Bishop and Korean Caucus Calls for Witness Against Asian Hate

Excerpts from a message from the Office of Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, in response to the recent shooting deaths in Metro Atlanta GA and violence targeting those of Asian heritage. (CLICK HERE to read the full letter.)


March 25, 2021


Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory for the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders, you shall call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise.

Isaiah 60: 1-3, 18


Beloved:


We remain in the season of Lent, a season that includes soul-stirring reflection, examination, and lamentation. There is a rich history of lament within the Christian tradition. Christ lamented as he hung on the cross crying out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” During these times, we are reaching within the deepest recesses of our souls and asking plaintive questions.


As I am confronted with the horrific shooting rampage in Atlanta and the deaths of eight people, I must also confront the long history of violence against Asian Americans. When I reflect on this tragic history, I lament.


Often the best demonstration of solidarity is to listen to those most deeply affected. May we receive their sharing as a sacred gift and respond in ways that demonstrate our love, understanding, and solidarity. May we be as Christ to them and to the world.


I invite us to listen to the pain, suffering, struggle, and deep longings of our Korean siblings as voiced through the Korean Caucus of the Baltimore-Washington Conference:


On March 16, there was a terrible shooting in Atlanta, Georgia. A man allegedly drove to massage parlors and killed eight people. Police are still investigating, and said, “nothing is off the table” to discern if this was “racially motivated.” But the killing had a profound impact on the Asian American community. 


The Asian community does not regard this as “just” a crime. That’s because it reminds Asian American immigrants of the painful memories and personal disturbances from the immigrant life. What made us even more concerned was that such crime often targets the most vulnerable people: Asian females and elderly immigrants. 


According to the New Federation of Asian American United Methodists, more than 122 incidents against Asian Americans have been committed in 16 of the country’s most populous cities since 2020, an increase of almost 150% over the previous year. In New York, the hate crimes targeting Asian people haves increased by over 800%. In LA, they have increased by 114%, in Boston by 130%, and in California, by 150%. Only the reported cases were counted.


To our Methodist sisters and brothers, especially the churches in the Baltimore-Washington Conference, we, the Korean Caucus, ask you to preach the Good News for our vulnerable neighbors and pray for the immigrant people standing on the margins. We hope you remember that Christian communities of the United States have always been a great help and resource for Korean immigrants. The American dream may disappear, but the immigrant community still desires Pax Christi, the Peace of Christ, through Christian brothers and sisters.

Updates from the Senior Pastor

There are several updates for activities that are underway or are forthcoming. Here is what we can share as of February 25, 2020:


In-Person Worship

Update: March 25, 2021. 

The Re-Entering Well Team has reviewed, commented on, revised, and approved a plan for how we will return to in-person worship each Sunday in the Sanctuary. Plans can be found on the Worship page.

        While I am certain that hearing this invites the vision of returning to what “used to be” please understand that COVID is still present and therefore our re-entering will involve precautions and practices that all attendees will be expected to adhere to. We do appreciate your patience, but most importantly your care and concern for your fellow members, understanding that none of our actions should impose harm or risk to those we are so anxious to see.


Building Project

        Yes, the Building Project is still moving forward. Though you are not seeing shovels in the ground and other signs of construction, the work that is taking place is the necessary and behind the scenes work with the various entities of this process. So don’t worry, we are still moving forward.


Finances

        We are truly grateful for the way in which St.Paul has embraced the invitation to give. Thank you for pledging and for honoring your pledge commitment. Thank you for understanding that the work of the church is seeded through giving. Thank you for loving God enough to give God your best. Look for specific financial updates in upcoming editions of The Epistle newsletter. But for now, thank you!


Stay tuned for more information coming soon!

-- Pastor Pat

pallen@stpaulsk.org

Pastor Sabbath:

A message from the SPRC

Pastor Pat and Pastor Kate are as hungry to connect with the congregation as the members & friends are for connecting with them! Pastor Pat and Pastor Kate are available to meet at the office by appointment, until regular office hours are re-established.


The easiest way to make an appointment is by emailing Pastor Pat (pallen@stpaulsk.org) or Pastor Kate (kfulton@stpaulsk.org). They also may be reached by phone using the main church number: 301-933-7933. Pastor Pat is

extension 101 and Pastor Kate is extension 103. Please leave a message as needed. Until COVID loosens its grip, St. Paul’s does not expect to have staff or volunteers on hand to regularly answer and redirect calls.


