In these darkening days, the weights of the year often become heavier. As families gather, we remember those who are no longer with us, or disagreements that have left family estranged. The season of gift-giving puts strain on those already struggling to make ends meet. The cold and the dark can be hard on our bodies, bringing out aches, pains, illness, and depression. These struggles stand in stark contrast to the merriment of the Christmas carols, holiday décor, and advertising campaigns proclaiming this to be the most wonderful time of the year.
It is important, through the various struggles of the season, to remember that we are not alone. To this end, we will be offering a Longest Night Service on December 19 at 7:00 pm in Nambu Chapel. It will be a time for us to gather to mark the losses we are grieving- whether they be loved ones lost, expectations dashed, financial security threatened- and sanctify them in the light of Christ’s Advent. It will be a candlelight service at which we will hold silence, pray, and reflect both on what we have lost in the past year and what has sustained us along the way.
On Sunday, December 23, at 10:30 am, we will celebrate the fourth Sunday in Advent with a special joint worship service with all four congregations. We will share stories and sing carols together. After the service, we will have a posada in Howel Hall, at which we will sing villancicos (Spanish Christmas carols) and eat lots of food!
The Edgewater Community Religious Association will host its annual Thanksgiving service at 3 pm on Sunday, November 19 at the Ismaili Center, 6259 N. Broadway Ave. . It will feature speakers, music, and sacred readings from various faiths represented in our community. There will be a reception to follow.
At the service, we will also be collecting canned goods to benefit Care for Real, the Edgewater food pantry.
By Dr. Peggy Griffin
The newly formed NSBC Outreach Ministry organized the October 28th panel discussion on the “Liberating Church”. The idea spiraled from the 2018 Martin Luther King Weekend Teach-In. Dr. Nancy Bedford from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary was our guest theologian. Pastor Rony Reyes and Lupe, a member of the Hispanic congregation, were the other panelists. Pastor Michael Ware was the panel moderator, and Pastor Kathryn Ray was the translator.
The evocative discussion followed a luncheon that had a selection of delightful tastes from several Spanish speaking countries around the world. The food and table discussions helped tune the ears of listeners to grasp meaningful content coming from the in-depth panel dialogue. This physical nourishment was preceded by spiritual sustenance in the sermon of Pastor Michael in the morning service. He reminded us that “It is not what we have, but what we share.” The total worship experience on that day involved sharing substance, ideas, sentiments, and action strategies.
One could sense the desperation of the travelers on the bridge between the borders of Guatemala and Mexico as Pastor Rony explained that he too had crossed that bridge. He shared some history that built a case for the advantage of admitting the Caravan travelers into the United States. He spoke of “the law of proximity” in which human nature compels individuals to seek the closest and most convenient way to escape from oppression. Lupe confirmed his statements as she shared her own story of finding refuge in the United States. She made the situation real for us. She emphasized the fact that people are coming with willing hands to work and make positive contributions to this country and to society at large.
Dr. Bedford stated that “God is no respecter of borders.” Peripheries and confines are constructions that are usually centered around aspirations for power and economic gain. She gave us the charge to put out truth narratives by collecting and disseminating testimonies of history. Christian education includes presenting history in the proper perspective and reaching beyond borders.
The panel discussion was more than informative. The question & answer period revealed that participants were ready to act on the ideas triggered during the discussion. From the outcome of this event, members of North Shore Baptist church can watch for some positive new initiatives. Several members signed up for the formation of an Immigration Task Force. The Outreach Ministry is working on ways to collect and publicize the rich narratives in the congregations. We have renewed inspiration in planning for our 2019 MLK Teach-in.
Pastor Michael began the panel discussion with reference to a triune plan for action that emerged in the Adventures in Learning Sermon Talk Back. These actions are: 1. Write to legislators to advocate desired changes. 2. Watch our words. Use “us” language rather than words that cause division. 3. Use the power of the vote to bring positive change.
Days have passed since the discussion of the Habits of a Liberating Church in Community, but the spirit and desire for action are rising from incubation.