September Newsletter: Balance

Recently, my son, Joseph, and I sat down to watch the 80s sports movie classic, Karate Kid.

There’s a scene I had forgotten about, where Daniel LaRusso (aka the Karate Kid) is taught a valuable lesson by Mr. Miyagi, his humorous, wise, and patient instructor.

“Do you remember the lesson about balance?” He asks his student, who nods. “It’s not just a lesson about karate… but also about life.”

As we begin our shift toward the fall in what has turned out to be a world altering and life altering few months, it may feel like we have been spending a lot of energy trying to catch our balance.

Remember when we didn’t need to wear a mask, follow the arrows, and wait outside when shopping for our groceries?

Remember when going out to a restaurant didn’t feel like a nervous expedition into the unknown?

Remember when sending your kids off to school meant getting them on a bus or dropping them off at the front steps?

Remember when gathering as as a family, whether in a time of grief or just for celebration, didn’t mean considering how much hand sanitizer we needed or whether someone needed to stay home due to health issues?

Remember when it was a lot easier to think about gathering in a sanctuary to worship our God?

Yes, we have had to work hard to try to maintain our balance through this most unusual and unexpected time. Our normal routines have required flexibility and creativity. We’ve adjusted as best as we could, even though it has added stress and challenge to our lives.

Add to that the call for our church and others to join movements for black lives, to be in solidarity with those who demand dignity, equal treatment, and justice. This has not been a time to let anyone feel comfortable in any sort of way. We have been prodded forward to make choices over whether or not Jesus’ demand that we “love our neighbors as ourselves” means something.

Balance for Jesus, at least to me, was about tethering himself constantly to the source of his identity and divinity. This is why he went out to the wilderness to pray late into the night and early into the morn. This is why he sometimes walked away from those trying to pick fights with him rather than engage with those who wanted to waste his time and energy. This is why he remained rooted in who he was, even to the cross, uninterested in the temptations of the devil who sought to twist his power for selfish gains. This is also why he could proudly parade into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to confront an empire that oppressed and destroyed.

Jesus was criticized a lot. His enemies lined up like a revolving door to nitpick his teachings and his actions. His disciples could be counted on in one moment and then seemed to shrink away from their call in the next. The crowds pressed in, often not letting him have a quiet moment in peace to catch his breath.

And still, even off-balance at times, he carried on.

So, I think Jesus knows what we are experiencing. Jesus knows some of the sleepless nights we have endured and the anxiety we carry with us. Jesus sees and hears our quietly voiced prayers for transformation and change and is shouting alongside as we call for justice. Jesus knows we have been uncomfortable at times and unsure of what to do next.

Reflect on his words afresh in this moment and find balance in him:

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30

— Rev. Nathan Hill

University Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Update from the Board of Director Meeting
August 25, 2020

Your board of directors held its first meeting of the new fiscal year of 2021 on August 25th on our Zoom platform. We want to share highlights of the meeting. Our next board meeting will take place in October. The Pastor's Program Cabinet will meet on September 22. Thanks for your continued support and prayers for the leaders of our congregation. I hope you will contact me with any questions or concerns you may have at anytime. 301-728-8673

1. Treasurer's report and Finance Committee update Even though we have not been able to gather as a faith community in months, our members and friends have continued in generous support of the mission and service of our church. We completed the fiscal year at almost 98% of our projected giving budget. Thanks be to God that we have been able to achieve this. We have a small surplus. Your continued support will mean that we can continue to hold on until this crisis passes. Thank you so much. The finance committee is at work on helping us to maintain our good financial position, forecasting for our future needs and providing the guidance that allows us to maintain our assets. Stay tuned for updates on items related to our capital expenditures such as the kitchen. Our investments with the Christian Church Foundation have recovered from earlier losses in FY 20 which will help us mightily with important capital needs.

2. Update from our Pastor, Nathan Hill Nathan shared that he appreciated the love and concern we have been able to share with he and his family in the loss of his Dad, Dale Hill. We are happy to have him back as well but know the grief is a journey and we intend to continue to support him in the months ahead.

3. Updates from all Divisions Each of our division directors gave brief updates. As our summer schedule slowed down, much of the work of divisions took a welcomed break to refresh and renew. Even so, our building is still well maintained, outreach efforts continue as needed and membership is using this slower time to update our member data base. The Worship Division may be the exception. Led by Pat Hindsley, worship is integrally involved in our online worship, upholding our music ministry, being faithful to liturgical arts and now leading the search for a new worship staff member to replace Sharon How. Our thanks go to Pat and all who help to lead us in worship each week.

