Tag Archives: West-Park Presbyterian Church

A long walk

Today I made my first journey to the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations since the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. The Church Center did not open, but we had heard that our office had sustained damage. I wanted to see.

Given that the subway remained closed and acknowledging my aversion to buses (Sam and Dave are Soul Men – I am a train guy), I took a ride in one of the cars licensed by the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission. I negotiated a price – a more than fair price – before entering the car.

The ride – from W. 123rd and Amsterdam to E. 44th and First Avenue took almost two hours. Two long, slow hours. I doubled the price the driver asked. He continued to thank me after I had left the car.

I arrived at the building and one of the management staff let me enter. I went to our office to discover that one of our windows had blown in. It knocked some equipment off the ledge and blew some paper around the office. I made some phone calls, took some pictures, and prepared to leave.

When I departed from the Shire on the Hudson, I wore my tennis shoes in case I had to walk. Faced with another interminable car ride, I decided that walking made sense – walking the whole way home – from E. 44th Street and First Avenue to La Salle and Broadway on the Upper West Side. It totaled about 15,000 steps on my pedometer. Sean told me that it showed as 5.4 miles on the map.

I broke up the walk nicely. I made my way crosstown to Sean’s apartment at W. 52nd between Broadway and 8th Avenue. After a brief stop, Sean came with me. Together we made our way north. We paused to see the crane that hangs over W. 57th Street like a modern-day Sword of Damocles. At W. 72nd we chose to go up Amsterdam – a wise choice. We ate a late lunch at the Amsterdam Ale House. Lunch completed, Sean turned back south and I continued north.

As I made my way, I noticed that many children were trick-or-treating in the businesses along the street. At W. 86th Street and Amsterdam by West-Park Presbyterian Church, I came across my friend Bob Brashear – pastor of the church. We talked a while and then he returned to his task of responding to the trick-or-treaters and I resumed my walk.

About 6:00, I entered the door of the Shire on the Hudson – tired, refreshed, and filled with a spirit of accomplishment. A long walk completed.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Exercise, Family, Food, New York, Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations

The Second Meeting – advance screening

Check out this movie that my friends at the Center at West Park will screen.

The Center at West Park

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NEW YORK, NY (September 24, 2012)– The advanced screening of a new documentary by Optimistic Film, The Second Meeting, will debut in New York City on Saturday, October 13, 2012, at West Park Presbyterian Church. Immediately following, there will be a panel discussion featuring the subjects of the film, U.S. Air Force pilot Lt. Colonel Dale Zelko and Yugoslav missile officer Colonel Zoltan Dani.

The Second Meeting follows Lt. Col Zelko’s journey back to Serbia to meet Col. Dani, 12 years after the first meeting of the pilot and missile officer who commanded the Yugoslav missile battery that shot down Zelko’s F117A Stealth fighter in 1999. “I had the remarkable opportunity to have a second chance at experiencing Serbia and her people and I will forever be deeply grateful, enriched, and blessed by it,” said Lt. Col Zelko of the experience.

The advanced screening will be the first showing…

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Filed under Friends, Movie

A Pirates fan’s perspective

I visited my friend Bob Brashear, pastor of West-Park Presbyterian Church, today.

We share Pittsburgh roots. We bleed black and gold.

We have bled a lot for our Pirates the past twenty years.

This year appeared that it might bring a different result. Early in the year, they found themselves struggling for the division lead. And then they stayed in the wild card race. Late August and September brought a collapse. Now they stand at 77-82, destined for yet another losing season.

Bob told me that he went out to Shea Stadium last week a chance remained that they might break .500. But it did not happen.

Still … when was the last time that Pirate fans could conceive of going to a game late in September with a chance at a winning season. Our time will come.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Baseball, Friends

Around Christ’s table, under a rainbow flag

The West-Park Presbyterian Church congregation gathered around the communion table for the benediction and closing song. As I moved forward, I looked up. There I saw the rainbow flag hanging from the balcony (I should have taken a picture). I stood under the flag and around Christ’s table with the cross, the cup, the platen. A light went on for me.

West-Park Presbyterian is a “diverse and inclusive community of people. West-Park emphasizes a progressive, dynamic, and responsive theology that is ‘reformed and ever-reforming.'” The congregation has a deep, rich history of seeking justice – a history that is still being made as they engage in rebirth, working with their community to create a sweat-free neighborhood, and supporting programs ranging from the West Side Campaign Against Hunger to God’s Love We Deliver to Living Wage NY, Justice Will Be Served, the Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare Association, the Interfaith Assembly on Housing and Homelessness, and more.

The congregation is developing a partnership with the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations as one way to make local-global connections. My colleague Ryan Smith was there last Sunday to speak of our ministry and global discipleship.

Today, West-Park’s pastor, and my friend, the Rev. Bob Brashear invited me to join him in a dialogue sermon. We reflected on changes in the Middle East and North Africa and how those will impact the work of the church, my passion in ministry, and the resources I use to keep current on events. The sharing of the offering and a hymn followed. Then, as is the custom, we gathered around the communion table.

There I saw the flag. There I realized that I had failed to share a wonderful joy during the time of prayer.

