Worship with Us pg. 8
The Marble Magazine
Spotlight: Update on Return to Building page 4
CYF Corner pg. 6
Stay Connected Online page 10
Courage to Face the Future
Dr. Michael Bos Senior Minister
Our Special Cover Photo The Bos Family enjoying one of their favorite activities during quarantine. Tena, Tim Swain, Austin and Aubrey Bos in New Mexico, Michael, Alicia Swain with baby #1 due later this fall, and of course, Gracie.
The Bos Family
Staff for this Issue EDITOR:
Karla Fritsch PHOTOS:
Dave Cross Jay Johnson Dan Finegold Rick Harper Karla Fritsch GRAPHIC DESIGN:
We’re living in uncertain times, and this isn’t easy not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your God for us. This is because we love certainty. We love is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). This was knowing what’s coming. We love knowing the outenough for them to face their future and make their come. We love knowing what to expect. But when way to their new home. uncertainty comes, fear, indecision and doubt are not This is the same message found in one of the most far behind. We try to stay hopeful and positive, but cherished passages of scripture, Psalm 23. In the we’re constantly fighting the negative expectations Psalm it reassures us that “Even though I walk through that fill our mind. the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with So, what can we do? One solution is to try and con- me” (v. 4). People turn to this passage in the midst of fine our lives to those things that are certain. Honestly, struggle and great loss because it’s the one certainty I’m not sure how we could ever do this. If certainty is onto which they can hold to be able to face the future. our priority, then we can no longer go to new places or In the midst of the pandemic there is so much that try new things. We can no longer meet new people or is unknown and uncertain about our future, and we risk loving them. Trying to confine our lives to certainty could be tempted to pull back rather is no way to live at all! than move forward. But there is one But there’s a better way. thing we know for certain: God is “… faith tells us we Instead of seeking certainty us wherever we go, and that’s can be certain about one with about our future, faith tells us enough to give us the courage to thing: we will not face face the future. we can be certain about one thing: we will not face the the future alone.” As a church we need to remind future alone. This may be the ourselves of this. It’s easy to live by only certainty we need to face fear rather than by faith. But because the future with courage. we know God is with us wherever we go, let’s move In Hebrew scripture there is the story of Joshua. boldly into the future. Marble’s message of healing He is tasked with leading a people who had been and hope is needed now more than ever. This is not wandering in the wilderness so long that fear and a time for us to pull back our ministry. It is a time to doubt had overtaken them. They were on their way expand our ministry. Yes, there are many things that to their new homeland, but they were so fed up with are unknown, but we know the one thing that makes the uncertainty the future held that at one point they the difference: God will be with us wherever we go. pleaded to go back to their oppressive existence Tena and I miss you so much! We send you all our in their former land. They would have rather had a love and hold you in our prayers. meager existence with certainty than an unknown yet Blessings, better future, which can easily happen to any of us. As Joshua prepared to lead them, this is the word of God that came to him: “Be strong and courageous; do Dr. Michael Bos
ICAHN HOUSE – SUPPORTING OUR NEIGHBORS Thank you, Marble Church! These brightly colored orange and blue bags are filled with food from the congregation that we were able to pass along to the Children Rescue Fund known to us at Marble as Icahn House. In the midst of the pandemic, they continue their mission to ensure that those experiencing homelessness, receive timely, critical services that assist and empower them to become independent (thechildrensrescuefund.org).
