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

Category: Latest News

Don’t Miss a Day

Sign up here http://www.ucc.org/daily_devotional

 

Stay Tuned …

“Be Here” – Sunday Preview for November 26

Beloved Church,

 

I hope this week finds your cup filled to the brim with abundant love and support. Our church continues to connect and contribute to each other, our community, and the incredible ministries of The Park in radically inspiring ways and my heart is filled with love for each one of you. As we explore each week what it means to Be The Park, I am reminded how thankful I am to know each of you and be on this journey of faith together.

This week we are talking about what it means to “Be Here,” which is a really unique space to be in regard to The Park. Anywhere else to “be” means to exist and “here” means in a particular place. And while this is true, to “be here” as a member of The Park, also means to be here with a commitment to a faith journey. Being here isn’t just a physical presence, but also a spiritual one. And so often we think of being “spiritual” as something in our hearts and minds, but not something that we do physically. I think we have all heard someone say “I am spiritual but not religious,” and what I have experienced from those people is that they believe in God but they don’t want to go to church (for a number of different reasons). My response to this is always a question, “How do you define “religion/church.”

This week’s text is one that spurs the question, “what is church?” We don’t hear Jesus telling us to be in church to receive eternal life. No, we hear stories of helping your neighbor, being kind, seeing all people as children of God. God calls us to be present-Be Here- to each other, and by doing that we experience God.

‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by God, inherit the kindom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’  (Matthew 25:31-46, NRSV)

Jesus calls us to “Be Here” as people of faith by feeding people, clothing people, visiting people, and loving people. However, to do those things we need to be paying attention to the people and communities around us. Jesus is expecting those that follow God to do these things without thought or expectation of reward, because the reward is the ability to be present to each other and thus to Christ. This text teaches us that to “be here” for each other is not only the expectation of a life of faith, it is also the gift.

Friends, this week I invite you to reflect on the ways you are “here.” Where do you show up for the church, for others, and for you? Our God is one who creates boundless opportunities to love and support each other. And by doing so, by committing to “be here” for God’s people, we get to experience the presence of Christ daily.

Shalom Y’all.

Rev. Stephanie 

Vive de lleno en el presente

Amada iglesia,*

Espero que esta semana haya rebosado tu copa con amor y apoyo abundante. Nuestra iglesia continúa contribuyendo y conectándose entre sí, con nuestra comunidad y con los ministerios importantes de The Park    que inspiran de forma radical, lo que hace que mi corazón se llene de amor para cada unx de ustedes. Mientras exploramos cada semana lo que significa ser The Park me acuerdo cuan agradecida estoy de conocerlxs a ustedes y de peregrinar juntxs en la fe.

Esta semana vamos a reflexionar sobre lo que significa “vivir de lleno en el presente”, lo que representa un momento único en The Park. En cualquier otro lugar “ser” implica existir y “aquí” se refiere a un lugar en particular. Por otro lado, “estar aquí” como miembro de The Park también significa estar aquí, comprometidx a un peregrinaje de fe. Estar aquí no se refiere solo a una presencia física, pero a una espiritual. Muchas veces pensamos en ser “espirituales” como algo en nuestras mentes y corazones, pero no tanto como algo que hacemos físicamente. Hemos escuchado a alguien decir, “Soy espiritual, pero no religioso”. Con esta frase siento que las personas dicen que creen en Dios pero no quieren venir a la iglesia, por distintas razones. Mi respuesta a esto es una pregunta, “¿cómo defines ‘religión’ e ‘iglesia’?

Del texto bíblico de esta semana se desprende esta pregunta, “¿qué es la iglesia?”. No escuchamos a Jesús diciéndonos que tenemos que estar en la ‘iglesia’ para recibir vida eterna. No, escuchamos historias de cómo ayudar al prójimx, ser amable, ver a todxs como hijxs de Dios. Dios nos llama a estar presentes, aquí, a cada una, a cada uno y que al hacer esto sentiremos a Dios.

»Cuando el Hijo del hombre venga en su gloria, con todos sus ángeles, se sentará en su trono glorioso. Todas las naciones se reunirán delante de él, y él separará a unos de otros, como separa el pastor las ovejas de las cabras. Pondrá las ovejas a su derecha, y las cabras a su izquierda.

