Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sundays in February

Questions and Answers Wanted from Our Congregation
Following our sermon series in January on the wisdom of Winnie-the-Pooh and the theological lessons we learned from these beloved stories, we are going to have a couple of stand-alone sermons in February:

On February 1: We will be blessed by the youth from the Bokamoso Youth Center, sharing their stories and songs. The Bokamoso youth will lead the 9am service and then the 11am service at Wesley. Rev. Dottie Yunger will be preaching at the 11:15 am service at Metropolitan Memorial.

On February 8: I am feeling brave, so I am going to try something new and have an “Ask the Pastor” sermon time during which I will answer the religious questions you have asked! We have posted a form on our Website at nationalchurch.org/qa as well as links in our Metro Updates for you to pose your questions. You can also write them on a piece of paper and drop it off in the church office addressed to Pat House, who will coordinate the questions (I’m assuming that there will be some overlap between questions). I will NOT SEE the questions ahead of time, so I will address as many as I can during the sermon time. I will also devote the Great Hall session at 10:10am that day to any questions I missed!

On February 15: I am again soliciting your thoughts, but with a different focus and venue. Our Stewardship campaign this year was Writing a New Chapter, and now I want us to work together to write that new chapter. On February 22 and 24, our Church Council will retreat and consider goals that have been proposed by our Pillars in the programmatic areas of our church. In preparation for that retreat, the sermon will focus on Transfiguration (it being Transfiguration Sunday) as well as between services at 10:10am, I am inviting each of you to provide your suggestions, so that when the Church Council deliberates on identifying the goals for 2015 and beyond, we have a rich pool of ideas from which to draw.

The specific question I am asking you to address is: What is your greatest hope for our church in 2015 and beyond? This was one of the questions that was discussed at our tables during the program on Commitment Sunday, but I have heard from many of you that you didn’t have enough time to consider this fully. Now is your chance!

You can do this in a couple of ways: Fill out and submit our online form at nationalchurch.org/qa or write your thoughts on a piece of paper and drop it at the church office addressed to me. You can also join me in the Great Hall at 10:10am where we will have a time for you to share your thoughts and suggestions for your greatest hope for our church this year and beyond.

The Transfiguration is the event in the New Testament in which Jesus is transformed in the sight of the disciples and becomes radiant upon a mountain. It is a pivotal moment in Jesus’ ministry laying the groundwork for the passion to come (which is why we celebrate it on the eve of Lent). The mountain is a meeting place for the temporal and the eternal with Jesus himself as the connecting point, acting as the bridge between heaven and earth. We celebrate that we have Jesus as our connecting bridge between God and the work we have undertaken here on earth.
I am very excited about the wonderful programs that we have underway in our Pillar areas of praising, learning, sharing, caring and serving – all of them filled with promise and possibility. We want to work together to discern where God is calling us to put a particular focus this year and in the next few years and tackle them together with God’s help.
Blessings,

Rev. Dr. Charles Parker

Thursday, January 08, 2015

The Anacostia River...A River of Contrasts

You may have seen the recent Washington Post article by Julie Zauzmer, about the Anacostia River, and the ambitious plan to clean it up in 10 years. Folks have asked me what I think about the article, and the plan.

The Anacostia River is a river of contrasts. Often called “the nation’s forgotten river,” it flows for eight-and-a-half miles through some of the richest and poorest communities in and around D.C., through residential and industrial zones, through marshes and military installations. In fact, the federal government owns so much land in the watershed that when all those federal toilets flush during a heavy rain, they drain directly into the river.

