Touchpoint Summer 2022

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Worship with Us pg. 4

CYF Corner pg. 8

The Marble Magazine

Spotlight: Ribbons for Gun Violence Awareness pg. 2 & 3


Marble Matters

Life’s Quest

First, a story: Once, the great Hassidic leader, Zusia, “They will say to me, ‘Zusia, there was only one came to his followers. His eyes were red with tears, thing that no power of heaven or earth could have preand his face was pale with fear. vented you from becoming.’ They will say, ‘Zusia, why weren’t you Zusia?’” “Zusia, what’s the matter? “ …take some time You look frightened!” Life’s quest is to be you, but it’s not easy. There is so much pressure to be this summer to invite “The other day, I had a like others or to be what others want vision. In it, I learned the quesGod to help you you to be. But this will never work. tion that the angels will one reflect on you. ” day ask me about my life.” When I think about this, my mind goes to the verse in Isaiah in which it The followers were puzsays, “We’re the clay, and God, You’re zled. “Zusia, you are pious. our potter: All of us are what You made us” (64:8). If You are scholarly and humble. You have helped so you’ve ever tried pottery, you know it can be frustratmany of us. What question about your life could be so ing, especially if you want to make four cups that look terrifying that you would be frightened to answer it?” exactly the same. You can try, but there will always be Zusia turned his gaze to heaven. “I have learned little smudges, slight cracks, and little quirks that mark that the angels will not ask me, ‘Why weren’t you a each as unique. This is what makes pottery so special. Moses, leading your people out of slavery?’” No two are ever alike. His followers persisted. “So, what will they ask The same is true of you. Know that you too are you?” unique, special, one of a kind. It’s easy to lose sight of “And I have learned,” Zusia sighed, “that the angels this, so make sure to take some time this summer to will not ask me, ‘Why weren’t you a Joshua, leading invite God to help you reflect on you. Afterall, what the your people into the promised land?’” world needs most is for you to be the you God created! One of his followers approached Zusia and Tena and I send you our love. placed his hands on Zusia’s shoulders. Looking him in the eyes, the follower demanded, “But what will they ask you?”

Dr. Michael Bos Senior Minister


Ella Niewood, graduating senior; photo by Jisselle Tavarez Fernandez

Staff for this Issue EDITOR:

Karla Fritsch PHOTOS:

Dave Cross Jisselle Tavarez Fernandez Karla Fritsch Jay Johnson Siobhan Tull GRAPHIC DESIGN:

Beth Player-DiCicco

Marble Matters

A WORD FROM OUR EXECUTIVE MINISTER A SUMMER RESET selves a fresh, healthy meal every few days. Limiting By Rev. J. Elise Brown, Ph.D. our hours on social media or in front of computer By this time of the year, New Year’s resolutions screens. Turning off the TV and opening up a book seem like ancient history. They have disappeared from instead. Picking up the phone and calling one person the rear-view mirror. whom you haven’t spoken to for a while to see how they are doing. Deciding it’s finally time to forgive that All the things we were going to do. How we were person whom you have held a grudge against for too going to make this year different. Research shows long. Taking those 5-10 minutes each day in prayer most people fall away from those new year’s comand reflection, scripture study, meditation. mitments by February! They move on with their lives, perhaps continuing in the Whatever it might same old patterns and be for you, how about “…look at this mid-point habits they were so coma mid-year reset where in the year as an opportunity we realize the power of mitted to changing when the year began. Why is it intention and the strength to make some new, so hard to stay committed we bring to our lives, with fresh commitments…” to those resolutions? the help of God, to effect change and become betBut how about a ter and stronger each and every day? Summer Reset? Why not look at this mid-point in the year as an opportunity to make some new, fresh I wish you a summer of joy and rejuvenation. I pray commitments, knowing that the person you were in each of you commits to a new intention each day, and January is not who you are today. Each and every I know the Holy Spirit will bless your efforts. Keep the day of our lives we are given the opportunity to grow, faith. Lay claim to God’s holy promises and presence. change, emerge, shift, and deepen which means we And I hope to see you in church very soon! aren’t the same person we were even just the day before today. These commitments can seem small, like getting outside even for a few minutes each day. Cooking ourIT’S SIMPLE (NOT EASY): LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR. It is a simple request, and yet it is so hard for us to do. In many cases, we go as far as to choose division and hate over love. One of the most egregious examples of this is the thousands of lives lost each year due to gun violence. At Marble we say enough is enough. On Sunday, June 19 we hung ribbons again on the fence around the church – orange ribbons, the defining color of the Gun Violence Awareness movement. Included on these ribbons are tags that ask, “How will you love your neighbor?” We invite anyone to share ideas and thoughts on how we can show love to one another and support an end to gun violence. Also included are resources that can help you get started. Let’s work together to put an end to gun violence and what has now become the leading cause of death for our children and teenagers. Please join us in being part of the solution by promoting love and support to all of God’s creations. If we truly loved one another not only would it end gun violence, but it would also end all the evils that divide us.