»Entonces dirá el Rey a los que estén a su derecha: “Vengan ustedes, a quienes mi Padre ha bendecido; reciban su herencia, el reino preparado para ustedes desde la creación del mundo.  Porque tuve hambre, y ustedes me dieron de comer; tuve sed, y me dieron de beber; fui forastero, y me dieron alojamiento;  necesité ropa, y me vistieron; estuve enfermo, y me atendieron; estuve en la cárcel, y me visitaron”. Y le contestarán los justos: “Señor, ¿cuándo te vimos hambriento y te alimentamos, o sediento y te dimos de beber?

¿Cuándo te vimos como forastero y te dimos alojamiento, o necesitado de ropa y te vestimos? ¿Cuándo te vimos enfermo o en la cárcel y te visitamos?” El Rey les responderá: “Les aseguro que todo lo que hicieron por uno de mis hermanos, aun por el más pequeño, lo hicieron por mí”.

»Luego dirá a los que estén a su izquierda: “Apártense de mí, malditos, al fuego eterno preparado para el diablo y sus ángeles. Porque tuve hambre, y ustedes no me dieron nada de comer; tuve sed, y no me dieron nada de beber;  fui forastero, y no me dieron alojamiento; necesité ropa, y no me vistieron; estuve enfermo y en la cárcel, y no me atendieron”. Ellos también le contestarán: “Señor, ¿cuándo te vimos hambriento o sediento, o como forastero, o necesitado de ropa, o enfermo, o en la cárcel, y no te ayudamos?” Él les responderá: “Les aseguro que todo lo que no hicieron por el más pequeño de mis hermanos, tampoco lo hicieron por mí”.

»Aquellos irán al castigo eterno, y los justos a la vida eterna». (Mateo 25:31-46, NVI)

Jesús nos llama a “Vivir de lleno” como personas de fe dándole de comer a quien hambre tiene, dándole de vestir al desnudx, visitando a quien necesita y queriendo a Su pueblo. No obstante, para hacer todo esto necesitamos prestar atención a las personas y comunidades alrededor de nosotrxs. Jesús espera que quienes sigan a Dios hagan todas estas cosas sin pensar o esperar una recompensa, porque la recompensa es la misma habilidad de estar presentes a nosotrxs mismxs y, por ende, a Cristo. Este texto nos enseña que “estar aquí” para la comunidad y sus miembros, nos es solo una expectativa de vivir en fe, pero también es un regalo.

Amada iglesia, esta semana les invito a reflexionar sobre las maneras en que tú estás “aquí”. ¿Cómo llegas a la iglesia? ¿A dónde llegas? ¿Cómo te relacionas con otrxs y contigo mismx? Nuestro Dios es unx que crea oportunidades abundantes para amar y apoyarnos mutuamente. Al hacerlo, al comprometernos a “estar aquí” para Su pueblo, experimentamos la presencia diaria de Jesucristo.

¡Pa’ lante mi gente!
Revda. Stephanie

* Translation by Rev. Jeanette Zaragoza / Traducido por la Rvda. Jeanette Zaragoza

#BeThePark: “Be Ready” by Rebecca Stanton

Rebecca Stanton: Why I Share my Talents and Gifts with The Park

As a rebellious daughter of a civil rights activist and feminist single mother who was a vocal atheist and determined hippy, whenever I ended up in a church for a funeral or a random Christmas service, it was a very foreign place to me, a place in which I definitely did not belong and did not feel welcome. So how did this radical find my way to The Park?  My journey began one day about seven years ago; while I was walking in a street fair on Lexington Avenue, I saw a booth for a God-centered recovery program called Lifeline, a ministry hosted by Park Avenue Christian Church. The idea of a God-centered, but welcoming and non judgemental recovery program appealed to me, and I was drawn to join. After attending Lifeline a few times, I then nervously ventured into a church service at the Park. To my great surprise I soon discovered I had accidentally found the loving and welcoming spiritual home that I had always somehow longed for.

