This has been a sad week for me. My furry companion of more than 15 years died. I know that many of you have experienced this loss and this grief. Our pets become part of the family and are there to love us unconditionally. I still wait to hear her little paws clip clop on the wooden floor or expect her to appear when I sit down to eat. Her absence from my office where she had one of her beds (!) makes me feel very alone. Who will help write my sermons now?!
I wonder where the last fifteen years have gone and how they could have flown by so quickly. I remember the places we lived and the people we met. In one small town after living there for five years we knew most of the folk in town. That’s because Chloe was one of the friendliest dogs I’ve known. It wasn’t my sparkling personality!!!
All this pondering causes me to think about the coming few weeks I have left here at Providence Presbyterian Church. Two years have flown by and now we getting ready to say good-bye. I remember with much joy and gratitude the drive-by welcome you all gave me, driving through my parking lot, honking your horns, yelling out to me through car windows. Lori presented me with a beautiful cake. You were welcoming in the midst of an extremely isolating pandemic. We learned to connect through Zoom. We shared bible studies and committee meetings. In a very unexpected way, we learned how to get to know one another through masks and outdoor meetings. That first summer I was here, I enjoyed going to your different homes and sitting in yards and driveways, and chatting. We have endured a most unique period of time to be the church. Together, we survived.
Over my 20 years in ministry, I have been witness to a profound change in the church. The last two years of being isolated physically, watching our loved ones become ill with COVID or standing by as over a million people in this country have died from that disease, have definitely added to the change. Phyllis Tickle wrote that she thought every 500 years the church needed to have a rummage sale. We needed to let go of the traditions that have not been helpful to being who we are called to be.
As you go forward in your ministry, with a new pastor leading you, it’s going to be important that you carefully discern the beliefs and sacred cows that you need to let go. In the many articles I have read about the great leaving that so many professions are experiencing, one thing has jumped out at me as a reason why so many pastors are leaving the church. Our call has been to serve God, to care for the spiritual lives of our parishioners. Too many of us find that today what is expected of us is more about how to be CEO’s, or technical experts, or therapists, or plumbers. If we are not always and immediately on call to be there for those who need us, we are not doing our jobs. When we are mourning or physically struggling, we must put aside those personal feelings and be ever ready to assure and comfort. Along with this, there is often not much respect given to the nature of the call experienced by those of us who go into ministry. We acknowledge that every profession has been under strain, especially in these past two years. However, it feels that the call we have to ministry is something we are asked to put aside. Where is the leadership? Where is the compassionate heart? Why aren’t you available to do what we want you to do? What makes you think you know more about the Bible than we do?
I would ask: where are those who are excited about learning about the stories of the Bible? Even if it means hearing something new and different from what you’ve always thought? Where are those who want to grow in faith? I, personally, have been attacked for speaking the truth. So many of us are afraid of preaching the gospel because it is perceived as talking about politics.
It is my prayer and hope for you, the members of PPC, that you will welcome your new pastor with open hearts. This person may have new and different ideas. They may present different ways of doing mission. They may long for you to be a community of faith that doesn’t look like it did ten years ago.
This is a congregation of loving and smart people. I know you will accept the challenge and love this person who is coming to build and plant.
As I look ahead with excitement about what comes next, I also acknowledge my sadness at leaving. I will miss you. We have shared difficult times but we have kept going forward. Good things have happened here.
God be with you.
Sunday Worship @10 am- in person and Zoom
“Hybrid” service will continue to be accessible via ZOOM
At its February 17 meeting, updated May 20, Session decided it is becoming safe enough to return to in-person worship, for those who are comfortable doing so. Previous safety precautions will continue to be in effect:
Mask wearing optional at PPC.
However, in keeping with the Department of Health recommendations, PPC continues
to encourage wearing a mask in the church building, and staying up-to-date with Covid
19 vaccines and boosters.
“Social distancing” to the extent possible
Windows will be open for ventilation – dress accordingly
“Check-in” with greeter, providing your name and phone contact #
Please attend only if you are feeling well and are symptom-free
Vaccination is strongly urged for all who are able to be
Fans in the sanctuary
In an effort to make worship as comfortable as possible (lacking air conditioning) fans will be in use, including the ceiling fan. If the resulting circulation of air is a Covid concern for you--or you just want to keep cool--please join the service via ZOOM. Thank you for your understanding.