Rev. J. Elise Brown, Ph.D. Executive Minister






Rev. Susanah Wade, preaching

Rev. Susanah Wade, preaching

Dr. Michael Bos Senior Minister


July /August 2022


Rev. Brittany Juliette Hanlin, preaching


The Scandalous Gospel JULY 31

Rev. J. Elise Brown, Ph.D., preaching

The Cost of Pride JULY 17

Rev. J. Elise Brown, Ph.D., preaching

Doing This Thing Called Life Dr. Michael Bos, preaching

Having a Plan AUGUST 7

Making a Choice AUGUST 14

Living with Distinction AUGUST 21

Finding a Vision AUGUST 28 ----------------------


Sister Carol Perry, preaching

THE GATHERING – MIDWEEK WORSHIP If you missed the June 1 Pride Worship or any of this year’s services, view the archives at The Pride service included the special blessing of sections of the AIDS Quilt that hung in our Sanctuary throughout June. This was part of the National AIDS Memorial’s (San Francisco) efforts to bring the Quilt to communities across the United States to raise greater awareness and education about HIV/ AIDS and to remember those lost to the pandemic. Display of the Quilt was generously underwritten by an ally of Marble’s LGBTQ+ community.

Marble Matters

In the Marble Spotlight BEREAVEMENT GROUP Every Monday | 11:00am-12:00pm Are you mourning the loss of a loved one? You need not travel this road alone. Led by Dr. Bill Lutz via Zoom. Contact Judy Tulin ( Please note, no session July 4. CAREGIVERS SUPPORT GROUP Saturdays, July 9 & August 6 | 1:00-3:00pm Learn how to balance your life and be a Caregiver with new strength and vitality. Led by Rev. Marion Gambardella. For more information and Zoom link, contact Judy Tulin ( ARTS MINISTRY ONLINE POP-UP GALLERY Sundays in August Relax, Renew, Refresh! is this year’s theme for our summer art exhibit. Stay tuned for details at AFTERNOON PRAYER Returns Tuesday, August 9 | 4:00pm All invited for this weekly time of brief sharing and prayer. Join us via Zoom or by phone. BECOME A MARBLE MEMBER! Whoever you are, wherever you are in your faith journey, wherever you live, we’d love to have you join us! Please contact Kim Sebastian-Ryan (KRyan@, or visit engage/join/become-a-member.

CONNECTING WITH KIM & SIOBHAN What do you do when you don’t know what to do? Have you ever found yourself in that place? The gray area of uncertainty? Siobhan and I have. I think we’ve all had an opportunity to experience it at some point in the last two years – at least for a little while. So, what do we do? How do we move from a place of uncertainty to a safer place? Safer ground. A place where we feel more connected and less isolated. A place where we know we are not alone. We all need a starting point, an opportunity to be in community with others. To connect, share stories, and laughter, share tears and sorrows. Share prayers. To deepen our relationships.

MARBLE’S FUTURE: FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH If you missed any of the conversations about our Strategic Planning process, want to review them again, or for more information, visit The latest update was after Worship on June 12, and our community-wide survey was the focus at the 10:00 O’Clock Hour and Congregational Forum on May 1. Thank you to all of you who participated in the survey. If you haven’t viewed the full report yet, you can find it at ChurchwideSurveyResults. Included in the document is an executive summary by our consultants from Fuller Seminary, Jake Muller and Dr. Yulee Lee, as well as 58 pages of comprehensive results. IF YOU MISSED IT 10:00 O’Clock Hour (returns in September) – If you missed any or want to revisit, view our archive at Sessions include “I Am:” Seeking the Goodness of God in the Land of the Living with Rev. Kimberleigh Jordan; Faith in the Workplace with Hope Knight and Dan Nigro; Even Silence Is Praise with Rick Hamlin, and other Spiritual Education programs as well. Racial Justice Series – We had some powerful discussions this year as we continue our commitment to do anti-racism. Watch at racial-justice-series.

In our faith, our starting point is worship. When we don’t know where to begin, Sunday is a touchstone. It is our gift of rest and place of renewal. It is where we come together as a community to share our prayers, to lift our voices in song, and to find a light for the next step in our path. So, this summer we invite you to join us at the beginning. Take an opportunity to rest in the arms of this community, and then when you feel ready, to step out and meet someone new, either in person or online. We can’t wait to hear what the next step in the path is for all of us in September.