A WORD FROM OUR EXECUTIVE MINISTER WHEREVER THERE IS GOD, THERE IS HOPE Those words have never left me. By Rev. J. Elise Brown, Ph.D. During these very challenging times we have been Many years ago when I was a new pastor just through this year, I know that faith has been elusive starting out at a little church in the Bronx, I met a for some people. As the days drag on, into weeks, woman who has had a lasting impact on my life. then months, to what seems indefinitely, it has been Her name was Stephanie and she was homeless. hard to hold fast to faith that we are not alone…that Stephanie had been living on the streets of that God is with us through it all. neighborhood for years and became a fixture in the But with or without faith, wherever there is God, community. Stephanie traveled the streets each day, there is hope. pushing a cart that contained all of her earthly possessions. She had learned where to get the resources It calls to mind words from the book of Hebrews: she needed to survive: the food programs and soup “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and the kitchens, the place that offered showers for homeless assurance of things unseen.” (Hebrews 11:1) people, friendly establishments that would let her park Another way to say those words might be, her cart for a few hours when needed. “Wherever there is God, there is hope.” She went to Mass each day at St. Brendan’s Roman Stephanie passed away while I was still pastor Catholic Church, the Wednesday night service at of that church. We Grace Tabernacle never knew what hapPentecostal Church pened, but it appeared “…I marveled at her ability to and our weekly prayer Stephanie had been service and Bible study. have such a positive attitude in the sick for a while but Stephanie knew her never told anyone of Bible and readily and face of huge challenges…” her ailments. We held fully participated in our her memorial service discussions. I marat our church and the place was packed. Word spread veled at her ability to have such a positive attitude in throughout the whole neighborhood and people came the face of huge challenges, particularly during the from near and far to honor Stephanie’s life. winter months when it got so cold to be sleeping in We gave people the opportunity to share words Mosholu Park. in memory of Stephanie and people stepped right As a new pastor, I decided to take on the challenge up – the postman who saw Stephanie almost every of finding housing for Stephanie. But she always day, the owner of Nicki’s Diner who helped her out in resisted. “What about all of my friends?” she would various ways, the clergy from all of the neighborhood ask. “Where will they go? How will I make sure they churches, the volunteers from POTS soup kitchen, are o.k. if I am not with them every night?” the piano teacher who let her use the phone to call When I asked her if she needed food, she would people, and so many more. say, “Oh, the lunch at POTS soup kitchen was so Many of them shared the same words Stephanie delicious today! And they gave me enough to eat for had shared with me – Wherever there is God, there is dinner tonight, too.” hope. When I asked if she needed warmer clothing as Stephanie had a lasting impact on so many lives, the summer months came to an end, she would say, and we didn’t even know her last name. “Someone at St. Brendan’s gave me the best winter Twenty-four years later, Stephanie is still helping coat today! I am so grateful.” me. In the midst of a world swirling with multiple When I asked if she had any family that we could crises erupting simultaneously, I can hear her voice – contact to be of help, she would say, “I talk with my Wherever there is God, there is hope. family regularly. I call them from the piano teacher’s This I know – God is here. There is hope. apartment each Monday and we have long talks.” May Stephanie’s words and witness help you, too. Then one day she said, “I know you are trying to help me, but I am very blessed in my life. I have everything I need. Wherever there is God, there is hope. I don’t always have a lot of faith, but I always have a lot of hope because wherever there is God, there is hope.”
Rev. J. Elise Brown, Ph.D. Executive Minister
UPDATE ON RETURN TO BUILDING Earlier this summer we informed you that, along with the other ministries of The Collegiate Church, the earliest we expected to return to our building for Worship and programs would be in September. Now that September is here, it is clear that conditions are such that it’s not possible to bring the congregation back to the buildings for in-person gatherings. We have been seeking guidance from our denominations, local, state and federal governments, and from
organizations who are in a similar situation to us with respect to building use. Based on this, we have determined with our colleagues in The Collegiate Church that the congregation will not return to our buildings until at least January, 2021. At that point we will again re-evaluate whether it is safe for us to return. We know this is disappointing news and we all long to be together again. However, we are keeping the safety of our community at the fore, and we are monitoring the limitations within which we will need to operate once we are able to return. Once it is safe to gather and we are able to have sufficient capacity for our ministries, then we will be able to return to our building. We are blessed with an incredible staff who make it possible, not only to do virtual ministry, but to expand what we can do. We are blessed with a congregation who readily volunteered to be caring callers and work on the Care Line so we can provide critical support during the pandemic. We are blessed with the financial support our community has provided so we can be a beacon of healing and hope in a broken world. We will get through this together, and together we will do ministry in bigger and bolder ways.
ANNOUNCING OUR UPDATED MARBLE WEBSITE We’re excited that after much time and effort, you’ll be able to experience the updated Marble website in the near future! The new site will be easier to navigate overall and it will adapt nicely whether you’re viewing on your phone, pad or computer. We’re especially excited about the Watch page where you’ll have easy access to all our videos in one place – past sermons, Bible studies, Storytime, Grace Notes, Hymn Sings, and even Moses’ daily visits to the kids during this summer’s Vacation Bible School! All will still be found at MarbleChurch.org.
