TPPC News Archive

The following is an archive of articles that have appeared on the TPPC News Web Page that may still be of interest.

Note: Links with the text "(PDF)" require the Adobe Reader to access the URL, which is available free from Adobe.

Index

Pastor Mark's Ethiopian Pilgrimage

Pastor Mark was part of a local delegation visiting Ethiopia as part of Montgomery County sister cities program from January 12 to 22, 2016.

With TPPC's growing African Immigrant ministry (and the increasing number of African immigrants in our county), please pray for:

For more information on Pastor Mark's journey, please access http://takomaparkpc.org/pastorMarkEthiopianPilgrimage.html.

A sermon given after the Ethiopian trip is available from our website.

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TPPC Helps in the Drive to Kick Ebola Out of Liberia

The Ebola epidemic has ravaged communities in the three West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The response to the epidemic has been strengthened by the international community which has provided much needed financial, logistical and technical support. This help together with the determination of the affected communities and their governments is beginning to show some fruit. The number of reported new cases of Ebola has reduced drastically and it is our prayer and hope that soon the epidemic will be over.

However, the affected communities have many needs some of which are short-term while others are long term. Communities require education about how to prevent the spread of Ebola and other contagious diseases now and in the future while avoiding stigmatizing those that were suffering from Ebola and have recovered. They also need a good supply of simple items of hygiene such as soap and gloves. Individuals who were infected by Ebola and were lucky enough to have recovered have many needs. They need food and rehydration salts to regain body energy. They also need clothing since all their previous clothing had to be destroyed because it was contagious. In the longer term there is need for a concerted effort to help these individuals to settle back in the communities including finding them jobs and paying school fees for children who have been orphaned by the Ebola epidemic.

The Presbyterian Church in Liberia has been at the fore front of enhancing the community response to the epidemic. They have trained an army of volunteers who visit homes providing education about Ebola prevention and avoidance of discrimination of recovering Ebola patients, as well as providing simple items such as rehydration salts and clothing that can enable the recovering patients. The Church is also looking after children who were orphaned by Ebola including paying their school fees. With these needs in mind the Presbyterian Church in Liberia sent as appeal for help to Takoma Park Presbyterian Church (TPPC). This appeal was received through the Assistant Pastor, Reverend Eugene Ole Eastman who shared it with Pastor Mark as well as and the church ministry known as the African Immigrants Choir.

In response, the African Immigrants Choir together with the rest of the church organized two activities to raise funds and help for the Presbyterian Church in Liberia. The African Immigrants Choir (AIC) worked with Rev. Andrew Diggs who composed the Ebola prevention song, "Ebola Must go, We are Kicking it out". He trained the AIC in singing and dancing to this song and they were able to sing with his guidance, at TPPC during the service on Martin Luther King Sunday. The CDs of the song were put out on sale to members of the TPPC congregation to generate money to help in the fight against Ebola. This performance was also used to launch an appeal to the entire TPPC congregation to donate soap, clothing and rehydration salts in support of the work of the church in Liberia. We are very pleased to report that the congregation made generous contributions and we were able to send many items to the Presbyterian Church in Liberia.

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Notes from Adult Sunday School - Imagining the Future

by Dennis Huffman (this article first appeared in Church Life, and appears here by permission of the author)

The adult Sunday school class has been using a DVD-based program called Painting the Starts: Science, Religion, and an Evolving Faith. Session six of the seven-part series was titled "Imagining the Future." One of the suggested exercises was for each of us to describe one thing that we would change about church (either TPPC or the broader Church) that we think would most help it evolve. Here are the ideas from our class.

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Sabbatical 2013

Pastor Mark Greiner has completed his sabbatical, which lasted from May 20 to August 25, 2013. The theme of the sabbatical was "The Bread of Life", the aims of which included:

There is a special page on our website which gives more details on the sabbitical period, including a sabbatical calendar and links to a brochure (PDF) and a sabbatical reading list (PDF). There are also links to a reflection on the sabbatical (PDF) and a listing of sabbatical activities (PDF).