I belong at The Park because it is a place that truly lives out the gospel of Christ through a rich variety of ministries that serve the vast diversity of the people of New York. I have been welcomed to serve in many ways at The Park, whether as a gospel choir singer, an elder, or as a member of the Ministry Council. I give of my time and talents to Park Avenue Christian Church because not only it is a community that welcomed me, but also because it a community that I can meaningfully serve in love.  The Park is an important beacon of light in this community, and is a sanctuary that is deeply needed in today’s world. There are now many in our community and in our city who feel threatened by the ideology and rhetoric put forth by so many of our country’s leaders.

I am proud that my gift to the Park helps us as a congregation to proclaim boldly to families and children like my new immigrant students that they are radically welcomed, and that we will have their back. I rejoice that at Park Avenue Christian Church we learn that all beings of any sexual orientation, national origin, race, ethnicity or economic background are beloved, needed, and welcome children of God.  When I volunteer my time on the ministry council or as an elder, or when I share a financial gift to The Park, I am given the blessed opportunity be an active part of that warm, radical welcome that extends out to the beautiful people of New York City and beyond into the wider community we reach through the Internet. In some ways I could say that Park Avenue Christian Church, and the Jesus I came to know here, saved my life. That is another reason why I give to my church.  I want to make sure it will always be there for those of us who need a place to call home.

I give because at The Park, no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome. We believe in extravagant welcome, and we insist that God’s table is open, not closed. We are a church body that is multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, open and affirming, accessible to all. We advocate justice for all as an extension and expression of living, loving, and active faith. We are open to new ways of being church and forming Christian community.  I am blessed to be a part of this beloved community, and that is why I am grateful to share my talents and gifts with The Park.

Rebecca Stanton: Porqué comparto mis talentos y dones con The Park

Fui la hija rebelde de una madre soltera y activista de los derechos humanos quien no vacilaba en declarar que era atea y jipi. Cuando visitaba una iglesia para asistir a un funeral o un culto, no me sentía a gusto. No me sentía parte del grupo ni bienvenida. Te preguntarás, entonces, cómo encontré un hogar en The Park. Mi peregrinaje comenzó hace siete años, mientras caminaba por una feria comunitaria en la avenida Lexington. Me topé con una caseta de información sobre un tipo de recuperación fundamentada en Dios, llamada Lifeline. Era un ministerio auspiciado por Park Ave Christian Church. La idea que un programa de recuperación estuviera centrado en Dios, y que fuera de puertas abiertas sin emitir juicios, me atrajo y acabé formando parte del ministerio. Luego de asistir varias veces, con duda me aventuré y asistí un servicio de adoración en The Park. Fue una grata sorpresa encontrar que sin querer había encontrado un hogar espiritual caluroso y amable con el cual siempre había soñado.

Soy parte de The Park porque es un lugar donde se practica el Evangelio cristiano de manera auténtica a través de una variedad de ministerios que sirven a la comunidad multicultural de Nueva York. Se me ha invitado a servir de muchas maneras en The Park, cantando música Gospel, como Anciana o como miembro del junta de gobierno. No solo doy de mi tiempo y dono mis talentos a Park Avenue Christian Church porque es una comunidad que me dio la bienvenida, sino porque es una comunidad donde puedo servir en amor de manera importante. The Park representa un faro de luz en esta comunidad, además de ser un santuario muy necesitado en el mundo de hoy. Vivimos tiempos donde muchos en nuestra comunidad y ciudad se sienten amenazados por la retórica e ideología que diseminan tantos líderes en este país.

Me siento orgullosa que mi ofrenda a The Park nos ayuda como congregación a proclamar con valentía a las familias y niños, como a mis estudiantes inmigrantes recién llegados, que son bienvenidxs no importa qué y que lxs apoyamos ante toda adversidad. Me gozo que en Park Avenue Christian Church aprendemos que todo ser humano de cualquier orientación sexual, nacionalidad, raza, etnia o clase social es amadx, necesarix y bienvenidx como hija o hijo de Dios. Cuando ofrezco mi tiempo en la junta de gobierno, como Anciana, o cuando comparto mis dones monetarios a The Park, a la misma vez, soy bendecida por ser parte activa de una bienvenida radical y calurosa que se derrama sobre el hermoso pueblo de esta ciudad y se extiende a la comunidad cibernética. Puedo decir que esta iglesia y al Jesús que conocí por medio de ella, salvó mi vida. Esa es otra razón por la que ofrendo en esta iglesia. Quiero asegurarme que siempre estará presente para aquellos que necesitan un hogar espiritual.