Please use the front door. The ramp entrance is not yet available. Contact the church in advance to insure that the elevator is available to you if needed.
More details on the church's reopening plan can be found HERE
Dial in by phone: (646) 558-8656
Meeting ID: 817 8173 3351
Click on the image below to open/download worship bulletin and hymns.
We hope you will continue to support the mission and ministry of the church if and as you are able—online, through your bank's bill payment system, or with a check mailed to the church (500 Hope Street, Providence, RI 02906). All offerings are gratefully received. Thank you!
Transcripts and audio recordings of recent sermons can be found on our website here. Audio recordings of older sermons are available here.
Please read the introduction and chapter 1: “Unspeakable Conversations,” by Harriet McBryde Johnson.
If you’d like to read more of the book, please feel free to choose the chapters that most interest you.
The PPC mission highlight for June, July and August is Access to the Arts. Following the overall mission theme of Awareness, Inclusion and Active Participation (via donations and volunteering), we are highlighting the accessibility of Rhode Island arts organizations and associated nonprofits.
The highlighted nonprofit organizations for the month of July are “Hidden Gems”. These organizations may not be particularly well known but are definitely worth visiting and supporting.
The Tomaquag Museum in Exeter, RI
The mission at Tomaquag is to educate the public and promote thoughtful dialogue regarding Indigenous history, culture, arts, and Mother Earth and connect to Native issues of today. Tomaquag Museum envisions its future as an Indigenous Cultural Education destination which engages visitors in thoughtful dialogue that promotes understanding and strives to create experiences that transform people's lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes, and knowledge of Indigenous Cultures and the interrelationship with the wider world.
The museum is open for public drop-in visitors on Wednesdays and Saturdays and ticket prices run from free to $6.00.
Stages of Freedom was founded in 2016 to provide programs and initiatives which elevate African American lives and build bridges across cultural divides. The programs and initiatives include (but are not limited to) Youth Empowerment Workshops, Historical Walking Tours and Swim Lessons for Youth.
The African American Museum and Bookstore is located in Downtown Providence and is dedicated to telling the stories of Black history, excellence and accomplishment in Rhode Island.
Weekly PPC prayer meeting will be on break until mid August.
NEW PROVIDENCE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH DIRECTORY
We are excited to share with the PPC community that we are beginning to gather contact information for our church’s new directory. Our previous pictorial directory was printed 6 years ago. Marianne Harrison has volunteered to design the new directory, Sally Lockhart and Monica Vander Baan will gather the contact information from our PPC community.
There are 3 methods to share your information with us.
• Use the link in the Providence Presbyterian Publicist to enter your contact information into the Google form out the Google Form
• Contact Sally Lockhart or Monica Vander Baan by email, text or phone with your information.
• To receive a printed form to ﬁll out contact Sally Lockhart or Monica Vander Baan by email, text or phone.
Rather than having a photographer come to PPC and take photos of everyone, we would like people to send their personal photos of themselves and families for use in the directory. In looking through past church directories both from our church and other churches, we found that we the personal photos are most welcoming. Photos should be sent to Marianne Harrison.
Thank you and we look forward to receiving all the photos and contact information.
Send photos to Marianne Harrison at email@example.com
Contact Sally Lockhart by phone at 401-624-3144 from 10:00-12:00 AM or 6:00-8:00PM; by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Monica Vander Baan by phone at 508-479-1611; or by email at email@example.com
We now have two accessible parking spaces in front of the church on Hope St. Please reserve them on Sundays for those who need them. Many thanks to Lee Vander Baan and the Building & Grounds committee for working with the City of Providence to get these installed!
Volunteer Greeters Needed
In order to make it possible for in-person worship to work, we need extra volunteers!
Two volunteers are needed at every service to help greet attendees and help each person record their attendance via a sign-in sheet for the purposes of contact tracing if needed. If you are planning to attend in-person worship, please help us make the church service possible by serving as a Worship Service Greeter & Sign-In Table Volunteer: