Page 1

The Rock Spring News

December 2013

Vol. 13 No.01

Welcome To Rock Spring! We welcomed Mark Suriano as Rock Spring’s Transitional Associate Pastor on Sunday, December 30th and he formally began his work with us on January 2. Mark will provide staff support to Christian Education, Social Action and Mission, and Deacons, and he will be preaching about once a month.

Rev. Mark Suriano

Mark spent several years serving the national setting of the United Church of Christ as the Minister for Congregational Stewardship. During that time, he co-authored a much-used resource entitled, “Inspiring Generosity,” and he worked extensively with local churches and regional bodies in the area of mission and stewardship. In the past ten years, he served as the Pastor of Old South UCC in Concord, Ohio. Among other things, during his tenure at Old South the congregation went through a successful Open and Affirming process and an Appreciative Inquiry process that led to a visionary statement for the congregation. The children and youth programming grew under his leadership so that by 2007 the congregation hired a Minister for Youth and Family.

(Continue reading on page 2.)

Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ

5010 Little Falls Rd. Arlington, VA 703-538-4886

Welcome To Rock Spring! His references described Mark as someone with “deep spirituality and a light spirit,” “great with young people,” “collaborative with the ability to motivate and encourage others,” “a great communicator,” “a teaching pastor,” and “fun – not stuffy!” Here are a couple of brief excerpts from Mark’s profile, in his own words: For much of my life the church has played an integral role in shaping my values and my faith. I am at heart a church person who loves what churches can do at their best and thinks often of the work that St. Paul did with those earliest of our ancestors in faith. To me the church at its best is a vibrant, hopeful, joyful, graced experience of what the reign of God looks like and we should strive to become more an image of that new community than anything else. … The most dynamic congregations know their own sense of calling and ministry and a pastor is certainly pivotal in how well a congregation knows its gifts and its ministry, but it is the congregation itself where the seeds of God’s grace are already planted. As pastor I have done less to add anything to the church than I have to fertilize, water, and encourage the growth of what is already there… I consider being a pastor one of the great gifts of my life that continues to give me joy. It is a joy to welcome Mark and his partner, Matthew Czaga, to Rock Spring. Mark is currently sharing an office with Linda Carder and our two pastoral interns, Kyle Wyman and Laura Martin. After January 20, he will be in Janet’s current office. Mark’s day off will be on Fridays. You may reach him at or at 703-538-4886. You can also follow Mark on Twitter @pastormarkjs or read his blog “Think on These Things” A full listing of the current staff points of contact for boards, committees, and task forces can be found on page 17.

Rock Spring News January 2013 2


“I am looking forward to...” As we turn the page on 2012 and begin 2013, I find myself reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the future. I will share many of my reflections of the past year through my annual report and at the farewell gathering for Janet that is planned for January 20th. Now, I would like to share just some of the things I am looking forward to in the year ahead. 1) After the work we have done through the IMAGINE process and identifying our core values, we are now poised to clarify our mission and vision. I am eager to do this work. When Tony Robinson was here in early December he underscored the importance of this work being completed so we could create the proper structures and staffing to support what we really believe God is calling us to do and be in the future. Look for updates about this process and ways to give your input and feedback.

Rev. Kathy Dwyer

2) I look forward to being a part of this year’s Confirmation Class. Already, I am so very impressed with the intellectual curiosity and wonderful spirit of this group.

3) The Neighborhood House Task Force has been working on some exciting plans. I hope that very soon we are in a position to share these plans with the congregation and explore the feasibility of our creating a space that is more welcoming and usable. 4) After more than two years of exploring how we might create a more invitational and robust web presence, we have just engaged with the company Theory One to help us do just that. I look forward to this work that will involve several visits from their staff to our campus so that they are able to experience Rock Spring and meet many of you. After speaking with their staff, I am not only enthusiastic about the product that they will deliver but also the process that I believe will be energizing and enlightening for us. 5) As you can read on page 12, our Global Mission initiative effort is taking off with the prospect of developing a partner church in Jerusalem. I am looking forward to learning through this process; I come to my involvement with it with an open heart and mind. 6) I am looking forward to getting to know Mark and to working with him, and with the rest of our very able staff. Indeed, I continue to look forward to rising each day and experiencing the meetings, emails, visits, and creative challenges that are part of the rhythm of Rock Spring. I look forward to every Sunday when we gather as a community of faith to the sound of the hymns soaring in our sanctuary and joy-filled spirit with which the children pray and sing and are simply present. Most of all, I welcome and look forward to all the sacred moments that will surely mark our individual and collective lives; thank you for welcoming me to share all of this and more with you. Grace and peace,


Rock Spring News January 2013 3


“Rock Spring, you have marked me in profound ways...”

Happy New Year!