4. 2021 Nominating Committee The board approved a slate of names to present to the congregation as the nominating committee. The congregation is voting on the slate now and a chairperson for the nominating committee will be named by late September.

5. Hope Partnership We received an update from the Future Story writing team for Hope Partnership. Thanks to our future story "imaginers" and writers, Jim Duff, Gisela Martinez, Gillian Marcus and Sara Nelkin. Stay tuned for more updates in early fall. We hope to have a final report ready for the congregation before the end of the year. That may seem lengthy, but we are working on concepts that will take us 5 to 10 years into our future. Keep praying for insight! A key part of our ongoing work with Hope Partnership is that of regular coaching sessions between our consultant, Rev. Robin Curras and our pastor.

6. Updates to the Plan of Organization John Farley and small task force are involved in an effort to update some key parts of the Plan of Organization of our congregation. These changes will be coming to the whole congregation soon for your review and your approval at a congregational meeting in November.

7. Starting the process to become an Open and Affirming Congregation.

The last item on our agenda was a discussion about becoming Open and Affirming; a term that refers to statement on the part of a congregation to become a community that openly welcomes people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. As president, I requested that the board sanction the beginning of a journey of discussion, prayer, and discernment that may end with our congregation making a decision to declare that we are Open and Affirming to our community and to the world.

From the Disciples of Christ " Alliance Q"---
A Welcoming Process is an officially recognized path that includes relational organizing, education, some kind of public vote and a public statement of Welcome for persons of ALL sexual orientations and gender identities.”

A task force has been established to provide leadership and vision to our congregation as we begin this process. Currently members of the task force include: Ramona Crawford (She/Her)
Anita Brown (She /Her)
Dottie Colding (She/Her)
Holly Torgerson (She/Her)
Eric Torgerson (He/Him)

There will be additional members of the task force to be announced later.

So as you can see, it was a full and productive board meeting. We love our work on behalf of our congregation as board members. Please pray for us

Thank you.

Upper Room Devotionals

We have received the Upper Room Devotionals for September and October if you would like a copy mailed to you please email the church office.  Thanks.


Join us for this exciting new sermon series beginning Sunday Sept 13th

WE ARE HUNGRY recognizes the hunger we have in this uncertain time. We are hungry for daily bread as families and communities suffer. We are hungry for community and connection as we experience isolation from neighbors and loved ones. We are hungry for healing and life-giving relationships. We are hungry for justice and hope. What are you hungry for? As we explore this series, we will listen for ways that Jesus fills our hunger and empowers us to feed one another.
Fall Kick begins Sunday September 13th!  We will begin our new "We Are Hungry" sermon series along with many fun activities throughout the coming weeks.  Please see below for zoom information to the upcoming various activities or visit  Thank you for your continued support of our church!  We love you from the church at the intersection!

Sept 13th Coffee Hour Zoom Information
Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 939 7202 3641
Passcode: 914256
One tap mobile: 301-715-8592
Sept 13th Abundance Orchard Youth Class @ 2pm
Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 899 0057 0164
Passcode: 914256
One tap mobile: 301-715-8592
Sep 15th Bible Bingo @ 7pm
Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 869 7561 2955
Passcode: 914256
One tap mobile: 301-715-8592
Adult Bible Study beginning Sept 17th @ 7pm
Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 898 9470 8458
Passcode: 914256
One tap mobile: 301-715-8592

We invite you to a discussion of Dr. King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"


Wednesday, September 23rd at
1:00 pm and 7:00pm

Discussion will be facilitated by Katrina Dodro

Zoom Meeting Information:

Meeting Link for 1pm & 7pm

Meeting ID: 884 9412 0031
Passcode: 914256
One tap mobile: (301) 715 - 8592



Take part in the conversation via zoom

Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 3014080750#
via Telephone Conference Call: 312-626-6799
Access Code: 3014080750## | Password: 343774

Regional Assembly 2020 - Saturday Oct 3rd 

The theme this year is taken from the book of Esther, and titled  "For Such A Time As This,"

Keynote speakers and preachers will be the Rev. Daphne Gascot Arias and the Rev. Dr. Jose Francisco Morales. 

More details are yet to come, but please put this date on your calendars, promote it throughout your congregations and communities, and plan to attend!  It is likely that on Friday evening, October 2, some of our constituency groups will hold their meetings virtually, so please keep that evening open as well.

Registration has not yet opened so please watch for up to date information on the the Region's website.

We  You!

~From church at the Intersection

Thank you to all who have updated their information in the database!  If you have'nt you may still do so by clicking the button below.  If you are having trouble please email the church office and we will be happy to help!
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University Christian Church
6800 Adelphi Rd
Hyattsville MD, 20782