medio nuestro.


La Rvda. Stephanie Kendell

Sunday Preview by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell – July 20

Who Are We to Welcome?

Dear Church,
This past Sunday we gathered to celebrate our beloved Ima Jean Kidd and one of the things that stood out to me, as people spoke about her life, was her commitment to hospitality. Welcoming someone is one of the most rewarding things we can do as a church, but it is also one of the most challenging.

When we think of welcoming people in the church, we generally think of greeting people. Making sure we have some people to open the door, say hello, hand out bulletins, etc. Those people are important. They are the first faces someone sees coming into the church. But what happens next? This is where welcoming someone can be challenging. We want people to feel accepted and be active members of the church…but do we really welcome them? The act of welcoming someone into a community has a distinct power dynamic. It highlights who is “in” and who is “out.” The hard part of welcoming someone is being ready and willing to change. Welcoming someone new means knowing that the community is made better and more whole through diversity. Welcoming someone new also means that this person needs to be fully valued and carries the same weight as a longtime member. By welcoming people, we discover a new sense of wholeness. However, as we see in the passage below, the reward of true hospitality is bigger than just new members.

‘Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.’ (Mt 10:40-42)

Jesus reminds us that when we welcome someone we are welcoming God. No matter the language, the culture, or the gender expression, welcoming the stranger means welcome God. This passage also reminds us that we need to be intentional with our welcome. Jesus names the specific groups of people and the ways his followers are called to respond to the need of hospitality for each of them. This is true of us today. How we welcome people needs to be intentional. Truly welcoming people is an act of justice. Welcoming people is a way of showing someone else you see them. It tells them you see God in them.

This week may we push our hospitality to be one of radical welcome. To see, embrace, and value the stranger as the person of God that they are. May we know that when we open our doors to the stranger we are welcoming God into our midst.


The Rev. Stephanie Kendell 

A Communication Alert – Park Email Service to be Offline this Weekend

 A Communication Alert

The office at the Park Avenue Christian Church and emails of that domain will be unreachable between the hours of 3 pm, Saturday, July, 22, 2017 through 9 am Monday, July 24, 2017.  Email sent to us during that time period will not be received.  We apologize for the inconvenience, we are in the process of migrating and transitioning our office.

An Instagram message from Klay S. Williams, Facilitator of The Gathering (and Speak)

An Instagram message from Klay S. Williams, Facilitator of The Gathering (and Speak):

I LOVE creating spaces where people can come, share authentic stories and provide healing moments for each of us to reflect on. Yesterday at SPEAK, Dr. Carla España shared her INCREDIBLE faith journey as an immigrant, woman, scholar, faith leader and granddaughter. There was not a dry eye in the space as she performed a closing song, “Todo cambia”, as our guitarist, Andrew Hartman accompanied Carla. She called on her ancestors and family lineage through writing and challenged us to do the same, to “write to remember”…it was a glorious experience. I love my clients and the imagination that I am fortunate enough to explore!

Speak continues every Thursday until August 17, from 7:00 – 8:30 PM, at The Manse. If you’re looking for a space to share in community, vibe to dynamic live music and experience the power of storytelling with other curious individuals, please stop by! For more information, please contact Klay Williams at KWilliams@parkavenuechristian.com.

StillSpeaking Devotional: “Just Love” by The Rev. Kaji Douša

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” – Psalm 119:105

I do whatever I can to avoid talking about sex in church. It’s messy; it tends to invite follow-up conversations I don’t want to have. My avoidance, however, comes at the expense of people who so often need help creating a faithful, Christ-centered, unoppressive sexual ethic.

Fortunately, good ethicists have already done this work. Professor Margaret Farley, a Roman Catholic Sister of Mercy, published an academic text called Just Love that is the manifesto through which I’ve constructed my own pastoral sexual ethic.

She boils all relationship, including sexual, down to this core teaching of Jesus: love God and neighbor. Does the relationship reflect love?

Here’s how we might know the answer:

• Does the relationship cause harm?
• Is each person in a position to fully consent? Do they?
• Is the relationship mutual, or are the benefits (and risks) one-sided?
• Are the people in the relationship equals? Do they have equal access to power and vulnerability?
• Is there an equal understanding of commitment?
• Does the relationship bear fruit beyond individual pursuits?
• Are the people in the relationship in a position to take on the consequences of their union?

