From Bishop Ortiz Concerning the Events of January 6
Dear Friends in Christ,
This morning, clergy from Delaware-Maryland and Metropolitan Washington D.C. Synods gathered in prayer as protest at Luther Place Memorial Church in Washington D.C. What began as a solemn, peaceful witness, was interrupted by self-identified Trump supporters who barged into the encircled sacred space held by those present. These individuals proceeded to re-enact the murder of George Floyd in our midst and took pictures in front of the Black Lives Matter sign and Martin Luther statue.
In the words of Bishop Bill Gohl of the Delaware-Maryland Synod, “This holy ground was desecrated by those who mocked our purpose and prayer, including a man dressed in a faux animal skin vest who made fun of ‘…that n*gger George Floyd.’ This is a surreal experience that our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) colleagues know all too well. Kyrie eleison.”
I am writing this as a Bishop who is Latina; as one who has experienced first-hand the sinful nature of racism and white supremacy throughout my entire life. As I stood with my colleagues and witnessed evil manifest right before my eyes, I was paralyzed. I was paralyzed by the audacity and the spirit of entitlement and pride. I was paralyzed by the utter inability to recognize the humanity in Black and Brown bodies to the point of mocking and re-enacting such a violent act.
Later, as we left the space and blessed Pastor Karen Brau, along with those who were staying in prayer locally throughout the night, we received word of protestors growing in number around the Capitol. I safely arrived home to the unfolding of utter chaos.
I am writing this as I watch the news and witness anarchy. Our democracy has never been perfect and what we are collectively experiencing is testing the resolve of our nation.
I honestly don’t have the words in this moment, so I turn to the prophets of our past. The words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have been guiding me personally and professionally. In his sermon entitled, “Transformed Non-Conformist,” inspired by Romans 12:2, Dr. King states:
“In spite of [the] prevailing tendency to conform, we as Christians have a mandate to be nonconformists. The apostle Paul, who knew the inner realities of the Christian faith, counseled, ‘Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ We are called to be people of conviction, not conformity; of moral nobility, not social respectability. We are commanded to live differently and according to a higher loyalty.”
The conviction and loyalty that we are called to as people of faith is to the Gospel. Dr. King continues, “If the church of Jesus Christ is to regain once more it’s power, message, and authentic reign, it must conform only to the demands of the Gospel.”
What we are witnessing today is a conviction of sorts and, some might argue that, the actions of the protestors in D.C. are an embodiment of their convictions. However, we must interrogate the convictions that inspire such actions, behaviors, and presence in the world.
As people of faith, we are called to conform only to the demands of the Gospel; demands that always bend towards justice. The demands of the Gospel never justify the killing of a community, of a body, of a spirit. The demands of the Gospel recognize humanity in each of God’s beloved human creation. The demands of the Gospel require dignity and respect, for stranger, for neighbor, and for creation. The demands of the Gospel speak to life, and life abundant.
As the church of Jesus Christ, in this moment, you and I are called to “…stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. We are called to take up the whole armor of God so that we may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” – Ephesians 6:11-13 I am in prayer with and for you, myself, and our nation and I ask that you join me. Look to hear from me and your church leaders in the coming days and weeks as we live into our call as the church of Jesus Christ, for such a time as this.
May God give us grace never to sell ourselves short;
Grace to conform only to the demands of the Gospel;
Grace to lean into life and life abundant;
And grace to stand firm in bold and boundless love.
In the name of the Triune God, the One who creates, liberates, and sustains us all. Amen.
Bishop Leila Ortiz
Here is a link to the full message and video.
Outdoor Worship on Sunday, January 17
Weather permitting, join us outdoors (with facial covering and maintaining strict physical distance) on this Second Sunday of Christmas, January 17th at 12:15 on the Potomac Street side of the church for a brief service of worship in conjunction of the food collection for AFAC. This brief service includes an order for confession and forgiveness, a reading and reflection, prayers of intercession, the Lord’s Prayer and a blessing. This has become an important way that we can safely gather as church during the pandemic.
A New Bible Study Starts January 11
Calling for Additional Worship Leaders
Sharing Your Giving Plans
Haven’t let Resurrection know yet how you plan to support its worship and programs? There’s still time. Please consider joining the 42 individuals and families, as of Jan. 4, who shared their intention to provide the resources the church needs for its 2021 budget. Together with 16 members whose automatic contributions will continue through the “Simply Giving” program, the total of 58 pledges is just three behind last year – and five families who pledged and contributed last year have yet to offer their intentions. The pledged offerings we’ve received thus far would only cover a little more than 50 percent of the 2021 budget our Congregation Council is proposing – it’s important for the church to know how you and your family intend to help with Resurrection’s programs. Please submit your giving intent form at one of our outdoor Sunday services, mail it to the church office, or use the online giving intent form.
