I hope this week continued to meet you with love, health, and support. We at The Park are continuing to hold you in prayer and sending love around the world. It’s hard to believe but even apart together, our community is continually growing. And that is something I am eternally grateful for. That you all keep coming back, loving each other, offering new ways of support, and trying new ministries and new spaces of connection so that you may experience God in new ways. I hope you know what a big deal it is that you all keep showing up. We teach, preach, and pray that in ones most challenging moments people will turn to church and we are seeing that happen now, time and time again. It is truly humbling and amazing. We have many new spaces of ministry happening so keep an eye out in the newsletter and online for all the ways in which we are connecting throughout the week. It is a honor and a true pleasure to be and do church with you all.
This past week my friend Marisa posted in her Instagram a picture of a handful of old folded papers. The papers she went on to describe were handwritten notes between her and her friends during our Junior High and High School years. I wrote to her saying that I am sure in my parents’ house there is a box of those same type of notes. She assured me that somewhere in her hand were notes between the two of us. We both laughed. I have always relied on notes to get me through my day. If you walked into my house now, you would see sticky notes all over. On the fridge reminding me I am out of zucchini. On the door reminding me that I need to remember my phone to get back in my building due to new security protocols. In my office reminding me of a last-minute meeting or a sermon illustration. And Marisa’s photo reminded me that notes have been a part of my life much longer than I have been a working adult. Which is why this week’s scripture is so meaningful to me. I get it when Jesus is like, “jot this down.” Let’s see what Jesus wanted us to make sure we remembered from this week’s lesson in Luke.
“Take note: I am sending forth what Abba God has promised to you.
Remain here in the city until you are clothed with the power from on high.”
Then Jesus took them to the outskirts of Bethany, and with upraised hands blessed the disciples. While blessing them, the savior left them and was carried up to heaven. The disciples worshiped the risen Christ and returned to Jerusalem full of joy. They were found in the Temple constantly, speaking the praises of God.” (Luke 24:49-53 (ILB) )
Part of what I left out earlier in talking about notes, is that sometimes I can’t read my own handwriting. Or I use shorthand because I am sure I will remember and then don’t know what I am talking about. Or I find a note years later (or a friend finds them!) and I am anxious that what I wrote does not reflect the person I am today. And this week, I wondered about the Disciples in the same way. Is the bible the only way they “took note?” What pertinent information about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and the vision he had for the world is missing? And what I really want to know is what books are fully fleshed out and which books are the “brb. Kthxbye. – J” versions.
We will never know and that is part of the beauty of faith. Part of the work we are called to do in following Christ is to study, interpret, and listen to the still speaking voice of God. Because scripture is not the only way the disciples took note. We were also left a voicemail, we just call it prayer. Because we may not always be able to know what we mean in our own notes, or what the scripture is trying to tell us, but God does. All we have to do is listen.
A quick prayer for your week: God, I am listening and taking note. Amen
Children and Youth Ministry Update
from The Rev. Francesca Fortunato
Dear Park People,
On Sunday, May 17th, the Park Sunday school children read and discussed the Noah Story, from Genesis, from the perspective of the dove, with Pastor Kaji. It was a great opportunity for them to gain a different view of that scripture, and their own roles in the ongoing story of God’s revelation.
On Sunday, May 25th, they will continue reading the story of the prophet, Nehemiah, with me, as we explore what the people of Jerusalem learned about God, from their experience of rebuilding their city’s walls, and the wonderful message from Ezra’s reading of the law: “Rejoice, for God makes you strong!” We will discuss the ways that God is making us strong, at this time, and all of the different, joyful ways, that we can use that strength. We will then compose special prayers for holy strength, and the ability to use it for good.
May all of us be able to recognize and celebrate the strength that God gives to us, in these days when we need that strength, so very much.
Blessings and well wishes as always,
Rev. Francesca Maria (Miriam) Fortunato: Children’s Minister
Pandemic of Love
Pandemic of Love is a mutual aid community of care that was started in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. It humbly began on March 14th, 2020 by one person and was intended to help her own local community. But, like an epidemic, the act of love and kindness spread quickly and is now a beautiful movement helping those in need throughout the world.
What is a mutual aid community? It connects people in need with patrons who can help with that need. This is a tangible way for people to give to each other, quickly, discretely and directly.
What’s the catch? There is none. Kind people are introduced to kind people which results in an act of kindness and human connection.
In this moment of COVID-19, our immigrant friends face unprecedented challenges. At the same time, in this moment of COVID-19, most of us have to change the way we engage in direct action and advocacy in order to comply with social distancing and support communal safety. As people of faith committed to prophets' vision of justice, what can we do to respond in this moment and what can we do to plan for the future when we can be together again? Join interfaith leaders and New Sanctuary Coalition Executive Director Ravi Ragbir and Multi-Faith Coordinator Micah Bucey to learn and to engage in collective action.
Classes are in English now but we are working on adding a Spanish speaking class soon.
Become a Telechaplaincy Volunteer
From the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education:
We are facing unprecedented times, and many of us are wondering how we can respond. We are receiving requests from institutions seeking additional spiritual care support, particularly through telechaplaincy. At the same time, we know some CPE students have been unable to complete units due to new restrictions for visitation. We hope telechaplaincy might provide them additional hours towards the completion of units.
We are seeking volunteers to meet these requests. If you would like to be considered for telechaplaincy support, please complete the volunteer form below. Your information will only be shared with institutional leadership working to meet the needs of those whom they serve. If you have questions or need more information, please email COVID19@acpe.edu.
You may also want to explore resources for spiritual care during this crisis, available here from our colleagues at the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab. Thank you for your dedication to our shared work.