A Word from Laura

I wish you all could have heard J.D. this morning. She came to Western for the memorial service for former Miriam’s Kitchen guests to speak in memory of her father. As an uber driver, J.D. still finds herself looking for him in his usual spots between Anacostia and downtown. She also said that part of her heart is at peace,Read More →

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving and get ready for Advent at the same time? The short answer is to come to Western on Sunday! Last Sunday that meant celebrating 25 years in this building, hosting Miriam’s Kitchen as a way of practicing our religious freedom.  One of you commented, “This felt like Thanksgiving Day to me!”  I’d add giving thanksRead More →

Thirty years ago this past May, as I prepared to graduate from high school, members of Western took a historic vote. In true Presbyterian fashion, under the leadership of their charismatic pastor, they discussed and prayed, and then voted to move the church’s site six blocks away, from 19th and H to 24th and G Streets.  As Rev. John WimberlyRead More →

I have no idea who declared Thursday as world kindness day in honor of my childhood hero (and Presbyterian minister) Mr. Rogers, but what a wonderful idea, especially during these days when our political news threatens to turn us into cynics.  I can’t help but think Mr. Rogers would enjoyed other news, like the story of Jackson, the eight-year-old MarylandRead More →

While children across our nation recover from the Halloween sugar shock today, or Nationals fans see this as the day before the big “welcome home” parade, Christian traditions around the world observe November 1 as All Saints’ Day.  All Saints’ is the day we remember those who have died, who have gone to their eternal rest. Remembering those who have goneRead More →

As we get ready to welcome Christian Brooks from the PC(USA)’s Office of Public Witness for the Racial Wealth Gap Simulation on Sunday, I can imagine some of you thinking, “that’s a good idea, but I’m not sure what it has to do with church.” At last week’s session meeting, I was reminded by members of a Western anti-racism groupRead More →

As much as I love being a pastor, sometimes I want Tom Sietsema’s job.  Last Sunday at Western was not one of those times – I don’t know how food critics try so many dishes and still fits in their clothes. If you did not get to taste newcomer Susan Park’s sweet potato noodles lightly stir-fried with beef and vegetablesRead More →

This Sunday, come let God engage your faith at Western we join in solidarity with Christians around the globe to celebrate World Communion Sunday. Begun in 1936 in the Presbyterian Church and adopted by the National Council of Churches in 1940, the celebration reminds of our oneness with Christians in many cultures and environments. As we observe the universal Christian practiceRead More →

What does the cross of Christ mean to you?  When was the last time anyone – a friend, a relative, a colleague, a stranger – asked you about the cross, about how it shapes your life and faith?  How did, or would you, answer? I tend not to talk as much about the cross as some pastor, with the recentRead More →

Forgiveness.  In my memory, one scholar of religious traditions claims forgiveness is Christian faith’s distinguishing characteristic.  Forgiveness was Jesus’s dying prayer; it’s our prayer, too, when we pray using the words he taught his followers. But as one of you asked last Sunday, in the face of gun violence, how do we forgive?  How do we forgive those in powerRead More →