Happy Thanksgiving! I am writing this from my home that is on Lenape and Wappinger land. Knowing whose land you are on is an important piece of our national history to know, share, and give thanks for this Thanksgiving. I invite you to remember the indigenous and first-nation people in your prayers this Thanksgiving as you log-on and zoom with your beloveds during this holiday season. As you gather this week, know I am so thankful for each of you and am praying for your health, safety, and thriving.
So, if you have ever been around me, you have probably heard me say the line, “all the things.” All the things is a phrase that I use to describe just about anything that isn’t one thing and this Sunday is no exception. Y’all this Sunday has all the things! It has a congregational meeting at 10:30 am. It has Children’s Ministry at 10:30 am. It has worship at 11 am. It has Advent 1 and the start of Advent. All the things Sunday! All the things you won’t want to miss, and I look forward to seeing you there!
As I just shared with you, we have all the things happening this Sunday, but as it is not Sunday yet, I know we still have all the things to do before we get there. And while I don’t want to take up too much of your time this week, I do want to say how thankful I am for each and every one of you. For the ways you have continued to show up for our ministries. For the ways you have found new and profound ways to care for each other from a distance. For the love you have shown to the new members in our community who have now become like old friends. For the way people experience God in and through you as a beloved part of The Park community. I am so grateful for all the things this community is and does and will do. I am so honored to be one of your pastors. And as the Spirit is want to do, She has provided us with the perfect piece of scripture for just this time. Let’s listen for our still speaking God to name all the things that God has given us and for which we are so thankful.
Grace and peace from our Loving God and our Savior Jesus Christ.
I continually thank my God for you because of the gift bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, in whom you have been richly endowed with every gift of speech and knowledge. In the same way, the testimony about Christ has been so confirmed among you that you lack no spiritual gift, as you wait for the revelation of our Savior Jesus Christ. God will strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Savior Jesus Christ. God, through whom you have been called into intimacy with Jesus our Savior, is faithful.
1 Corinthians 1:3-9 (ILB) / 1 Corintios 1:3-9 (NVI)
Friends, as the scripture says, we lack no spiritual gift in this community. We embody the divinity of diversity best when we are open to the changing ways of the Spirit. This community, in this time, has done that in all the ways and for all the things. And for that, this Thanksgiving, I give incredible thanks. Thanks for each of you and all the things that make up your many gifts.
A quick prayer for your week: O Lord, may I know and share my gifts freely. Amen
Children and Youth Ministry Update
from The Rev. Francesca Fortunato
Dear Park People,
On Sunday, November 22nd, The Park Sunday school children read about “Daily Life In Jesus Time,” from the Doring Kindersley Illustrated Children’s Bible. We learned about the types of houses people lived in (most families having just one room, for eating, sleeping, cooking, and everything!), what kind of work most people did, and the ways that the parables of Jesus reflected the daily lives of his students. Children used their Play-Doh to make some of the foods that were mentioned (grapes; wheat) as well as the animals that were part of people’s lives in that time and place (goats, sheep; chickens.) And, speaking of animals...
We were joined in Sunday school by not one, but two, four-legged family members! In addition to the puppy, Lexi, who was part of Sunday school the previous Sunday, my youngest cat, George, decided to make an appearance. The children and adults were all thoroughly charmed by George, and, it seemed, our puppy friend was, too. One silver lining behind the “cloud” of virtual Sunday school, is that we can have friends with us, who would not be allowed inside the church building.
The children have all had Advent calendars sent to them, so, next Sunday, advent 1, will be the time to begin engaging with those, in addition to reading the first chapter in The Mystic Bible: “Once upon a time, there was a young woman. A very young woman. And her name was Mary. And one night, this Mary was visited by an energy filled with shining light...”
May your days, your hearts; your circles of love, be filled with that same, shining light!
Blessings and well wishes as always, Rev. Francesca Fortunato: Children’s Minister
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.