Doy mi ofrenda porque en The Park, no importa quién eres o dónde te encuentras en tu vida, eres siempre bienvenida. Creemos en una bienvenida radical, e insistimos que la Mesa de Dios está abierta, sin excluir a nadie. Nuestra iglesia es multilingüe, multicultural, y le da la bienvenida a las personas LGBTQ y a todxs. Luchamos por la justicia para todxs como una extensión y expresión de una fe viva, amorosa y en la lucha. Estamos dispuestos a aprender nuevas formas de ser iglesia y de construir una comunidad cristiana. Es una gran bendición ser parte de esta amada comunidad, y por eso es que estoy agradecida de compartir mis dones y talentos con The Park.

 

Please consider a tax-deductible donation today to connect and contribute to our ministries! 100% of your gift goes directly into our programs.

100% of your tax-deductible donation goes directly into our programs and ministries.

Member Spotlight: Iris Boroughs

Name: Iris Burroughs

Where are you from?

Portsmouth, Virginia

How long have you been a member of The Park? 

10 years

Why is The Park meaningful for you? 

I enjoy being around people who can appreciate and embrace diversity.

What does the “Divinity of Diversity” mean to you?

Respecting everyone for who they are and extending a warm radical welcome to all.

What is your hope for The Park?

I hope we continue to grow in membership and fellowship with each other.

Member Spotlight on Alexander (Al) Cook

Name: Alexander (AL) Cook

Where are you from?

Fort Worth, TX

How long have you been a member of The Park? 

2 years

Why is The Park meaningful for you? 

Finding belonging anywhere in this world can be a struggle. I found a constant and welcoming home at The Park when I visited in my first week of living in the city.

What does the “Divinity of Diversity” mean to you?

Through the continual mystery of our world, we know one thing to be true: God Is The All Loving Creator. There’s no way around it. When we exclude, we disrupt the world community. Also, it’s a whole lot more fun when we all gather to get grateful for God!

What is your hope for The Park?

That we Keep Going in all that we do.

Sunday Preview for November 19

Beloved Church,

 

This week we give thanks for each one of you. As our community continues to grow and thrive in inspiring ways, I hope you will give thanks for the people in your lives that continue to journey and support you, as you have done for us at The Park. I also hope you have all read our first Be The Park letter in which we learned what it means to “Be the Servant” by exploring one of The Parks most beloved outreach ministries, the Saturday Community Lunch Program. We give thanks for the ways this community connects and contributes to the people and the ministries of The Park.

When I decided to go to seminary I asked everyone I knew who had gone how I could be ready? Everyone gave a different answer. Get a good backpack. Read the Bible. Read Spong, Spivak, Keller, Brueggeman, and Cone. Buy coffee in bulk. Have fun. Those are just a few of the suggestions that were given to me. Some of which I took and some I did not. But all the suggestions seemed to be something physical I added into my life, not something that prepared the spiritual me, for the experience of seminary. Now having been through the process, when people ask me the same question, I have a deeper understanding of the experience that helps me be ready to share my story and prepare others. It is like in today’s scripture. I would like to think that I am a wise bridesmaid, but honestly, I think that I am a foolish one who now has the hindsight of the experience and will be ready for next time.

‘Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, “Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.” But the wise replied, “No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.” And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, “Lord, lord, open to us.” But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I do not know you.” Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. Matthew 25:1-13

This week we are looking at what it means to be ready and this story is a perfect way to understand what it means to be ready and what are we to be ready for? The wise bridesmaids are ready to serve. The bridegroom is ready to commit. The foolish bridesmaids are ready to learn. The reader is ready to share. God is ready to guide. Where do you find yourself in this story? How are we ready (or not), to fully live into God’s call in each of us to love our neighbor, to build God’s kindom on earth, and to be global stewards of the grace and love of Jesus? This year, as part of my commitment to be ready, I am doing a new year resolution. But this resolution won’t start January 1st. It is going to start December 3, the new year of the church. I am committing myself to examining the ways I have been the foolish bridesmaid and learning from those experiences so that I may be prepared to better serve others and thus serve god. So, one of the things I am committing myself to is being bolder in my invitation to others to join us in worship. Especially as we enter this season of Advent.