A LOOK BACK FROM THE ORGAN BENCH By Kenneth V. Dake On Father’s Day, Dr. Bos preached a powerful sermon entitled Reboot. It was about the opportunity we all have to use this time of waiting – this “in-between time” – to reboot our lives in new directions to which God might be calling us. It was based on the famous passage of Scripture from Philippians 3: “Forgetting those things that are behind us, and reaching for all that lies ahead, we press on to win the prize: the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” The only problem is that since March 22, I’ve been spending almost all of my days doing just the opposite: looking back in time as I assemble the music for Marble’s online services. It is safe to say that nobody has spent more time in the Marble video archives over the last sixth months than I have. It has been a journey full of conflicting emotions. Pride and joy at what we’ve been able to create in Worship. And sorrow and fear that those high points may never come our way again, or at least not for a very long time. So, what have I seen, and perhaps learned? First is the obvious: change, change, and more change. I’ve seen my hair and weight go up and down significantly, sometimes within the same service as I draw from different years! (The video archives go back to 2013, but I have mostly stuck to things following the installation of our new pipe organ in the fall of 2015.) I’ve seen a parade of clergy on the Chancel – people who were an important part of our Marble
Family for a season. I’ve seen beloved congregants who left us too soon and are now part of the heavenly choir. I’ve seen magnificently talented singers join the choir and then move on to other places with their careers. Then again, I’ve seen that despite all of this, the essence of Marble is constant and unchanging. It’s brought me great comfort to see the joy on people’s faces as you sing the hymns – something I rarely get to see in live worship. I love seeing a couple with arms around each other gently rocking back and forth as they sing. I love seeing someone look up from the hymnal to sing a familiar refrain from deep within their heart with eyes closed. I love seeing a smile come across someone’s face in response to a verse that is particularly touching. I love seeing a few who have been longtime, stalwart members of the choir over many years – truly the core of Marble’s Music Ministry. As we press ahead into an unknown future, knowing we are in God’s hands, I think it’s okay to remember what lies behind and around us. To remember the essence of this Marble Community. And to remember, in the words of Thomas Chisolm, – a humble insurance salesman from New Jersey – “All I have needed Thy hand hath provided; great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.”
BE COUNTED IN THE CENSUS A fair and accurate census count is critical to ensuring our communities are represented in decisions that impact their lives. The 2020 Census will determine how many Representatives our states will have in Congress and how much federal funding is directed to our schools, housing, nutrition and other programs our children, elderly and communities rely on. BE COUNTED at my2020census.gov. Please do this today (deadline is Sept. 30). It takes only a few minutes and is confidential. It is so important that we sign in, stand up and be counted! YOUR VOTE IS YOUR VOICE – DON’T GIVE IT UP! Voting is an important right for all of us to exercise. Here are some resources. Vote.org ucc.org/ourfaithourvote Also, the national, nonpartisan Election Protection coalition of which the United Church of Christ is a member, was formed to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process. Election Protection provides Americans with comprehensive voting
information on how they can make sure their vote is counted. If you have questions about voting or encounter difficulty when attempting to cast your ballot, call the Voter Helplines. • 866-OUR-VOTE (administered by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law) • 888-Ve-Y-Vota (administered by the NALEO Educational Fund) • 888-API-VOTE (administered by APIAVote & Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC)
Kenneth V. Dake Director of Music
CYF CORNER VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL In July, children and youth leaders joined us for a week of music, crafts and learning as they journeyed The Wilderness Escape for Marble’s first Vacation Bible School. Each student received a T-Shirt, Bible Memory Makers, materials for crafts — and God’s Word was brought to life for the kids as they learned about the Israelites escaping Egypt, with the truth straight from Moses.
ONLINE SUNDAY SCHOOL We’re excited that online Sunday School resumes September 13. For details, please contact Rev. Brittany, (BHanlin@MarbleChurch.org).
STEPHEN MINISTRY AT MARBLE Stephen Ministry is an integral part of the Marble Community – a one-to-one ministry that empowers lay members to provide high-quality, confidential, and Christ-centered care for those who are hurting. If you or someone you know can use the services provided by this ministry, or if you are interested in becoming a Stephen Minister, please email StephenMinistry@ MarbleChurch.org.
ANTI-RACISM RESOURCES Marble is dedicated to sharing the best resources we have found on learning and growing in our shared commitment to racial justice and anti-racism. Please visit MarbleChurch.org/anti-racismresource-guide for a list of books, articles, podcasts and films so you can learn and help us in the on-going conversation.
