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Sunday, July 10 with / Domingo, 10 de julio

 The Rev. Kaji Douša 

11:00 am ET
"What to do With a Scoundrel"

- from Rev. Kaji

Continuing with Dr. Wil Gafney’s Year W texts, this week we return to the Hebrew Scriptures with a curious story of Eli’s sons . Eli was the penultimate Judge of Israel (Samuel succeeds him.) And while Eli was considered a good judge, his sons…not so much. The text this week calls them “scoundrels” and gives an example of just how dastardly they were. 
In preparation for Sunday’s worship, I researched synonyms for scoundrel, realizing that my vocabulary for such was limited. Upon reflection, I realize that I have under-used the word scoundrel, too! I hope to correct this in Sunday’s sermon and moving forward. Because scoundrels, scallywags, miscreants, reprobate lowlifes, crooks and rascals abound, and the Bible has words for:
How we can recognize them
How we respond to them  
How we can make sure we aren’t them. 
Join us as we learn from the sons of Eli. Who doesn’t love a good villain story? 
Finally, we have a special treat from the UCC Stillspeaking Writers’ Group (for which I’m an editor & contributor.) With permission of the group and publisher, I will be sharing periodic reflections on Communion from this beautiful resource that is not yet published! I’d love to hear your reactions to the provocative invitations we’ve made to think about what it means to live and be in communion with God and each other, anew. These writings are gorgeous - can’t wait for you to experience them!
Pax Christi,
Pastor Kaji

Scripture: 1 Samuel 2:12-17:

12 Now the sons of Eli were worthless; they had no knowledge of the HOLY GOD. 13 The practice of the priests toward the people was: when any woman or man sacrificed an offering, the priest’s boy came while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand. 14 Then he violently shoved it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot, and all that the fork brought up the priest took for himself. This is what they did to all the women and men of Israel who came there, to Shiloh. 15 Even more, before the fat was burned to smoke, the priest’s boy came and said to the one who was sacrificing, “Give up some meat to roast for the priest; for he will not accept boiled meat from you, but only fresh.” 16 And if the woman or man said to him, “Let them burn the fat to smoke first, and then take for yourself what you wish,” he would say, “No! Now! You will give it, and if not, I will take it by force.” 17 Thus the sin of [Eli’s] boys was very great in the sight of the HOLY ONE OF OLD; for the men treated the offerings of the MOST HIGH with contempt.



Refusing to Forget
Mary Luti
“He took bread, and after giving thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And he did the same with the cup after supper…”— Luke 22:19-20
When Christians talk about Communion, we say it’s a remembrance of Jesus, a memorial. Which is true, but also potentially misleading, as if what we’re doing at the table is reminiscing, like you would maybe at a wake.
But in the gospel’s original Greek, the word for remembrance is stronger, edgier, more demanding—anamnesis—literally, “against amnesia.” It turns out that remembering Jesus in Communion is oppositional, like standing up to something, an adversary. Remembering at the table is not reminiscence, it’s resistance. It’s refusing to forget.
There are forces around us and within us that want us to forget what they’ve been up to for eons, wreaking havoc, taking up all the breathing room, squeezing the life out of everything for ego, profit, supremacy, and power. Killing for sport. 
They’re still at it, night and day, trying to fog over all traces of Jesus’ love revolution in the world and in our hearts. They hope we’ll lose his trail, his story’s thread. They hope we’ll forget we ever knew him. 
For if we forget, we’ll be putty in their hands. If we forget, they can tell us anything they want, and we won’t know they’re lying. In the vacuum of forgetting, injustice has it easy, violence rules the day. 
Communion is dangerous memory, it’s our uprising. At the table we take a stand. We remember him. We remember each other. We remember everyone and everything hate wants to erase. We refuse to forget. 
We will not forget you, Jesus, 
we will not forget.
We will tell your danger story 
at this table met:
how you lived in truth unbending, 
faithful through the awful ending,
love the reason, love the debt,        
we will not forget.
We will not forget you, Jesus, 
we will not forget
all the shamed and all the slaughtered, 
all who cried for breath.  
Every victim has a place here,
they will never be erased here;
singing resurrection’s threat, 
we will not forget.
We will not forget you, Jesus, 
we will not forget.
When the world conspires to make us 
lose your story’s thread,
we will come and eat, defiant,
revolution’s bread of triumph, 
hearts shored up and faces set, 
we will not forget.
We will not forget you, Jesus, 
we will not forget.
When we eat this meal together, 
bless and break the bread,
you are here with us in power, 
now the day and now the hour,
rising, rising from the dead, 
we will not forget.
Guest Organist this Sunday: Nathaniel Gumbs

