Life moves on, though not so placidly, in this post-election environment. As we noted Sunday, there are deep feelings which need to be attended – grief, anger, confusion, elation, fear, hope. And there is important work to be done. There is much to be revealed in the days ahead, much yet to consider as the future unfolds. For us, my vision continues to be that we will be a faithful people, standing for justice, peace, kindness, compassion, and the well-being of all creation. There are likely to be challenges to this stance just over the horizon. Our witness may seem increasingly counter-cultural (much like the first church,) which makes it all the more important, especially if the promises of the recent campaign begin to become reality.
This Sunday holds a rich mixture of themes. It is our annual Stewardship or Gratitude Sunday. You are encouraged to bring your completed pledge forms and Time and Talent Surveys as well as food for the EHP holiday drive. During the offering, we will ask everyone to bring their forms and their food and leave them at the table. If you need additional copies of the forms – pledge or Time and Talent Survey – we have them in the church office or you can pick them up Sunday.
Continue reading Note from Pastor Rick (11/16/2016)
Many of us are reeling from the surprising results of yesterday’s presidential election. At a minimum, we need to be in prayer for this nation, it’s leadership, and all its people in this time of transition. Clearly there are challenges ahead. As a community in service to Jesus Christ, we need to remember our common commitment to compassion for all, to peace, including the well-being of all creation, and our love for God and our neighbors – all of them! Justice, mercy, and humility are still our hallmarks. Several friends on Facebook have risen above their grief over the election returns to claim a commitment to the work for God’s Beloved Community, which still lies ahead. It reminds of the South African Freedom Song, “We shall not give up the fight; we have only started.”
Continue reading Note from Pastor Rick (11/9/2016)
Alan Plessinger shared this poem by the great American Quaker poet to inspire us as we go to the polls on Tuesday. We realize that many of you have already voted by mail and also that the masculine language is from a different century, but the sentiment may speak to you as you consider candidates and issues in this primary as well as in the general election in the fall.
The Poor Voter on Election Day
By John Greenleaf Whittier
The proudest now is but my peer,
The highest not more high;
To-day, of all the weary year,
A king of men am I.
To-day, alike are great and small,
The nameless and the known;
My palace is the people’s hall,
The ballot-box my throne!
Who serves to-day upon the list
Beside the served shall stand;
Alike the brown and wrinkled fist,
The gloved and dainty hand!
The rich is level with the poor,
The weak is strong to-day;
And sleekest broadcloth counts no more
Than homespun frock of gray.
To-day let pomp and vain pretence
My stubborn right abide;
I set a plain man’s common sense
Against the pedant’s pride.
To-day shall simple manhood try
The strength of gold and land;
The wide world has not wealth to buy
The power in my right hand!
While there’s a grief to seek redress,
Or balance to adjust,
Where weighs our living manhood less
Than Mammon’s vilest dust, —
While there’s a right to need my vote,
A wrong to sweep away,
Up! clouted knee and ragged coat!
A man’s a man to-day!
To quote last Sunday’s sermon, “Peace Now!”: “I can hear you. Honestly, I can hear me. This is hard work [peacemaking.] I don’t know if I can live into it, loving from the center of my being and practicing the things that make for peace. The issues of peace and justice are so much larger than I. I don’t even know where to begin. Well, we can start with the ballot we cast next Tuesday and ask ourselves to be cognizant of concerns for peace and justice, compassion and love, as we mark our ballots. We might even pray over them.”
The Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition, a program of AAPD (Association of People with Disabilities), is mobilizing people of faith to sign a letter encouraging candidates to address disability concerns in their campaigns. The letter notes that Americans with disabilities “make remarkable and valuable contributions to our communities,” yet, “continue to face discrimination in many areas including employment, transportation, and education.” The letter encourages candidates for public office to address these disparities and set forth a “vision to encourage the civil rights of people with disabilities, and to promote their full inclusion in society.”
We, the undersigned, are people of faith from across the nation concerned about the civil rights of the more than 56 million Americans living with a disability. Our faith communities are diverse and include people living with all types of disability: physical, sensory, intellectual, visible and non-apparent. We write to urge you to lay out a comprehensive agenda that addresses the civil rights of Americans with disabilities….
Candidates for public office must address these disparities and must set forth a vision to encourage the civil rights of people with disabilities and to promote their full inclusion in society. This is imperative in light of the gifts and talents Americans with disabilities bring to their schools, jobs, and faith communities. If elected, we strongly recommend taking action to:
- Further expand opportunities for people with disabilities to live and work independently in their communities, including expanding access to affordable, accessible, integrated housing and transportation options.
- Increase productivity and innovation in the public and private sector by expanding employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
- Further the progress made in the graduation rate of students with disabilities from high school by addressing remaining barriers to success in public education and transition to employment or post-secondary education.
- Support the continuation of reforms passed into law as part of the Affordable Care Act that help people with disabilities lead healthy lives and increase their access to long term services and supports, as well as support further expansion of mental health and substance use services.
Read more and sign the letter…