Reflections from the Editor
By Karla Fritsch What games have you been playing during these crazy days of 2020? Have you played Quarantine Bingo where the game squares are filled with options like, “working in my pajamas”, “checking TP supply”, “learning a new hobby”, “eating 2 weeks of snacks in 2 days”…? Or, have you been playing more of 2020 Apocalypse Bingo with “global pandemic”, “Australia nearly burns down”, “murder hornets”, “Europe closes its borders to Americans”, “more hurricanes than usual”…? For the first four months of altered life due to the Coronavirus, I was staying fairly positive and laughing along whenever I saw the Quarantine Bingo options. Yet lately, I’ve been focusing more on the negative. Is that because the hits keep coming? Hurricane Isaias, Hurricane Laura, the devastating derecho that flattened my home state of Iowa, the shooting of Jacob Blake, hate and disagreements simmering hotter and hotter, the death of Chadwick Boseman, COVID-19 rates still climbing around the country, my mom falling and breaking her pelvis and elbow… Life always has conflicts, tragedies, storms, deaths, accidents, and illness, yet this year seems lopsided. Or, does it seem that way because I was knocked off center when quarantine started and kept going? And going. And going. In the past, I’ve kept Gratitude Journals, listing at least five things I’m grateful for each day. I was even able to do it in years when I was severely depressed. I called it my “Gratitude & Victory List” and I honored the baby steps I made to inch back to
living a “normal” life after so much darkness. Yet, this year I haven’t been able to consistently focus on gratitude, certainly not in the last couple of months. I hate to admit that. That’s not how I was raised. That’s not what Marble’s legacy teaches me. Thanks to the “Bingo seed” that took root as I was debating what to write about for this column, I decided to create a special Bingo card for myself. Gratitude Bingo. I went through photos I’d taken in the last few months and brainstormed one word for each letter, “B”, “I”, “N”, “G”, “O”. Then I decided I didn’t want to limit the words, so chose others (some came naturally, but I also relied on Google for inspiration) and paired them with the photos. I thought it would just be a fun bit of artwork to include here, but as I started selecting the photos and words to add to my card, I felt a real shift within me. I was amazed that I wasn’t just thinking gratitude and feeling it on the surface – I felt it deep in my soul. I haven’t felt a positive shift this deep in weeks. I invite you to play along with me – create your own Gratitude Bingo card, or whatever version of Bingo feeds your Spirit. And, may we all keep playing and doing our best to get things centered again, no matter what hits keep trying to knock us down.
Karla Fritsch Publications Manager
Sign up for our weekly E-Blast: text “Marble” to 66866 or visit MarbleChurch.org.
SUNDAY WORSHIP 11AM, ONLINE
That Ancient Blessing SEPTEMBER 6
Sister Carol Perry
Dr. Michael Bos Senior Minister preaching
Courage to Face the Future: Facing Uncertainty SEPTEMBER 13
Facing Fear SEPTEMBER 20
Facing Forward SEPTEMBER 27
As we continue to worship together ONLINE ONLY, remember, you can engage in conversation with others during the live located on the top right stream. Please click on the chat bubble corner of your screen. If you are watching via Facebook Live, let us know you are there by making a comment. Call-In Worship: (866) 893-5381
#WEWO: WEDNESDAY WORSHIP 6:15PM Every Week, except September 2 & 23
JAZZ VESPERS 6:15PM
Wednesday, September 23
#WEWO: WEDNESDAY WORSHIP â€‘ ONLINE Wednesdays, 6:15pm Each week enjoy the uplifting messages from our ministers and powerful music from Deah Love and the Praise Team, via archival highlights as well as new music from Deah.
WEDNESDAY VIRTUAL JAZZ VESPERS September 23 | 6:15pm Join us for a virtual midweek service of spiritual renewal featuring accomplished jazz musicians under the direction of Chris Whittaker. Dr. Michael Bos will explore Matthew 25:1-13 in his meditation, Ready, a hopeful look at how we can work with what God has given us today to prepare for a future full of possibility.
Call & Connect There are several ways for you to connect with us during these challenging times, even if you don’t have internet – or if you want to limit screen time.
PRAYER CIRCLE Sundays | 10:00-10:40am Call (973) 854-6173 and enter meeting ID 112 651 7182 to join us for this weekly time of prayer and music. Please note, not meeting September 6. CALL-IN WORSHIP (866) 893-5381 — Those without internet can call on Sunday afternoons and during the following week to listen to the full service or sermon & scripture only.
THE MARBLE CARE LINE If you need to speak to someone during these challenging times – perhaps you feel lonely, have experienced loss, lost your job, lost a loved one, are ill or perhaps you feel stuck and cannot decide how to move forward, call The Marble Church Care Line and get the support you need. A trained volunteer will be there to listen to you with a Christ-centered ear, a caring heart and a commitment to keeping all that you share in confidence. You do not need to walk this journey alone – we are here to walk alongside you.
