Our Efforts to Help the People of Puerto Rico

Our commitment to Puerto Rico continues!! During Fort Washington's most recent trip to Puerto Rico, Rev. Dr. Damaris Whittaker along with member and medical professional Dr. Karen Dorsey-Sheares work in organizing a Mission. Many thanks to the staff of Salud Integral de Montaña and Dr. Elba Diaz, Ciencias Medicas, UPR. Jenny Morillo worked on agricultural projects at Casa Solidaria with Deacon Edna Benitez from Middle Collegiate Church. We are dedicated to leading efforts to help the people of Puerto Rico. Would you join us?

Pray for New Zealand

Dear FWCC familia,

This has been a time of mourning in many ways. We have watched from afar as a mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand has taken the lives of those simply trying to serve God in their own way. Through it all, we have held each other and found hope in community, and our shared values and faith. We have been reminded that we are not alone, and that we are not powerless.

I encourage you to write letters of love and hope to the mosques affected:

• 223A Linwood Avenue, Linwood, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand

• 101 Deans Ave, Riccarton, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand

If you are able, please visit the New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations and write in the book of condolences, or contribute via email at nzpmun@gmail.com.

Paz y Amor,

Rev. Damaris D. Whittaker

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Traveling While Black: Screening and Conversation

Participants of “Traveling While Black: Screening and Conversation” had the opportunity to join us for a screening of the immersive virtual reality film “Traveling While Black,” directed by Roger Ross Williams, made in collaboration with Felix & Paul Studios and Oculus.

This was followed by a discussion between Dr. Staples and Marcia Fingal, chief outreach officer and global impact program manager of Intersections International. Our very own Reverend Dr. Damaris D. Whittaker, senior minister at Fort Washington Collegiate Church, joined the conversation.

Additional thanks to all who attendants, our stellar staff, volunteers, Intersections International, and the The New York Times who helped to make this event a huge success.

Christchurch Massacre: A call for love and solidarity

Dear FWCC family,
 
On Friday afternoon, March 15, 2019, in Christchurch, New Zealand, white supremacists opened fire in multiple mass shootings at two mosques.  As of today, we know that 49 people were killed and more than 20 are seriously injured.  Our hearts are broken, and our spirits are shaken at the horror of this senseless act of violence, in a sacred space of worship.
 
At the same time, it was Thursday evening at Fort Washington Collegiate Church when we were gathered together engaging in a courageous and sacred conversation on race. Now more than ever, we need to continue to speak against hate and intolerance. We are a church with #Loveonthemove!
 
Fort Washington Collegiate Church unites with our sister churches and ministries of The Collegiate Churches of New York, and categorically condemns the horrific shootings at the Friday prayer services.
 
Hate based on religion, race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation has no place in our world, our nation or our city.  
 
We mourn for and support the people of New Zealand and Muslim people around the world in their time of grief, as the toxic mix of hate and gun violence that has plagued the United States has now ravaged yet another corner of the world.
 
What can you do?

  1. Now is the time for worldwide solidarity. Send a message of love & solidarity to the Muslim families of Christchurch here.

  2. Pledge to fight white nationalism. Donate to victims here.

  3. Spread the word. #ChristchurchMosqueAttack

  4. Call, Text or email a friend who is Muslim or Sikh—let them know they are loved and you stand with them. Find ways to show your solidarity.

  5. Pray.

Finally, in the words of the famous hymn “May they know we are Christians by our love.”

Familia, sending you love and light on this darkest of days.

Paz y Amor,
Rev. Damaris D. Whittaker

The Ordination of Rev. Bridget Kelso Anthony

Rev. Bridget made history on December 9, 2018. She was the first Woman of Color ordained in the history of the new Reformed Association of the United Church of Christ. With the intention of filling the sanctuary with friends, family and parishioners, the ordination took place during our regular worship services. Indeed the church was full - service was lively with song, poetry, and dance - the celebration left many with tearful eyes. Check out some captured moments from that day. Rev. Anthony thanks everyone for all the love and support.

