Latest Updates

Fall 2020 Small group preview

It already feels like 2020 has existed at every possible extreme, and with a one-of-a-kind Fall ahead, its surprises are probably not over. It feels like the year has passed quickly and moved slowly, all at the same time. As we dive back into the time of year when more traditional programming kicks-off, SSUMC small groups are offering virtual ways to connect, grow in your relationships with each other, and deepen your faith. These are places where friendships grow quickly, questions are welcome, and group members hold each other in prayer throughout the week. We hope you will consider joining us! Maybe a topic looks interesting, or the virtual format makes it easier to join in, or maybe you just really need some extra community right now. Most groups are kicking off the week of August 31, though a few have ongoing meetings that you can easily jump into anytime. All y’all are welcome! Email Jen Kidwell to get connected to a group.

Adult “Monday” school class (Mondays, 7-8pm): This group usually meets on Sunday mornings, but has pivoted to Mondays when they are meeting virtually. They will be finishing up a study on Community early this Fall and then transitioning into a study on the synoptic gospels. Neil Hindman is this group’s long-time leader. [group meetings are ongoing]

Monday Night Study Group (Mondays, 7-9pm): This group has met for 9 years and usually alternates between Bible studies and topical studies. This Fall, they are reading Wilda Gafney’s Womanist Midrash and revisiting stories about the women in the Old Testament from the perspective of the experience of African American women. Jen Kidwell and Dan Sherk co-lead this group! [group meetings resume 8/31]

Wonderful Wednesdays (7-8am): This group meets weekly for some reflection on the Upper Room scripture and devotion for the day, and a time of “caring and sharing” and prayer. This group rotates in leadership! [group meetings are ongoing]

Women’s Bible Study (Thursdays, 10-11am): This group has met for 6 years or so and engages many different types of studies. This Fall, they are reading Wilda Gafney’s Womanist Midrash and revisiting stories about the women in the Old Testament from the perspective of the experience of African American women. Jen Kidwell leads this group. [group meetings resume 9/3]

White Fragility group (Thursdays, 7-8pm): This group is open to all, and is a continuation of one of the summer discussion groups that read Raising White Kids (Jennifer Harvey). The group will be focused on how white folks can develop a healthy relationship to whiteness that’s grounded in learning antiracist actions, and why resistance to them is often deep-seated. The group is organized by Ana Lincoln and Brenna Thibault. [group meetings begin on 9/3]

ALSO: Stay tuned for more information on our next all-church study, which will be built around Ibram X. Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist, and will begin in mid-October.

Virtual Hugfest for Rev. Angela and her family

Dear all:

Please join us on Sunday, August 16, from 2:00-2:45 pm for the Virtual Hug Fest for Rev. Angela as we celebrate her ministry and wish her well in her transition. Here’s the zoom link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81965527944?pwd=MUhDNFRENERuUnpadXRJNC9UWWRXUT09

Meeting ID: 819 6552 7944

Passcode: 8900

Phone number: 1 301 715 8592

As of the morning of August 16th, there is still time to:

Share your well wishes, art and kudos to Sophia and Nadia on the KudoBoard at https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/LalmpPUj. Upload a recording of you or your family, find the perfect gif, or write them a special message. They will love to see your expressions of caring, love and well wishes.

Mail letters, cards, and artwork (from kids and adults!) for Rev. Angela, Kelli, Sofia, and Nadia until August 22, c/o

James Manley

2115 Walsh View Terr #103

Silver Spring, MD  20902

You can also contribute to a love offering for Rev. Angela and her family by going to https://silverspringumc.org/welcome/give/ to contribute online by choosing Make a One-Time Donation Log-in and then choose the Love Offering for Rev. Angela. You are also welcome to send a check to SSUMC with “Rev. Angela – love offering” in the memo.

______________________________________________________________________

(original message below)

Shh!… It’s a secret (at least we hope so) from Rev. Angela and her family.  No later than August 15, you can record or upload a very short video ‘hug’ of no more than 10 sec for Rev. Angela at https://app.vidhug.com/virtual-hug-for-rev-angela/Syd9JDJbw/record.  These video hugs need to be short ‘bumper stickers’ of your well wishes and testimony to the impact of her ministry on you.  We will play the video hugs during the Virtual Hug Fest.  If you have any technical questions, please contact Mary Kautz at mary.kautz@gmail.com

What, you find 10 sec. too short to say all that you want to say to Rev. Angela!?  What a  surprise! Please write your more detailed thoughts, prayers and expressions of love in a card or letter. Send these by August 14 to:

James Manley

2115 Walsh View Terr #103

Silver Spring, MD  20902

Kids and Youth, would you rather draw a picture or piece of art to give to Rev. Angela?  Please do.  You can send your artwork to James at the address above. Your cards, letters, and artwork will be compiled in a Memory Book that will be presented to Rev. Angela.  We are confident that Rev. Angela will find your messages important and will enjoy being able to read your cards and letters, listen to your virtual hugs again, and enjoy your artwork at her leisure. 

