Posts Tagged: compassion

Summer May Be Sneaking away, but Our NOW is Here to Stay!

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Summertime, and the livin’ is easy…

Okay, if that’s the case, why do I feel like I have been left in the dust? Wasn’t it just our annual retreat time mid-May? Or Summer Solstice on June 21? Or July 4???

I suppose that I am destined to always mention how fast times flies as we get older. This means you’ll be destined to be on the receiving end of that mentioning in my columns or homilies or general conversations  — please bear with me! You’ll see that my constant refrain of time moving quickly is only a call for us all to realize the preciousness of our lives NOW.

Revs Rob and TheresaYou know who realizes the preciousness of her NOW moments? That would be our very own Rev. Theresa Del Grippo, that’s who. Rev. Theresa became sanctioned as an ISD minister in May, and was on the podium as the M.C. for this past Sunday’s Service. She hit it out of the park! Rev. Theresa continues to inspire me. Not only did she jump in with both feet to be our regular accompanist on Sunday mornings, but she has answered a Call that is even greater — to fully express herself as the minister she was ordained to be when she graduated from the New Seminary in New York City, years ago. She not only embraced ISD-DC as her Spiritual Community, but sought to become a leader with and for our Community. All while continuing to evolve, and grow and expand her personal horizons as well.  I am so grateful she is on the team, and am so proud of her for the grace with which she launched her ministry with us. If you don’t know the story of how Rev. Theresa fortuitously, miraculously arrived at ISD-DC, I encourage you to ask her.

AJanet Podiumnd I have had not one, but TWO Sundays in a row to feel like a “proud papa” this month! On July 15, Rev. Janet Johnson, one of ISD-DC’s first ordained ministers (back in the 90’s and that’s as much as I say about that!) returned to the Sunday Service podium as MC, for the first time in several years. It must have been like riding a bike for Rev. Janet, because she, too, was both effortless and energetic! Rev Janet’s also been leading our Spanish Services since February, and is teaching two classes on our fall schedule. You can definitely say that Rev. Janet is back…and better than ever! She definitely is realizing the preciousness of her NOW moments, and helping others to do the same.

New member Debra Davis is leveraging her NOW moments by agreeing to chair our annual Back(Pack) to School program! Debra, whose stylin’ and smilin’ is becoming a Sunday morning “must-have,” comes from a longstanding commitment to community outreach, and is a natural to spearhead our ISD-DC’S annual campaign to outfit the kids of Douglas Knolls Community Center with the school supplies they need. And you can help the kids AND help Debra by sponsoring a backpack for $35. See her or me on Sunday, or make your donation online to this wonderfully worthwhile program.

And the NOW moments just keep getting better. I have just begun receiving applications and essays from our community members who are answering their Call to serve Divine Humanity by seeking the ministry at ISD-DC. I know from my own experience that once you hear The Call, you can’t un-hear it (though many try), so I also know the courage and the inner peace that they needed to summon from within to speak or write the words “I want to be a minister…” These Seekers are our Community’s Hope and my Inspiration, and I plan to do whatever I can to make their journey sacred and sensational!

What NOW moments are you grabbing on to as the Summer whizzes by? Would love to chat about them! Drop me an email or send me a text. I love to hear from y’all during the week.

Keep cool, Cats. I love ya!

The Christmas Cheer is All Right Here!

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by Rev. Rob Banaszak

Pastor, ISD-DC

I do love some good ol’ holiday cheer, don’t you? I have to say that I had become spoiled over the last 20 plus years living away from my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA, because my mom was always the one who “held Christmas” for the family. Not being home for Christmas was NEVER an option. So I really never decorated at my home, because I would go to Mom and Dad’s without exception, and enjoy all of the decorations, and none of the decorating!

Pastors Post banner largeComing to ISD in 2008 helped to re-ignite a Christmas Spirit that I hadn’t even realized I had allowed to fade. We would kick off the season by hauling in a huge tree and standing it up in the fancy tree stand before the start of our Tuesday night class. Then we’d have the famous Decorating Party on the first Sunday of December. We were a flurry of decorating dizziness!  ISD-DC member heroes Tom Landon and Arthur Morton would climb mile-high ladders to precariously staple what seemed liked miles of artificial garland to the beams inside the Sanctuary. Lyriel Claire would spearhead the ever-so-messy task of “flocking” the tree with artificial snow and we’d all pitch in to string lights on the tree and hang hundreds and hundreds of ornaments and bows and doves and wreaths and lights. All of it helped get me into the Season and relieved me of the obligation to decorate my own house.
My mom passed in 2014 and my dad in 2016, so the Christmas Cheer I experience at ISD-DC’s has become more special than I ever imagined it would. And this year, what happened in our community over the last two weeks can definitely be considered, in my humble opinion, a Christmas miracle. In short, a potential disaster with a 12-foot broken artificial tree became inspiration for a brand new Christmas display in the Sanctuary. Thanks to the steady stream of help from several creative “ISDecorators…” everything was hung, strung and twinkling in time for our annual ISD Family Service and Celebration last Sunday.
And oh! The Celebration itself! Our brand new Fellowship Hall, which after the renovation had about 20 more square feet than before, was filled with more than 40 ISD family members, some of whom hadn’t been to the church in awhile, some relatively new folks, and of course, the “long-timers,” all enjoying a delicious meal together (prepared by attendees) and even more delicious discussions. The Spirit of Christmas was unquestionably present over the past weekend. You can check out our entire Family Christmas Service online, and see pictures of the Fellowship Celebration on the ISD-DC Facebook page.
Let’s keep sharing our Joy! We’ll celebrate the seasonal transition of Darkness into Light at our beautiful Winter Solstice Service tomorrow evening at 7:30 p.m. And then we’ll present the story of the Nativity from a metaphysical perspective at our gorgeous and peaceful Christmas Eve Candlelight Service on Sunday, December 24 at 8 P.M.  THERE WILL BE NO SERVICE ON SUNDAY MORNING.
On behalf of ISD-DC’s Ministers and the Trustees, I wish all of our ISD-DC community a season of ever-increasing Magic and Miracles.
Forward in Gratitude and Grace —
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