Rev. Janet Parker

This year, this familiar holiday greeting brings a great deal more complexity of emotion for me than usual. As I have greeted fellow Rock Springers with these words, I have been especially aware that this New Year brings both happiness and loss for our relationship with one another. In just over a couple of weeks, I will be wrapping up my seven-year-plus ministry with Rock Spring, and saying goodbye as your pastor. My farewell will not mean an end to my relationship with you or with the church, but it will mean an end to our pastoral relationship. In that sense, it feels like a “little death,” which interestingly, as we approach Lent, is one way in which we might view that Season.

I know however, that just as Lent flows into Easter, and loss turns into new life, so too will my relationship with Rock Spring be preserved and transformed into something new and enduring, something that outlasts the finality of my departure as your pastor and evolves into something more like simple friendship (in the best sense of that phrase). And happiness abounds in this transition as well. I have been genuinely moved by the outpouring of affirmation and support that I have received from so many of you about the opportunity for me to become a senior pastor (and in a place well-suited to my commitments and values, as most of you well know). I cannot thank you enough for the ways in which both expressions of your sadness at my leaving, as well as expressions of your excitement for my new ministry have felt affirming of me and my years of ministry with you. Rock Spring, you have marked me in profound ways as a pastor and as a person. I have grown tremendously while I have been here, and I have no doubt that my ministry with you will greatly inform and impact my new ministry at First Congregational UCC in Salem. In that sense, I carry you with me as I go. I pray that the part of me that lingers here (as Doug Griffin used to say, the ‘ghosts’ that ministers leave behind when they depart) will be a spirit that will bless and not haunt you! I look forward to the two remaining Sundays I will have with you on the 13th and 20th, to our farewell celebration, and to continuing to hear the gospel (good news!) from Rock Spring from afar. May you continue to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable with Rock Spring’s signature ethos of generously inclusive and justice-seeking love for the next one hundred years and beyond! With much love, -Janet


Rock Spring News January 2013 4

Reflections ds of Members & Frien gregational Rock Spring Con

. . . d e t i v n I e You Ar As we say farewell to Rev. Janet Parker on Sunday, January 20, we would like to extend an open invitation to members and friends of the Rock Spring Congregation and community to join us for a goodbye luncheon. The luncheon will be immediately following the eleven o’clock service on January 20th and will be held in Carpenter Hall. We are collecting a love offering to give to Janet on January 20. To contribute, please make checks payable to Rock Spring and place “Janet’s gift” in the memo line. You may place these checks in the offering plate on Sunday, send them to the church, or drop them by the church office. All are welcome! Rock Spring News January 2013 5

Reflections “I am amazed at the ways Rock Spring has lived out our values and God’s still speaking voice.”

Happy New Year! I’ve attempted this month’s letter several times and find myself at a loss for words other than “Thanks” and “Wow!” 2012 was quite a year in the congregational life of Rock Spring. I am most thankful to the Congregation, Officers, Board Chairs, Task Force Chairs, and At Large Council members for the hard work, candid feedback, and stories of inspiration throughout an eventful year. Those serving as Council members endured several jam-packed agendas and special meetings. Those on boards engaged in new projects and brought thoughtful and promising recommendations to Council leading to many accomplishments such as multiple property projects, global mission work, expanded programs in Christian education, enriching worship experiences, and general continuity of the business and mission of Rock Spring. In the midst of all this, the Centennial Committee threw a great party along with several events enabling us all to reflect on our first 100 years as a congregation. As a congregation, we have witnessed many great accomplishments and responded with generosity and sympathy to those experiencing great tragedy such as those in Syria, New Jersey, Connecticut, and locally who have endured personal tragedies and loss. We began our year with a standing-room-only Annual Meeting in Neighborhood House given the HVAC issues in Carpenter Hall. Throughout the year, we served our local and global communities through five 5th Sundays projects, YORS mission work, and the second year of our Community Partners program. We have also received news of new opportunities for two of our pastors as well as the introduction of an Interim Director of Christian Education and new Transitional Associate Pastor. As we prepare for the 2013 Annual Meeting, I am amazed at the ways Rock Spring has lived out our values and God’s still speaking voice. I am thankful for each and every member and friend of this congregation that has made serving as Council Chair such a remarkable experience. I’ve learned a lot and remain inspired and hopeful for what is yet to come in 2013 and beyond. Happy New Year and Thanks! -Sarah

Rock Spring News January 2013 6

Spiritual Growth & Learning Save the Date for the 2013 Rock Spring Women’s Retreat

Rock Spring Women at the annual retreat in March 2012

Save the date: Saturday April 20 the 17th annual Rock Spring Women’s Retreat. This spring we will once again gather in Carpenter Hall from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a time of spiritual nourishment and an opportunity to get to know each other better. This year’s retreat leader will be Dr. Carolyn Jurkowitz, an experienced retreat leader who serves as executive director of the Catholic Conference of Ohio. Carolyn is a longtime educator, a hospital chaplain, and consultant to the Commission on Accrediting for the Association of theological Schools. Many of you may remember Carolyn from Rev. Kathy Dwyer’s installation service in March 2011, where she delivered the sermon. More details about the program will be coming in the future, but mark your calendars now.