Knowing how to recognize love is one of the most difficult lessons our faith can teach. Avoidance and control issues in church have clouded the lenses through which we might perceive love. So many of us want to know the will of God in the choices we make. We want the light for our path so that we can step rightly.

In sex and love, in faith and justice, God’s Word shines true: just love.


God of love, judgment, bodies and will: may your Word ever be light upon our paths so that we may follow you closely. Amen.

The “StillSpeaking Daily Devotional” series is produced by The United Church of Christ. The original article is here http://www.ucc.org/daily_devotional_just_love


Song for Sunday Worship “Veni Sancte Spiritus”

Veni Sancte Spiritus

You can hear this song on the YouTube channel “Elizabeat”


Sunday Preview from The Rev. Stephanie Kendell: “The Weight of Our Words / El peso de las palabras”

Dear Church,

This week we celebrate multiple chances to worship together. I have enjoyed getting to know each of you and to grow in faith with this community. We will also gather on Sunday afternoon to give thanks to God for the life of our beloved Ima Jean Kidd. I hope you will join us for this truly special Sunday.

Growing up with a little brother I tried out new social situations in the home. If I learned a new joke, I would tell my brother to see if he laughed. When I had a new idea about the world, I told him about it. For the most part, we got along well growing up. As much as I told him fun things about the world, he was also the recipient of some of my harsher words. I tested out being mean on my brother instead of being mean to my peers. This isn’t something I am proud of, in fact it is something that I have asked forgiveness for many times. Luckily, I have an exceptional brother. Living with the person who let me cut my teeth on the limits of my cruelty allowed me to figure out what it meant to honestly apologize and work on living into acts of forgiveness. However, hurtful words are not easily controlled and hurtful language has been historically a divisive tool for people in power.

Hurtful language is used to do one thing, to let you know where you stand. Bullying is a tool that usurps people of the power of their self-worth, that comes with knowing that they are created in the image of a loving God. We see this in the suicide rates of children who receive hurtful words from their peers. We see this in racist language that seeks to maintain systemic oppression. And we see this in narrow and awful interpretations of biblical texts that are used to justify hate. Our words and how we use them matter. They can be used to draw us closer to God and they can be used to push God away. Our scripture this week from Psalm 69:10-18 shows us how our words and the words of others can influence how we view God in our life.

When I humbled my soul with fasting,
they insulted me for doing so.
When I made sackcloth my clothing,
I became a byword to them.
I am the subject of gossip for those who sit in the gate,
and the drunkards make songs about me.

But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord.
At an acceptable time, O God,
in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me.
With your faithful help rescue me
from sinking in the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies
and from the deep waters.
Do not let the flood sweep over me,
or the deep swallow me up,
or the Pit close its mouth over me.

Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good;
according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
Do not hide your face from your servant,
for I am in distress—make haste to answer me.
Draw near to me, redeem me,
set me free because of my enemies.

Language is political. Words carry weight beyond their intended meaning and can cause some real damage. However, they can also be used to heal and reconcile. When we start to use the power of our words for love and justice, then we can combat the destructive forces of hateful language at work in the world.  Have you ever been in a conversation and said, “I am not that kind of Christian?” Or how about, “That isn’t how I see God at work in the world?” When we start to speak out and use the power of our words to lift those that need support, and use our language of justice and love to shift the narrative of what it means to be a Christian in the world today, we experience God with us in new and meaningful ways.

This week may we recognize the weight of our words, the power in their use, and may we be granted the wisdom and courage to use them to grow closer to God and each other.


The Rev. Stephanie Kendell
Amada iglesia,

Celebramos que esta semana tendremos varios momentos de adorar en comunidad. He disfrutado de conocerles a cada uno de ustedes y de crecer en la fe con esta comunidad. También nos reuniremos este domingo en la tarde para darle gracias a Dios por la vida de nuestra querida Ima Jean Kidd. Esperamos que celebre con nosotras y nosotros este domingo tan especial.

