Tag Archives: witness

A prayer for Noble Road Presbyterian Church

Tricia and I served as co-pastors of Noble Road Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio from September 1985 through September 2000. There Eric was baptized, Sean and Eric joined the church, Sean and Eric were ordained as elders, and Eric was ordained as a minister of the word and sacrament.

After a prayerful process of discernment, the congregation made the faithful, courageous, and probably a bit painful, decision to sell the building. This week the sale of the building was approved by the Presbytery of the Western Reserve and the Heights Libraries Board of Trustees (the purchaser). The church is located next to the Noble Neighborhood branch of Heights Libraries. The purchase will allow Heights Libraries to expand the Noble branch building to broaden the services it offers to the surrounding community. It will allow the church building to continue to be used as a place where the community is served.

Because the church is not a building, the congregation will continue in ministry. The congregation is in the process of discerning what that ministry will look like. No doubt it will be faithful, creative, welcoming and including, and committed to justice.

A prayer for Noble Road Presbyterian Church

God of all places,
we thank you for your gift of the place
known as Noble Road Presbyterian Church.
We remember with gratitude
all who worshipped in the sanctuary,
all who provided music in any form,
all who affirmed faith at the font,
all who proclaimed the gospel in the pulpit,
all who received assurance at the table,
all who studied in the classrooms,
and all who went out with the support of the community
to witness and work for justice
in Cleveland Heights, Greater Cleveland, Ohio, the United States, and around your world.
For all whose lives were touched, blessed, enriched, challenged
by the people of Noble Road Presbyterian Church,
we give you thanks and praise.
Guide the congregation members as they
discern new ways to be a community, to worship, and to serve.
Lead the Heights Libraries as they repurpose the building
to continue to serve the Noble community and the world.
With thanks for what was,
some tears for what is,
and profound excitement for what will be,
we offer all praise to you, O God,
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

this prayer draws on some images from a prayer in the Book of Common Worship

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Filed under Cleveland Heights, Current Events, Family, Friends

Call the witnesses

We gathered under the USS Maine Monument at the Merchants’ Gate entrance to Central Park on Columbus Circle.

We gathered to witness for peace and to say no to war with Iran and no to war everywhere. We gathered as did people on Foley Square in New York and in places around the country.

We chanted as we gathered. For a short time, the chant rang out “Call the witnesses.” The reference was to an impending trial in the Senate.

But consider calling …

… young people living in poverty who see no other option than military service …

… children who wonder when, and if, a parent will return …

… parents who grieve for a child killed in action …

… creation exploited and abused by preparation and perpetration of war …

… soldiers maimed in body, spirit, soul, and mind …

… noncombatants wounded and killed and dismissed as collateral damage …

… women harassed and violated …

… communities uprooted and driven from their homes …

… those denied educational opportunities and health care and food and water and housing and infrastructure because needed resources have been directed to preparing for and waging war …

… yes, there are witnesses.

Witnesses to the obscenity and futility of war.

Call them.

Hear them.

Heed them.

 

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Filed under Current Events, Presbytery of New York City

#DMZpeacechain 3

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April 28, 2019
The First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone makes a #DMZpeacechain witness for peace on a reunified Korean Peninsula in New York City.
Photo by Lisa Sisenwein.

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#DMZpeacechain 2

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April 27, 2019
The #DMZpeacechain event for peace on a reunified Korean Peninsula in New York City.
With the Rev. Won Tae Cho,
pastor of Woori Presbyterian Church and organizer of the witness.

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Filed under Current Events, New York

#DMZpeacechain 1

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April 27, 2019
The #DMZpeacechain event for peace on a reunified Korean Peninsula in New York City.
Photo by Peng Leong.

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Filed under Current Events, New York

4.27 People’s Peace Chain in New York: For peace on the Korean peninsula!

58629910_1577272632407429_8217700354960130048_nWhy do we join hands?

On April 27, 2018, the Inter-Korean Summit opened the door to peace on the Korean peninsula between North and South Korea. On April 27, 2019, the people of South Korea and Korean-Americans of the New York metropolitan area will come together for the final push to obtain peace. Half a million Koreans in South Korea will gather across the country to participate in the People’s Peace Chain action, covering the entire line of the Demilitarized Zone to wish for harmony and to promote peace on the Korean peninsula. With the same goal for peace in mind, we have organized community members and formed the “Committee for 4.27 Min (People) + Peace People’s Chain Action.”

The peace process on the Korean Peninsula will not be achieved through slow inter-governmental negotiations alone. It must be fostered by people with a collective history who have the incentive and drive to chart the course of our future together. We will usher an age of renewed trust and harmony as we put forth our desire to create a powerful and lasting peace. The People’s Peace Chain will be created with all of this in mind on Saturday, April 27th, 2019 in front of the United Nations, where we will be joining hands connecting the Permanent Mission of both North and South Korea to the United Nations. On the same day, 500000 people in South Korea will create a People’s Peace Chain of three hundred and twenty miles along the Demilitarized Zone in South Korea, which has been a steadfast symbol of distrust and conflict on the Korean peninsula.

A dream that is dreamt by many becomes reality. Join the ‘4.27 People’s Peace Chain Action’. Join hands in front of the UN and make the dream for a future peace reality!

