News > June 5, 2020
Join us online this Sunday for worship at 9:45 am by visiting our Facebook page for a premiere. This Sunday, we start a new series on the book of Ephesians, with Pastor Eric preaching on Ephesians 1:3-14. Next Sunday 6/14, we’ll hear from God in Ephesians 2 through our youth director Alex Cato. For information, contact Pastor Eric.
It is Pentecost Sunday, when we celebrate the arrival of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of a multicultural church. Pastor Eric’s message, based on Acts 2:1-21, is entitled, “Listen! The Spirit Speaks To You and Through You.” Let’s watch together with a Facebook “premiere” so we can share with each other live using the comment section. Please invite friends and share the video. If you cannot watch at 9:45 am, the video will be available online on YouTube, or on our website.
We continue to work with city and church leadership about when and how we can safely physically gather once again. Pastor Valerie has convened a task force that is planning our re-opening timeline and protocol.
We have sent out a survey – see the link above – asking for feedback as we plan for re-gathering physically. Please complete the survey (link here) by Monday June 8. In the meantime, we practice physical distancing as an act of love for one another and all our neighbors.
As a society we have been experiencing two pandemics, not only COVID, but also the insidious legacy of white supremacy in our country. We are grieving the death of George Floyd and so many others at the hands and knees of law enforcement that fails to protect and serve, and we are grieving the white supremacy and fear and implicit bias that needlessly regard people as threats instead of God’s image-bearers.
We are called, by our baptism and our mission to love and serve all with God’s “unconditional love and justice in action,” to repentance and to choosing a new path that confronts our society’s racial wounds and participates in the healing and repairing and uniting work of God in Christ and the Holy Spirit. Now is the time for us to be present and work so that, in light of this double pandemic and how both expose inequalities in our culture, we might not go “back to normal” but “forward to better.”
Last week, on Pentecost Sunday, we reflected on how the Holy Spirit birthed a multicultural movement called the church, centering voices and languages that had previously gone unheard and unnoticed. We must continue that listening work. You may have heard that some young people broke the windows at the front of our church during the unrest last Saturday night. We are repairing the windows, and we also seek bigger repairs as we listen for the ways that “riot is the voice of the unheard,” as Pastor Eric quoted Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King on Pentecost.
While property damage is unfortunate, windows are easily replaced while the breath of George Floyd and others is not. We must practice learning to listen, lament, and live in solidarity with people of color even as we seek to do that with our LGBTQ siblings in this Pride month. Our church leadership is seeking to communicate the wide grace and restoring power of Christ as we’re asked about the damage to the church. Let us pray for the young man arrested in conjunction with the damage, and ask how this incident might lead us more deeply into the love of Jesus, who taught us to pray “forgive us our trespasses, even as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Let us be, in the words of Bryan Stevenson in the book Just Mercy, “stone-catchers” in a world full of stone-throwers. We as a church are called and equipped to absorb and bear the pain of the world around us.
There are many ways to actively respond and seek justice and change in these days. Talk to your family and neighbors about racial injustice and police abuse. Maybe the damage at our church and media coverage can be a starter for a new conversation. Share the ways we as a church have tried to have a positive witness this week, like Pastor Eric’s interview on Spectrum News, and Kathleen Laborde and Pastor Gavin’s editorial in the Rivard Report. Seek out a person who comes from a different background from yours and ask to listen. Post on social media or participate in socially distanced vigils like the interfaith vigil in Main Plaza this Sunday at 7pm. Invite someone, and watch together Bryan Stevenson’s story in the movie “Just Mercy,” which is streaming for free with multiple services online. Join the 11am Sunday School class on Zoom that Pastor Eric and Linda Solis have been leading on racial justice – it’s been going for about 3 months, but is transitioning soon to new content so it’s never too late to jump in. Pray and share the action that prayer leads you into. Here’s a Jewish prayer that we prayed in our Thursday 7:30pm Zoom prayer group this past week
How can we share with you in the ways you’re participating in listening, lamenting, and living in solidarity these days? Please share them on our Facebook group or with a pastor. May God help us live more deeply into the kin-dom and reign of God that Jesus embodied. May we live out how “love is always the answer to hate.” May God have mercy on us and heal our land. Amen.
This year, the interfaith worship service for Pride Month will be online, Sunday June 14 at 4pm. Travis Park Church is participating in this interfaith service of lament and hope, including our youth director Alex Cato sharing some of her story (after preaching with TPC that same morning!). Contact Susan Snow with any questions.
Also, our next Wednesday night pub theology will be an online Pride panel with Rev. Naomi Brown from the Pride Center, Gideon Del Rio from the San Antonio Gender Association (SAGA hosts the November Transgender Day of Remembrance that has been at TPC in recent years), and Priscilla Fernandez from PFLAG San Antonio. Contact Pastor Gavin with questions.
Join Pastor Eric online Thursday nights at 7:30 pm for a Zoom call. There is a short time of prayer and valuable time for catching up with one another. Use this recurring link to connect each Thursday:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/94317149898. Meeting ID: 943 1714 9898 Prayer with various formats and resources go from 7:30 to 8:10 pm, and then at 8:15 pm we transition to a video study. Feel free to join for either or both blocks of time.
In this time of physical distancing and our culture of individualistic and privatized spirituality, it is important for us to reflect on how embodiment and a calling to specific places and neighbors is an important part of our faith. Theologian Walter Brueggemann will help us do that in a video study about his new book, “Materiality as Resistance.” No reading required, check out the 5-minute video preview here.
Our T-shirt fundraiser is still accepting orders! Each shirt is $15, or $20 if you would like yours shipped. To purchase yours today, visit this link. Please contact Executive Director Christina Souther-Bruno with desired size and style and to arrange pickup or give your mailing address.
We appreciate those who have purchased a T-shirt and would love to see you wearing it on social media! Please remember to tag Deborah’s House and the Official Site of Friends Who Like Travis Park Church Facebook pages, or email your photo to Christina with permission to share on social media. Again, thank you for your purchase and posts, each of which help us raise awareness of our ministry in the community.
- Reconciling Ministries Community at Center & Main (Westminster United Methodist Church) in Westminster, MD
- Friendship UMC in Bolingbrook, IL
- Bridges UMC in La Crosse, WI
- Reconciling Ministries Team of Milford UMC in Milford, PA
- Not Church in Athens, GA
- The Collective in DeLand, FL
- Church & Society Team of Savannah UMC in Savannah, MO
- Sojourners Sunday School Class at Berkeley UMC in Austin, TX
- UMATI Affirms Dr. Rachel Levine’s Expertise, Identity, and Character as PA Secretary of Health
- Wesley UMC in Kenosha, WI