Once again, news in our country has shaken the ground on which we stand.
And, quite frankly, it has shaken up my reading of this week’s text. I’d originally planned to talk to you about doubt. And I will, though it won’t be my chief focus.
Instead, this week, I’m going to focus on bodies.
Our text is quite visceral. It is fleshy. As are we.
One thing that has become incredibly clear to me is that ministry, church, community in these times MUST give us the tools to find safety, to survive and thrive while many other things collapse around us. This is God’s intention for each of our lives. I want us to treat this work to survive and thrive as holy, relevant and anointed.
To this end, you’ll notice me getting quite practical in my preaching in the weeks to come. I want you to walk away equipped. God has put us on this journey together, and what a privilege it is for us to serve you in this way.
Join us as we honor these beautiful bodies God has given us. My sermon title will be:
"The Place No One Can Touch"
I can’t wait to see you on Sunday - online or in person.
God bless you through these times,
Scripture: John 20:24-29 (Year W)
24 But Thomas, one of the twelve who was called Didymus (the Twin) was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Messiah.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
26 And within eight days his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, though the doors were shut, and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you all.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands. Bring your hand and put it in my side and do not doubt, rather believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, saying, “My Savior and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Was it because you have seen me that you believed? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”
RETURNING TO IN-PERSON WORSHIP
Dear Beloved Park Family,
We are so excited to start gathering back in person after 2 years apart!
These past few years have been challenging in so many ways and yet we proved time and time again that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
First, we want to say a huge thank you to those that made the digital worship experiences possible over the last few years. The time, talent, patience, and courage it took from each of you to create, lead, and worship in this new way was and continues to be inspiring. If this new way of worship was a helpful way for you to gain access to our community and our ministries, do not worry – our online access to all our ministries is not going anywhere. Going forward, our plan is for all ministries and experiences to be accessible to everyone both in person and online.
Meanwhile, many of us long to be together in person. Leadership has dedicated months to discern and make decisions to get us to this point.
Here are the church’s expectations for how we will spend our time together in person. In person, we will:
Be fully vaccinated (if eligible) and show proof of vaccination every time we enter the building.
Respect social distancing standards.
Share our love and excitement through words and not physical touch.
Always wear a mask over the nose and mouth, unless otherwise instructed.
Understand that these expectations will be implemented with the possibility of removal in cases where guidelines are not met.
We are still an active construction site and will not go into restricted areas for my own safety.
We do not have main floor accessible bathrooms. Using the bathrooms will require a staff member to accompany me because of the construction.
It is 100% okay if I am not ready to come back yet. I am loved just the same.
We have been apart for two years, we have changed and grown in so many ways and will refrain from commenting on physical looks and emotional tenderness.
We will continue to evaluate the best practices for the health and safety of our community and will be updated as things change.
We look forward to seeing you in person as you feel ready. We are so grateful to share in the love of God with each of you.
Pastor Kaji and Rev. Stephanie
Children and Youth Ministry Update
from Nordia Bennett, Children’s Minister
Last Sunday, the 10am (4th grade or older) youth will continue to dive into The Book of Luke, exploring the Parables and the relevancy to our current lives. The 10:30am (3rd grade and younger) children will be diving deep into “Doubting Thomas” in The Sparks Story Bible. How can we show up with others when we experience differences?
This Sunday, the 10 am (4th grade or older) youth will continue exploring Luke 13:10-17, exploring the narrative of Jesus Healing on Sabbath. The 10:30am (3rd grade or younger) children will explore, “The Great Commission” in The Sparks Story Bible.
Gregory Stephen Ionman Tate (1957-2021) was a giant of Black radical thought and creativity, and a conductor of incandescent, community-driven music. Tate's body of writing as an influential critic would be enough to enshrine him as a cultural icon, but he is equally important to a generation of musicians as both the co-founder of the Black Rock Coalition, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the complete creative freedom of Black artists; and the creator of Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber, a sprawling, omnivorous, and outrageously accomplished improv collective. Under his co-leadership, BSAC has issued more than 20 releases in its two-decade history, featuring a cavalcade of virtuoso musicians. Tate's sudden passing in December 2021 was a blow to his many loved ones, friends, collaborators, and admirers around the globe. For this homecoming concert, curated and presented with The Tate Family at one of his favorite venues, more than thirty BSAC members will perform in celebration and tribute to one of the most essential voices in the history of 21st Century Avant Groidd music and thought.