So, this week as we give thanks for all the support systems that have gotten us to this place, I invite you to think about what it means for you to “be ready” and what you are ready for. And be you a Bridegroom or a foolish bridesmaid, whatever you are ready for, the church is ready for you.

Shalom Y’all.

Rev. Stephanie 

¡Prepárense!

Amada iglesia,*

Esta semana damos gracias por cada uno de ustedes. Según continuamos creciendo y progresando de maneras inspiradoras, espero que den gracias por las personas en sus vidas que caminan con ustedes y les apoyan, de la misma manera que ustedes han apoyado a The Park. Espero que todxs hayan leído nuestra primera carta Be The Park que habla sobre qué significa “Servir”  y nos invita a reflexionar sobre uno de los ministerios más importantes de la iglesia, el Programa de almuerzo comunitario sabatino. Estamos agradecidxs por las maneras que esta comunidad se conecta y contribuye con la comunidad circundante y con los ministerios de The Park.Cuando respondí al llamado de entrar al seminario, le pregunté a aquellxs que conocía cómo podía prepararme. Cada cual respondió a su manera. Consíguete una mochila. Estudia la Biblia. Lee a Spong, Spivak, Keller, Brueggeman y Cone. Compra café al por mayor. Pásala bien. Estas son solo algunas de las sugerencias que escuché. Algunas las adopté, otras no. No obstante, todas parecían apuntar a algo material que necesitaba añadir a mi vida y no algo que me preparara espiritualmente para esta formación. Ahora, luego de la experiencia, cuando me preguntan la misma pregunta, tengo un mejor entendimiento de la experiencia que me ayuda a estar lista para compartir mi historia y encaminar a otrxs. Es como la Escritura de hoy. Quisiera pensar que soy una dama de honor prudente, pero a la verdad, creo que soy una insensata que ahora tiene la perspectiva de la experiencia lista para la próxima vez.

»El reino de los cielos será entonces como diez jóvenes solteras que tomaron sus lámparas y salieron a recibir al novio.  Cinco de ellas eran insensatas y cinco prudentes. Las insensatas llevaron sus lámparas, pero no se abastecieron de aceite. En cambio, las prudentes llevaron vasijas de aceite junto con sus lámparas. Y, como el novio tardaba en llegar, a todas les dio sueño y se durmieron. A medianoche se oyó un grito: “¡Ahí viene el novio! ¡Salgan a recibirlo!” Entonces todas las jóvenes se despertaron y se pusieron a preparar sus lámparas. Las insensatas dijeron a las prudentes: “Dennos un poco de su aceite porque nuestras lámparas se están apagando”. “No —respondieron estas—, porque así no va a alcanzar ni para nosotras ni para ustedes. Es mejor que vayan a los que venden aceite, y compren para ustedes mismas”. Pero mientras iban a comprar el aceite llegó el novio, y las jóvenes que estaban preparadas entraron con él al banquete de bodas. Y se cerró la puerta. Después llegaron también las otras. “¡Señor! ¡Señor! —suplicaban—. ¡Ábrenos la puerta!” “¡No, no las conozco!”, respondió él.

»Por tanto —agregó Jesús—, manténganse despiertos porque no saben ni el día ni la hora. (Mateo 25:1-13)