So, all you kids, of all ages, are saying now, “What about Sophia and Nadia?  We are going to miss them, too.” Please share your well wishes, art and kudos to Sophia and Nadia on the KudoBoard at https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/LalmpPUj. Upload a recording of you or your family, find the perfect gif, or write them a special message. They will love to see your expressions of caring, love and well wishes.

More secrets! You can contribute to a love offering for Rev. Angela and her family by going to https://silverspringumc.org/welcome/give/ to contribute online by choosing Make a One-Time Donation Log-in and then choose the Love Offering for Rev. Angela. You are also welcome to send a check to SSUMC with “Rev. Angela – love offering” in the memo. Please make your donations by August 14.  SSUMC will give Rev. Angela a piece of art and the remainder of the  love offering as cash to help with her and her family’s transition.

This is a bittersweet time of transition in which we say farewell to Rev. Angela, celebrate her outstanding ministries in the past three years that have led us through ‘troubled waters’ walking with Jesus at our side, and wish her well as she focuses on restoring her well-being.  It is also a time in which God is with us, we know who we are, and we are ready for the next steps in our faith journey together. Although we can’t hold the kind of send-off we’re used to doing in person, we hope you will take the time to share your personal messages of support to help Rev. Angela feel some love! Visit the links above or posted on SSUMC website, Facebook and eNews to send your personal well wishes. Please join us on Sunday, August 16 at 2:00 pm to wish Rev. Angela well with your virtual hugs. **Note that drive-in communion has been moved to Saturday August 15 at 9:30am**

Sincerely,

SPRC

Patsy Brannon, James Manley, and Kyle Whitley

Welcoming Rev. Alex on September 1

Beloved friends, more information about how to celebrate and support Rev. Angela Wells and how to welcome our new lead pastor, Rev. Alex Tracy will be available in coming weeks. In the meantime, Rev. Alex has provided this short bio as our first means of introduction. He will begin as our new lead pastor on September 1. Let us all be in prayer for Rev. Angela and her family, for Rev. Alex and his family, and for our church community as we begin this time of transition, steeped as we are always, in God’s love and grace.

Rev. Alex, Kelly, Christopher, and Evan

SSUMC’s continued commitment to anti-racist advocacy

SSUMC is supporting all ministry areas in revitalizing and recommitting to our work of anti-racism. We are a congregation of people in different places on our anti-racism walks. We embrace our multi-racial community with awareness of the complexity it brings to doing this work well. We honor the suffering and stories and need to rest of the people of color in our community. We call white folks to grow and take risks for the work of racial justice. We name that the liberation of all of God’s beloved is wrapped up together. We confess and repent in worship. We receive prophetic preaching that seeks to both comfort and afflict. And we begin again.

Our racial justice group continues to meet regularly to discuss and support education, advocacy, and action work surrounding racial justice in our local community, state, and nation. Small groups and all-church study opportunities are encouraged to center anti-racism conversations and voices and theologians of color in their studies. Family ministry work continues to resource parents in supporting conversations about race with their children. Our youth are reading Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You (Reynolds and Kendi) in a summer book group.

We protest. We lament. We listen. We follow black leaders. We make mistakes. We learn.

Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust ...

Two study groups with nearly 20 families participating are underway reading, wrestling with, and discussing how parents raising white kids can support their children in developing a healthy relationship to whiteness. We are seeking and sharing wisdom, continuing to confront the racism in ourselves, and committing to model the agency and power white people have to interrupt racism.

We’ll host August book club groups to discuss Ta-nehisi Coats’ memoir Between the World and Me as a way to invite even more people into these conversations. This work is more than reading and talking, but it surely requires reading and talking. And so this is part of where we start.

As with so many things, we pray that the Spirit does not leave us there.

Look for the helpers

Mr. Rogers rarely steers us wrong.

During times when pandemics rage and tragedy strikes, he reminds us to “look for the helpers.” While SSUMC food ministries look very different now than they did back in February, we are so proud of the partnerships we have cultivated with community leaders who have organized volunteers to grocery shop, make and deliver casseroles, and donate food to organizations that can get it to families with empty pantries. These partnerships are ever-evolving and we are so grateful to be in ministry and be helpers during this time.