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El Rosal Sewing Circle visits TPPC

Members of El Rosal sewing circle joined us after worship on Sunday, April 1st to introduce themselves to our congregation. El Rosal is a sewing cooperative that was founded by a group of energetic and dedicated local Latina immigrants. With the assistance of Impact Silver Spring and some seed money from organizations like the Takoma Foundation, El Rosal has grown into a sustainable business, providing everything from custom-made reusable shopping bags (one of which Ike Leggett uses when he goes to the grocery or farmer's market!) to tailoring services to full-scale garment production.

One of the goals articulated in our Listening Campaign was "Connecting with Community," this visit was meant as one way of putting that aspiration into action. Learn more about El Rosal at http://www.impactsilverspring.org/

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Letter from Haiti

TPPC's former youth director, Emily Welty, has sent a letter about her recent trip to Haiti. We reproduce her letter here, with her permission.

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"Raise the Roof" Campaign Results

Many thanks for the tremendous support from friends and neighbors of Takoma Park Presbyterian Church for donations to repair the leaking roof of the Education Building! We have raised $40,014 thus far from the combined contributions of the congregation and friends of TPPC.

As a congregation committed to environmental stewardship, we considered several options for repairing the roof including using a reflective covering, solar panels, and the installation of a living roof. We also considered the most conventional option - replacing the leaking membrane with a new membrane.

Throughout the process, we were mindful of the following:

TPPC has determined that the most environmentally sensitive and cost appropriate option is to do a conventional replacement of the leaking membrane with a new membrane. Once the roof replacement is underway in spring 2009, the church intends to use any remaining funds for environmentally sensitive building improvements. Among the options under consideration are: installation of energy-efficient furnaces, insulation, door sealing, etc. TPPC believes that investing in these energy-efficient measures will contribute to a smaller and gentler building footprint for the church and will be important steps toward future environmentally sensitive improvements.

If you are interested in helping TPPC in our efforts to become a greener congregation, or if you have questions or concerns, please contact green@takomaparkpc.org.

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A Christian Response to Suffering and Injustice

This is an article written by Ruth Noel, reproduced here by permission.

We occasionally hear in the news about the violence in Colombia, but did you know

A few years ago the IPC asked the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) to send unarmed volunteers to accompany them in their daily work in defense of human rights and with the displaced. Because of overburdens with global responsibilities the PCUSA was unable to respond immediately and asked the Presbyterian Peacemaking Fellowship (PPF) to respond. PPF believes in the power of nonviolent direct action and viewed this as an opportunity to put it into practice regardless of the risks involved.

Over the past four years PPF, with minimal funds, has held semi-annual trainings and sent two accompaniers on a monthly rotating basis to Colombia. TPPC has twice hosted this 3-1/2 day training — providing space and housing. Each time PPF invited the congregation to dinner and conversation with them. These conversations planted the seed that maybe I was being called to be an accompanier. In 2008, through prayerful discernment, I felt compelled to answer that call. In September I atttended the training held at the PCUSA retreat center in Stony Point, NY and will be going to Colombia in late February 2009 for 5 weeks.

I ask for your prayers for all in Colombia - no one has not been affected by the violence - and for myself and all the accompaniers. I give thanks for this congregation's prior support of this important work through hosting accompaniers and trainers, and providing space and ask your continued support for it. If you wish to contribute directly you may send your tax deductible contribution to PPF at 17 Crickettown Road, Stony Point, NY 10980 with the notation that it is for the Colombian Accompaniment Program. I look forward to sharing with you more over the coming months.

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Maryland Police Surveillance on Peacemakers Forum

During the tenure of Maryland’s former Governor, Maryland State Police engaged in secret surveillance of people meeting to oppose the death penalty or to protest the war in Iraq, according to recent news reports. Gatherings of people participating in meetings at places like Takoma Park Presbyterian Church were secretly under surveillance by Maryland State Police during the meeting.

On October 11, 2008 starting at 2PM people who were under police surveillance will participate in a panel discussion with Maryland State Senator and American University constitution law professor Jamie Raskin, David Rocah the lead counsel for the Maryland ACLU anti-spying campaign, and Ann Wilcox, of the National Lawyers Guild, who will report on what happened to activists and journalists at the Republican National Convention protests in Minnesota in September.

Come out and participate in this very important panel discussion concerning our First Amendment rights, federal and state spying on activists, and attacks by government authorities on activists and journalists.

