From The Pastors

Our program at the Washington New Church varies a great deal from week to week, but there are some constants, like Sunday worship at 11:00 am, and regular weekly or bi-weekly meetings of small groups for reading and discussion on spiritual themes.  Among the groups meeting currently are two that are in the midst of a study of the life after death, based on the book, Heaven and Hell, by Emanuel Swedenborg,  one biweekly on Monday nights and the other biweekly on Wednesday mornings, both in local home settings.  All such meetings are open to the public and new members are welcome at any time.
In addition currently we are featuring a short survey course in the Prophets of the Old Testament.  These are scheduled approximately every two weeks on Wednesday evening at the church.

But life at the New Church is much more than just study and discussion.  On November 10th, for example, our young teens will be hosting a “coffee house” social for all ages at the church, and on the first weekend in December we will ring in the Christmas season with a special hymn sing and social event for all members and friends.

In addition we are pleased and proud to be associated with an urban gardening co-operative called Forrested, LLC  that provides innovative insights and hands on training for folks interested in sustainable agriculture and related practices.  A short walk from the church campus, this 10 acre operation is a tremendous asset to our school children as well as the larger community of citizens looking to create a more verdant, food producing urban environment.

In 2014 the church completed a major renovation and addition project that has greatly enhanced our ability to serve not only our own needs but those of the community around us, too.  Although the building is not visible from the main highway it is easy to find on a beautiful, wooded property less than a quarter mile east of Enterprise Road, just south of the Rte. 50 overpass.  We welcome visitors ANY time, and look forward to welcoming YOU whenever you get a chance to stop in.

And don’t forget one of our main uses here is our school – The Washington New Church School.  With grades from Junior Kindergarten through Sophomore year of High School we keep pretty busy with routine and special events focused on the children.  NOTE, whereas the school began 45 years ago as a service for church members, we now have an open application policy and we welcome new students from all over the surrounding community.  We are highly integrated, academically oriented, and spiritually focused.  Check out the parent testimonials on the school page of this site.
Finally, unlike many preachers today, most of us on the pastoral staff write out our sermons and make them available in print or PDF to anyone who is interested.  See Sermons by Category for a listing of recent sermons, including the most recent or featured sermon.
We look forward to meeting and greeting you in person!
 MDG Signature 2

 

The Opportunity Before Us

From
September 23, 2019

Hello, friends! I hope you all had a great summer, and are looking forward to the coming change of seasons. For myself, it has been a summer full of moving in, setting up and planning, with a break in the middle for some important down time at the beach.

As a part of my planning and also my down time, I have been reflecting on the state of the Washington New Church, and also of the world at large around us. When I look at this congregation, here’s what I see:

We have a lot of really good people who care about the health and success of our church community and school. This shows up in many ways, including volunteering to get all sorts of jobs done, providing financial donations, and actively participating in our worship services and social gatherings. What’s more, we have some participation from representatives of multiple age groups, which is not always true in many church communities. And we have a lot of people who are serious and dedicated when it comes to living the life of religion as defined for the New Church.

We also have declining numbers in both our worship participation and our school enrollment. And while we do have some younger adults engaged in the life of the church, we don’t really have so many from that age group that one could confidently predict the continued existence of this group forty years from now.

So far I don’t think I’ve said anything here that most people didn’t already know. Basically, I believe we are a healthy yet fragile, society. And I believe that there is a path for us to follow that will build on our strengths while shoring up our weaknesses. Right now we have an excellent foundation from which to grow in new ways, and I am excited by the possibilities that are before us. Our task now is to confirm our commitment to the core elements that are our strengths, and then look at everything else with an open mind. Changes will need to be made if we want the Washington New Church to continue to serve people in the next generation, but that doesn’t mean we have to lose anything essential.

What we do need to lose, however, is complacency. Complacency comes from success, and in the long arc of this congregation’s history, there has been a lot of success. From its founding, this community has done a great deal of good in the world. So it could be easy for us to rest on our past a little longer, to coast along doing what has always been done, and to take a wait and see approach toward the future. To do so would be wasting an opportunity.

Right now, we are in a strong enough position that we can afford to experiment a little–to try new ideas and new approaches toward accomplishing the mission we’ve always had. But that window of opportunity is slowly closing. In another ten years, if nothing changes, we will be a little bit smaller, and so a little less resilient. With fewer people around, we will have fewer options for change.

There is no reason for panic or anxiety today. Today we are still a healthy, useful part of the Lord’s larger kingdom. But let’s not waste this opportunity. If we can be willing to adapt to the needs of our surrounding community and of our own younger generations, then we will set the stage for another half century of fruitful service as a church.

And this is not just about “survival”. Surviving in some form isn’t that hard. What I’m asking for is a commitment to thriving. Because the world around us desperately needs us. It’s a topic for another time, but in brief I see a lot of needless suffering in our surrounding culture, and a lot of it is directly addressable by healthy church communities. In today’s world people are increasingly feeling a lack of three things: meaning, purpose and connection. This leads to despair, addiction, violence, suicide, and other forms of human suffering. But the Washington New Church can play a powerful local role in countering those evils.

That’s the opportunity I see before us. I want to see what we can do to strengthen the church because I think we have a role to play in how the Lord relieves suffering. But only if we decide to step up to the opportunity while it is here.

More on this in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I want to hear from you: what do you consider the essence of what is good about the Washington New Church? Write, call, or drop by and tell me what’s important to you about what we do and who we are. I look forward to hearing from you.

Mac Frazier – August 27, 2019

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