The short story below (2.5 min) highlights one of the local food ministry partnerships SSUMC participated in at the start of the pandemic.

https://watch.weta.org/video/silver-spring-interfaith-food-ministry-k14uad/

Talking About Race and Racism With Children

Several parents have asked how to talk to children about the protests and the death of George Floyd. Below is a blog post by Wendy Claire Barrie and resources that might be a starting place. Conversations about race are often difficult and never perfect. However, informed by our faith, we must commit to educating ourselves, listening to people of color, and taking action everyday to resist racism not only for the children entrusted to us as parents but for all God’s children.

Talking With our Children About Race

by: Wendy Claire Barrie

This post originally appeared in August, 2017 after the racial violence in Charlottesville. It has been substantially rewritten as of June 1, 2020. Visit her blog (Faith at home) here.

What do we tell our children about race and racism? We begin by reminding them that we are made in the image of God who loves us—all of us; that we promise in our baptismal covenant “to seek and serve Christ in all persons,” to love our neighbors as ourselves, and “to strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being.” There is no room for misunderstanding in these words. Love and peace are words our children hear us use often, but what about justice? “Justice is what love looks like in public,” says Cornel West. It is the work of the church, and of families, too.

How do we start? Jareesa Tucker McClure has great advice and several excellent resources to share from the days following the march in Charlottesville in this blog post . She doesn’t sugarcoat the challenge: “We owe it to our children to tell them the truth, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel. There are people in the world who hate others because of their skin color, religion or nation of origin. It’s our duty as parents to prepare our children for the real world. Sharing the truth helps build trust with your child, as they’ll know they can come to you to answer the hard questions with honesty.”

This is long, deep work, and for white parents especially, it is likely to push us out of our comfort zones. Parent Toolkit has some excellent advice on having conversations about race and racism. For white parents who want some training or conversation, take a look at the options offered at Raising Race Conscious Children. Older children, youth and adults will benefit from the Talking About Raceresources offered through the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Books can give us a window into history and experiences vastly different from our own. Here’s a newly updated book list from Embrace Race and an older but still strong list from Parents Choice Foundation which includes books for middle and high school students with brief descriptions and age guidelines.

If in 2017 it seemed to be enough for white parents to talk with our children about racism, it’s now imperative that we also talk about the violent legacy of white supremacy and the endemic nature of racism, both structural and personal, that has brought us to this moment in the United States. This article from USA Today specifically addresses how to approach the topics of police brutality and the riots of the past week with both white children and children of color.

White friends, eradicating racism and white supremacy is our work to do. Centering Black experience is an essential part of understanding what is happening now, how the past has shaped our attitudes and our institutions, and what needs to change. This reading list is a great place to start. Don’t have time for a book right now?Try NPR’s Code Switch podcast or the Race/Related weekly newsletter from the New York Times. Seek out the good work already being done locally in organizations led by people of color. Support businesses owned and run by people of color. Read, or better yet, subscribe to The Root.

Minister, activist and Christian ethics professor Jennifer Harvey’s work focuses on white anti-racism in her newest book, published in January 2018, is Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust AmericaIt’s full of examples and practical advice for parents and educators, and is a significant and much-needed addition to the conversation . Here’s an interview with her on NPR about how to talk about racially charged events with white kids.

As Christians, we must talk with our children about race and racial justice in the context of our faith. Pastor and parent Erin Wathen, in her book More Than Words: 10 Values for Modern Families, writes about environmental racism evidenced in the lead-poisoned tap water of Flint, Michigan. Yes, there is the immediate need to provide the community with safe water, but Wathen reminds us that the “transformative work of relationship takes place in community.” Speaking as a white woman and a member of a predominantly white denomination, it’s clear to me that in our families and in our churches we have the opportunity and the imperative to reach out to those whose experiences are different from our own, to really listen to and know one another and to strengthen existing relationships in ways that deepen our understanding, compassion and respect. “The act of service does not transform the deeper reality; the work of justice does.” When the deeper reality is transformed, the kingdom of God is revealed.

Let us keep this conversation going. Additional resources and reading lists are below:

Kindergarten teacher Vivian Zhang made this short video for her students explaining why people are protesting.

Parents of white children, watch the recording of Jennifer Harvey’s webinar with EmbraceRace, titled How not to raise white kids who are quick to call the police on people of color.

Raising Luminaries and the Student Ignition Society have put together an excellent family toolkit on ending police brutality. I especially like the kid-friendly collaborative action bingo.

Children’s book authors including Kwame Alexander and Jacqueline Woodson held a virtual Rally for Black Lives on Facebook. The portion for school age kids is from 7 – 7:45 pm eastern, followed by a portion for parents and educators. (PLEASE watch this video replay on Facebook.  It is POWERFUL) 

Best selling books to help younger kids

Books for teens

Recommendations from experts

May we all work together to make our church, our community, and our world a better place for ALL people of color.