Photos by: B R U C E   C A I N E S   P H O T O G R A P H Y, 212-729-3562


Interfaith Thanksgiving Dinner

On Sunday, November 18th, Fort Washington Church participated in the annual interfaith Thanksgiving service and dinner of the Washington Heights Community. At 3pm members from various houses of worship attended the joint service at Hebrew Tabernacle led by Rabbi Jeffrey Gale. Fort Washington hosted the interfaith community dinner that followed. We served over 300 members of different faith groups and members of the community. We had Christians, Jews and Muslims all fellowshipping together. We had a diverse community of elders, youth and families who came out for great food, music and conversation. Families with children were able to eat in the gym and then allow their kids to exercise some of their energy.

For Washington had a cohesive team of organizers who signed up volunteers to cook, serve, and donate food. Thanks to Connie Acquaah and her team, we collected all the food items needed to serve our community. Connie’s team prepared her much loved stuffing and Rabbi Gale’s favorite mashed potatoes. But, oh, the turkey! You have never tasted turkey like this! Sabas Whittaker with Elder Beverley Sheares and Karen Sheares presented a menu of different flavors that melted your taste buds. We had smoked barbeque turkey, ginger orange turkey, garlic lemon clove turkey, honey drizzled garlic turkey, spicy curry turkey and traditional turkey. The United Palace donated rotisserie chicken with yellow rice and peas from Malecon Restaurant. In addition, the participating houses of worship donated traditional and cultural foods, home made pies, cakes and dessert, and drinks.

We served in three locations this year, the Atrium, Fellowship Hall and the Gym for families with children.  This made for a cozy but spacious gathering. Annette Padilla and Dinean Davis organized the volunteers from United Health Care, St. Elizabeth Church, Altagracia Faith, and our local Cub Scouts, Pack. Members from various youth groups came out to serve and be a part of the festivities.

By the end of the night, we had lots of food left, so volunteers took to the streets to give out plates of food. We continued to extend beyond our doors by contributing to the daily efforts of Holy Rood Church, which feeds the hungry in the area. Not only was this an opportunity to give back during a season where people are reminded to give thanks, but it was a chance to see that humanity and love still exist and love is on the move in Washington Heights.

Let us remember that there is no one season of giving--this is what God requires always.


Migrants sleeping on Paso Del Norte Bridge at El Paso border moved to Juárez shelter

More than 100 migrants who were sleeping on the Paso Del Norte Bridge waiting to enter the United States have been taken to a Juárez immigrant shelter, officials said.

The migrants were moved for safety and health reasons ahead of the arrival of freezing overnight temperatures in the region, Juárez Mayor Armando Cabada said in a statement.

Small groups of migrants that have arrived in Juárez and are not part of the Central American migrant caravans traveling through Mexico, possibly heading toward Tijuana, Cabada said.

For two weeks, asylum-seeking migrants, mostly from Central America and Cuba, had been sleeping on the Mexican side of the international bridge connecting Downtown El Paso and Juárez.

See Full Article: Migrant group gathers at Paso Del Norte international bridge.

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Theologizing the Caribbean's Decolonization

Tonight is the night! The Center for Community Engagement & Social Justice is grateful that you plan to join us for the official launch of our newest initiative! We will be discussing the Caribbean's practices of spirituality, ecology, and community as forms of sovereignty and resistance in the context of U.S. imperialism. A part of tonight's success will be dependent on the community's questions and concerns that are in reference to our topic of discussion- please come with questions! 
Theologizing the Caribbean's Decolonization  
Tonight, Friday, November 16, 2018
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Union Theological Seminary - 3041 Broadway (121st and Broadway)
New York, NY 10027
Street parking available on 120th St., 122nd St., and Claremont Ave.


Faith, Public & Private: A Spiritual and Social Justice Retreat September 21-22

FWCC members, friend and our sister churches participated in Faith, Public & Private: A Spiritual and Social Justice Retreat on Friday and Saturday. We opened up with a time of food and fellowship and watched the movie, A Question of Faith, a movie about three families struck by tragedy, and how destiny forces them on a converging path to discover God's love, grace and mercy as the challenges of their fate could also resurrect their beliefs.

