Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Actions You Can Take for General Conference




From the Metropolitan Reconciling Community 
 
With less than one month left to General Conference, here are a few things you can do to be involved:

  • Write Letters:  Check out the Reconciling Ministries Network website at www.rmnetwork.org.  Under the ACT heading, you’ll find the “It’s Time” campaign, with a letter you can sign online that will help RMN show the strength of support for change in our UMC policies affecting LGBTQ brothers  and sisters.  You’ll also find a downloadable PDF if you want to write your own letter.  Or a place to tell your own story, of how current policies affect you or someone you love.
  • Learn about the Issues:  In addition to the RMN website, you’ll find good information at the following:  The official UMC web site is http://www.umc.org/topics/general-conference-2016.  You can find discussion of issues and links to other blogs at http://um-insight.net/    Check out the Methodist Federation for Social Action, at http://mfsaweb.org/   
  • Sign to show your support for the Love Your Neighbor Coalition Vision for the UMC at http://www.lyncoalition.org/vision-for-umc/ 
  • Make a contribution to LYNC, RMNetwork, or MFSA to shttp://www.umc.org/topics/general-conference-2016upport their ongoing work and witness to the UMC
  • Become an individual member of RMNetwork or MFSA. Numbers matter - the wider church looks at how many UMs support these organizations.
  • Do you know someone who will be a delegate to GC? We at Metropolitan represent a large cross section of “hometowns.” Contact those persons - let them know how you feel and believe about issues of justice.  You can look up names and addresses of Bishops or General Conference Delegates 2016 at www.umdate.org.  Search under Leadership, specifying the Annual Conference that’s applicable. Click on the name of a person to whom you can send a letter, and the contact information will pop up.
  • Pray for ALL delegates to GC. They will be deluged with information in the coming weeks and will need lots of prayer and support to sift through the wheat and the chaff.  
  • Pray especially for Charlie Parker, our Pastor, who is also a Delegate to General Conference. 
  • Lastly - how about a trip to Portland? It’s a beautiful city, and the LYNC witness is a powerful reminder of the United Methodist Church that we all know and love.
Blessings,

Ellen Bachman

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Youth in Mission Auction - Sunday, April 24

ASP Auction Schedule - Sunday, April 24
10am - Silent Auction begins 
12:30pm - Lunch Begins and Silent Auction Starts to Close
 1pm -  Dessert and ASP Presentation 

1:10pm -  Live Auction and Closing Appeal
This summer, our youth and a dozen and a half adults will head out for our 42nd trip to rural Appalachia to build houses as part of the Appalachia Service Project (ASP). Founded by a Methodist pastor nearly 50 years ago, ASP provides a transformational opportunity for youth in their engagement with the people of Appalachia. It is a hallmark of our youth programs here at the Metropolitan Church and continues to be supported by the generosity of church members, their friends, and their families.

ASP began in 1969 when Pastor Tex Evans noticed that many of the people of Appalachia with which he worked needed assistance with home repairs. He gathered together fifty youth and adults who worked during the day and worshiped at night. By the end of that summer, four homes were repaired and the foundation was laid for what ASP would become. Today, ASP has over 16,000 volunteers in the summer and repairs 500 to 600 homes throughout Central Appalachia.

In addition to helping some of the poorest people throughout Central Appalachia have warm, dry and safe homes, our youth have a deeply meaningful experience that often results in lasting transformations. For many of our youth, the first experience they have of building something is on ASP. It is also one of the few times in which they get out of their comfort zone for an entire week to learn about a different culture and to build relationships with people who in many ways are not like them.

ASP has been a long tradition here at Metropolitan. Some of our adult leaders have been going on trips for well over a decade. Many adults have told me about how their ASP experience helped shape their values and push them in the direction that their career has now taken them. As we continue our commitment to such a strong program, I would like to ask your support in funding our ASP program.

Last year, we took our largest known group to ASP with 34 teens and 14 adults. As our ASP group continues to grow, so do our costs. You can contribute to this important tradition through our Youth in Mission Lunch and Auction on April 24th. Please come to the auction and outbid your fellow church members!

Thank you for your ongoing support of our young people, and please help make this the best ASP trip yet!