Hosted by Takoma Park Presbyterian Church and organized by Washington Peace Center, www.washingtonpeacecenter.net
Contact: wpc@igc.org

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Letter to the Editor

Here is the letter that session and I sent to the Washington Post in response to the harassment of CASA day labor centers by the Minutemen. Unfortunately it was never published.

Dear Editor,

The Session (board of directors) of the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church praises the excellent reporting, which recently appeared in the past two issues of The Washington Post Magazine, which provided an accurate portrayal of the plight of day laborers and the economic situation faced by some of our Latino and immigrant community. CASA of Maryland deserves praise for their longtime continued efforts to serve and empower the Latino community. We are proud to have helped start this fine organization and we continue to endorse them wholeheartedly. In the frightening climate of growing anti-immigrant sentiment, we support CASA's day-labor centers and condemn the current harassment of would-be workers and their employers.

What is needed is a comprehensive, humane, and just reform of our national immigration laws and policies. We believe that God calls us to welcome the stranger and to help those in need. Therefore, we are opposed to the bill recently passed by the House, HR 4437. This bill would make it a crime to provide health care, social services, and any other assistance to undocumented immigrants. If this bill were made law, our church members would be forced to risk criminal penalties by offering help to immigrants in need. We urge all concerned individuals and communities of faith to work to defeat this measure and others like it, and to create a national system of immigration that is fair to workers and those that support them, a policy which recognizes the tremendous contributions that immigrants make to this country.

In faith,
The Reverend Patricia Barth (Moderator of Session)
and the Session of Takoma Park Presbyterian Church
310 Tulip Avenue
Takoma Park, MD 20912

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Recent Articles on Congrgational Surveys Conducted at TPPC

Reports on results from the Congregational Life Survey taken at TPPC on April 10th, along with results from a survey conducted by the Interim Steering Committee, are available on this website. Both of these surveys, conduct in the spring and summer of 2005, give results that are helpful in determining what type of church TPPC is, and where we are now as a congregation.

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Presbyterian Women Gather in Shenandoahs

Women from all over the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic met June 9-12 at Massanetta Springs in Harrisonburg, Virginia, for the Presbyterian Women Synod Summer Gathering. The gathering theme, "For Everything There is a Season," was based on the 2005-06 Horizons Bible Study that will examine the liturgical calendar. Participants attended bible study, workshops and optional activities, worshipped together, and joyfully expressed their faith through music, dance and fellowship. On the final morning of the gathering, Elizabeth MacGregor of TPPC and Pat Garrett of Trinity (Herndon) Presbyterian Church were commissioned as participants in the Presbyterian Women Global Exchange to Brazil this October.

The Bible Study was led each morning by Dale Lindsay Morgan, pastor of Saint Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Santa Barbara, California, and author of the 2004-05 Horizons Bible Study. With grace and humor, she inspired participants to think of new ways to celebrate the liturgical year and to view time. The mission speaker, Susan Ryan, coordinator of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, spoke passionately about the mission her office is able to carry out with the support of Presbyterians throughout the country. She expressed deep appreciation for the health kits that have been supplied and assured that they will be needed to shore up supplies in anticipation of this year's hurricane season. The keynote speaker, Kristen York Gerling, current moderator of the Churchwide Coordinating Team of Presbyterian Women, talked about women's leadership in the church.

Participants sampled workshops with topics ranging from the use of midrash in bible study, how to start a book group using titles found in church libraries, to developing a more meaningful prayer life. Optional activities included mimestry, Chrismon workshop and a nature hike. Musical ministry ranged from a harp choir to a bagpiper!

Next year's Synod Gathering will be held June 16-18 at the Hunt Valley Inn in Baltimore, Maryland. Sure to be on the agenda are Pat and Elizabeth discussing their experiences in Brazil. Mark your calendars now for a great event!

Farewell to Rev. Hyman

With deep gratitude for her service to TPPC over the last year, TPPC will say farewell to Rev. Hyman at the end of the year. Amitiyah came to TPPC earlier this year as a parttime interim pastor after the pastor position went from a single, fulltime position to a co-pastorate at Rev. Laura Collins' request. The plan was for Amitiyah to serve while the church sought a permanent, parttime co-pastor to share the job with Laura. Xhe parttime arrangement was a good fit with Amitiyah's other vocations as writer and actress. After Rev. Collins resigned, and after receiving the views of the congregation through a congregational survey and meeting, the Session made the decision to return to a full time pastoral position and seek a full time interim pastor. Amitiyah's part time contract runs until December 31, and we are hoping to have a full time interim on board as soon as possible after that. Her last Sunday will be December 26.

