From Pastor Kern
Here We Stand…..sort of…..maybe: An Invitation to Conversations on the Edge facilitated by Pastor Kern
What will our lives look like after the pandemic? No one can say with absolute certainty what will emerge. We find ourselves living in a time of enormous social, political, religious, and personal upheaval. Where are we now? What do we do now? How might our faith inform our struggle? Where is our hope?
When Martin Luther stood trial for his then-heretical beliefs, he famously declared in the face of some of the greatest power the world had ever known, Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. So help me God. In the clarity of history, we now see Luther as a very human figure with some views we find abhorrent today. But as equally flawed, faithful saints we might ask ourselves: Where do we stand? What is God requiring of us?
As the people of God, we are caught up in a great upheaval that has created a burgeoning collision between long-held expressions of faith and contemporary challenges that the church has not considered before. We find ourselves trying our best to be faithful, but to what end? Our children are not following in our footsteps. Our neighbors find our practices quaint. To say nothing of the hostilities that still exist between and among the people of God in all their various traditions. Add in the anxiety and fear of a pandemic and here we are, trying to find our path as we walk. I believe the future of faith and the church is going to be different, but also bright. That hope is born out of a conviction that we have within us capacity and the desire to think together about difficult questions. We will not all come to the same conclusions and unanimity is not the goal – speaking and listening to each other and making space for God to move in our lives, is.
To that end I would like to invite you to join me for series of talks and conversation that tries to find a way through this time, by looking at 5 basic, emerging questions facing the church in the world.
+1 Does faith matter? If prayer doesn’t fix everything (90,000 death from the virus and counting) how do we explain our own good fortune? What, if anything, does faith have to say about who lives and who dies? Does faith require political involvement in the present age?
+2 What is the church for? After a Spirit-filled beginning, the church fled to the shelter of empire, enjoying a brief respite of separation of church and state, and now often reflects the divisions of culture instead of bridging them. What difference does preaching, teaching, praying, baptizing, and communing make? Can that difference be articulated in a compelling way for the new age that is emerging?
+3 How do we understand the Bible? From the beginning, the faithful have viewed the scriptures through various lens – literalism/innerancy, allegory,metaphor– to name a few. Utilizing the gentle, powerful insights of the late Episcopal theologian Marcus Borg, we take a closer look at how some in the church have taken to embrace a theology that emerges from metaphorical understandings of Jesus and the Bible.
+4 Race and sexual orientation – can we talk? For much of its history, the church has come down on the wrong side of the struggle for human rights. Systemic discrimination in politics, economics, health care, and religion simmer just below the surface of most of our institutions. Toleration of difference is not enough. Acceptance of the other is not enough. How does the church authentically get to place of spontaneous, genuine embrace of all people of every skin color and all sexual orientations? What are the risks? What compels this action? What happens if we don’t? How can we move forward together if we don’t agree?
+5 Can an apolitical church be faithful? The noble tradition of separation of church and state that America once held out to the world, is being challenged on all sides of the political spectrum. Can the church be faithful in feeding the hungry without working for legislation that addresses poverty, incarceration, and wealth-disparity? Can the church carry the biblical banner of justice without entering the courtroom? Who will make such decisions? Is there another way? What would it look like if the 21stcentury church was living into the kingdom of God?
Please join me for these conversations each Wednesday evening at 7:30pm beginning June 3rd, via the Zoom link below. Please Note: while these questions are inter-related, they are not sequential, and you are free to pick and choose to join a given session or not. As the Holy Spirit has called each of us into this body of Christ, I believe we each have gifts to share. We can learn from each other.
I’m looking forward to the conversation.
Time: Jun 3, 2020 07:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Every week on Wed, until Jul 15, 2020
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Bishop Elizabeth Eaton was interviewed on CNN about navigating the reopening of churches. The link to the CNN interview is HERE.
During this time of social distancing, we will be recording a service on YouTube, and posting it on Saturday evening. We hope that this gives you a moment of prayer and peace in this strange time. We are posting the the Sunday Videos on Saturday afternoon.
The link for last Sunday’s Video is HERE.
Angela’s Wednesday Musical Meditation is HERE.
Join Bishop Ortiz, the Metro D.C. Synod staff and worship team THIS SUNDAY, May 31 at 4:00 PM as we celebrate Pentecost Sunday together with a 35-40 minute online worship service. All are welcome to participate in this additional worship opportunity on the Synod’s Facebook and YouTube pages.
Engage and expect the Holy Spirit to fill the space in which you worship through uplifting music, readings in multiple languages, and a short message from Bishop Ortiz. Come Holy Spirit, come!
Readings for the Day of Pentecost
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b
1 Corinthians 12:3b-13
We will be emailing devotions and resources for Sunday School at home on Fridays.
Adult Forum on Zoom
David K has resumed Adult Forum on Zoom at 9:30 am. The Bible study will be on the Psalms. To participate, please send David an email at firstname.lastname@example.org before Sunday, and he will email you a Zoom invitation.
COVID-19 Response: Congregational Giving Challenge
Each year the Congregation’s budgeted benevolences include an amount for the Social Ministry Team to designate. The 2020 Trinity Budget includes $4,500 in such funds. As we all know, 2020 has been like no other year from a community need perspective. The Social Ministry Team has been tracking needs over the past 10 weeks and determined to focus this year’s benevolences on hunger.
While $4,500 will make a difference, we’d like to challenge the Congregation to double its impact. The Social Ministry Team is challenging members of the congregation to dig a little deeper and increase their giving to support hunger needs with the goal of raising an additional $4,500. Funds will be distributed locally between Manna Food Center and Bethesda Help.
Here’s how the match will work. When submitting a donation to Trinity towards this effort during June and July, please include “Social Min. Match” under “Other” on your envelope. At the end of the June and July, the additional funds raised will be sent to the designated organizations.
This is just one effort the Social Ministry Team is exploring to increase our reach of support in the Community. Stay tuned for efforts that will be included in the Tidings or The Trinitarian.
Thank you for your offering. Your gifts make the ministry of Trinity possible. Electronic giving may be available through your bank or financial institution. Offerings mailed to the church office will be promptly deposited.
Remember in Your Prayers
Philip T (Manor Care Potomac)
Tigist G, James T, Margo W
family and friends:
Mary Lou B, mother of Jerry B
Brian B, Trinity Admin Assistant
Coco E, cousin of Pam B
Audie M, brother of Margaret F
Family of Susan O, aunt of Mike M
Family of Eric O, friends of Valerie & Mike M
Residents and staff of Bethesda Health & Rehab
Vicky C, friend of Valerie & Mike M
Paul M, son of Valerie & Mike M
Greta S & Linda A, sister & sister-in-law of Anita S
Vanessa B, friend of Elizabeth & Ben R
Andrew S, brother of Elizabeth R