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Dear Friends in Christ,

 

I read an article this past week from “Progressive Christianity”, an online newsletter. It was started by John Shelby Spong under his own name and since he has died has now become representative of the community he helped to form.

 

In an essay by Rev. Lauren Van Ham, she tells of meeting recently with a colleague who is First Nation Cree. She writes, “Throughout the conversation, there was a steady stream of confidence, curiosity, and hope. Really smiling at one point, my colleague said, ‘I’m an eternal optimist who comes from a history of despair.’”

 

Now, that is some statement. Wow! Since 2016 it has been hard for me to recognize the America I thought I knew. I confess to long periods of despair. As one columnist in the NYTimes wrote last week, “we are a merciless nation.” We have not acted on behalf of the oppressed or the voiceless. There are numerous citations we could make of Supreme Court decisions that were made that punished Black people, such as the Dred-Scott Decision.

 

I had thought of myself as an optimist but that optimism has been tempered by the stories I see and hear. Full of the despair that has been, the despair that is present, and the predicted despair, yet to come.

 

Without being Pollyannas, how will we maintain any sense of optimism? As I quoted James Baldwin in the bulletin last week, he wrote “Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”  Maybe the first step in maintaining optimism is to face (with our eyes and heart wide open) at what is happening to life everywhere we look right now.

 

Current data makes it clear the required changes in human behavior and infrastructure will not happen in time to keep global warming within 1.5 degrees C. The consequences will continue to be devastating and interrelated. They will be interrelated because everything is interrelated. This will impact economic policies, job security, gender equality, and the ability for everyone to have clean water. Where are our teaches who model for us the way to change this? Pope Francis wrote, “The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.” (My emphasis)

 

What is your relationship to growth? To change? To excess? To enough? What are we, as the community of faith on the corner of Hope and Mt. Hope in Providence, RI, doing to show our neighbors what Christian faith can do in response to the despair that surrounds us? Do we believe that a transition to a new form of society is actually possible? It’s going to involve bold action to reduce damage to the climate, nature, and other people; women who have been relegated to having no agency over their own bodies and those who will be hurt by the actions of over-religious coaches.

 

Our optimism must come from our reverence for the mystical that appears before us every day. I think of those nights, lying on the beach, looking up at the stars that filled the sky or the wonder of hearing the sea when you hold a shell up to your ear. We are within the family of all beings, finite and at the same time part of the infinite. Combined with our ability to hear the prophetic voices among us, we know that with reverence and prophetic wisdom we can create resilience and take action in the face of the injustice that surrounds us. We can learn from our siblings who are Black or First Nation. Those who have endured hundreds of years of slavery or those who were forced from their lands and made to live on reservations have much to teach us about resilience and fortitude. 

 

Rev. Van Ham ends her essay with these powerful words. “The state of our world is calling us on a journey of uncertainty.” That is where faith lies. There, we will find hope.

 

Peace and grace,

 

Deb

 

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:
  1. Mask wearing optional at PPC.
  2. 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.
  3. “Social distancing” to the extent possible
  4. Windows will be open for ventilation – dress accordingly
  5. “Check-in” with greeter, providing your name and phone contact #
  6. Please attend only if you are feeling well and are symptom-free
  7. Vaccination is strongly urged for all who are able to be
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


Welcome to online worship with PPC!
 
To join the worship service over Zoom:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81781733351
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.
Click here to read our Mission Study Statement
PNC Updates
 
Greetings from your Pastoral Nominating Committee (PNC)!

This week we finalized our application rubric, as we currently have 27 applications to review. We have each been assigned eight PIFs (Personal Information Forms). This allows each candidate to receive two ratings from the PNC so we can narrow down our interview choices. We hope to do our mock interview with COM (Committee on Ministry) the week of July 11th.

Here is the link to our MIF on the CLC site: https://clc.pcusa.org/CIFViewQuery.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fOpportunitySearchResults.aspx&cif=10939.AG

Here is the PDF for our MIF: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rDhuGp8u9kq-ELe6pJFHW-s_-axQ9ESw/view?usp=sharing


Sabina Asante, Keith Cooper, Matt Harrison, Lisa Masotta, Jill Moles, Marissa Torsiello, Lee Vander Baan
 
PPC Book Group
We decided that we will meet again by zoom on Saturday, August 20 from 10:00-11:30am. We will be reading portions of a book that Suzanne recommended to us: Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century, by Alice Wong. 

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. 


Here’s the zoom link for Aug. 20: https://intervarsity.zoom.us/j/91586576685

We’re looking forward to our discussion in August!
Mission Opportunities 
Read letter from Mission and Outreach here

 

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’re highlighting the beauty of Rhode Island arts organizations and associated nonprofits in our back yard.

The highlighted nonprofit arts organization for the balance of June and into July is WaterFire. WaterFire is an experience which embraces all of the senses and all of the city and offers a multitude of volunteering opportunities. The season runs from April 9th through December 3rd (the full schedule and details can be found on the WaterFire website).

Particularly important lightings will be on July 30th (RI Defeats Hep C), August 13th (Celebrating Rhode Island’s Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Communities), August 27th (Clear Currents Community Paddling Night), September 24th (Celebrating Educational Excellence in RI) and November 5th (Salute to Veterans).


https://waterfire.org

Sunday School

Sunday school is on a summer break.

questions? contact: kathycooper@aya.yale.edu or juliapvaca@gmail.com

Weekly PPC prayer meeting Monday 8pm.
 
As our church enters a new phase with the formation of a Pastor Nominating Committee, we are starting a new prayer meeting (on zoom) to pray for the PNC and our church community in this transitional season. All are welcome! 

PPC weekly prayer meetings
Monday evenings from 8:00-8:30pm
Here’s the zoom link: https://intervarsity.zoom.us/j/93319967242
Please contact Kathy Cooper for more info: kathycooper@aya.yale.edu
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 marianne.harrison@gmail.com

Contact Sally Lockhart by phone at 401-624-3144 from 10:00-12:00 AM or 6:00-8:00PM; by email at sallyelockhart@gmail.com

Contact Monica Vander Baan by phone at 508-479-1611; or by email at monicavanderbaan@gmail.com


Contact Information for PPC new Directory Link


Thank you Marianne, Sally and Monica
Accessible parking spaces

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:



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Continuing Fellowship and Service Opportunities

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