Pastor Pat and Pastor Kate both maintain personal Sabbath practices to ensure that they remain rested and restored to

devote themselves to the needs of St. Paul’s. During their Sabbath times, they break from routine email and phone

communications. 


All are welcome to leave voice and email messages for Pastor Pat and Pastor Kate at any time, but the SPRC has asked them to resist the temptation to respond immediately during their Sabbath times. Our pastors will respond to messages received during their times of Sabbath on the next day. The exception is if you have an urgent situation.


What is urgent? Serious injury, rapid decline in health, impending death, or despair leading a person to consider self-harm is considered urgent. 


In an urgent, emergency situation, please contact the pastors on their cell phones. Each pastor states their cell phone numbers in their office voicemail greeting and on page 12 of the March 2021 Epistle newsletter. Please do not leave an urgent message in any of the office phone voicemail boxes.


Thank you!


Here are the Pastors’ times of Sabbath and contact information:


Pastor Patricia Allen

office: 301.933.7933 ext. 101

email: pallen@stpaulsk.org

Sabbath Times (out of the office):

- After 1:00 pm on Thursdays

- All day on Fridays

- After 1:00 pm on Sundays


Pastor Kate Mackereth Fulton

office: 301.933.7933 ext. 103

email: kfulton@stpaulsk.org

Sabbath Times (out of the office):

- After 1:00 pm on Fridays

- All day on Saturdays

- After 1:00 pm on Sundays


Cell phone numbers are listed in each pastor's voicemail greeting at the office. Please use cell numbers in case of emergencies.

March: Women's History Month

March is recognized as Women’s History Month. The efforts of a group of women began in 1980 in Santa Rosa, California and culminated in a Congressional Act declaring March as National Women’s History Month. The theme for 2021 is “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced.” This year’s theme is the opportunity to acknowledge those women who have taken extraordinary measures and immeasurable risks to use their voices to register voters, to champion the cause of women’s right to vote, and capturing the stories of women’s advocacy throughout the ages. 


Women have often been relegated to positions and assignments that have restricted their access to professional opportunities and their life’s vocation. Women’s History Month is designed to honor and celebrate women who have contributed and continue to contribute to the fabric of our existence. This month celebrates the women who have sacrificed for a better quality of life for all. So if you know a woman, tell her thank you! And let us celebrate!


--Pastor Pat

GIVE

God Invites Victorious Engagement

The Latest News from Pastor Pat


December 3, 2020


2020 has understandably deeply impacted life as we know it. Many of us have had to re-evaluate our personal budgets and make adjustments. So has our church. In previous years we have been blessed by giving which has allowed us to serve our community and provide for the operational expenses (staff salaries and building maintenance). This year with the pastoral transition, the pandemic, and social unrest we have seen a measurable decline in giving which has necessitated a re-evaluation of our current and 2021 church budget as well as making those difficult decisions of deciding what will need to happen if there is no turnaround in 2021.


It is important that you hear this. We’ve invited you to watch the Let’s Talk Video to gain understanding of the financial picture of the church. (Click HERE for the video.) We’ve provided information in the weekly email blasts as well as the Epistle that without creating panic, shares the financial picture.


Now we need you to decide what you are willing to do to help St. Paul’s continue to be the beacon of light to the Kensington community. If you hold a leadership position in the church and have not pledged, I invite you to make 2021 to be the year you make that commitment.


If you have not pledged, please do so. Pledge what you are able to give and honor that commitment. If you have pledged and are able to increase your pledge, please do so. If you are unable to pledge or give, do know the giving of others is what will allow us to support you if necessary, so do not worry.


To make an offering online, click HERE to go to our Giving page

To pledge as you are able, contact Michelle Gregonis, Treasurer at mgregonis@stpaulsk.org or call 301-933-7933 ext. 110.



November 26, 2020


Giving in the church can be viewed through a variety of lenses. For some it is considered the “dues” paid for membership. For others it is the bill the church continues to dangle before its members. But in reality, our giving is one of the expressions of our relationship with Christ. As we grow in Christ so should our ability to express our love for Christ through our witness, service, and giving. These are indeed difficult times but please know your giving has impact!


Your giving serves ministry purposes. It definitely impacts our efforts which currently: helps us feed approximately 150 families through the Hunger Ministry; supports the families at Veirs Mill Elementary; feeds Montgomery County families we adopt for the holidays; makes it possible for us to support community efforts such as Bethesda Help, the Women’s Shelter, and our local libraries. Your giving serves administrative and operational purposes as well. Your giving is what helps St. Paul’s accomplish our mission in the community and the kingdom.


