Sunday Morning Prayer Group / Grupo de oración dominical 10.50 am
Sunday Worship Celebration with / Culto de adoración dominical con The Rev. Mieke Vandersall 11:00 am
Things We Can See
This week we embark on a journey with a good friend to The Park, The Rev. Mieke Vandersall. Mieke is sharing her incredible gifts with us in two complimentary ways. We will get to hear her prophetic witness this Sunday in worship, and she is also starting a three-week workshop called, “Examining Your Wallet: An Exploration of Money Matters from a Practical and Theological Perspective.” Mieke’s work is such a gift to our community and I hope you will join us on Thursday and Sunday!
This week, is tax week. People from around the nation will collect their receipts, think about their past year, and file their taxes. Taxes are one of those taboo things that people aren’t supposed to talk about in church. For some they can bring up feelings of anxiety and unease. For others, they are a helpful and necessary part of building community. It can be a challenge to joyfully support something that we don’t always see the fruits of immediately. It is always easier to believe in something once you actually see it. Which is why this week’s passage is so helpful, and a wonderful reminder that things are at work in the world, even when we can’t immediately see them.
While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. (Luke 24:36b-48 NRSV)
What would it take to be a community that invests beyond our anxieties and in more than what we can immediately or physically see? When Jesus is right in front of us, how often do we see him and step over him, or even worse, not believe it when we do see him. To see the risen Christ in our neighbor do we need to gain something, or experience something before we fully believe he is there? Jesus is walking amongst us, talking to us, asking us for food, and we are still scared.
Friends, a life in faith is not meant to be easy but knowing that we journey with the Risen Christ brings comfort and hope for our lives to come. This week, lets invest in ministries and visions of the church that we may not see but know they are in the sight of our Lord ready to bloom. Let’s prayerfully believe in the good news that we see and have faith in that which we don’t see yet. Because our God is here, among us, working with us, using us to build the kin-dom in real time with the gifts given to each of us.
I give thanks for the God at work who brought us all together and continues to love and support us each day of our life and beyond.
Children and Youth Ministry
from Rev. Francesca Fortunato, Children and Youth Ministry Leader
On April 8th the Sunday school children read Acts 4: 32-35, about the radical sharing that was practiced in early church communities. We discussed ways to be mindful about sharing, in our own lives as followers of Jesus, and how sharing helps us to be happier in our time together. Our response activity was a play experiment. The children were given a box with a limited number of toys, and were asked to figure out how to share them in ways that would be fun for everyone, and be fair, in terms of taking turns. I was particularly pleased to see older children being patient and helpful with younger ones.
On April 15th, we will read Luke 24: 36-48. The focus will be on the ways that people in the early church shared the teachings of Jesus with others. We will discuss what some of those teachings are, and how we can share them. Our response activity will be a dramatic play experience, with children taking turns in the role of Teacher, and sharing the teachings of Jesus with the class.
A Celebration of the Life of Frank Tyson will be held
at The Park at 2 pm on Sunday, April 22
Money carries a lot of weight in all of our lives, but the weightiness often goes unexamined. That weight without examination, however, can get in the way of our spiritual and fiscal health. In this three-part series, we will examine what makes up our financial stories, and what God has to do with it. We will do this through exploration of the Bible, and the theologies of money that we find within it, in addition to our own experiences and their grounding in the particularity of the culture that has had a hand in creating us.
The hope is that through this workshop we might bring a fresh energy to the ways that money holds us back and can propel us forward into living into God's call on our lives.
While each part of the series builds on each other, we welcome you to one, or all parts.
Mieke Vandersall is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and a fundraising and communications consultant. She is working on The Park's capital campaign with us. She is the principal of Vandersall Collective, a boutique firm in New York City, in addition to the church planter for the congregation called Not So Churchy. Mieke is a graduate of the College of Wooster and Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York.
To combat gender-based violence, Rep. Jan Schakowsky and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen have re-introduced the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) in the House of Representatives and the Senate, respectively. I-VAWA was first introduced in Congress in 2007 and has been re-introduced every session of Congress since. I-VAWA would provide essential support for proven strategies to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls. It also would bolster the efforts of women and men around the world who are working to reduce gender-based violence in their communities. There are many ways you can show your support for this bill. You can join the UCC Justice and Peace Action Network, in supporting the prevention and the survivors of gender-based violence by contacting your elected officials and by taking other actions found at: https://p2a.co/ZUaCl7k .