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
What a week we have had together. I am still carrying Heaven’s message with me and have been a bit more gentile with myself in areas I am usually more critical. I hope you have been as well. This week is one you won’t want to miss. We have an incredible worship lined up and after we will have our budget hearing. I hope to see you Sunday!
I was watching an interview with actress Tracee Ellis Ross the other day. She was speaking about how she takes care of herself. She isn’t one that thinks self-care is synonymous with a spa, but she shares that self-care for her is knowing when to say “no.” It was a really wonderful interview that showed the hard work she was doing on herself. It was an article also highlighting the happiness she found in being a single woman. It was powerful and inspiring. But then it turned to questions about her mom, and what it was like growing up as the daughter of singer, Diana Ross. She spoke lovingly about her mom, but it got me thinking about how often that must happen to her, even as she has made her own way in the world. There is a parallel to Tracee’s story in this week’s scripture. Read this week’s scripture from the Gospel of Mark and see if you recognize what I’m talking about.
“46 They came to Jericho. As Jesus was leaving Jericho with the disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus ben-Timaeus, was sitting at the side of the road. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and to say, “Heir of David, Jesus, have pity on me!” 48 Many people scolded him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the louder, “Heir of David, have pity on me!” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.”
So they called the blind man. “Don’t be afraid,” they said. “Get up; Jesus is calling you.” 50 So throwing off his cloak, Bartimaeus jumped up and went to Jesus. 51 Then Jesus said, “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Rabbuni,” the blind man said, “I want to see.” 52 Jesus replied, “Go, your faith has saved you.” And immediately Bartimaeus received the gift of sight and began to follow Jesus along the road.
People were seeking out Jesus because they knew what he could do. In this case make a blind man see. But the man didn’t say, “Jesus son of God,” or even, “Hey I heard you healed someone else.” No, Jesus was flagged down through his ancestral lineage, “Heir of David.”
Like Tracee Ellis Ross, Jesus was sought after for his own gifts, but there was often the shadow of someone else. Sometimes it was God, this time it was David. It is a privilege to be able to trace your ancestry, and it is also something we must hold with care. Many people due oppressive structures such as slavery, colonization, and patriarchy cannot trace their genealogy or family history. For those that can, our lineage is something that we get to help inform us, but it should not be used to set us aside or uphold privilege.
Friends, how are we making space for people to flourish with their own gifts and not attribute them to others? How might we celebrate people for who they are and not who we think they should be? How can we be more present to each other in this moment? To start, this week I am going to celebrate that Jesus is Jesus, You are You, and I am me.
A short prayer for your week: Holy One, many have come before me and so they will come after me, help me be present in the work we are called to do together in this moment. For your grace and love is, always has been, and always will be present.
Children and Youth Ministry Update
Dear Park People,
On Sunday October 21st, the Park Sunday school children read Hebrews 5:1-4. We discussed the idea that our own experiences of making mistakes and getting into trouble can help us to be caring and sympathetic to our friends, when they mess up. Also, we talked about bearing witness for each other, as part of our Christian vocation. (Child-friendly version: “We come to church to learn and grow toward God, and try to be good, kind; loving people.”)
For our response activity, we took turns sharing stories about times we’d done things wrong and gotten into trouble (the adults did this, as well as the children.) Then, we took turns re-telling each other’s stories, in order to test how well we had listened. Everyone “passed” this test with flying colors! There are some truly excellent; sympathetic listeners in The Park Sunday school community!
On Sunday October 28th, the Park Sunday school children will read Mark 10: 45-52. We will discuss the ways that our faith inspires us to feel the presence of our ancestors, and also learn about the Christian roots of secular Halloween, in the traditions of All Saints and All Souls days.
For our response activity, we will make masks in the images of our beloved and admired ancestors (from church history, secular history, or our own communities and families.) The children will be reminded that they can always honor the ancestors, by trying to be like them, and remembering them with love, even when they are not wearing the masks.
Blessings, prayers, and well wishes as ever,
Rev. Francesca Fortunato, Director of Children’s Ministry
Immigrant rights are under attack. How does the First Amendment protect immigrants who speak out against the injustice of the deportation system? How do we ensure that we protect the rights of all of our community members when we make our voices heard? Join us at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, a church founded as a temple of abolition in the 1850s, to learn about these issues and an upcoming First Amendment case, Ragbir v. Homan, that will be heard in federal court later this month.
Rev. Kaji Douša, Senior Pastor at The Park Avenue Christian Church
Ravi Ragbir, Executive Director of New Sanctuary Coalition
Ramya Krishnan, Staff Attorney at The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University
The teach-in will be followed by a Know Your Rights training for activists and a public art project. This event is sponsored by the New Sanctuary Coalition and NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic. Co-sponsors include NYU Sanctuary Coalition, Law@theMargins, and Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute at The City University of New York Lehman College.
Stand with Ravi Ragbir and Stand Up for the First Amendment!
Pack the Court! Support Ravi Ragbir and Immigrant Rights Activists in NYC!
When: Monday, October 29, 2018, at 10am (please arrive by 9am to get through security)
Where: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 40 Foley Square, New York, NY, Room 1703 (there will also be an overflow room if Room 1703 reaches capacity)
What: Supporters of Ravi Ragbir and immigrant rights organizations will gather to hear lawyers from Arnold & Porter (with co-counsel NYU Immigrant RIghts Clinic) ask the court to protect the First Amendment rights of activists like Ravi Ragbir who face targeting by ICE as a result of their activism
Please RSVP below with your name and email. We will email you to provide updates about the hearing only. Please arrive early, at 9am, to go through security and wait to be seated. Please note that you will have to give security your phones and electronic devices when entering the building. While in the courtroom, please sit quietly in support of the plaintiffs (no talking or signs please). Clergy may wear religious clothing/articles.
There will be a press conference in Foley Square immediately after the court hearing, which we invite you to stay and attend.