Sunday Morning Prayer Group / Grupo de oración dominical 10.50 am
Sunday Worship Celebration with / Culto de adoración dominical con The Rev. Kaji Douša 11:00 am
Children are the Present
Happy Homecoming week! Friends, I don’t know about you, but this has been a wonderful week. Last Sunday’s service was filled with friends, both new and old. And we are so happy that Pastor Kaji is back! I hope you saw both of her interviews (Good Morning America and Inside Edition). They were incredible and really shows that the ethics of justice that she preaches, is also how she lives her life. I know I am so grateful for her leadership that inspire and sustain the many ministries here at The Park. Speaking on ministries, this week is HOMECOMING! Join us for our 11am worship and then a party at The Manse where you can have lunch, mingle, and gain a deeper understanding of our many ministries. Everyone is invited!
Last week was the Northeastern Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Regional Assembly. People from Disciples’ Congregations gathered in Brooklyn to worship together and to go over business of the region. It was wonderful to see the inter-generational ministries come together and talk about what can be accomplished together. Intergenerational work can be really challenging. So much of what a person is thought to bring to the table of conversation is formed from their life experiences, so by the fact that some people have less life experience than others, in regard to sheer minutes on this planet, they can often be looked at as not fully valuable. So, it was only fitting for the spirit to bring this scripture into our lives this week, to remind us that the work of the kindom knows no age. Let’s read together this passage from Mark 9.
“33 They returned home to Capernaum. Once they were inside the house, Jesus began to ask them, “What were you discussing on the way home?” 34 At this they fell silent, for on the way they had been arguing about who among them was the most important. 35 So Jesus sat down and called the Twelve over and said, “If any of you wants to be first, you must be the last one of all and at the service of all.” 36 Then Jesus brought a little child into their midst and, putting his arm around the child, said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes a child such as this for my sake welcomes me. And whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the One who sent me.”
Jesus was always quick to engage the marginalized as a core part of his ministry. But, young age is not often seen as a qualifying category. However, how many times have you asked a middle schooler, baptized into the body of Christ, what they want from a church right now? For most people, the answer is not often. And so, what if we did? Are we willing to take their request seriously? At Regional Assembly we had the incredible honor to hear the Disciples GMP Rev. Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens preach about being called to be together. And throughout our time together, she constantly reminded us to break our understanding that the children are our future, and start living into the fact that they are a part of our present. Children are valued in the eyes of Jesus, just as much as anyone else, no matter how old they are.
For most of regional assembly I had assumed that the regional youth had not come to the assembly. However, at lunch on Saturday, kids of all ages started showing up. We were told that the entire time we were at the assembly conducting our business, the kids had gone into the streets for some justice and service projects. I can’t help but wonder which working group Jesus would have attended. Jesus knew age was not a barrier in building the kindom and knew that the imago dei is in each of us from our creation and noticeable every day of our life.
Friends, this week give thanks for the children that not only help us envision our future but help us be better reflections of Christ right now in the present. This Sunday in worship or at the party, get to know the kids in our community. They are smart, thoughtful, and filled with an enduring spirit that I know will support their faith lives now and sustain them throughout their lives and the life of this church.
“Grito de las froteras/Cry from the Borders”
Reflection by The Rev. Luis-Alfredo Cartagena-Zayas
While taking the subway home after attending the Northeastern Regions Assembly this weekend Rev. Stephanie requested me to write a short piece so that The Park and friends would be informed of my recent service in El Paso,TX/Juarex,MX. Original called “Grito de la frontera/Cry from the Border” but later expanded to “Grito de las froteras/Cry from the Borders” to accurately express the concern we have for immigrants, exiles and refugees throughout the world.
I was requested by Rev. Dr. Peter Hetzel to participate in an action being organized by theologians throughout the United States to be a follow-up of a letter they made public criticizing the US Policy of “Zero Tolerance.” Words were simply not enough all involved felt that the Communities of Faiths had to provide what I insist on calling “Prophetic Push Back!”
from Rev. Francesca Fortunato, Children and Youth Ministry Leader
On Sunday, 9/16/18, the Park Sunday school children readExodus 20: 8-11, which is about the commandment to keep Sabbath. None of the children had heard the word “Sabbath” before, so, we discussed the meaning of “Sabbath” and the things that make it different from other days of the week, along with reasons why it’s a blessing in our lives, as Christians. For our response activity, children made Sabbath “To-Do” lists (of things that are good to do on the Sabbath) and “Don’t-Do” lists (of things that aren’t good to do on the Sabbath.) The children also illustrated their lists with pictures of people engaging in Sabbath “dos” and “don’ts”.
On September 23rd, we will read Mark 9:33-37, in which Jesus teaches the disciples, among other things, that children can be wonderful servants of God. We will talk about ways that children can serve God (maybe some things that children can even do better than adults can?) Our response activity will be to make notebooks, in which to write down (or draw) our ideas about ways to serve God. The children won’t fill them up completely during Sunday school, but will leave room to add to them at home, during days and weeks-to-come.
Time: Wednesday, September 26, 2018 Reception - 6:30pm to 7:00pm
Main Program - 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Location: The Yale Club of New York City - 50 Vanderbilt Ave, New York, NY 10017
Powerful men exposed as serial harassers and abusers. Challenges to the established practice of valuing women for their sexuality more than their ability. The overdue airing of the voices that have been silenced for too long. Public outcry for accountability has produced a powerful new platform for addressing the inequities around gender and power in our fast-changing culture. One year out from the arrival of the #MeToo movement, this provocative Yale panel will explore the emerging new understanding of gender-based violence and harassment and their effect on their (mostly) female survivors, while considering how the best of our philosophies and theologies can set a new trajectory toward a healthy, humane, and equitable culture around gender and power.
Kaji Douša ’06 M.Div., Senior Pastor at Park Avenue Christian Church, New York City
Serene Jones ’85 M.Div., ’91 Ph.D., President of Union Theological Seminary and former Yale Divinity School professor
Galen Sherwin ’94 B.A., Senior Staff Attorney at the Women’s Rights Project of the ACLU (moderator)
Carmelyn P. Malalis, ‘96 B.A. Chair and Commissioner, New York City Commission on Human Rights
Josef Sorett, Associate Professor in the Religion Department and the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University, Director of the Center on African-American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice (CARSS)