The Power of Humility

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Church of the Holy City

Dialogue, Community, and Spiritual Growth

We look forward to answering your questions, sharing stories

and finding ways to build community

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Sunday Evening


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The Power of Humility

Last Week

Our discussion on grief was considered by some as one of our most powerful ones. Thanks to all of those who shared personal strategies. You can hear the sermon HERE.


Also, last Sunday our church president Annabel and our community builder Kateryna teamed up to produce an interfaith prayer and meditation service on behalf of the people of Ukraine. You can see the photo below.

We had prayers from the Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist tradition with a profound meditation all hosted by the Church of the Holy City. Our inclusive spiritual tradition makes us a good facilitator of these types of events. We will do more. We will also help set up ways you can donate.

Church Leaders

Last week our church matriarch Gwen Griswold attended church. Read her story below and see how you can support our efforts to help.

This Week

Today is Ash Wednesday, which begins a season of Lent leading to Easter. The theme today and through Lent is a time of humble self-reflection. Sunday I'll speak to the power of humility and why it is one of the most critical aspects of spiritual growth.


Kateryna is interviewing attendees to gain a sense of what you all like about church and where you see ways we could improve. If you are open to being interviewed just let me know and she'll reach out to you.

Virtual Coffee Hour

I hope you’ll give a virtual coffee hour a try. If you don’t need it, someone else probably does.

Have a topic you'd like to hear a sermon on just let me know.

Monday Reading Group

You all have an open invitation to join the reading group Mondays at 7 PM focused on Swedenborg's Divine Love and Wisdom. This is lay lead and open to all.

You can get the link to Reading Group Zoom for Monday nights HERE.

I look forward to seeing you Sunday,

See you Sunday,

Rev. Rich Tafel

Prayers for Ukraine

Last Sunday Church of the Holy City hosted faith leaders who joined in prayer and meditation. Members of our community shared their stories and Jason Bellini shared what he's seeing from the front lines.

Click HERE to read the press release covering the event.


One of our members, Kateryna Pyatybratova, is also leading the work with faith-based organizations in Ukraine that are helping internally-displaced people and refugees fleeing the war zone. The first $1,000 collected through this event went to a family center located 70km from Kyiv, Ukraine, that served over 200 people in the last few days (photo below).


Donate to support Kateryna's fundraiser, Razom (Together) With Ukraine:

Visit our Church of the Holy City Facebook Page to view the livestream recording of the event:

Family Center in Kyiv

Sunday Service Order

Light a Candle

Open the Word

Take a Deep Breath


Loving God, thank you for your promise that where two or three are gathered you are there in the midst.

Open our ears so that we may hear your voice.

Open our minds so that we may receive Your eternal wisdom.

Open our spirits so that we may know Your leading and guidance.

And open our hearts so that we may receive Your wonderful love. Amen.



O God, you made us in your own image.

Look with compassion on the whole human family.

Take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts.

Break down the walls that separate us.

Unite us in bonds of love.

And work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that we love one another.



 The Sermon on the Mount

5 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

The Beatitudes

2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

John 12:25

"He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life."

Genesis 3:19

In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust, you shall return.

Swedenborg Insight

The Lord desires that we have a humble attitude.

When we have that attitude, the Lord can flow into our lives with heavenly good. This also applies to worship and gratitude.”

Secrets of Heaven 5957



(Lord's Prayer using sins/sin)



A person lacking humility loves no one but himself, and others only so far as they make one with him. They make everything about themselves and entirely ignore others, most especially God.

When many in one society do this, it follows that all are disjoined, and each looks upon another as an enemy; and if anyone does anything against them, they hold them in hatred, and take delight in their destruction

(AC 4997).

Trinity Forum is offering daily meditations on Lent with different speakers. You can watch them HERE.

The United Methodist Church has a neat video explaining Ash Wednesday you can watch HERE

The matriarch of Church of the Holy City

Last Sunday Gwynne Griswald joined our service. Here's her history in the church as shared by her husband Robert.

Gwen first had a child's involvement with the Boston church in the 1930s. She and her mother were very poor. She was quite bright and had a sharp memory. The Boston church had an education fund as protection against Puritan prejudice in the public schools. When the need for that fund passed, the money was offered to children of the church. This situation financed Gwynne's education at Radcliffe. This gift was a great blessing for which she remains grateful. 


Her first marriage took her to West Virginia and away from the church. On moving to Washington DC in the 1960s she joined the Washington church and remained a member there in spirit through the present. Dick Baxter, the pastor of the Washington church, married Gwynne and me in 1987. At the Washington church, Gwynne exposed me to Swedenborgian services and thinking. I found the church appealing. Gwynne's daughter Susie became an active leader in the church.


In 2003, another move to the country, this time to Virginia, took us out of the physical range of the church again. In Virginia, she and I have associated with an Episcopal church through the present. The Zoom session with you yesterday allowed us to reconnect with Swedenborg. We were both charmed. Hurray for you and Zoom.

Serving the Community

Church of the Holy City serves our community by sponsoring amazing programs. This year is our second year of sponsoring the DC Music Summit. Thanks to Shalonda Ingram for coordinating these efforts.

For more info click HERE.

Jason Bellini Continues

reports from Ukraine

Please keep our community member Jason in your prayers as he reports from Ukraine. Jason joined last week's prayer service with reports from the border. You can watch his latest front-line stories HERE.

Kateryna Pyatybratova has started translating poems emerging from the war in Ukraine into the English language.

Show your support by joining the “Let’s Welcome Refugees” Facebook group, moderated by President of our church, Annabel Park and Kateryna:

Political Analysis from 2016 on the potential for war in Europe.

Rev. Tafel did an interview with a German TV company before the 2016 elections warning of dangers for countries on the border of Russia. You can watch it HERE.

Who Is Swedenborg?

Here's a great video on

Who Is Swedenborg?

put out by the Swedenborg Foundation, you can just click HERE.

1611 16th Street NW, Washington DC 20009