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Weekly Update

Holy Beginnings

This past Sunday we concluded our series, Holy Listening. My hope was that we would practice listening—listening to the voices of people of color, listening to our own discomfort and narratives, and listening for God’s voice in the midst of it all. It was challenging. It raised many more questions than it answered. It was hope-filled. It was holy, as we invoked God’s presence every step of the way. 

Moving forward, there are countless practical problems that deserve our immediate attention as we work towards building a more just society. Our purpose, as a Christian community, is to gain clarity about how our Christian identity shapes our engagement in these conversations. The following piece of research sheds light on one of the many reasons this matters. To be frank, it took my breath away. 

Robert P. Jones, the head of the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonpartisan polling and research organization,wrote in his new book, “The more racist attitudes a person holds, the more likely he or she is to identify as a white Christian. The correlation is just as pronounced among white evangelical Protestants as it is among white mainline Protestants and white Catholics—and stands in stark contrast to the attitudes of religiously unaffiliated whites.”

The church, as an institution, has not always been on the right side of history. I know that more is possible both for our church and each of us as individuals. I share all of this knowing that our church is full of genuinely good people. Being good people is no longer sufficient. We have to actively wrestle with our Gospel values and the ways in which those values necessarily inform our actions. 

At the end of this first round of discussions, I am left with a profound sense of gratitude that so many in the congregation were willing to tread into uncomfortable terrain. I will soon be sharing about the next steps of our multi-phased process that will guide us deeper into an awareness of our role as Christians in this national dialogue. We will continue to engage in this holy work together.

You are loved. You are missed. You are a blessing. 

Beth   

Diocesan Wide Worship Service on Sunday, September 6

St. Michael’s will not be holding a separate service this Sunday as The Bishops of the Diocese of Virginia have called all churches to participate in a Diocesan Wide Worship service over Labor Day Weekend. The service will be available for premiere at 8 AM on YouTube Live. It will remain available for viewing after this initial premiere. Please click here to download the worship bulletin. 
No Coffee Hour this Sunday, September 6.

Worship Schedule for September 

Beginning Sunday, September 13, we will offer two services on the lawn weekly at 8 AM and 9:30 AM. We will continue to offer virtual worship on Zoom at 11 AM. Registration for September 13 services will begin Tuesday, September 8 on the Outdoor Worship page of our website.  

Back to School Care Package Pick Up 

Please plan to retrieve your Back to School Care Package and get a distanced blessing from Beth on Sunday, Sunday, September 13. I will be available in the Memorial Garden following outdoor worship services, or from 12-1PM.

Save the Date: St. Michael’s Annual Blood Drive in Memory of Kim Sutter

Sunday October 11, 1:00–7:00 PM

Thank you to the donors who gave blood during the August virtual blood drive. We counted 9 donors who donated in August (or shortly before.)  It's very heartening that so many were able to donate on such short notice to make a difference in the lives of patients of all ages. Way to go, St. Michael’s!

The landscape around the pandemic is constantly changing, and Inova Blood Donor Services is now able to host blood drives out in the community. St. Michael’s will host a blood drive in memory of Kim Sutter on Sunday, October 11 from 1:00 to 7:00 PM. Further information and a sign up link will be coming soon.

Staying Connected

Our Wednesday evening virtual check-ins will resume on Wednesday, September 16.

You may find the latest COVID-19 reports from the Virginia Department of Health here.

Creative Pledging

During this time of separation, we are tremendously grateful to everyone who has submitted their pledge through creative means. We are still checking the mail and would be happy to receive your contribution. Please know that we are making deposits less frequently than normal to attend to the safety of our counters. This means there may be a more significant lag than normal in the time it takes for a contribution to clear your bank account. You may also submit a pledge through online giving. We are grateful for this faithful generosity, which remains essential to our mission. 
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