Laura Cunningham

Western friends, Salaam alaikum, if nothing else this week.  I had hoped my letter would be a shout-out from the NEXT Church Conference, where John, Jess and I were immersed in an exciting last few days.  Instead, we all woke up to the tragic news of the terrorism this morning in New Zealand – to hell breaking loose in aRead More →

After a fantastic Carnavale celebration last Sunday, Lent is finally here. Special thanks go to the deacons for the doughnut decorating extravaganza, to the choir and musicians for some fun music, and to all who pitched in with balloons and beads. I didn’t know much about the religious side of this kind of celebration growing up, in part because IRead More →

Listening to Michael Cohen testify, I was reminded how much a change in our perspective helps to make sense of our reality.  In Cohen’s case, the prospect of prison made protecting the President much less appealing.  Reality, when it comes to facts, makes more sense. The change in perspective doesn’t have to be punishing; it can be uplifting, even joyous. Read More →

“Oh, that’s easy,” said no one, ever. Three short words from Jesus, followed by “pray for those who abuse you,” in the sixth chapter of Luke’s gospel. In an era when so many identify themselves according to whom they hate, these are words we need desperately, yet practicing them remains elusive.  They remind me of G.K. Chesterson’s saying, “The ChristianRead More →

Don’t miss worship this Sunday.  Don’t ever miss worship, but particularly not this Sunday.  Don’t miss worship if you live in Virginia and you’ve endured the news of our governor and attorney general in blackface and our lieutenant governor accused of sexual assault.  Don’t miss worship if you’ll never live in Virginia but you’re longing to know how Jesus wouldRead More →

“I must continue by faith… Our goal is to create a beloved community, and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.” Martin Luther King, Jr., Nonviolence: The Only Road to Freedom, 1966 Soul work: it’s the reason any religion needs spirituality, the side that allows, invites, and even challengesRead More →

Woman of color holding a protest sign that reads: "Love knows no borders". (Photo from PMA)

(Photo from PMA)  Those of you facing your first week without a paycheck because of the shutdown are on all of our minds and hearts this week.  While some of you are tackling deferred projects, others of you are holding together skeleton staffs of essential employees.  We’re all concerned about workers whose livelihoods and ability to provide food and shelterRead More →

“We are fragile creatures, and it is from this weakness, not despite it, that we discover the possibility of true joy,” according to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, opening the first chapter of his book with the Dalai Lama, The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World.  Simply imagining Bishop Tutu saying this makes me smile.  His words have thatRead More →

The Coming of the Light

It’s no accident that Advent is a celebration of the coming of Light into the darkest time of year in the northern hemisphere, or in a season when we see social needs all around us, or when we wonder how we’re going to get along with a certain person in our lives yet another year.  Advent coincides with a timeRead More →

Western Friends, This Sunday coincides with Armistice Day – now Veterans’ Day – when we will remember the centennial anniversary of the end of World War I, the “war to end all wars.”  The word “armistice” literally means “arms stand still,” referring to the cessation of fighting. As we prepare to remember and honor those who have served our country,Read More →