Blessings,
Patrick Landau

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Spring Sermon Series: A People Called Muslim

A People Called Muslim
Sundays - 9am & 11:15am
Learn more at nationalchurch.org
A year ago, we did a sermon series exploring different faith traditions, and spent one Sunday on Islam. There is not too much that you can cover about a huge tradition like Islam in a single sermon; and since our relationship with Islam -- both as Christians and Americans – continues to dominate much of our national and political dialogue, I thought that it would be helpful if we dug a little deeper into this topic.  I have also had a number of people in our congregation request some further exploration of this subject. So, in the four Sundays after Easter, our sermon series will focus on A People Called Muslim.

Islam is the world’s second largest religion, with over one billion adherents. While the Islamic world includes Muslim countries stretching from North Africa to Southeast Asia, significant numbers of Muslims may be found throughout the entire world. Islam originated in seventh century Arabia with the prophet Muhammad (570-632) and the divine revelation which he received from God that is recorded in the Qur’an. However, it is important to realize that Muslims do not view Islam as a new religion. Muslims believe that Allah (which literally means "The God" in Arabic) is the same God who revealed himself to Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. Therefore, Jews, Christians, and Muslims are all followers of the same living God—cousins in a common family with a common ancestor, Abraham.

Since this is a sermon series, and not a lecture series, I want to make sure that we are not simply learning new information about Islam, but using that as a springboard from which we can reflect more deeply on our own spiritual lives. This will involve looking at the places where Christians and Muslims hold beliefs and values in common, as well as where we have important differences, and what we can learn from one another.

On April 3, we will kick off the series with A People of the Book, with the Scriptures from Genesis 21:9-20 and 2 Timothy 3: 14-17. I will lay some of the groundwork with a little reflection on the history of Islam, and the complexities of its relationship with Christianity. We will also focus on our common heritage as children of Abraham and “people of the book.” This will give us a chance to look at some of the connections between the Bible and the Qur’an, and the role that Holy Scripture plays in our lives.

On April 10, the sermon will be A People of Prayer, with the Scriptures from Daniel 6: 10-13 and I Thessalonians 5: 14-18. The second – and perhaps most visible – of the “pillars of Islam” is the call to prayer five times per day. This powerful tradition, which echoes the Christian tradition of praying the “hours,” resonates deeply with ancient Christian and Jewish practice. We will explore what prayer is about in our different traditions, as well as some of the disciplines that support a healthy prayer practice.

On April 17, the sermon will be A People of Generosity, with the Scriptures from Leviticus 19: 9-10 and I Timothy 6: 17-19. Like Christians, Muslims have a sacred call to care for the most vulnerable members of the community – a call which includes donating 2.5% of their income and assets (this call to “almsgiving” is the third of the “pillars of Islam”). This common call is one of the most powerful places where Christians and Muslims can connect and work together for the transformation of the world, at the same time that we build community with one another.

On April 24, the sermon will be A People of Pilgrimage, with the Scriptures from Deuteronomy 16: 16-17 and Luke 2: 51-42.  Jews, Christians, and Muslims all have a rich tradition of making pilgrimage to places of spiritual significance. We will close our sermon series exploring why this has been an important part of our practice, and ways that can be lived out in our modern world. I will also use this theme to reflect on the call of both Christians and Muslims to go out in pilgrimage to the world to spread their faiths, and how this mutual call has over history brought us into conflict. We will end by envisioning where we can be in pilgrimage together.

I hope that you will join me on this journey as we learn more about a major religion of the world and explore together where God might be calling us to be in dialogue and ministry with our Muslim brothers and sisters.

Blessings,

Charlie Parker

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Listening for Easter


Our Lenten theme this year has been Holy Listening/Holy Speaking. Our sermons have focused on Listening Behind the Words; Speaking with Authenticity; Listening for Bias; Speaking Words of Repentance; and, Listening with the Spirit. In addition there have been Sunday evening contemplative communion services which have allowed the spirit to work through silence, music and prayer; these are special services which truly allow for Holy Listening/Holy Speaking.

As we approach Palm Sunday and Easter, we still have more to hear and speak. On Palm Sunday, in addition to the joyous waving of palm branches and the traditional hosannahs and music from our children’s choirs, we will continue our tradition of beginning in joy and excitement and ending with the passion. On Palm Sunday, our sermon will be on Submission — the traditional story of Jesus’ willingness to relinquish his own power and glory to submit to the will of God. We are reminded it is less important to be right than to show love.