AFTERNOON PRAYER Weekdays | 4:00-4:20pm Call (646) 741-5293 and enter meeting ID 111 712 8389. Wind down your day with a brief time of sharing and prayer. Please note, not meeting September 4 & September 7. ENCOURAGING WORD Call (212) 686-2774 — Hear an uplifting recorded message from one of Marble’s ministers 24/7. The messages change periodically. CALL MINISTRY If you would like to help us call people from our congregation who live alone and might feel isolated, please reach out to us to be added to the call list. (212) 686-2770, daily 9:00am - 5:00pm.
Call 1-800-531-1913 Wednesdays - Sundays, 12:00-8:00pm Available to adults 18 years and older. For more information, visit MarbleChurch. org/CareLine or contact Rev. Susanah Wade (SWade@MarbleChurch. org) or Judy Tulin (JTulin@ MarbleChurch.org).
Touchpoint: September 2020
We are blessed that we can gather together online for Worship and other events, even as the physical distance created by the COVID-19 pandemic continues. For direct links and the most up-to-date information, visit MarbleChurch.org/ moving-online.
Online Opportunities Spotlight PRAYER CIRCLE VIA VIDEO CHAT Sundays, September 13, 20 & 27 | 10:00-10:40am Our longtime Prayer Circle tradition continues, only now it’s online. The Circle is always open – all you need is a willing heart, an internet connection or telephone to join us for this time of prayer and music. SUNDAY MORNING BIBLE STUDY September 13, 20 & 27 | 10:00-10:40am Join Rev. Anthony Livolsi for this come-as-you-are, no-experience-necessary voyage through the Bible. WOMEN’S MINISTRY VIRTUAL COFFEE HOUR Sunday, September 13 | 12:00pm All women invited as we kick off our new program year. Learn about our theme for 2020-2021, Together We Rise: Trust. Hope. Act. and hear about upcoming events. Newcomers encouraged to attend. Please register online by September 12. Inquiries to Don Piper, DPiper@MarbleChurch.org.
LIVE WEBCAST SCHEDULE Visit MarbleChurch.org or Facebook. Sundays 10am – Bible Study 10:48am – Grace Notes 11am – Worship
Wednesdays 6:15pm – #WeWo: Wednesday Worship Sermon Podcasts: Subscribe at MarbleChurch.org.
Marble Collegiate Church
PRIMETIME (55+) Wednesdays, Dates tba | 1:00pm We gather via video chat or phone. Contact Baleta McKenzie (BMcKenzie@MarbleChurch.org or ext. 219), or Clay Hale (CHale@MarbleChurch.org or ext. 252). BEREAVEMENT GROUP Every Monday | 11:00am-12:00pm Are you mourning the loss of a loved one? You need not travel this road alone. Share your story in a confidential atmosphere of love and faith. Led by Dr. Ken Ruge. For video link and more information, contact Judy Tulin (JTulin@MarbleChurch.org or 212-686-2770, ext. 207). Please note, does not meet on September 7. AFTERNOON PRAYER Weekdays | 4:00-4:20pm Wind down your day with a brief time of sharing and prayer, led by the Marble ministers. Join us via video chat or call.
ARTS MINISTRY ONLINE OPEN HOUSE Thursday, September 24 | 6:30-8:30 Stay tuned for details. Contact Mario Sprouse (MSprouse@MarbleChurch.org).
CHILDREN OF GOD STORYBOOK BIBLE Every Tuesday & Thursday | 1:00pm Read through Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s Children of God Storybook Bible with Rev. Brittany on Instagram.
LGBTQ AND GOSPEL CHOIR VIRTUAL MEET & GREET Sunday, September 27 | 12:00pm GIFTS: LGBTQ Fellowship joins forces with the Marble Community Gospel Choir for a fun meet & greet by video conference right after morning Worship. Say hello to old friends and meet someone new. Invite a friend to join you.
CHAIR YOGA Every Thursday | 10:00-10:45am Center yourself physically and spiritually with this beginner-friendly time of gentle movement. Please note, no session on September 3.
HOMECOMING Sunday, Date tba Quarantine Fatigue? Us, too! We need a little laughter. Until we can be together again in the Sanctuary for a traditional Homecoming show, join the Marble Staff on a Sunday after Worship for a sneak peek with a few laughs, a little music and a whole lot of fun from our houses to yours! Stay tuned to MarbleChurch.org.
ONLINE SMALL GROUPS We encourage you to participate in a Small Group this year – grow deeper and stay connected even though we are online only. For information on new groups, visit MarbleChurch.org or contact Baleta McKenzie (BMcKenzie@MarbleChurch.org).
1 West 29th Street (at Fifth Ave) New York, New York 10001 212-686-2770 MARBLE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
THE LAST WORD Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional. – Roger Crawford