Esta semana exploramos lo que significa ‘estar listx’ y esta historia nos provee la manera perfecta para entender qué quiere decir estar listx y para qué nos estamos preparando. Las prudentes damas de honor están listas para servir. El novio está listo para comprometerse. Las insensatas damas de honor están listas para aprender. Quién lee está listx para compartir. Dios está listx para guiar. ¿Con quién te identificas en la historia? ¿Cómo estamos, o no, para adentrarnos de lleno al llamado en cada unx de nosotrxs de amar al prójimx, de construir el reino de Dios en esta Tierra y de ser buenxs mayordomxs de la gracia y el amor de Jesús? Este año, como parte de mi compromiso de ‘estar lista’, tengo una nueva resolución de nuevo año, aunque no va a comenzar el 1ero de enero. Va a empezar el 3 de diciembre, el nuevo año eclesial. Me comprometo a ver las maneras que he sido una dama de honor insensata y a estudiar de todas aquellas experiencias para poder estar mejor preparada para servir a otrxs y, por ende, servir a Dios. Así que me estoy comprometiendo a ser más atrevida cuando invito a otrxs a venir al servicio de adoración, en especial durante esta época de Adviento.

Por eso, esta semana mientras damos gracias por quienes nos han apoyado para llegar a este lugar, también lxs invito a que mediten sobre qué significa ‘estar listxs’ y ‘para qué están listxs’. Independientemente de que estén o no estén listxs para comprometerse, o listxs para otra cosa, The Park está lista para recibirles.

¡Pa’ lante mi gente!
Revda. Stephanie

* Translation by Rev. Jeanette Zaragoza / Traducido por la Rvda. Jeanette Zaragoza

StillSpeaking Devotional “In Hiding” by The Rev. Kaji Douša

“You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” – Genesis 2:16b-17

“Kertyschoo!” sneezed naughty Peter as he hid from the angry gardener, Mr. McGregor, in Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Charming as that sneezy word is, I don’t usually find sneezes adorable. I get sneezed on by far too many little ones (such as my own), oblivious to the peril of contagion. A sneeze becomes a warning, a sign of danger ahead.

So too for Beatrix Potter. Peter has ignored his mother’s admonition not to graze in the garden where his father had been snared and baked into a pie. But the carrots, the radishes were irresistible! And then…Kertyschoo! A sneeze gives his hiding place away. Big trouble is soon to follow.

How many times has God warned us away from tempting gardens? But we go anyway. Out of habit, without thinking it through, following our friends, our culture, our greedy appetites, we’re always feasting on other people’s bounty.

At “the time of the evening breeze” they hid from shame, as the fruit they consumed ate away at their consciences. They did not know what to do with their shame.

Hiding in the bushes from the One who would come to walk with us, I wonder this:

What’s our sneeze? What is it that gives away our hiding place?

What would it take for us to err and…come forward? Unafraid of our God?

Maybe the largest offense was not their disobedience, but their lack of trust. What if they had owned up to their error? What if they had stood together and copped to their mistake? What if, rather than pointing the finger, or hiding, Adam, Eve, Peter, any of us, stood brave and tall and asked for forgiveness?

Are you hiding from God?

Are you ready to give up your hiding place?

Prayer

Creator God: you made us from love and you save us with love. Thanks be to you. 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_in_hiding

Brick Church starts parishioner-led divorce support group

Brick Church is starting a new parishioner-led divorce support group.  The 13 (non-consecutive) week course will deal with the stages of grief centered around divorce and/or separation, along with themes of anger, forgiveness, self-identity and mental well-being. 

The group’s first meeting is Thursday, Nov. 9th @ 7pm
in the Anderson Library at Brick Church, 62 East 92nd Street.

For more information, contact Kim Purvis at kpurvis101@gmail.com or at 646-544-4138. 

All are welcome!

“Be a Servant” – Sunday Preview for November 12

Beloved Church,


After a week like this last one, I am greatly looking forward to spending a Sunday with my beloved church family. This week Pastor Kaji brings us all together to build community, support each other, and create God’s kin-dom here at The Park.

One of the first big concepts that I learned in seminary was “intersectionality.” Finally, I had a term that allowed me to explain that I was more than just one social identity. I was more than a woman, more than a student, more than a Christian. We are all the sum of our parts even when society seeks to label us as only one thing. The same is true with who we are each called to be in the church. You may be a deacon, but you are also someone’s friend. You may be our newest congregant, but you also have a passion for bilingual worship and big dreams for our church. You may be a member who can’t come to Sunday service anymore, but you are also part of our choir and sing along at home during Facebook Live. God has called each of us to be many different things to each other, to this church, and to the wider community; however, we are also called to be one common thing: a servant.