Saturday morning began with tai-chi and breakfast. Then Minister Bridget Kelso Anthony led us in a spirit filled devotional before beginning the series of workshops. Retreat participants attended workshops and activities delving into our faith and explored subjects on: "Raising Christian Children," with Mia McClain, "My Christian Identity," an activity led by Luisa Padilla-Korber, "Busy Parents in Christ," led by Rev. Kimberleigh Jordan, “Organizing Christian Leaders,” presented by Alfred Gill, and "Lawmaker Accountability,” presented by Johanna Garcia. Our keynote on Saturday, Reverend Vaughn led "How Do I Pray. God Talk 2.0”. There were no dry eyes in the room.

Other activities included: a spirited afternoon devotional before lunch with Elder Beverly Shears. “Prayers from The People,” which used performance and poetry to share various ways we can use prayer in our daily lives. In addition, “Finding God in the Garden,” gave people an opportunity to explore God’s presence in nature. Participants engaged in visual prayer, song and art in the Garden, led by Alexis Agliano Sanborn, Mark Williams and Dinean Davis. The retreat included live performances, art, music, a “Labyrinth Walk” and one-on-one private time with Reverend Whittaker. As always, we provided Childcare where families were able to have a time of spiritual growth and fellowship together. Rev. Whittaker led a spirited discussion at dinner where participants shared warm feelings about FWCC.

We closed out with Music for Our Souls with Porfirio Figueroa who presented a cellist playing Bach concerto before being led through the garden where Rev. Whittaker blessed every attendee with a hand washing as we exited the garden. We prayed, laughed, cried, sang, worshipped and broke bread together. This event not only enriched our spiritual growth, but brought us closer together as a family, the FWCC family.


Mission Trips to Puerto Rico

We have been very busy this summer. Rev. Damaris D. Whittaker has led two mission trips, the first with 5 youth from FWCC and the last with Middle Collegiate Church. Edna Benitez has been leading the efforts at Middle Church. We led a group of volunteers from Pax Christi in Arkansas and introduced them to our partners on the ground. During our trip we repaired three roofs of the homes of elderly women over 70 years old, who did not qualify for FEMA aid. 


BALSA Summer 2017

 

Register for Big and Little Skills Academy (BALSA) from July 5-27th at Fort Washington Collegiate Church Register now for $375!

Fort Washington Collegiate Church is located in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan at 729 W 181 Street, New York NY, 10033.  This site has newly built basketball court, state of the art equipment and classrooms, and plenty of room for participants to have loads of fun.  

Programming for our 3-week+ camp this year will include Basketball and other sports, Yoga, Nutrition, Public Speaking workshops, S.T.E.M. and Financial Literacy workshops, Education Enhancement games, Outdoor Play, and Read Aloud with Guest Appearances.  We will also be going on a trip to the Basketball Hall of Fame. 

Free (limited) tickets to the New York Liberty games will be available for families throughout the summer time!  

Spread the word about our camp and get a discount! Any questions email the Director, Jamael Lynch directly at  balsamanagement@gmail.com.

#WeAreBALSA

Click Here to REGISTER

 

Women's March, Saturday January 21st

The Women's March

WMNYC-RiseUp
SATURDAY, JANUARY 21st

UCD (Uptown Community Dems) will form part of the Northern Manhattan contingency who will march in unity at the Women's March on NYC. All are invited to join us.

Below are details of meet up: 
* 10:15 am UCD Members and friends will meet at the #1 train downtown platform of 168th St. subway station. 
* 10:30 am our UCD group will travel together to join all other participating Northern Manhattan groups at 145th Street Subway on downtown # 1 platform. 
* 11:00 am Together the Northern Manhattan contingency will ride the subway to travel to One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at United Nations and then march with our fellow New Yorkers to Trump Tower. (We are scheduled to march at 11:50.)

Although not mandatory, if you plan to join UCD, it is recommended that you RSVP to uptowncommunitydems@gmail.com. You will be provided with a group leader's name and contact cell phone number.

Guest Preacher on January 15th for MLK Celebration

Reverend Rashad Raymond Moore

Rev. Moore currently serves as Assistant Minister at The Abyssinian Baptist Church in the City of New York, under the leadership of Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts III. Reverend Moore’s responsibilities include providing creative leadership and support to the church’s ministries.

