Your Light Shines Even in the Darkest Hour

Dear Friends,

We are excited to continue our guest speaker series at Sunday prayers. This week we will gain the insights of Parris Sims, a world-class executive coach and educator, and a loving mom, who finds her purpose is assisting others with being the best version of themselves.

Parris joined one of our community-led services this past summer, I am delighted that she will be returning to us to share her her story and wisdom with this group.

Last year, Parris lost her son, Kyler 28, who transitioned to heaven on June 25, 2022. Her message this week will focus on how one's light shines even in darkest moments.

Parris' full bio is included below.

On Sunday, I’m flying back to DC from a wedding I’m doing in the Grand Cayman Islands. There’s a decent chance with the various legs of the journey that I won’t be able to connect online. Kateryna Pyatybratova and Cheryl Robertson, who both know Parris, have agreed to co-lead the service in my absence, though I still hope to join.

Have a blessed week,


Brief Bio:

Spiritually if you asked Parris when she knew God, she would say she has never known a time without knowing there was a God. As a young child her grandmother gave her a book of bible stories and the desire to know God grew from there. Parris was baptized at the age of 16 by the late Paul Pitchford at

Shiloh Baptist Church, where she has continued to worship to this day.

Professionally Parris’ career in human resources has spanned over two decades, first with private industry, then, moving to the public sector where she found her passion and has been serving in various human capital roles the past 15 years.

In 2019 Parris started meeting with a leadership coach because she felt unfulfilled at work and wondered if she was using her gifts to serve people in a meaningful way. It was then she was introduced to coaching as a career possibility. In 2021 Parris received her coaching certificate through the e-Co Leadership Coaching Program at the George Washington University School of Excellence for Public Administration. Parris’ desire to serve people, inquisitive nature and keen

intuition make her a naturally valuable coach. Since receiving her certificate Parris’ role within the DC Department of Human Resources has been expanded to utilize her in a coaching capacity while she continues to be the Compensation administrator.

Parris believes we stand on the shoulders of those who proceeded us and it’s our responsibility to be the shoulders for those coming after us. Parris’ desire to serve others and willing spirit to share what she has learned has served her well as a youth leader in her church, bible teacher and mentor to many professionally and personally.

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Readings for The Coming Sunday:

Jeremiah 29:11 - New International Version

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

John 1-5

The Word Became Flesh

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life,and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Swedenborg Insight

Secrets of Heaven §8179

When prayer has a divine origin, it always contains the thought and belief that the Lord alone knows whether the object of the prayer is useful or not. The person praying therefore submits the hearing of the prayer to the Lord and immediately adds the plea, “Lord, let your will be done, not mine,” in keeping with the Lord’s words during his heaviest trial, in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:39, 42, 44). 

Last Sunday:

In response to a question by one of our community members, Rev. Tafel preached as sermon on "Why Read the Bible", answering questions such as: What is the Bible? How did it get created? Should you read it literally? How is it important today? Why do we open it at the beginning of worship?

Thank to all who joined us, and the great discussion that followed the sermon!

A link to the recording of last Sunday's message can be found here

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There are still spots in our peacemaking training to better understand those with different perspectives. It would be great if all our DC community sign up for a free pilot session and gives your feedback.

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The Atlantic:

American Christianity is Due for a Revival:

Our society is secularizing, and Christianity seems to be in long-term decline. But renewal is possible.

By: Timothy Keller, the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, chair of Redeemer City to City, and author of the forthcoming book Forgive: Why Should I? How Can I?.

Date: February 5, 2023

Upon joining the Presbyterian ministry, in the mid-1970s, I served in a town outside Richmond, Virginia. New church buildings were going up constantly.

When I arrived in Manhattan in the late ’80s, however, I saw a startling sight. There on the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 20th Street was a beautiful Gothic Revival brownstone built in 1844 that had once been the Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion. Now it was the Limelight, an epicenter of the downtown club scene. Thousands of people a night showed up for drugs and sex and the possibility of close encounters with the famous of the cultural avant garde. It was a vivid symbol of a culture that had rejected Christianity.

I began to notice “repurposed” church buildings all over the city. They were now condominiums, gyms, art galleries, coffee shops, pubs, and clubs, a trend that continued as my time in the city went on. In 2014 the New York Archdiocese of the Catholic Church announced that it was closing dozens of empty church buildings, and hundreds of other Protestant congregations faced dwindling membership and were unable to maintain their church homes.

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Thought for the Week:

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