Kim Sebastian-Ryan Director of Membership & Connecting Siobhan Tull Program Leader for Online Community Email us: or


Marble Matters


STIRRINGS OF THE SPIRIT GOOD LORD SHOW ME THE WAY By Rev. Brittany Juliette Hanlin Studying about that good ol’ way And who shall wear the starry crown Good Lord, show me the way O sinners, let’s go down Let’s go down, come on down Rev. Brittany Juliette Hanlin Associate Minister

O sinners, let’s go down Down in the river to pray As I went down in the river to pray Studying about that good ol’ way And who shall wear the robe and crown Good Lord, show me the way… – Down to the River I got the news of my grandmother’s passing while on vacation in Hawaii last year. My heart was BROKEN and my spirit CRUSHED. I went on a hike to clear my mind and to empty my tear ducts. There was a beautiful river with boulders alongside the shore, so I sat there by the river and I prayed, I cried and I sang this song… “Good Lord, please show me the way.” In the quiet of seclusion, I was able to lament and give thanks for the life and love of my grandmother, Juliette Archie. My heart was still broken,

Thank you to the volunteers and staff who put in a little over 15 hours spread across three days to cut 400 orange ribbons (over 1,250 yards), trim, stuff, tassel, and seal over 375 tags, all in support and preparation for the unveiling of our Gun Violence Awareness Project.

but my spirit was no longer crushed because I felt the presence of God and my grandmother under the whispering trees. When’s the last time you spent time in nature, connecting to the earth? Have you sat outside and let the warmth of the sun soothe your heart? In a bustling city like NYC it is often hard to feel connected to nature. Buses, trains, and buildings sometimes make us forget about the beauty of God’s creation, but NYC is full of nature adventures, we just have to be creative and open to the bounty around us. This summer I encourage you to take a stroll through nature, sit by the water, on a park bench or even a stoop and PRAY. Talk to God. Give thanks. Release what no longer serves you and hear the whisper of the trees as they sing the melodies of your heart.

Marble Matters


Reflections from the Editor

By Karla Fritsch Summertime, and the livin’ is easy… That lullaby from Porgy and Bess is usually soothing to me, but these days my response to that line is – very little feels easy. I’ve been struggling, at moments feeling trapped inside myself, as well as by the continued turmoil and sadness in the world. Yet, God keeps working to reach me, sending messages of hope, sometimes in flashes, sometimes with the rhythm of repetition. In early June, one of God’s messages drove by me as I was on my way to Marble – a moving truck with Move towards peace on the side. I knew immediately I was meant to see that and was able to snap a photo. It went by in a flash, yet the process of moving towards peace, moving toward any positive change, isn’t quick. I am human after all. I get bogged down, distracted and I forget to keep moving. Yet, thankfully I have a loving God who knows that I need gentle nudges and repetition in order to remember. Recently, God gave me a trio of nudges with the same message. One Friday, my friend and trainer Rochelle left my apartment and the last thing she said to me was, “Don’t give up on yourself. I’m not giving up on you.” To help myself remember, I wrote it in red bubble letters on a card. Two days later, my mom, age 95 & 8 months, was in the hospital after her car was t-boned on the highway. The first chance we had to talk, she said to me, “I’m planning to stick around as long as possible, but no matter what, Karla, promise me you won’t give up.”

The next night, I was watching my recording of a Juneteenth concert. The Gospel duo Mary Mary started to sing but I was doing other things so I almost missed it, then some lyrics jumped out at me. Did I hear what I thought I heard? I rewound to listen more closely: …But when my back is against the wall And I feel all hope is gone I’ll just lift my head up to the sky And say help me to be strong, oh I just can’t give up now I’ve come too far from where I started from They were singing, Can’t Give Up Now. I guess God really doesn’t want me to give up! In my move towards peace, a healthier life, living more fully into who I was created to be – in addition to not giving up, I need to keep remembering that sometimes that’s going to mean all I can do is hold on, without any appearance of moving forward. Other times, I can take a small step, then another, hold on some more, step again, repeat… and then, One of these mornings You’re going to rise up singing Then you’ll spread your wings And you’ll take to the sky.

WHEN YOU NEED HELP During these challenging times, please reach out for help if you need it. Stephen Ministry at Marble – A one-to-one Blanton Peale Counseling Center – If you need ministry that empowers lay members to provide more in-depth, professional help with mental health high-quality, confidential, and Christ-centered care issues, visit to those who are struggling with difficult life events. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – If you Email: or someone you know are in emotional distress or The Marble Prayer Ministry Team is here to suicidal crisis, call 800-273-8255, available 24 hours. pray for you – Submit your requests on the bottom of any page at

Karla Fritsch Publications Manager

Touchpoint: July & August 2022

CYF CORNER MOMENTS & MEMORIES On June 12, Marble was blessed by CYF Music Sunday when the Children’s and Youth Choirs sang, directed by Fred Meads. Our three High School graduates, Amanda Crewey, Walker McSween and Ella Niewood, were celebrated and received Prayer Shawls. They also shared their musical gifts: Prelude pieces with Walker on trumpet and Amanda on cello, plus all three sang the final blessing. Watch this special service again at Watch.

WEBCAST SCHEDULE Visit or Facebook Sundays 10:00 O’Clock Hour – Returns September 11am – Worship Grace Notes: Returns September Sermon Podcasts: Subscribe at

Marble Collegiate Church

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THE LAST WORD Joy, sorrow, tears, lamentation, laughter – to all these music gives voice, but in such a way that we are transported from the world of unrest to a world of peace... — Albert Schweitzer