The best way to celebrate the joy of Easter is to walk through Holy Week (click here for worship times). On Maundy Thursday, we will have a traditional service at Metropolitan Memorial where the altar is stripped as the story is told through scripture, music, and short meditations by Rev. Drema McAllister-Wilson. The celebration also includes a foot washing and Holy Communion and ends in silence in the garden. Music is provided by the Chancel Choir with Bruce Caviness on organ.

On Good Friday, our worship begins with the service of “The Last Seven Words.” We are blessed this year with a variety of preachers from around the Washington area. Guests include: Dr. Youtha Hardman-Cromwell, Wesley Theological Seminary; Rev. D. Andrew Olivio, St. John’s Episcopal Church (Lafayette Square); Dr. Paul Cho, Wesley Theological Seminary; Rev. Allyson Robinson,  Calvary Baptist Church; Rev. Dyan Abena McCray-Peters, Unity Fellowship Church; Rev. Dr. Amy Peed McCullough, Grace UMC (Baltimore); and our very own Rev. Kate Payton. This has become a wonderful tradition at Metropolitan and each year attendance grows. It certainly follows our theme of Holy Listening/Holy Speaking as we worship through prayer, music, poetry and word. On Good Friday evening, we will worship at Wesley for a traditional service including the nailing of the cross, diminishing of lights and a sermon by Rev. Dr. Charles Parker. Music is provided by Metropolitan’s Dayspring Choir and Wesley’s Gospel Choir.

On Holy Saturday, we navigate the city for an Easter Vigil where we will recount our salvation story and pray for resurrection. You may join us for the whole vigil or meet us at any of the locations to join in for part. You can find our schedule for the day here.

On Easter Sunday, the celebration begins with a Sunrise Service at American University. Metropolitan Memorial offers two identical services with festival choirs, brass, timpani, and handbells, with brunch following each service. The celebration continues at Wesley with a rockin’ gospel choir at 11am. We invite you to come and join us during this very Holy Week and make Easter Sunday’s joy even more special.

Peace and Joy,

Patrisha House

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

With New York Joining DC in Defiance Methodist Church Faces Showdown on LGBT Ordination

With New York Joining DC in Defiance 
Methodist Church Faces Showdown on LGBT Ordination
As the United Methodist Church approaches it next quadrennial General Conference this May, its members should reflect upon the watershed moment of its 2012 conference that has inspired LGBTQ rights activists to take a series of courageous stances against its discriminatory polices.

In that moment, retired bishop Melvin Talbert declared a position of biblical obedience urging LGBTQ persons and allies to live as though the Book of Discipline prohibitions on same-sex marriage and the ordination of “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” do not exist.

Though many were already defying church policy, the biblical obedience campaign struck a chord at a time in our nation’s history when public policy and law were rapidly changing to ensure equal rights for LGBTQ people. Clergy and laypersons across the denomination took up Bishop Talbert’s exhortation and did so with the support of Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN). As the only out queer lesbian ordained as an elder in the United Methodist Church, I joined the ranks of those clergy who defied UMC law and officiated a same-gender living marriage not long after the law was passed in Washington, D.C.

Nonetheless, our protests have not gone without penalties. Several complaints have been lodged by conservative right wing members of the church aimed at defrocking clergy and prohibiting out and practicing candidates who hope to be ordained. While much work has gone into ending church trials, ordination seemed to be that critical area where little traction could be made. The church has no policy against ordaining celibate LGBTQ persons, but because its laws prohibit the ordination of practicing homosexuals the option for ministry within the UMC seemed slim for LGBTQ persons who felt called by God to be clergy. Until now.

The Boards of Ordained Ministry (BOOM) for two separate conferences have announced that they will no longer consider an individual’s sexual orientation as criteria for evaluation. Following the Baltimore-Washington Conference’s recommendation earlier this year of Tara “T.C.” Morrow, a married lesbian, New York’s BOOM announced this week that “it would not consider sexual orientation in evaluating a clergy candidate, even if that individual has a spouse of the same gender.”

While each candidate must also be approved by their annual conference clergy session, the stance of these two BOOMs is a phenomenal advance for the rights of LGBTQ persons within the denomination. The New York conference has for decades declared its opposition to the UMC’s systematic exclusion of LGBTQI people, and “the Board of Ordained Ministry’s action here is living into that. It means that queer people can bring their whole selves, without distortion, into their faithful answer to the call to ministry. The era of don’t ask, don’t tell is over for this conference,” Dr. Dorothee E. Benz, national representative of Methodists in New Directions (MIND) and a New York annual conference delegate to the 2016 General Conference, told RD.