Nathaniel Gumbs is a native of the Bronx, NY and has performed throughout the United States and abroad, including Antigua, St. Thomas, Ghana, Paris, and Munich. He currently serves as Director of Chapel Music at Yale University where he works with students, faculty, and guests to coordinate music for three worshiping communities: the University Church in Battell Chapel, and at Yale Divinity School in both Marquand Chapel and at Berkeley Divinity School.

Dr. Gumbs earned his undergraduate degree from Shenandoah Conservatory in Virginia, his Master of Music degree from Yale University, and in 2021 completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Eastman School of Music. Nathaniel’s principal teachers include Steven Cooksey, David Higgs, and Martin Jean.

Prior to his position at Yale, Dr. Gumbs served as Director of Music and Arts and Church Organist at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC, where he led several hundred volunteer musicians and staff in four choirs and other ensembles. He has also been a frequent guest musician at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem and served as organist and clinician for the Hampton University Ministers’ Conference.

In 2017 The Diapason magazine recognized Nathaniel as one of 20 outstanding organists under 30 years old for his achievement in organ performance and church music. In 2018, Nathaniel curated the opening Hymn Festival (Singing Diverse Music in The New Church) for the Hymn Society’s annual conference.
Children and Youth Ministry Update
from Nordia Bennett, Children’s Minister

Hi Park Family, 

Last Sunday, the 10:30 am (3rd grade or younger) children explored “God's Promise to Abram” in the Sparks Story Bible. We chatted about what it means to hold promises to our community and God.  

This Sunday, the 10:00 am (4th grade or older) youth will dive into the Luke 13:20-21 NRSV, “Parable of the Yeast”. We will be exploring the question of how we move our earthly kin-dom(s) closer to the kin-dom that Christ describes. The 10:30 am (3rd grade or younger) children will read “Pharaoh’s Dreams” in the Sparks Story Bible. 

Minister Nordia

Co-hosted by Rev. Stephanie Kendell and Rev. Arthur Stewart

Wednesday, July 13, 1:00 pm ET
Two On One is exited to bring to you an 8 episode miniseries called... God's Favorite Idiots.

Join Arthur and Spiff as they talk about each episode of Netflix's God's Favorite Idiot and then share a story of their own.

Co-hosted by Rev. Stephanie Kendell and Rev. Arthur Stewart

First episode Friday, July 8, 1:00 pm ET
July 17
Join Pastor Kaji & The Park at Lincoln Center in celebrating the musical genius of Greg Tate at:

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.
Weekly Invitations to Community:
Upcoming Events

Saturday, July 9, Community Lunch Program, 1:00 pm, Manhattan Church of Christ 48 East 80th Street

Saturday, July 16, Community Lunch Program, 1:00 pm, Manhattan Church of Christ 48 East 80th Street

Sunday, July 17, SoulFood Fellowhip, 12:30 pm

Tuesday, July 19, Finance Meeting, 6:00 pm

Tuesday, July 19, Ministry Council, 7:00 pm

Saturday, July 23, Community Lunch Program, 1:00 pm, Manhattan Church of Christ 48 East 80th Street

Saturday, July 30, Community Lunch Program, 1:00 pm, Manhattan Church of Christ 48 East 80th Street

Saturday, August 6, Community Lunch Program, 1:00 pm, Manhattan Church of Christ 48 East 80th Street
This Week at The Park is published every Thursday by
Park Avenue Christian Church
1010 Park Avenue at 85th Street, New York, NY 10028

Church office:  212-288-3246.   Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.