Tag Archives: interracial baptist church dc

shelter_rain

Beyond the tweeted trifling nonsense: Now is the time to worship

It is storming and you’re outside in it.  Rain in sheets and at times metal pellets of water.  Lightening, thunder, flash flood threatening you. There is a small, warm shelter nearby. What do you do?
You enter that warm shelter.
The office, the train car, the world around you is toxic.  It’s hard to breathe.  It is hard to see.  Nearby is a transparent tent.  You can see the air inside is clear and clean.  The toxic vapors are repelled and flow past it, a vapor trail.  What do you do?
You enter the clean air of that tent.
 Weariness grips you in a bone-deep ache.  Despair like shadows descend.  You see people exiting a building who seem invigorated, empowered, full of courage and hope.  They point you to the building, saying that each week they enter it and are filled, their humanity and dignity repaired.  What do you do?
Every Sunday a group of us, approximately 70, sometimes ten more sometime ten less, enter a middle school auditorium in SW Washington DC. For an hour we make that space a sanctuary of peace and a refuge, a safe place free of toxicity and hatred, a place of empowerment to all who would work for justice and peace. We sing. We pray. We listen to scripture and the Word of God is proclaimed—a Word that endures beyond the tweeted trifling nonsense of our culture.  You can taste some of this by clicking on a sermon and listening to it. Try, for example, this past Sunday’s sermon, “The Joy Formidable.”
You know when and how to get out of a storm.  You know you prefer peace to toxic rhetoric.  So what’s keeping you?  Get out of the rain.  Come, now is the time to worship. ~See you Sunday
cherubim and seraphim

The Foundations Shook: A Sermonic Response to the Election of Donald Trump

Pastor Bledsoe will preach on Sunday, November 13th a sermon entitled, “The Foundations Shook,” based upon the scripture of Isaiah 6:1-8 when the prophet, confronted by the death of his king and an apparent darkness and foreboding faced by the people, was surprisingly confronted with the reality of God.  An excerpt from tomorrow’s sermon:  ”You and I are about to step off into a Machiavellian period that would make Orwellian politicians blush.”  What is to be our response?

Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together, the writer of Hebrews wrote.  Come to worship, embrace one another and let us find a response worthy of God’s people for this time in which we live.   Remember, we worship now in our interim space at Jefferson Middle School Academy on Seventh Street, directly across from our church building.     ~See you Sunday

“I am an ally. I will stand for your right to be who you are. I am safe.” Join me in wearing a safety pin to declare to others at risk that we stand with them in these perilous times.

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old television with static

It’s Sunday, Forget The Polls

You could stay home Sunday and watch another round of talking heads.  But at this point, why would you?

You could go online and check polls at various news outlets and ideological outposts and forget coming to church for an hour to sing, pray and hear scripture read and expounded upon.  But at this point, why would you do that?

Our souls need respite from the turmoil of the world and especially we need access to light, unfettered grace and love, the truth of God-in-Christ, reconciling the world.

Saturday night, turn your clock back one hour and then Sunday morning, bring your soul to worship.  You got a soul–don’t give it to the politicos this Sunday.  Bring it to Christ for restoration, redemption, renewal and empowerment.  In the Name of God, peace to you and all whom you love. ~ See you Sunday!

Retreat, Ascend

Near the Zen garden at Bons Secour Center. photo by Pastor Michael Bledsoe.

Near the Zen garden at Bons Secour Center. photo by Pastor Michael Bledsoe.

Last Saturday we had a one-day church retreat at a beautiful center in Maryland called Bons Secour.  Since seminary days, I have been blessed to have found my way into the streams of contemplative Christianity provided by our Catholic brothers and sisters.  And Bons Secour did not disappoint–they have created a treasure of a contemplative space.

Our facilitator, Rev. Paul Clark, was also fantastic.  He is measured, wise, and insightful.  Paul designed the interactive part of our retreat and drew us into thoughtful process about our transitions in life, particularly our transition in this interim journey as a church.  Of course, as he said to me, he was blessed to work with such loving Christians.

On my own, during my individual contemplation, I discovered several places of solitude and beauty that registered cadences and notes of peace and quiet. The picture of the stone steps was at the bottom of a circle of a Zen garden out in the woods.  Its message to me is clear anyway:  in order to ascend, we need to retreat at times.  Finding a way to do that annually or every season is important but here is the lesson from Catholic contemplation:  the hours of the day offer us moments to retreat; the phases of the day from dawn to noon to dusk, provide us an opportunity to step aside and center, breathing deep and through prayerful mindfulness, achieve a peace and calm that empowers us forward into our life and the world around us.  Retreat, ascend.  ~See you Sunday

What I Learned In Middle School

arkThis past Sunday we began our interim worship journey at Jefferson Academy Middle School.  We are worshipping there at the same time we have worshipped these many years, 10 a.m.  There is parking off of 7th Street.  Since it is located across the street from our church building, getting there couldn’t be simpler.  No change in routine, same hour and basically same location.  And the congregation turned out which made for a beautiful day indeed.

I learned some things in the middle school on Sunday:

*Riverside is not so much a building as it is a people. Maybe it is fair to say that Jefferson is an ark for us at this moment.

*Worship is impacted by the configuration of a space, of that there is no doubt, but worship also transforms whatever space in which it takes place.

*People who are positive, passionate and full of purpose overcome  issues that emerge.  We are blessed with leaders and volunteers who have a can-do attitude and their example inspires the rest of us to pull together.  We’re going to grow in this place!

*The choir is composed of exceptional individuals–not just those gifted to sing or play an instrument, but those who by their faith sacrifice time to practice and then do their best to lead us in worship in a place that is not precisely set up for a congregation.

God bless all of you.  We are journeying together, worshipping together and we will grow both numerically and in our faith. Bring a chair cushion if you want.  See you Sunday in middle school!    ~Pastor Bledsoe

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Interim Journey Begins

Sunday, October 2nd, we begin our interim journey when we worship at the auditorium at Jefferson Academy Middle School. We are blessed to be worshipping in the same hour on nearly the same corner with parking.  Our choir will also be able to rehearse on the same nights at the same time as they are used to.  Nonetheless, it will take us some time to adjust to our new setting and find our way.  Hence, our slogan in these coming days:  ADJUST AND OVERCOME.

We will find solutions to problems and we’ll accept what we cannot change so we can focus on those things that we can change. We are grateful to Jefferson and the DC Public School system for leasing us this space as we witness the building of a new church edifice.  Our main office will move in the next week or so into an office across the street at the Wharf Headquarters.  Your church secretary, deacons and pastor are still available to you.  May the words written to the Hebrews (10:25) inspire us as we cross the street:

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another…

~See you Sunday