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the market-places, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted. (Matthew 23:1-12)

These words, besides making me want to break out in song (“Alas for You from “Godspell” anyone?) remind me that following Jesus in a society that seems to value being rich over being charitable and hubris over humility, is difficult. Sometimes I forget to ask how my friends are doing when I’m having a bad day and sometimes I buy things that I want, over things that I need. Following Jesus is a choice. It is a choice to love, a choice to give, and a choice to serve others. Following Jesus means remembering that we are intersectional people, more than the one thing others see us as, but we are always the servant that God has called us to be.

This week may the choices we make and the relationships we build reflect all that we are and all that God has called us to be.

Shalom Y’all.

Rev. Stephanie 

Llamadxs a servir

Amada iglesia,*

Luego de una semana como la pasada, me siento deseosa de pasar el domingo con mi querida familia eclesial. Esta semana la Pastora Kaji nos insta a construir comunidad, apoyarnos y crear el reino de Dios aquí en The Park.Uno de los primeros conceptos que aprendí en el seminario fue “la interseccionalidad”. Finalmente encontré un término que permitía concebir que yo era más de una identidad social. Era más que una mujer, una estudiante o cristiana. Somos la suma total de todas nuestras partes a pesar de que la sociedad busca ponernos una sola etiqueta. Lo mismo es cierto sobre nuestro llamado en la iglesia. Quizás seas una diácono y a la vez una amiga. Quizás eres nuestro congregante más reciente mientras que expresas una pasión por el culto bilingüe y tienes grandes aspiraciones para nuestra iglesia. Es posible que seas un miembro que no puede asistir a los servicios dominicales, pero eres parte de nuestro coro y unes tu voz desde tu hogar a través de Facebook Live. Dios nos ha llamado a distintos aspectos de esta iglesia y del mundo. No obstante, también somos llamados en común a una tarea, a servir.

Después de esto, Jesús dijo a la gente y a sus discípulos: «Los maestros de la ley y los fariseos tienen la responsabilidad de interpretar a Moisés. Así que ustedes deben obedecerlos y hacer todo lo que les digan. Pero no hagan lo que hacen ellos, porque no practican lo que predican. Atan cargas pesadas y las ponen sobre la espalda de los demás, pero ellos mismos no están dispuestos a mover ni un dedo para levantarlas.

»Todo lo hacen para que la gente los vea: Usan filacterias grandes y adornan sus ropas con borlas vistosas; se mueren por el lugar de honor en los banquetes y los primeros asientos en las sinagogas, y porque la gente los salude en las plazas y los llame “Rabí”.
»Pero no permitan que a ustedes se les llame “Rabí”, porque tienen un solo Maestro y todos ustedes son hermanos. Y no llamen “padre” a nadie en la tierra, porque ustedes tienen un solo Padre, y él está en el cielo. Ni permitan que los llamen “maestro”, porque tienen un solo Maestro, el Cristo. El más importante entre ustedes será siervo de los demás. Porque el que a sí mismo se enaltece será humillado, y el que se humilla será enaltecido. (Mateo 23: 1-12)

Estas palabras, además de inspirarme a empezar a cantar, “Alas for you” de Godspell, (¿alguien más la recuerda?), me hace pensar que seguir a Jesús en una sociedad que parece valorar al rico más que al dadivoso y al orgulloso sobre al humilde es difícil. A veces me olvido de cómo preguntarles a mis amistades “cómo están” cuando no me siento bien y a veces compro cosas que quiero en vez de cosas que necesito. El seguir a Jesús es una elección. Una elección para amar, dar y servir a otrxs. Seguir a Jesús significa recordar que somos un pueblo interseccional, más de la singularidad que otrxs ven, pero siempre estamos listxs para servir a Dios donde nos ha llamado.

Oremos para que esta semana las decisiones que tomemos y las relaciones que formemos reflejen todo lo que somos y todo lo que Dios nos ha llamado ser.

¡Pa’ lante mi gente!
Revda. Stephanie

* Translation by Rev. Jeanette Zaragoza / Traducido por la Rvda. Jeanette Zaragoza