2021 Offering Envelopes
Yes – although we aren’t meeting in-person each week for worship services, your weekly offering envelopes for 2021 are here! They will be available for you to pick up at our Jan. 17 socially-distant outdoor service – please come and get yours!
Responding to Resurrection’s Needs
This has been a difficult year, one like few of us have ever experienced. Yet even though we haven’t been able to meet in person as a congregation since March, this pandemic has shown us in new ways how important our church is to our lives, our families, and our community. Resurrection has responded to this crisis by developing virtual worship and education programs and by supporting ministries to our community in innovative ways.
Now your church needs you to respond. In the absence of our usual Sunday services, Resurrection has missed out on a large part of nearly $20,000 given in loose offerings at services last year, although members are using the “Donate” button on the RELC website to continue to make offerings. Even so, our offerings have dropped off more than 9 percent this year and are currently 8 percent behind the church’s actual expenses, even though our expenses are also less than anticipated.
As you consider your year-end contributions, remember what Resurrection has meant to you, your family and your neighbors in these trying times and the importance of providing our church with the resources it needs to maintain and expand its work. And please remember to pledge your intent to ensure that the congregation will support Resurrection’s proposed budget for its services and ministries in 2021. Please prayerfully consider a generous year-end offering to celebrate the light of Christ’s coming and God’s blessings in these dark days.
Important Announcement on RELC'S Annual Meeting
The next RELC annual meeting will be Sunday, January 24, 2021 and will be conducted virtually. More details will follow. The Council has approved changes to the model constitution for congregations that were approved at the 2019 church wide assembly and must be sent to the congregation 30 days before the meeting date. These changes were recommended by RELC's Administration Committee for the 2020 annual meeting but were deferred to the annual meeting in 2021. The proposed changes to the model constitution are below.
Coming Soon: Elections for New Members of the RELC Congregation Council!
Elections for new members of RELC's Congregation Council will take place as usual at our Annual Congregational Meeting in January. The Congregation Council serves as a core team of leaders for our congregation as we undertake together as a local church God’s mission in the world. These are both exciting and challenging times for our church, for our nation, and for our world. If you have passion about the future directions of Resurrection Church’s mission, and if you sense the possible nudges of God’s call to you to serve on Council, please engage in prayerful discernment about becoming a nominee for election to the Council.
You may contact members of this year's Nominating Committee for more information, to express interest in being nominated or to enquire about how to nominate someone else:
For Your Prayers at Home
In addition to our usual prayers of intercession in our home worship, we encourage your prayers throughout the week for the following: the family of Don Hanson; Lee Hanson; Linnea, Bob and Olivia Hoppe; Barb Jensen; Charlotte Boeck; Gretchen Zeltner; Lynn Kiewel; John Beston; Frank Fuelling; Phillip Swingler; Michael Chaffier; Maria Liwski; Grant Aldonis; Angie; Kyler; Debbie; Kat.
Opportunity for Bible Study, Lectio Divina, and Supportive Conversation
Join us for about an hour every other Thursday morning at 11:00 am on Zoom for Bible Study, lectio divina and conversation about the upcoming Sunday’s Gospel reading. Pastor Linman leads these occasions. Spending time with our appointed Gospel readings promises to enrich the experience of Sunday Home Worship. The next such occasion is Thursday, January 7.
On the alternating Thursdays, this group gathers for fellowship, checking in and supporting each other, as well as spending time discussing the reflection questions from the previous Sunday sermon.
Clothes Closet Update (Not Accepting Donations)
Due to the pandemic, the Clothes Closet is closed. At this time, it has been decided that the Clothes Closet will remain closed until further notice. All previously accepted donations have been re-donated to charities who are still operational. We kindly ask that no further donations be left in the Clothes Closet because the room creates too much moisture for storing clothing. Any items left in the room will likely become damaged and destroyed by mold. The Clothes Closet volunteers and ministry leaders will continue to meet and discuss the future of this ministry at RELC. We thank you very much for your understanding and patience during this time.
Provided is a Home Faith Formation Calendar, updated each week with the following week’s recorded content. For those who couldn’t tune in live, see those resources available to you now. Check out too suggestive home activities, lectionary readings, and resources for racial justice for all ages.
The best ways to contact Pastor Linman