The Spiritual Power of Symbols

The Spiritual Power
of Symbols
Happy late July!

I miss you and hope you are having a great summer!

We will not have our online service during July and August.

Take a few minutes to read this week's lessons and reflect on what they mean. Feel free to email me questions from the readings and I'll respond in the next newsletter.

The Spiritual Power of Symbols

Many Christians believe in a literal interpretation of Scripture. What that usually means is they believe their interpretation is the true one.

Spiritual concepts are so complex that they require us to think not in literal terms, but in symbolic ones.

In this week's readings Jesus uses numerous symbolic images to try to explain to us what the kingdom of heaven is. He taught in parables because only symbols get us close to the complexity of spiritual truth.

Swedenborg taught that the entire Bible can be read both at a literal level and a spiritual level. He called this spiritual level correspondences.

What we see in the physical world is a an effect of a correspondence taking place in the spiritual world. He made the case that the Bible can only be truly understood at this deeper level of reading.

The Swedenborg Foundation has a good discussion about this on the video series "Off the Left Eye" . I really encourage you to delve into that vast online library when you have time.

Our culture's move toward emojis marks a return to the power of symbols in every day conversation.

Faith-based Activism Discussion Group:
Just Mercy

This Sunday, July 26, 2020 at 5 PM – 6:30 PM Annabel Park  and  Maria De Los Angeles will host a discussion on the movie Just Mercy on Facebook.

Elfa Halloway Reception
We had a wonderful reception for Elfa Halloway to celebrate her departure to Germany. Many friends of Elfa gathered at Malcolm Peck's home. With the temperature over 100 degrees at 5pm, we stayed inside and wore our masks and stayed distant.

Church president Helen Sioris presented gifts from the church including an honorarium and Bible. Guests gave card, earrings and flowers. Dr. Peck, Helen and Niki represented the church in person with Maria and David joining on Zoom. All attendees gave a personal testimony of the impact Elfa has had on their life.

Rev. Tafel announced that the church parlor will be named after Elfa. A suitable photograph and plaque will be installed.

A lovely time was had by all and Elfa cannot be replaced. Please check out he photos in the right column to see what a great time we had. Thanks to all how joined on Zoom and in person.

Looking for a Church Administrator

The church is now hiring a church administrator.

Hiring a New Administrator
The church is hiring a new church administrator. You can read the job description below.

Please share this with your friends.

George Dole's Talk
I understand some of you had a hard time with my link to George Doles talk. Here is is again.

Pastoral Calls
I am available for pastoral calls throughout the summer. Just email me to set one up.

Physical Distancing

Social Outreach

Spiritual Connection

Your Pastor
Rev. Richard L. Tafel


Church Administrator Job Description

Church of the Holy City, Washington DC is looking for a part-time church administrator to provide on-site management of the day- to-day operations of the church.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities of a Church Administrator
·       Works with the minister and church, officers to develop a budget, pay bills and manage cash flow using QuickBooks making payroll for all employees.
·       Coordinates with the church Rental Manager and Wedding Coordinator to ensure there are no conflicts in building use by coordinating with the online program Peerspace.
·       Coordinates with pastor and officers to produce annual grant proposals.
·       Produce a weekly online newsletter using Constant Contact with input from the pastor.
·       Produces a weekly Sunday service bulletin.
·       Ensures that the church building is secured and well-maintained by contacting repairmen and overseeing their work.
·       Maintains all insurance policies associated with the church.
·       Schedules the cleaning crew and landscapers.
·       Prepares online weekly worship set-up on Zoom.
·       Works with Kastle security to manage alarms.
·       Coordinates with the church’s website manager and pastor to keep the site up to date.
Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
·       At least three-years experience and expertise using QuickBooks with knowledge of Constant Contact and Zoom.
·       Track record of completing repetitive processes from start to finish and being capable of multitasking.
·       Enjoy engaging with diverse people.
·       At least three years' experience working in a church office or nonprofit organization.
·       References showing excellent interpersonal, reliability and leadership skills.

Work Time, Environment and Salary
·       Spends time in a private, climate-controlled office.
·       Works flexible hours of 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
·       The salary of a church administrator is $2000 monthly, $24,000 annually.
·       Reports to the church pastor weekly.

If interested, please send your CV with a letter of interest to the minister at, no texts or calls please.

Readings this Week

Psalm 128
Beati omnes
1 Happy are they all who fear the Lord, *
and who follow in his ways!
2 You shall eat the fruit of your labor; *
happiness and prosperity shall be yours.
3 Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine within your house, *
your children like olive shoots round about your table.
4 The man who fears the Lord *
shall thus indeed be blessed.
5 The Lord bless you from Zion, *
and may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.
6 May you live to see your children's children; *
may peace be upon Israel.

Matthew 13:31-33,
Jesus put before the crowds another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

Swedenborg Insights

Nothing can exist anywhere in the material world that does not have a correspondence with the spiritual world—because if it did, it would have no cause that would make it come into being and then allow it to continue in existence. Everything in the material world is an effect. The causes of all effects lie in the spiritual world, and the causes of those causes in turn (which are the purposes those causes serve) lie in a still deeper heaven. ( Secrets of Heaven  #5711)

Giving is way down, so please send your offering.

Mail to checks to: 1611 16th St NW WDC 20009

We had a wonderful reception at Dr. Peck's home to celebrate Elfa's big move to Germany. The last photo below is Elfa working in London in one of her early careers.
Elfa has been a pillar of the church since the 1980's and took on the role of administrator in the 2000's playing a leadership role in saving the church.
Hundreds of lives have been powerfully impacted by her work to keep the doors open.
Thank you Elfa!
Dr. George Dole's Keynote Message

You will enjoy listening to Rev. Dr. George Dole's amazing keynote presentation "For Heaven's Sake" from the annual convention.
Dr. Dole is our greatest living Swedenborgian scholar. I think you'll find it worth the time.

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