An Interim Pastor Search Committee has been hard at work for several weeks. They have already begun to receive applications. The position description for the interim position is on the church website should you wish to bring it to the attention of someone who you think might be interested.

Rev. Hyman leaves with our heartfelt thanks and appreciation for her service to us during a year of change and unanticipated developments.

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TPPC Session Reacts to Conflict with Iraq

sign in front of tppc

At their February Meeting, the TPPC Session voted that a banner be placed outside and in front of the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church saying "War is Not the Answer", as a statement of TPPC's opposition to the proposed war against Iraq. The banner is currently being displayed on the side of the current sign that faces Tulip Avenue. This vote was taken after studying selections from the Book of Order and Book of Confessions

At the same meeting, the TPPC Session decided that a prayer list would be established for relatives and friends of church members who are serving in the armed forces and have been deployed, or may soon be deployed, to the Middle East. These names will be included in our weekly bulletin for prayers during worship, and in the Church's April newsletter. There is also an effort to collect addresses for these service men and women, so that letters of support can be sent to them from congregation members.

If you know of people who are either part of your family (immediate, extended or chosen) or somehow connected to TPPC, please inform the church office (email : office@takomaparkpc.org) so that our whole faith community can hold these friends in our prayers.

In addition, a letter of support has been sent from the TPPC Session to several Presbyterian congregations within Iraq, letting them know that our prayers are with them and their congregants. We will hold these Christians in our prayers as well during this difficult time.

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Special Pentecost Offering for Wind Power Approved by TPPC Session.

The Takoma Park Presbyterian Church Session approved a motion to purchase wind power as a sign of the church's commitment to providing cleaner energy to our community. A special offering was taken on Pentecost Sunday in 2003 to provide further funds for the support of non-polluting energy sources.

An article by Co-Pastor Laura Collins inviting other faith communities to join in this action can be accessed from this website.

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TPPC to Take Part in Turn the Tide

The TPPC Session has chosen to take on a special environmental challenge as a congregation. Turn the Tide is a program of nine simple actions we can take individually and as a community, which will have a positive, measurable impact on the well being of God's creation. We will be asking members to sign up to take these steps at church over the coming weeks. Booklets will be provided describing the action steps and the direct effect they will have on the environment. Our personal and congregational efforts will save water, trees, and sea life, and will reduce climate-warming emissions, which will all be calculated so that we can see the results immediately.

This is a wonderful opportunity for us as a community of faith to make a difference for the health of our planet. If Noah could build the ark, surely we can take a few simple steps!

For more information you may go to http://www.newdream.org/turnthetide/faith.html, or sign up online on the Turn the Tide website. You may also contact the church office (301-270-5550 or office@takomaparkpc.org) to sign up.

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Session Affirms Statement on Palestine by Rev. Clif Kirkpatrick

The Session of TPPC recently voted to affirm and add our Amen to Stated Clerk Clif Kirkpatrick's statement dated April 5, 2002, addressing recent events in Israel and Palestine. Rev. Kirkpatrick's statement can be accessed from the Witherspoon Society website (www.witherspoonsociety.org/kirkpatrick_letter.htm).

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Rev. Samson Khumalo honored

On November 5, 2000, The Takoma Park Presbyterian Church honored the life and ministry of the Reverend Samson Khumalo during our All Saints Day worship service. Reverend Khumalo spent a great deal of time visiting our congregation during the early 1980s from his native South Africa, and was the founder of Diakonia, an ecumenical ministry based in Durban, South Africa, which works with local churches in community development, and in building a just and democratic South Africa. The TPPC Session has issued a proclamation praising the life and work of Reverend Samson Khumalo.

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Statement from TPPC Session

A statement was adopted by the Session of Takoma Park Presbyterian Church at its monthly meeting on Thursday August 3, 2000 in reaction to the recent actions of the Presbyterian Church (USA). This statement will be sent to our Presbytery Office and publicized in other ways, including articles in the Montgomery Gazette and the Washington Blade. Please feel free to distribute this statement to others; for more information, please contact the TPPC Church Office at 301-270-5550.

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