The antiquated sewer system that pumps more than 2 billion gallons of raw sewage, mixed with polluted runoff, into the river each year is not just a shame, it’s a sin. African-American churches along the Anacostia used to baptize their members in the river. Nowadays, the river wouldn’t wash away anyone’s sins. Before coming to Metropolitan, I was the Anacostia Riverkeeper, and my goal was an Anacostia that was not only “fishable” and “swimmable”—as required by the Clean Water Act—but also “baptizable.”
That is still my goal, and I was humbled to realize when I arrived at Metropolitan as a pastor that it has been Metropolitan’s goal as well – clean local waterways, safe for recreating, fishing, and drinking. The rain garden at Metropolitan Memorial’s parking lot reduces the amount of polluted runoff going into the storm drain. We have stopped using styrofoam and use eco-friendly disposable dinnerware. We use reusable water bottles instead of bottled water, and we have water fountains that track how many plastic bottles that saves. We advocate with our partner congregations in the Washington Interfaith Network for clean rivers and green jobs. Our youth spent a week along the Anacostia River, learning about it and cleaning it up. And every time Metropolitan and Brighter Day get together, we witness that the Anacostia River is not what divides east and west of the city, but what connects us, unites us.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Join Us Sundays in January at The Metropolitan Church

Into the 100 Acre Woods
Sundays in January, 9am and 11:15am, Metropolitan Memorial
On Sundays in January at Metropolitan Memorial, we’ll explore God’s story through the stories of Winnie the Pooh. Like Christopher Robin, we’ll allow ourselves to become participants in the story—a gift that helps us understand ourselves and who God is for us more deeply. Like Winnie the Pooh, we’ll work at not over-complicating good work that should be fairly simple, and work on knowing our own limitations and being willing to let God’s narrative unfold rather than forcing it.  And we will reflect on how God’s story is always with us, shaping us and our lives.


Building Bridges#All Lives Matter
Sundays in January, 11am, Wesley
On Sundays in January at Wesley, we’ll explore how Jesus built relationships in three directions: Up, with his Father; In with his chosen followers; Out with the world around him. We look to mirror that practice in DC, especially given our East/West racial, socio-economic divide. This will mean an honest look at our own personal and systemic implicit bias, intentionally connecting with others who are different from us, and thus re-shaping our understanding of truth and world view. Join us in making the Anacostia a point of connection instead of division for our city.

The Campus Kitchens Project (CKP)






Campus Kitchen: New Volunteer Shifts

The Campus Kitchens Project (CKP), is a leader in resourceful anti-hunger programs for communities around the country. The Campus Kitchen Washington DC, housed at St. Luke’s Mission Center, engages in food recovery, meal prep and delivery on a weekly basis. Student leaders and volunteers from American University, Georgetown, and George Washington, members of our congregation, the National Cathedral, and other community organizations make this possible.  

Campus Kitchen offers several shift days and times to choose from. Come and help out at one or all three options: Wednesdays: 3:30pm - 7pm; Fridays: 2pm - 6pm; and Saturdays: 11:30am - 3:30pm. To volunteer, go to our new Campus Kitchen online resource, volunteerhub.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Join us at Wesley for our Kwanzaa Service



 Kwanzaa Service Featuring the Malcolm X Drummers
11am Wesley UMC (*5312 Conn. Ave. NW)

The Values of Kwanzaa
THERE IS NO WAY TO UNDERSTAND and appreciate the meaning and message of Kwanzaa without understanding and appreciating its profound and pervasive concern with values. In fact. Kwanzaa's reason for existence, its length of seven days, its core focus and its foundation are all rooted in its concern with values. Kwanzaa inherits this value concern and focus from Kawaida, the African philosophical framework in which it was created. Kawaida philosophy is a communitarian African philosophy which is an ongoing synthesis of the best of African thought and practice in constant exchange with the world.