Who can participate?

• Anyone who wishes for the peace on the Korean peninsula

When and Where to meet

• April 27th, Saturday at 1PM
• Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza (2nd Ave and 47th St)
• Please wear a blue top if you can.

How to Join:

• When you arrive, please register and receive a souvenir at the information desk that will be located inside the Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza.
• Write a peace message on the message board, which will be delivered to the Permanent Mission of both North and South Korea.
• Enjoy cultural performances and participate in a rally wishing for the peace on the Korean Peninsula.
• After the rally, everyone will move to the area under the guidance of the Marshall Team to create a People’s Peace Chain.
• Join hands to create ‘4.27 People’s Peace Chain’ from the Permanent Mission of South Korea to the Permanent Mission of North Korea!

To support with donations
• Make a check payable to: NY NUAC
• Mail to:
Woori Church of New York
53-71 72nd Place. Maspeth, NY 11378

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Filed under Current Events, Human Rights, New York, United Nations

23 Dec #Persist #AdventWord 2018

23 Dec Persist

March for Our Lives – March 24, 2018

The Advent devotional project, #AdventWord  is offered by the Society of St John the Evangelist. Each day a word is provided and participants are invited to share images and/or reflections and to use hashtags so our reflections may be included in an Advent Calendar with others from around the world.

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Filed under Advent, Current Events, New York, Photo, Presbytery of New York City

We Meet Again Tour – 3 December 2017

The tour has visited a number of churches but I have neglected to take photos.

On 3 December, I preached at the First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone. In keeping with their ministry addressing violence against women, church members made orange t-shirts and hung them in a tree to witness to their neighbors and those who pass by. I made one too.

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Filed under Friends, Human Rights, New York, Photo

Five years

Five years. The vagaries of time make it feel like yesterday and like a lifetime ago, all in the same moment.

Ruling Elder Cynthia Bolbach, moderator of the 219th General Assembly (2010) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) died on 12-12-12 in the afternoon. This post was written on that day at a time before I knew of her death. For a number of reasons, it seems worth sharing again and remembering this amazing woman and beloved child of God.

I did something today I have never done before.

I stood in silence for five minutes.

I am not big on pomp and circumstance and formality. A South African friend once observed that I can be a bit “cheeky” to those in authority. For some reason everyone who has heard that assessment has agreed with it. Go figure.

I stood in silence today for five minutes in honor of Cindy Bolbach.

The tradition in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is to stand when the General Assembly moderator enters the room. Almost every moderator in my memory has encouraged people not to do so. Most of the time most of them meant it. Yet the tradition persists – in honor of the person and even more so in respect of the office. And while it is not my favorite thing, I take part.

Today, without being asked, without being prompted, I chose to stand in silence for five minutes in honor of Cindy Bolbach – moderator of the 219th General Assembly (2010).

I watched her election from the back of the auditorium in Minneapolis. My son Sean and I leaned against the wall.

A period of questions and answers precedes the voting. Commissioners (the folks with the votes) pose questions and the individuals standing (we’re Presbyterian, we don’t run) respond. The questions deal with theology, issues before the church, and issues in the world.

At one point, a question was posed along the lines of: “What would happen to the church, if you were not elected and one of the other candidates were?”

One by one the candidates offered replies praising the others and noting that the church did not depend on their election. Then Cindy Bolbach stepped to the mike. I do not remember her exact words, but the essence was:

There will be utter chaos.

The Assembly erupted in laughter. Sean turned to me and said, “She just won, didn’t she?”

The Assembly still had to vote. But Cindy did win. And I believe her sparkling humor that bristles with wisdom played a key role.

I stood in silence today for five minutes in honor of Cindy Bolbach.

Cindy is a woman of incredible faith, deep love, amazing grace, and an incredible wit. She lives daily her commitment to Christ, to the Church, to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) , to all people, and to God’s world. She mixes simplicity and profound sincerity with a capability to navigate complexity and controversy. I am privileged to know her. The Church (in all its manifestations) is blessed by her presence.

For most of this year, Cindy has struggled against cancer. The struggle cut short her ability to attend events but it never dampened her spirits (at least in public). She wore a fedora to the 220th General Assembly (2012) and she wore it well.

This morning came the news that Cindy has entered hospice care. And I stood for five minutes in her honor.

But in the silence it came to me that another way – a better way – to honor Cindy Bolbach – is to give thanks to God for Cindy – to entrust Cindy to God’s merciful care – to pray for her without ceasing – then to get back about the business of ministry. I am pretty sure that is what she would want. So it is what I have done.

When Cindy returns to the dust, as we all will someday do, I will shed more tears. But I will also proclaim “Alleluia.”

When Cindy returns to the dust, as we all will someday do, there will be utter chaos. But in the chaos there will be love and there will be grace and there will be God. And all will be well for Cindy. And all will be well for us. Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Friends, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

#Gather, #AdventWord

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The Advent devotional project, #AdventWord  is offered by the Society of St John the Evangelist. Each day a word is provided and participants are invited to share images and/or reflections and to use hashtags so our reflections may be included in an Advent Calendar with others from around the world.

 

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Filed under Advent, Antiracism, New York, Photo