Crecí con un hermano menor y todo lo nuevo lo probaba con él. Si aprendía un chiste nuevo, se lo decía a mi hermano a ver si él se reía. Cuando formulaba una nueva idea sobre el mundo, la compartía con él. Durante nuestra niñez, nos llevábamos bien, la mayor parte del tiempo. Pero de la misma manera que compartía lo divertido del mundo con él, también fue el objeto de mis palabras más hirientes. Me desquitaba con él, en vez de desquitarme con mis pares. No me siento orgullosa de esto, de hecho, es algo por lo que le he pedido que me perdone muchas veces. Tengo la bendición de tener a un hermano excepcional. Esta dinámica con mi hermano me permitió entender lo que significa honestamente pedir perdón y comprometerme a expresar el perdón. No obstante, las palabras hirientes no se controlan fácilmente y el lenguaje punzante, en el ámbito histórico, ha sido una herramienta divisiva para las personas en poder.

El lenguaje hiriente se usa con un solo propósito, dejarte saber dónde estás. El acoso verbal es una herramienta que le roba a las personas de su autoestima, aun cuando fueron creados a imagen y semejanza de un Dios amoroso. Esto se refleja en las cifras de suicidio en menores que han sido objeto de palabras de acoso. Se observa en el lenguaje racista que procura mantener la opresión sistémica. Y lo vemos en las interpretaciones limitadas y dañinas de textos bíblicos que se pronuncian para justificar el odio. El qué y el porqué de nuestras palabras son importantes. Se pueden utilizar para acercarnos a Dios o para empujar a Dios. El pasaje bíblico de esta semana, el Salmo 69:10-18, nos muestra cómo nuestras palabras y las de otros y otras, pueden influir en cómo vemos a Dios en nuestras vidas.

Cuando lloro y ayuno,
tengo que soportar sus ofensas;
cuando me visto de luto,
soy objeto de burlas.
Los que se sientan a la puerta murmuran contra mí;
los borrachos me dedican parodias.

Pero yo, Señor, te imploro
en el tiempo de tu buena voluntad.
Por tu gran amor, oh Dios, respóndeme;
por tu fidelidad, sálvame.
Sácame del fango;
no permitas que me hunda.
Líbrame de los que me odian,
y de las aguas profundas.
No dejes que me arrastre la corriente;
no permitas que me trague el abismo,
ni que el foso cierre sus fauces sobre mí.

Respóndeme, Señor, por tu bondad y tu amor;
por tu gran compasión, vuélvete a mí.
No escondas tu rostro de este siervo tuyo;
respóndeme pronto, que estoy angustiado.
Ven a mi lado, y rescátame; redímeme, por causa de mis enemigos.

El lenguaje es político. Las palabras llevan un peso más allá de la intención de su significado y pueden ocasionar daños reales. Sin embargo, también se pueden usar para la sanación y reconciliación. Cuando podemos utilizar el poder de las palabras para impartir amor y justicia, podemos combatir las fuerzas destructivas del lenguaje de odio en el mundo. ¿Has dicho alguna vez, “yo no soy ese tipo de cristiano”, o “así es que veo a Dios en el mundo”? Cuando comenzamos a denunciar y anunciar, y a utilizar el poder de las palabras para apoyar a aquellas y aquellos que necesitan apoyo, y utilizar el lenguaje de justicia y de amor para transformar el discurso de lo que significa ser un cristiano en el mundo de hoy, experimentamos a Dios con nosotros y nosotras en formas nuevas y significativas.

Que esta semana podamos reconocer el peso de las palabras, el poder de su uso, y que tengamos la sabiduría y la valentía de usarlas para acercarnos más a Dios y cada una y uno de nosotros.


Rvda. Stephanie Kendell

Can’t Wait to “Speak” this Thursday!

The Gathering’s first session of Speak kicked-off on June 15 and will continue every Thursday until August 17, from 7:00 – 8:30 PM, located at The Manse. Klay S. Williams led Speak’s first storytelling efforts, underscoring his faith journey growing up in Detroit, MI, his first same-sex relationship in seminary and finding peace with God as he matured and settled in to his calling. The group participated in a healing mirror exercise, that Klay utilized in his story, while the melodic sounds of guitarist, Tom Dempsey added a special moment of centering throughout the evening. If you’re looking for a space to share in community, vibe to dynamic live music and experience the power of storytelling with other curious individuals, please stop by! For more information, please contact The Gathering’s Facilitator, Klay Williams at KWilliams@parkavenuechristian.com.