A Return to Hyper-Partisanship in the Pandemic: What's a Christian Role?
This Sunday's Sermon:

in the Pandemic:
What's a Christian Role?

Painting: Edward Hicks: The Peaceable Kingdom

Zoom Video Call in at 5pm EST
I hope you are doing well and you can join our weekly online service on Zoom this Sunday


We'll use Zoom again on Sunday.
Here's the link to the Sunday Prayer Service:

Phone numbers:       
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) and Meeting ID: 874 9882 4471
+1 646 876 9923 US (New York) and Meeting ID: 874 9882 4471

Recording of last weeks' sermon is here. : 

Thanks again to Kateryna Pyatybratova for her help each week!

Also, please take a second a like our Facebook page for the church. You can find it by clicking here.

I will be online starting at 4:30 PM if want to work out any challenges getting on. If you aren't sure, get on early and meditate.

Social Hour is Discussion Hour
Discussion Hour is becoming one of my favorite times of the week where you can ask questions, share answers and think through challenging topics.

Guidelines for a Good Discussion
This week I'll be speaking to how we can be better peacemakers in our politically divided country.

You can begin practicing this in the discussion hour

Come to the discussion time with a curious mind. Be less interested in sharing what you know and more curious about what you want to learn.

Feel free to share differing viewpoints than what you heard in the sermon, but begin you comments with phrases, such as,
"While I found what you said interesting, I came out with a different perspective. Can I share that?"

Use your comments to encourage learning and participation. We are unique among many services that we hold discussions, so avoid combativeness and embrace curiosity.

Remember there's no need to agree with differing viewpoints, but it is important to demonstrate respect for all viewpoints.

Summer Services
In past years, Memorial Day would be the final service for the summer due to the heat in the church, Because we are online and in this crisis, we've decided to continue Sunday worship through June. The church board will come up with ideas to stay connected in July and August when the pastor takes his summer vacation. Let us know if you have an idea.

Service Order
Please save this newsletter and use the service order on the right-hand side.

Please take a minute and send in an offering by using our new link to GoFundMe

We need each other. Please consider joining our church. Let me know if you're interested.

Hang in there. I know these are challenging times. I’m glad we have each other and the Lord.

Physical Distancing

Social Outreach

Spiritual Connection

Your Pastor
Rev. Richard L. Tafel



What Role do Angels Play in Our Lives?

In this time of trouble, many people have angels are on our minds.
Each Sunday after I check out our Discussion Hour, I check into zoom call that is organized by the head our council of ministers, Susanna Currie. In a recent discussion, she shared her desire to really write more about angels in a time of turmoil as she wondered this, “With all of these corona deaths, I’m curious to imagine how heaven has changed for the better and how our world will change with the inflow of these new angels.”
She’s reflecting a view in our tradition that heaven grows better with variety and that what happens there, echoes into our world.
Then, a week ago, our own Annabel Park said, in effect, “I’m starting to read up more on angels. The sad news of all the deaths has made me want to see if there’s a more positive side to what’s going on. It would be great if you could preach on that.”

So, here I am. You want me to preach on something, just ask.
When I read the gospel this week about where Jesus promises we will be ministered to, advocated for and comforted, I thought this might be a great chance to talk about angels.
What do we know about angels?
Angels appear in Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Mormon and Bahai faiths each with their own unique insights. Angels also appear in our popular culture with the most famous movie and story at Christmas being about angelic interventions in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol.”
Angels are reported throughout Scripture. In the Old Testament angels visit Abraham and seek to protect those in Sodom and Gomorrah. Jacob wrestles with an angel. Angels appeared to Daniel to saying,  “I have now come to give you, insight and understanding.”
In the New Testament, messenger angels come to Mary telling her about her baby Jesus. Angels guide Joseph to stick with Mary and to escape to save the baby’s life. Angels comfort Jesus in the desert and, from today’s reading they comfort him before his arrest. Angels both comfort and serve as messengers at the empty tomb. The disciples were guided by angels to preach about Jesus. Revelations is full of John’s descriptions of angel messengers.
From this, we learn that angels serve to guide and comfort us.
Though the Scriptures give us very little details into who angels are, our tradition is most known for teachings about angels. I was surprised when I looked at the Wikipedia page on “angels” that it had an entire section dedicated to the insights of Swedenborg Church. You can see this focus on angels in the stained glass at Church of the Holy City beginning with creation angels on the west wall leading to the angels of revelation on the east wall.
What did Swedenborg tell us about angels?
One of my favorite stories about angels sums up Swedenborg’s view.
Swedenborg was beloved by the children of his friends and one child kept asking him to show her an angel. One day he said he’d show her and took her into a room to see a curtain. Get ready he told her as she stared at the curtain. When he pulled back the curtain the young girl saw a mirror reflection of herself.
He proclaimed; “You are looking at an angel.”
In his view, all of us are angels in training.
Swedenborg’s unique view of angels differ from much of Christian teachings I grew up with.