We give God praise for our stewardship campaign which resulted in pledges that thus far amount to 1/3 of our projected budget for 2021. But with 2/3 of our budget dependent upon “possible” giving and not realistic pledges, difficult decisions may need to be made.


God invites us into the victorious engagement of giving. Remember the young boy who gave his lunch witnessed the unimaginable feeding of 5000+ people that day. Whatever you give God can and will multiply. So GIVE, accept the invitation to be a part of the victorious engagement that feeds the hungry, reaches out to the disconnected, and builds the Kingdom.

Letter from the Senior Pastor, Rev. Dr. Pat Allen

October 2020


Greetings All!


As you read this, we will have crossed the threshold of 200 days of social isolation and distancing. None of us could have foreseen that as we approach one of our holiest seasons of the church year, that not worshiping together physically could be a very real consideration.


But if we have learned nothing else during this difficult time, it is how to adjust and create. We’ve adjusted how we’ve done the work of the church and created new ways to do the work of the church. It is as though we’ve been in a season of gestation and the birth is on the horizon.


As we prepare to enter that time of the year where so much of what we celebrate is centered around togetherness, where so much of our worship is experiential and expressive, where so much of who we are is focused on connection, let us not be distracted by what may not be. Let us instead celebrate what is!


Let us celebrate…

  • the twelve young people confirmed and welcomed into our congregation.
  • the three infant/toddler baptisms.
  • the worship services now live-streamed.
  • the Daily Breath Meditation moments.


Let us celebrate…

  • being part of Kensington Neighbors Magazine’s November Issue.
  • packing and delivering Smart Sacks to Veirs Mill Elementary School.
  • Hunger Ministry continuing to provide for the 100+ families usually served.
  • Canned Good and Non-Perishable donations delivered to Bethesda Help.
  • Back Pack Build providing an entire SUV-full of new school supplies to our partners at Interfaith Works.


There is so much we can celebrate, so much we have accomplished.


The Re-Entering Well Team has approved and welcomed the Brookewood School back into the building for in-person instruction in compliance with state and local guidelines, protections, and precautions. 


Our Re-Entering Well Team continues to work toward our re-entering well, having also approved the youth ministry for hybrid (virtual and socially distanced in-person) meetings and activities. The United Methodist Men prepared a “virtual” apple sale, so place your orders until October 22. The Re-Entering Well Team is reviewing our staff plan to reestablish office hours and some in person meetings. Soon, we will share a “road map” of where we are in re-entering. 


Our Building Committee has presented a revised building project scope for which church members voted to proceed.


We have taken bold steps to launch our stewardship campaign for 2020, acknowledging the great work to be done through the ministries of our church. 


None of us could have prepared for what this year has offered. However we have continued to find ways to be the church.


It can also be said, for all that we might celebrate, we have had our moments of sorrow. These moments of grief are compounded by our inability to gather and comfort one another. 


It is our sincere hope that we will find a way to celebrate together the “Roll Call of the Saints” on All Saints Sunday November 1, 2020. We invite you to join us in prayer as we explore how this might be done safely for all.


We will continue to live stream services from the sanctuary each Sunday, and hold as-weather-permits worship outdoors in the park. 


We are invited to join the Kensington-Chevy Chase Ministerium for a virtual Thanksgiving Service on Tuesday November 24, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. And we are planning our Advent and Christmas Eve Worship experiences.


There are still a few months remaining to this unimaginable year. I pray you are willing to continue with me along this journey of so many firsts.


“So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 NRSV

Re-Entering Well: 

A Message from Pastor Pat

The work of preparing to re-enter our space and life as a congregation cannot be completed by one person. Therefore we have created the Re-Entering Well Team of St. Paul’s to guide us in that work. The team members are:

  • Phil Rush
  • Steve Lillie
  • Laura Tribble
  • Nathan Bazawada
  • Dr. Hal Frazier
  • Marge Higgins
  • Tracey Furman
  • Erin Steele
  • Rev. Kate Mackereth Fulton
  • Rev. Dr. Pat Allen


The work of this team will be to create the path and timeline in accordance with guidance from our episcopal leader Bishop Easterling and government officials, and input from the ministries of the church, that we might re-enter St. Paul’s well.


Re-entering well is not synonymous with re-entering quickly, as we are committed to entering in a way that minimizes risk and preserves safety for all.