Dr. Benz echoes the sentiments of many who see the decision of these two BOOMs as signs of progress and something to be celebrated while they remain cautious about what progress will be made at General Conference. Many wonder whether schism is unavoidable. A more important question is whether we have the courage of our Christian convictions not to give up on love and on the grueling work of withstanding bigotry even in defiance of church laws some naively describe as sacred.

There is no sacredness in bigotry. No truly divine nature which requires its worship and maintenance. If we learn nothing from the current socio-political climate where bigots hold fast to the altars of their faith, we persons who are the objects of religious institutionalized oppression have learned the value of risk-taking leadership, solidarity against all odds, and faith that can move mountains.
I imagine, given just a glimpse at the punitive pushback we are beginning to see in the petitions before the General Conference, that new strategies are being pursued that will continue tearing families apart, frighten gifted and talented persons from pursuing ministry in the UMC and stir up seedbeds of hatred.

These concerns weigh far more heavily upon people of good will than the current game of statistical blackmail warning of the danger of losing more members because the denomination will not hold to church polity and what it considers literal biblical interpretation. The bible without the Spirit of love is a dangerous device. The good news is that we are growing in our capacity to overcome and prevail. And, to use the newest RMN slogan: “It’s Time!”

Monday, March 07, 2016

Campus Kitchen DC - We Raised the Dough!



From February 19-26, CKWDC competed against 24 other Campus Kitchens across the country in the "Raise the Dough" Challenge to raise money and awareness for our program. As the Campus Kitchen that raised the most money - over $10,000! - we will also receive a cash prize of $1,000 from The Campus Kitchen Project. That funding means we are able to build long-term solutions to hunger and food waste, so thank you for helping us win!

With your generous support, we will continue and expand our outreach to clients such as Friendship Place, Democracy Prep Charter School, Brighter Day's Enrichment Academy, and the United Methodist Churches in Ward 7 (in the zip code 20019). While we receive around 5,000 pounds of organic produce and protein each month, we purchase supplies such as baking pans, to go containers, and staples like flour, sugar, and spices in order to make around 1,800 meals a month and deliver them. In addition, by helping our partners acquire kitchen equipment, we will be able to expand our delivery efforts to them, allowing them to serve additional meals in their community. It also means we can provide fresh raw produce and protein to be distributed through a community market or food pantry, increasing access to healthy food in Ward 7.

In the 2014-2015 academic year alone, 856 volunteers dedicated 3,038 volunteer hours to recover 46,028 pounds of food and prepare 13,075 nutritious meals for the DC community. We delivered to 9 community partner organizations, which serves 850 clients, adding $60,489 in economic value from meals and extra food provided. Our meals go to at risk youth, many of whom are on free or reduced lunch, at risk seniors, trying to age in place and avoid isolation, and the homeless, who don’t know where their next meal will come from.

Thank you again for your support!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Baby You Can Drive My Car...Full of Books



The United Methodist Women of Metropolitan will be happy to unload your gently books and media during our Book Donation Drive on Saturday, Februray 27, 10am - 3pm. Just pull into the church parking lot at 3401 Nebraska Ave., NW (enter at New Mexico Ave or Newark Street), and leave the rest to us!


This year's Book "Drive" is just what it sounds like. Drive in with your trunk full of books and stay comfy in your vehicle with the heat blasting, while our volunteers unload your donations and provide you with a receipt before sending you on your merry way, load lightened. Yes, it's that easy. Fiction, non-fiction, cookbooks, children's books, DVDs, CDs and vinyl records will all be gratefully accepted. Please recycle VHS tapes, cassette tapes, textbooks, magazines and any travel books published before 2010.

Of course, you'll want to come back and fill up that spotless trunk with new literary finds Saturday, March 5 at the Book and Bake Sale from 8am to 3pm. This year's proceeds will benefit Bright Beginnings ("Sunny starts. Bright futures. Where homeless children grow") and the DC Diaper Bank

And please make sure to check out our Bake Sale table which will have a variety of goodies and new this year, a little something for your tummy and your soul: homemade Chicken Soup. Take it to go and later, you can curl up with a cup of soup and a book you found at the sale. 

Questions? Contact MetroUMW@gmail.com or tweet: @metropolitanumw