Much of traditional Christianity teach that angels were a created race of heavenly beings. Swedenborg differed from a traditional view of, instead he says all angels once lived. All of us now are angels in training.
Much of traditional teaching says becoming an angel means entering into eternal rest. But in our tradition, angels are useful serving in occupations in heaven that they passionate about without regard to making an income. An artist, for example, who couldn’t afford to pursue that life on earth, would live this passion in heaven There are angel governments, business activities, and religious teachers. Some angels have the special gift of guiding us here on earth, while others welcome those who just died.
Many Christians teach that if a baby or child dies, they go into a limbo state because they weren’t baptized. But in our tradition, all children are immediately welcomed into heaven as angels. I love that he describes women who are great with children welcoming over children at death and taking care of them.
Many traditions teach that heaven is reward and hell a punishment, but in our tradition, we begin living in connection with angels here on earth, while death transitions to a continuation of life.
In our tradition, angels are deeply involved in our daily life to the extent we welcome them.
Darker forces are also at work in our minds and we are in a state of tension as we overcome our selfish and fearful selves and trust the Lord to become more loving.
Angels respect our free will, and they whisper, inspire and nudge us toward good hundreds of times each day.
Angels also work through each of us. Have you ever been prompted to call someone out of the blue only to told they desperately need it? Angels help us to forgive allowing us to be instruments of heavenly angels in other people’s lives. Have you ever had someone come into your life at the right moment? That’s someone else being guided by angels.
During this historic crisis, knowing that we have angels around us to protect us, guide us is incredibly reassuring. Knowing that we are each fundamentally spiritual beings, angels in training, for a brief period here on earth can also be incredibly comforting. Recognizing that death is a beautiful transition, not an ending, also brings us peace. Angels tell us, “There is nothing to fear.”
It is natural to feel great loss and anguish when we lose loved ones to death. It is natural to be worried about our own death. It is painfully sad to be losing so many people so fast when their family can’t even come to be with them at that end. It brings comfort to know that angels are with all of those dying.
It is reassuring to know that angels are working with each of us through it all. The times we often feel most alone, we are told that angels draw closer.
The more you become aware of them and the good they can bring you comfort and guidance.
We can increase our connection to angels each time we attempt to do good toward others, when we pray, read Scripture, join weekly worship or ask God to lead us in the right way we are inviting in angelic support and guidance.
Wherever you are and however you feel, angels are seeking to comfort you.
No matter who lost or confused you feel, angels are seeking to guide you toward the good.
Next time you look in the mirror remind yourself that you are looking at an angel in training.

Tony Raffa becomes acting treasurer. Thanks to Nikiar Ahmadi for his leadership as our past treasurer.

This past week the the church officers appointed Tony Raffa to replace Niki Ahmadi as our church treasurer. His appointment will be confirmed at the annual meeting.

We thank Niki for playing a leadership role in guiding the church through the loan business plan that lead to the repair of our basement. He also pioneered a new online rental program called Peer Space for the church.

Thank you Niki for your leadership!

Tony Raffa takes overs as Treasurer with his background in creating start ups and advising social impact organizations.

Thank you Tony!
(Photo of Tony above and Niki with Maria below.)
Church of the Holy City Staircase
Order of Worship

Light your own candle.

Set up your Bible or holy book at home.

Opening the Word
Open your Bible at home.

Welcome from Rev. Tafel

Rev. Tafel will greet everyone and ask for readers of the texts.

Read at home.

All: Eternal God, in whom we live and move and have our being,
whose face is hidden from us by our sins,

and whose mercy we forget in the blindness of our hearts:
cleanse us from all our offenses,

and deliver us from proud thoughts and vain desires,

that with reverent and humble hearts we may draw near to you,

confessing our faults, confiding in your grace, and finding in you our refuge and strength;


May almighty God have mercy on us,  forgive us our sins,  and bring us to everlasting life,  through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Isaiah 11
The Root of Jesse
1 Then a shoot will spring up from the stump of Jesse,
and a Branch from his roots will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him—
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and strength,
the Spirit of knowledge and fear of the LORD.
3 And He will delight in the fear of the LORD.
He will not judge by what His eyes see,
and He will not decide by what His ears hear,
4 but with righteousness He will judge the poor,
and with equity He will decide for the lowly of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth
and slay the wicked with the breath of His lips.
5 Righteousness will be the belt around His hips,
and faithfulness the sash around His waist.
6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
and the leopard will lie down with the goat;
the calf and young lion and fatling will be together, a
and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow will graze with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The infant will play by the cobra’s den,
and the toddler will reach into the viper’s nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy
on all My holy mountain,
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the sea is full of water.

Swedenborg Insight
Government in Heaven
From all this it can be seen what the governors there are, namely, that they are such as are preeminent in love and wisdom, and therefore desire the good of all, and from wisdom know how to provide for the realization of that good.

