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Community News - February 7-14, 2016



Morning Worship               February 7, 2016

11 a. m.  

THE CAMEL vs. THE RICH MAN”: Threading the Needle of Income Inequality...  How will the Revolution be funded?

Bertha M. Lewis

This morning I am delighted to welcome again Bertha Lewis, a long-time friend of the church and a mentor for me for many years now.  

She is the President & Founder of The Black Institute. A community activist, organizer, educator, and force for social change, she is the recipient of many honors, including being featured in Essence Magazine's List of 28 Most Influential Black Women (2011).  

Her work included almost 20 years as an ACORN organizer, culminating with her appointment as its national CEO and Chief Organizer. In this role, Ms. Lewis restructured, reorganized, and saw ACORN through a full vindication. (ACORN stands for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.)

She is a dynamic speaker, and I encourage you to bring a friend.                            

See you at Community!

12:45 pm – 1:30 pm – Discussion with Ms. Bertha Lewis – Assembly Hall

Co-sponsored by our Anti-Racism Team


Morning Worship               February 14, 2016

11 a. m.                                                                            


Rev. Bruce Southworth

Valentine’s Day, which is upon us, is wonderfully romantic for some and deeply annoying for others.

Do you find it sappy, sentimental, sweet, or sour? How do you greet the day?

Beyond this cultural holiday, how goes it with your spirit? How do love and loneliness (and working for justice – the social incarnation of love) blend in this season of your life?

See you at Community!


Sunday School 

Our children and teachers begin 

in the Chapel at 11 a.m. 


Fellowship Hour – Assembly Hall – 12:15 p.m.

Please join us after worship.


Continuing the Journey

Sun., Feb. 7, 12:45 pm


Discussion with Ms. Bertha Lewis

Sun., Feb. 7, 12:45 pm

Co-sponsored by

Anti-Racism Team


Card Making Circle

Sun., Feb. 7, 1:00 pm


Gallery35 The Winter Collection 

Open Gallery

Sun., Feb. 7, 1:00 pm


Yoga with Nafisa Degani

Tues.,  Feb. 9, 6:00 pm


Green Sanctuary Book Club

Tues., Feb. 9, 6:00 pm


Yoga with Nafisa Degani

Sat., Feb. 13, 12:30 pm


More Opera

Sun., Feb. 14,  12:30 pm


Gratitude Forum

Dr. Janice Marie Johnson

Sun., Feb. 14,  1:00 pm


Yoga with Nafisa Degani

Tues.,  Feb. 16, 6:00 pm





Last Sunday I attended the Congregational Meeting and I felt such joy to be among you once again. I am so grateful to the cards, books, poems, meals and well space to rest provided for my speedy recovery. Many good 

conversations with our staff Valerie Lynch, Thea Trent, Irina Poverny and Nickeisha Rowe. The numerous calls and wise counsel from Rev. Bruce Southworth. Special thanks to Sheila Kaminsky and Michelle Asencio who doubled their efforts in supporting RE/FM.  It has often been mentioned that having a spiritual practice or being part of faith community provides reliance during times of adversity, and provides so much sustenance. Never has this rung so true to me.

I am looking forward to the program's we have scheduled. This week, we'll have the Living in Gratitude forum with Dr. Janice Marie Johnson.  At the end of the month we'll have the "I Have a Dream" concert by our children's Classical Vocal Arts choir.  Hope to see you soon.             

Paz, Esther




SUNDAY– February 7

9:30 am                 Choir Rehearsal

11:00 am              Worship Service

11:00 am              Sunday School

12:15 pm              Fellowship Hour

12:45 pm              Volunteer Choir Rehearsal


WEDNESDAY–February 10

6:30 pm                 Church Council


SUNDAY–February 14

9:30 am                 Choir Rehearsal

11:00 am              Worship Service

11:00 am              Sunday School

12:15 pm              Fellowship Hour

12:45 pm              UN Global Affairs

12:45 pm              Volunteer Choir Rehearsal


WEDNESDAY–February 17

6:00 pm Finance Committee


SUNDAY–February 21

R. Edward Lee

will be preaching.


SUNDAY–February 28

Music Sunday 

Gerald Brown and Choir



Minister’s Corner ~ “The Spiritual State of the Union – Living with Change and Honor”

Last week I was speaking about the State of the Union and shared my appreciation for so many of the changes President Obama has supported.  Much remains, and lack of bi-partisan political support has stymied common sense gun control, immigration reform with a path to citizenship, economic justice reforms, restoration of voting rights, and the list goes on.