An alumnus of Morehouse College and Union Theological Seminary, Rev. Moore earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy with a minor in Religion from Morehouse in 2012.

While attending Morehouse, he served as President of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel Assistants for two consecutive years. Demonstrating potential for ministry and scholarship, he was named the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar during his senior year.

Moore earned a Master of Divinity with a concentration in Christian Social Ethics from Union Theological Seminary where he was a George Andover Taylor Scholar. A passionate preacher, teacher, and scholar, much of his research interests center on the history and philosophy of African-American Education, as well as concepts pertaining to joy, becoming, and imagination. He is a proud member of the Academy of Young Preachers and Phi Sigma Tau Philosophical Honors Society.

Driven by a deep love for the church, academy, and community, Rev. Moore’s life’s work is a reflection of I John 3:2: “Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be...”

Reverend Moore is presently pursuing a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Children, Go Where I Send Thee! A Counting Song for Advent

 
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As the boys and girls are preparing to present a Christmas pageant in the 11:00 service on December 18th, and as they are hearing the familiar stories again in Godly Play®, they are remembering that this is the beginning of a brand new church year. With the start of another church year come memories of the “good old days” — of Christmases past.  

This year we are revisiting a favorite counting song that makes the singer remember many Bible stories at the same time — CHILDREN, GO WHERE I SEND THEE.  It’s fun to do a YouTube search of this song and hear the many versions that are out there — Peter, Paul & Mary, Johnny Cash, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Kenny Rogers — and the list goes on.  

There are many versions in existence but we have decided to do this version:

Children, go where I send thee, 
How shall I send thee?
I’m gonna send thee ten by ten!

"TEN for the 10 Commandments"

"NINE for the 9 who saw the sign" 
During Advent we remember the many prophets who foretold the Birth of Jesus.  (Some versions say “NINE for the 9 all dressed so fine” and that could represent being clothed with the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5, a list of 9 including 1) Love; 2) Joy; 3) Peace; 4) Patience; 5) Kindness; 6) Goodness; 7) Faithfulness; 8) Gentleness; and 9) Self-Control.)

"EIGHT for the 8 the flood didn’t take"  
1) Noah and his sons 2) Ham, 3) Shem and 4) Japheth. Add their wives and you have a total of 8 humans who survived the Biblical Flood.

"SEVEN for the 7 on their way to heaven"
This refers to the story found in Luke 20 and Matthew 22 of the woman who had seven husbands who died, and the question was asked of Jesus: “Whose wife will she be in the resurrection?”

"SIX for the 6 who couldn’t get fixed" 
This could represent the 6 days of creation.  After the Biblical Fall, all of creation was broken and looking for redemption. 

"FIVE for the 5 who came back alive" 
There are many people in scripture who came back from the dead. Here are 5 of them:  1) Jairus the synagogue ruler'’s daughter raised from the dead by Jesus; 2) Eutychus, the boy who fell out the window while long-winded Paul preached in Troas  according to Acts 20; 3) the son of the widow of Zarephath who Elijah prayed for in I Kings 17; 4) Lazarus; 5) Jesus.

"FOUR for the 4 who stood at the door"
This stands for the four Gospel writers — 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke and 4) John.

"THREE for the Hebrew children"
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, survivors of King Nebuchandnezzar’s fiery furnace in Babylon, according to the Book of Daniel.

"TWO for Paul and Silas" 
Paul and Silas were early apostles who travelled as missionaries together.

"ONE for the itty bitty baby who was born, born, born in Bethlehem!"

 

Preparations for the Christmas Pageant are underway, and we invite you to learn this song with us!

Eric Alderfer
Director of Children’s Ministries

Advent: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love - A Way Forward in Difficult Times

The past few weeks since the election have been difficult for most New Yorkers—the result was a shocking surprise and felt like a rebuke to the progressive values so many in this city hold dear: diversity, inclusion, tolerance, and equality, among others.  

And to add insult to injury, those in the progressive Christian community have discovered that a majority of white “Christian” voters supported the candidate who ran an overtly racist, misogynistic, and xenophobic campaign—which are the antithesis of the Christian ethic to love our neighbor as ourselves.

So, where do we go from here? And what can we do to resist what feels like an existential threat to the values we hold most dear?

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