The Nguzo Saba 
(The Seven Principles)
Kwanzaa was created to introduce and reinforce seven basic values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing family, community and culture among African American people as well as Africans throughout the world African community. These values are called the Nguzo Saba which in Swahili means the Seven Principles. Developed by Dr. Karenga, the Nguzo Saba stand at the heart of the origin and meaning of Kwanzaa, for it is these values which are not only the building blocks for community but also serve to reinforce and enhance them.
The Seven Principles
Kwanzaa is an African-American and Pan-African cultural holiday that is centered around seven principles (called Nguzo Saba in Swahili). They are:
Umoja (Unity)
Umoja (OO-MO-JAH) Unity stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, which is reflected in the African saying, "I am We," or "I am because We are."
Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
Kujichagulia (KOO-GEE-CHA-GOO-LEE-YAH) Self-Determination requires that we define our common interests and make decisions that are in the best interest of our family and community.
Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
Ujima (OO-GEE-MAH) Collective Work and Responsibility reminds us of our obligation to the past, present and future, and that we have a role to play in the community, society, and world.
Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
Ujamaa (OO-JAH-MAH) Cooperative economics emphasizes our collective economic strength and encourages us to meet common needs through mutual support.
Nia (Purpose)
Nia (NEE-YAH) Purpose encourages us to look within ourselves and to set personal goals that are beneficial to the community.
Kuumba (Creativity)
Kuumba (KOO-OOM-BAH) Creativity makes use of our creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.
Imani (Faith)
Imani (EE-MAH-NEE) Faith focuses on honoring the best of our traditions, draws upon the best in ourselves, and helps us strive for a higher level of life for humankind, by affirming our self-worth and confidence in our ability to succeed and triumph in righteous struggle.

- Doc Powell

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

You're Invited this Christmas Eve



Dear Friends,

In these last frantic hours before Christmas, I want to invite you to join us tomorrow night as we celebrate the Savior's birth.  Put aside the panic about what didn't get purchased, take a break from the wrapping, and come celebrate the coming of Emmanuel -- God with us.  At 5pm, we will have our wonderful family Christmas Eve service, filled with story and animals, and magi, and the Holy Family.  At 7pm at Wesley and 7:30pm at Metropolitan Memorial, we will hold our Candlelight Communion services, a quieter, more reflective service to welcome the coming of the Prince of Peace.  And at 11pm, we will ring in Christmas Day with a glorious celebration of the joy of the Incarnation (this last service is often fairly full, so I would suggest coming early; the music will start at 10:30pm). There is additional free parking right across the street underneath American University's SIS building. So come join us! Bring a friend!  It will be a glorious celebration of the birth of Jesus and the perfect way to reclaim the season.

Blessings,

Charlie

Monday, December 22, 2014

What Are You Doing Christmas Eve?


We’ve all heard the saying “it takes a village” and here at Metropolitan it takes a village to offer our best worship to God. One of the most important groups is our Welcoming Ministry Team (ushers and greeters); they are often the first point of contact for visitors.  
  • Our greeters are responsible for welcoming guests and members as they enter the sanctuary, handing out bulletins, helping newcomers find their way and generally making everyone feel welcome.
  • Our ushers make sure the sanctuary is ready for worship and assist people who come to worship. They hand out bulletins and inserts and help people find seats, put extra seats out if needed, help to collect the tithes and offerings, help people come forward for communion, and tidy up after the service.
This Christmas Eve, we are in need of greeters and ushers for all three Christmas Eve Services at Metropolitan Memorial (5pm, 7:30pm and 10:30pm). If you can help out, please email Mary Jo Marchant. Please help spread the holiday cheer this Christmas. Thank You!!
 
 


he greeters are responsible for welcoming guests and members as they enter the sanctuary, handing out bulletins, helping newcomers find their way and generally making everyone feel welcome. For more information, contact Pat House.

Ushers

The ushers make sure the sanctuary is ready for worship each Sunday morning and assist people who come to worship. They hand out bulletins and inserts and help people find seats, put extra seats out if needed, keep a tally of weekly attendance, organize volunteers to collect the tithes and offerings, help people come forward for communion, and tidy up after the service.
For more information, contact Pat House.
- See more at: http://www.nationalchurch.org/Praising/Participate_in_Worship#Greeters

Greeters

The greeters are responsible for welcoming guests and members as they enter the sanctuary, handing out bulletins, helping newcomers find their way and generally making everyone feel welcome.
For more information, contact Pat House.

Ushers

The ushers make sure the sanctuary is ready for worship each Sunday morning and assist people who come to worship. They hand out bulletins and inserts and help people find seats, put extra seats out if needed, keep a tally of weekly attendance, organize volunteers to collect the tithes and offerings, help people come forward for communion, and tidy up after the service.
For more information, contact Pat House.
- See more at: http://www.nationalchurch.org/Praising/Participate_in_Worship#Greeters