Among the challenges President Obama expressed as a goal in his State of the Union address, was a change in political discourse… its tone and respectfulness.  He did not quite say, “Let’s be kind to one another” but was pushing in that direction. He did say, 

“As frustration grows, there will be voices urging us to fall back into tribes, to scapegoat fellow citizens who don’t look like us, or pray like us, or vote like we do, or share the same background. We can’t afford to go down that path.”

Yet, many of the Republican Party Presidential candidates have with increasing frequency been calling each other liars with personal attacks that deflect away from policy conversations. 

The spiritual state of our country, the spiritual state of our union, suffers for it.  

I had hoped not to spend time thinking or speaking about the Trump candidacy, yet his popularity among some Republicans must be telling us something about some of our fellow citizens and more than media over-coverage.  

Like Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump is appreciated for telling it like it is (albeit with different visions), and does so in part because he is not beholden to big money. And each is perceived to be representing everyday people, and giving voice to those who feel their voices are ignored in the current political system – again with different constituencies.  Their outsider status helps each with some voters.

Mr. Trump’s popularity has been for me a curious and troubling thing.  And it reveals some challenging aspects of the state of our Union, our populace:    

 (1) First, I would note Trump’s celebrity status that helps him in the many polls, especially early ones. When asked to choose among 12 or 14 or 17 candidates, those surveyed may recognize only a handful of names, and celebrities benefit, no matter their inexperience.

(2) Also anxious people… citizens with fear about how things are going for them… often appreciate strong, narcissistic personalities despite arrogance, manipulation, and lack of empathy. Narcissists, according to some studies, with their strong leadership, may be welcomed in spite of “toxic attributes.” 

(3) Trump’s persona / self-image of projecting wealth – the private jet, etc. – apparently matches the image/fantasy of the good life and success for some of those in the working or middle class, even if it is not likely attainable personally.

(4) His language about political correctness reinforces prejudices that many hold who do not see the systems of oppression around us (sexism, racism, homophobia, xenophobia).  

 And for me, it is profoundly sad that the values undergirding fairness, equality, equity, respect for each person, and equal opportunity are trivialized in a catch phrase.

(5) Also, given the high level of dissatisfaction with government (at historic highs), Mr. Trump’s core message promises a transformation of that dysfunction. 

(6) In addition for some, it is truly refreshing to hear someone so unscripted, off the cuff, no matter how rude or vulgar – which too is sad.…

(7) And, of course, he appeals to those who see their world changing, who for religious reasons lament women’s freedom of choice to have an abortion; oppose gay marriage; who feel as if jobs are at stake from immigrants; or resent affirmative action.

On this matter of change, words of Helen Keller speak to a healthy spiritual response:

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature.…  Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run….  Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing…. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits… is strength undefeatable…. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.”

Amid all this change and challenge, the spiritual basic is living with change with both honor and respect for others.

                                                                Faithfully, Bruce


The test of an advanced society is not in how many millionaires it can produce, but in how many 

law-abiding, hard-working, highly respected, loyal citizens it can produce. The success of such a 

venture is a measure of the success of our national enterprise.

                                                                                                                                                John Hope Franklin 


“Fidelity – So Great A Cloud of Witnesses – 2015”

Sermon Brief – Sunday, January 3, 2016 

… The celebrated Selma civil rights leader, Amelia Boynton Robinson, was the subject of an article titled, “Defiance Defined Her.” (Nikole Hannah-Jones, NY Times Magazine, 12/27/15) 

Throughout her civil rights activism, she displayed fidelity to matters bigger than herself… things like justice, equality, fairness, and freedom, defying those who would diminish others. And she found colleagues and support for her blessed journey….

This morning in turning to some of the heroes of the human spirit, I return to a traditional text [Hebrews 12:1]: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside any mistake that weighs upon us, and let us [too] run with perseverance the race that is set before us.”

… When author and psychiatrist Oliver Sacks realized he had terminal metastatic cancer a year ago, he wrote about his life over the course of his dying. He indicated, “I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and have given something in return.” 

… Yogi Berra, the brilliant baseball catcher and home-run hitter for the New York Yankees, was of course also celebrated for his sometimes quirky insights. In an interview re-broadcast last week, he was asked about some of his favorite Yogi-isms.  

In response to one question, Yogi offered the essential answer:  “What time is it?”   With a smile and a twinkle, his answer:  “Now.”  


Be not afraid…. Stand on principle…. Show gratitude for the adventure…. Give something back…. When?  Now!

… Thanks in abundance to all those whose lives inspire us in our peculiar and difficult times, who in voice and deed showed fidelity to deep values, and  who just may give you strength and courage in your own choices.  

Rev. Bruce Southworth