Yesterday, Scott Anderson – now the Rev. Scott Anderson – was ordained again as a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Scott had been ordained but had set aside his ordination in 1990 when members of the congregation he was serving learned that he is gay and threatened to use that against him.

For over 20 years, Scott has remained faithful to Christ, faithful to Christ’s Church, faithful to that manifestation of Christ’s church known as the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). For over 20 years, Scott has remained steadfast to God’s call, serving in many capacities – most recently as the Director of the Wisconsin Council of Churches.

For over 20 years, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) had in place policies that denied Scott the possibility to serve in ordained ministry.

That changed this year with a change in the church’s constitution. The Rev. Scott Anderson’s took place because of that change.

That change occurred in part because of the witness of West-Park Presbyterian Church and other Presbyterians who have worked patiently, tirelessly, faithfully to open the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) to our GLBTQ sisters and brothers.

The More Light movement played an important role in this change. More Light congregations are those which made a public affirmation that sexual orientation alone would not be a bar to ordination. The first church in the denomination to make a formal statement from the pulpit declaring itself a More Light Church: West-Park Presbyterian Church.

I did not interrupt the response to the benediction; but when the last note ended, I slipped over to Bob and said, “You know, we should have given thanks for Scott’s ordination.” Bob did not miss a beat. He called the congregation back and around Christ’s table, we gave thanks to God.

See you along the Trail.

The photo shows the flag flown outside their living quarters by this year’s college staff at Ghost Ranch.

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Filed under New York, Worship

Centennial Worship – Upcoming Concert

Here’s the post by my friend Bob Brashear, pastor of West-Park Presbyterian Church, on Sunday’s worship service.

Here’s a real easy way to buy tickets for the June 19 Bridge to Restoration Concert. It’s the one I am attending – I will be looking for you.

And here’s information about the other concerts in the series – I look forward to your reviews.

See you at the concert!

See you along the Trail.

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Circles are eternal

West-Park Presbyterian Church (86th and Amsterdam) celebrated its 100th birthday today – on Pentecost.

A group from Medina Presbyterian Church in Ohio is visiting New York this week. They have a number of activities scheduled, including a visit to the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, work at Jan Hus Presbyterian Church, Covenant House, and Old Bergen Church.

They requested suggestions for places to worship today – I provided several from the amazing diversity that is the Presbytery of New York City – among them West-Park.

I arrived at West-Park around 10:30. I was talking with Andre Solomon-Glover (he’s doing a concert next Sunday – do you have your tickets yet?) when a group came in.

“Excuse me,” I said to Andre.

Walking up the aisle, I said, “I’ll bet you folks are from Cleveland. Well, actually I bet you folks are from Medina.”

Smiles and laughter followed as did a wonderful worship service – celebrating the congregation – celebrating Pentecost – celebrating the different gifts that God gives to each of us – a diversity that may challenge us at times, but certainly blesses us and enriches us.

Pastor Bob Brashear reminded the congregation of its rich history – all the people who had been through the building, whose spirits remain present nurturing the congregation into the future. He reminded us of the congregation’s multi-faceted witness to social justice in the name of Jesus in the past – a witness that continues in the present – a witness that will continue into the future.

The lectionary reading from Numbers told of Eldad and Medad. Bob told us that this story teaches that all of us – with all of our gifts – are needed for ministry. We cannot engage in ministry alone – we need each other. It brought to mind a poem (of sorts) from almost ten years ago – not my best, but not my worst.

We gathered around the communion table in a circle with the reminder that circles are eternal – and that those people with whom we go into a circle remain with us always – so now, in that mystery we know as the Communion of Saints, we who gathered for worship today, from New York and Medina and points between and beyond, are a part of the West-Park Presbyterian family and story – and West-Park is forever a part of us.

Thanks be to God!

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, Worship

June 19th: Bridge to Restoration Concert

In New York? What are you doing on the evening of Sunday, June 19?

Check out the “Bridge to Restoration” concert at West-Park Presbyterian Church (165 West 86th Street New York, NY 10024). I have my tickets and hope to see you!

The “Bridge to Restoration” presents Andre Solomon-Glover. Andre’s career has spanned the genres of classical, art song, jazz, and musical theater, most notably starring in Showboat on Broadway and internationally. Joining with Andre will be eclectic musical artist Dana Hanchard, Erasmia Voukelatos, Ashley Horne, Greg Beyer and Jed Distler. The evening’s program will express the underlying connection in different genres even as The Centre seeks to live out the connections between different peoples, cultures and disciplines. The host for the evening is the Interfaith Assembly on Housing and Homelessness. The Assembly is the only organization of its kind in the city working for both the transformation of individual homeless people and of society.

Andre Solomon Glover sings regularly at West-Park services on Sunday mornings at 11:00 am.
Dana Hanchard founded The Music For The City program following 9/11, bringing musical artists into residence at inner-city schools to share their gifts.
Erasmia Voukelatos was founder and artistic director of the critically acclaimed West-Park Chamber Society.
West-Park was one of the three original founders of the Interfaith Assembly on Housing and Homelessness in 1976, and Rev. Brashear continues to serve as board chair. 
Date: Sunday June 19th, 2011 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Tickets: tickets can be purchased for $25 each from Brown Paper Tickets here!
See you at the concert! See you along the Trail!

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Filed under Music, New York