Commentaries

"This I Believe" by Michael K. Beard (Nov. 17 Sermon)

Over the years, there have been many rifts and divisions over important issues such as Revolution, Slavery, War, who could administer the Sacraments, Race Relations, and Women's rights to be ministers. And now the issue of equal treatment of all God's children. All have been debated at this very pulpit from various sides of the issue.

Seven Things to Start Today to Dismantle Racism

Reposted from Mary Kay Totty's blog,

Terence Crutcher. Keith Lamont Scott. Two more beloved dark-skinned children of God killed in the streets of US cities by law enforcement. Two more families devastated as they mourn loved ones dead too early, and dead unnecessarily. As I write this post, 706 people have been shot and killed by police in the United States in 2016 — and there’s three and a half months left in this year. That is more than two people per day! The Washington Post is keeping a count here. 

This cannot be ignored. We are being destroyed by racism and we must repent of the sin of racism and make bold efforts to dismantle racism.

Grace Abounds

By Mary Kay Totty The closest eatery to Dumbarton UMC was the Five Guys Burgers at the corner of Dumbarton and Wisconsin, a mere half block from the church. Five Guys was a favorite lunch spot for young adult Dumbartonians. Many a Sunday they wokuld wander over for a burger and soda. When the weather cooperated, they may bring their burgers back to the church steps for an impromptu picnic. I appreciate the hospitality these young adults extend to their pastor by always welcoming me to join them when my Sunday schedule permits.

The World Needs More Lace

laceBy Mary Kay Totty

Tatting.

I love to tat.

Tatting brings me joy and delight.

Tatting centers and grounds me.

And by tatting, I mean lace-making, not anything to do with tattoos.

Tatting is a form of lace-making using one basic double stitch to create patterns of rings and chain for edgings, doilies, jewelry. The world needs more lace.

The Year of Weddings

shoesBy the Rev. Mary Kay Totty

This has been a year of great weddings! I love these joyous occasions when friends and family gather from far and wide to celebrate the love and loyalty of two people. I have officiated or attended at least eight of these wonderful events this year. I want to share with you about four of these weddings.

Bringing Communion to the Capitol Steps

at Supreme CourtBy Mary Kay Totty    It was supposed to be my day off, but instead I brought communion to the steps of the Supreme Court. On June 26, most expected that the court's decision on marriage equality would not come until the following Monday.

Connecting with Our Past

In my early years at Dumbarton, I got the impression that modern, enlightened parishioners had replaced narrow-minded,  intolerant church goers in the 1960s and 1970s. My work on Dumbarton’s history project in 1992 convinced me that things weren’t that simple.

Our Home-Grown Effort to Help Honduran Youth

Body: 

OYE“It all started right here in (Dumbarton UMC) Sunday School.” So says Justin Eldridge Otero, the co-founder of Organization for Youth Empowerment (OYE), the nonprofit organization created to help the youth of Honduras overcome poverty and violence. On Tuesday, OYE received the US President’s Arts and Humanities award, the only international organization so honored this year. Youth leaders of the organization will accept the award at a special White House ceremony, hosted by Michelle Obama on Thursday.

In the 10 years since its birth, OYE has expanded from a scholarship program to an organization that provides safe space, mentors for youth, job training, peer group discussions, recreational activities, a radio station, and a wide range of life skills training to over 100 youth.

Justin and Ana Luisa Ahern were just teens when they first visited Honduras on a mission trip. Honduras has been identified as one of the poorest and most dangerous countries in the world, and El Progreso is just 30 minutes from San Pedro Sula, currently identified as the most violent city. El Progreso, a city of approximately 300,000 people, is located along the northern border where Mexican drug cartels routinely ply their wares and target youth as both workers and victims

As volunteers in mission, Justin and Ana supported the work of COPPROME orphanage where they lived among the children served, heard their stories, and shared about their own lives with the children that they met. They discovered that when the children reached the age of majority (16 years), they were turned out on their own, usually without any training for what they would encounter in the real world. Many of the girls ended up on the streets, easy targets for drug warlords.

Returning to the US, the stories and memories continued to haunt the young teens. They began to think about ways to make a change for the children they met. They decided to ask their church family for help. One Sunday morning during sharing they asked for donations to fund scholarships that would allow five young women to go on to school rather than to the streets. They easily raised the modest sum, but pulled by their yearning to help and encouraged by Christ’s teachings of helping the poor and seeking justice for the marginalized, they returned to El Progreso after college to spend a year volunteering.

Ana and Justin continued to collect information, interview students, and find out more about Honduran life. They realized that access to education was one of the biggest roadblocks to overcoming the cylces of poverty and violence. But more than scholarships, they knew that the youth needed training in basic life skills, leadership, public speaking, managing money. They envisioned a program that would empower the young people to help themselves. They thought that a non-profit organization might be the way to carry out that dream. OYE was born.

OYE means “listen up!” and stands for Organization for Youth Empowerment. Over the years, it has changed the lives of hundreds of young people. This year OYE awarded 75 scholarships that allowed more students to go to college. Moving into the future, OYE is working to engage businesses and the government to support its mission and hopes to award 95 scholarships next year. Its latest campaign, #stayhome, encourages young Hondurans to plan a future in Honduras rather than head north, working to turn the negative cycles around. Find out more about OYE at www.oyehonduras.org Find out what your $600 can do to change the life of a young Honduran student.

--By Mittie Quinn

 

The Only Way to Peace is Love

 

By the Rev. Mary Kay Totty: This week we celebrate Thanksgiving, a holiday in part to commemorate the safe arrival of European ancestors to North America, where they sought to live free of religious persecution. Today, many in our country would deny a welcome to other refugees seeking to live free of religious persecution.