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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Autumn is my favorite time of year.  I love the changing colors, the shorter days, and the cooler nights. 

I also love the rhythm of the changing “church seasons.” Autumn - and the end of the long Pentecost season, for example, brings new church programming for all ages, the return of children and adults from summer breaks, and lots of new music!: our Joyful Voices Choir on Sunday mornings, the Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra, and this year… our new Fort Washington Community Choir.

As my time as Interim Senior Minister at Fort Washington Collegiate Church also grows shorter (the Senior Minister Search Committee has been very active over the summer months; a large, diverse and talented pool of candidates has been screened and narrowed, and face-to-face interviews will begin in mid-October), I feel very good about all the work we have accomplished together over the past (almost!) two years:

  • coming to terms with recent history
  • developing a new vision for ministry in the community
  • bringing expenses into alignment with income
  • assembling a new, talented church staff
  • beginning several new programs of outreach to the community
  • welcoming new members and developing new leaders

I am also in the process of searching for my next “call.”  I don’t yet know where my new place of ministry will be, but I’m excited about the possibilities.  Gail and I have thoroughly enjoyed our time in New York City and we’re grateful for the support you’ve given us.  

Over the coming weeks and months every effort will be made to make the conclusion of my ministry here, and the beginning of the new Senior Minister’s ministry at Fort Washington, as smooth as possible for everyone concerned.  

Change is hard–and some people handle it better than others, but, for the most part, the congregation has handled it well.   I’m confident that Fort Washington Collegiate Church is poised for a bright future as it embarks on its next chapter of ministry in northern Manhattan.