Such governors do not domineer or dictate, but they minister and serve (to serve meaning to do good to others from a love of the good, and to minister meaning to see to it that the good is done); nor do they make themselves greater than others, but less, for they put the good of society and of the neighbor in the first place , and put their own good last; and whatever is in the first place is greater and what is last is less.

Heaven and Hell 218.

Matthew 20

20  Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.
21  “What is it you want?” he asked.
She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”
22  “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”
“We can,” they answered.
23  Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”
24  When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers.  25  Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  26  Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,  27  and whoever wants to be first must be your slave —  28  just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


We will save the discussion for after the service in our discussion hour.

The church switched to using GoFundMe. You can connect to our website by clicking the Offering link above. Monthly ongoing donations are now easy.

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

Community Prayers
Here you can simply say your intention with a word or phrase. There's no need to explain details. The Lord knows what's on your heart. All of us will respond together after a prayer is made by saying,
"Lord Hear Our Prayer."

Pastor Prayer
O  God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord
Lord's Prayer (in unison)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11  Give us this day our daily bread.
12  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.


Discussion Time
Please stay as long as you like to update each other on how you are doing. Rev. Tafel will stay until the last person has shared. You can ask the minister anything!
Church of the Holy City Welcomes Three New Members
Kateryna Pyatybratova

Kateryna Pyatybratova serves as the Director of Marketing and Business Development at the George Washington University's Center for Excellence in Public Leadership (GW-CEPL). In this capacity she is responsible for the Center’s go-to-market strategy and partnership-building efforts with U.S. and international government agencies, donors and associations, helping to prepare public sector leaders for the realities of the 21st century. Prior to coming to GW-CEPL in 2010, Kateryna worked and interned in a number of organizations, including the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Kennan Institute, and the White House Office of Presidential Correspondence. She graduated summa cum laude from the George Washington University with a BA in International Affairs, where she also completed a Joint MBA and Master's in European and Eurasian Studies. 

Bringing her expertise and passion for personal transformation and social innovation, Kateryna looks forward to the exchange of ideas on how we, as leaders, are called to respond to emerging crises with humanness and resiliency.

Sheri Smith
Sheri Smith is the founder and CEO of the Indigo Project and the Indigo Impact Initiative 501(c)3. Indigo, established in 2013, has the vision of catalyzing a learner-centered education system that cultivates innovation, entrepreneurship, and empathy. 
A lifelong entrepreneur, Sheri was integral in starting a metals distributor, coaching and consulting firms, and running a small retail housewares company. In 1998, Sheri designed the first website hosted at the US Department of State for Vital Voices, a global women’s rights initiative.
Introduced to assessment technology for hiring and employee development in her early 20’s, Sheri is an expert in these tools, which are used to build high performing teams, coach leaders, and align human capital to the goals of an organization. Indigo uses these same concepts to engage students, empower educators, and transform schools. 
Sheri has spoken at various conferences, authored two books, conducts research, and authors papers. She graduated magna cum laude from American University with a B.A. in International Studies, and holds an M.A. from Georgetown University in Communication, Culture and Technology. 

Scott Smith
Scott Smith is an entrepreneur, author, and managing member of the C Squared Fund . He was an early pioneer in structured finance on Wall Street, originating the first mixed-property commercial mortgage conduit and securing a billion-dollar line of credit from DLJ. He developed the model for securitizing loans that became the cornerstone for mortgage-backed securities today. Scott also helped structure the financing for the first phase of President Nelson Mandela’s Redevelopment Program , which provided affordable housing for some 11,000 families near Soweto, South Africa, and paved the way to provide housing for many more families throughout the nation.
While still in finance, Scott founded Kidz Magazine in 1995, an early example of user-generated content. The monthly publication invited students to submit content that ranged from stories and poems to puzzles and drawings. Paid sponsors were classroom-friendly advertisers. The publication grew from a local magazine to an international publication with an audience in the millions that spanned 30 nations. Scott’s work in education led him to co-found two Colorado charter schools, Summit Middle School and Peak-to-Peak Charter School , t he latter of which is ranked among the top schools in the nation by Time Magazine and U.S. News & World Report .
As an entrepreneur Scott is a co-founder of Massively Parallel Technologies and Fathym , as well as the founder of FinaTech . Massively Parallel is the developer of Blue Cheetah, a
software platform that automates the analysis and modernization of legacy code, so it can be migrated to the cloud. Fathym is a low code/no code platform that enables the rapid development of enterprise IoT solutions for the cloud. Scott developed FinaTech’s Augmented ROI solution, which dramatically improves yields for investors in Private ® Equity funds.
Scott is the author of The Financial Freedom Act , a book that develops the basis for a Congressional bill that would replace income taxes with a universal payments tax, which would slash the tax rate to 0.2%, balance the budget, and provide basic income, healthcare and college for all U. S. citizens.
Scott lives in Boulder with his wife, Sheri, founder of the Indigo Education Company . He has six children and enjoys painting galaxies in his spare time. 

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