Rock Spring News January 2013 7

Worship & Stewardship Updates Time to Make a Faith Promise

Rock Spring Recital Series 2013 Wonderful artists with our own wonderful Steinway piano, in our stellar acoustics! Sundays at 4:00 p.m. Suggested donation of $10.00 per person

January 13 Elisabeth Adkins, violin (asst. concertmistress of the NSO) and Edward Newman, piano

February 10

IBIS Chamber Music Society

March 10

Phillipe Chao, viola

Many thanks to the 204 households who have pledged their time, talents and money to support Rock Spring and the congregation’s work and activities in 2013! If you haven’t made your faith promise yet, please consider doing so. We are in the final stages of wrapping up a proposed budget for 2013 that will be presented to the congregation at our annual meeting Jan. 27. To be responsible stewards, we need to know as soon as possible how much financial support the congregation is willing to provide. All you need to do is go to the Rock Spring website (, click on the “Giving” tab at the top of the page and find the “Make Your Faith Promise Online” option. The direct link is giving-2/pledge-online/. You can also put your faith-promise card in the collection plate at any service or mail it to the church, ATTN: Financial Secretary, 5010 Little Falls Road, Arlington, VA 22207. Faith-promise cards are in each of the pews and also can be obtained by calling the Rock Spring office at 703.538.4886. Promises of time, talents, and/or money are all welcome. Help us embrace our exciting future together in the new year with your faith promise. Thank you. The Stewardship Committee

Hope to see many of you at these wonderful concerts!

Rock Spring News January 2013 8

Children, Youth & Families Children’s Advent Event

On December 4, after we had tasted all the prize winning chili and Tony Robinson was speaking, the children went to the NeighborhoodHhouse basement for their Advent Event. Judy Johnson and Ann Rutherford had provided cookies for them to decorate and Judy stayed to help the children. Martha Jolkovski had gathered all the supplies for the children to make a huge Advent Calendar and she helped them make it. Betsy Fulton brought some wonderful stories to tell and charmed the masses with them. Taryn Roman and Courtney Klamar added their gifts to the mix. At the end of the event, happy children left with layered cookies, a gorgeous Advent calendar attached to the wall and stories to warm their hearts. Somehow, I think the children’s event was as important to them as our event was to us. -Linda

Children’s Church, More than Just a Gathering

Throughout Advent, the Christian Education Board took a different approach to Sunday school. Each week, children gathered together to learn more about the Christmas story, to learn the words to some well-known Christmas carols, and to make clay figurines for their own crèches. The children were also visited by members of the congregation acting the parts of the angel Gabriel, Mary and Joseph. Thanks to all who contributed to these programs, including Courtney Klamar, Joanne Kelly, Taryn Roman, our wonderful accompanists Peter Moll and Sara Fitzgerald, our actors extraordinaire Jerry Kamen, Dwight Rodgers, Laura Martin, Allen Moore, and Owen Rodgers, and the Middle High youth.

Rock Spring News January 2013 9

Children, Youth & Families Preparing the Way

The pictures you see here are the ones Julie Calvert took of our last class. In order to help the children understand the culture into which Jesus was born, the children were met by a Roman Centurion who told them that they had to work clearing the roads. So the children picked up all the confetti in the churchyard. While they were working, healers, prophets who were promising that God would save them, and people who wanted to overthrow Rome circulated among the children trying to convince them they were right. They were paid by the Centurion and they had to pay taxes to Caesar, and Herod, and the tax collector and then when they went into their temple they had to pay temple tax. When they got in the temple we talked about what they had experienced and then they heard stories about the Israelites experiences of faith during the times from exile to the Romans -Linda

Rock Spring News January 2013 10

Children, Youth & Families Youth of Rock Spring (YoRS) MH YoRS Well, Middle School friends, you definitely made it a December to remember! From chocolate making, to Secret Santa shopping, to caroling, to a super fun Christmas Party, it was a month of good times and good service together.

And now, it’s a New Year – time to build new memories, explore new topics, and grow new friendships. Here is some of what we have in mind for the month: two service projects, making fleece scarves for people in our area and making art squares that will be sewn into a quilt for an orphan in South Africa; a Laser Tag outing; a team challenge game night; and leading a fun afternoon of activities for younger kids during the Rock Spring Annual Meeting. Look for more details in the weekly MH YoRS email. If you have any questions or want to get added to our email list and join in the fun, contact Ashley Martinage ( or phone/text 703.447.0873).


Making chocolates for caroling gifts--- with the extras devoured by the chocolatiers – started our December. The next week we filled the bus with shoppers for our Secret Santa families. Watching the boys test perfume scents for the Mom in one Secret Santa family was a real hoot! And we joined the all-church Christmas Caroling afternoon to sing and deliver chocolates. We have lots of events planned for 2013, both fun for ourselves and chances to be of service to others. In January we will be back in the kitchen cooking a meal for the Shirlington Employment and Education Center, making scarves for the homeless and going to Ultrazone for laser tag. The highlight for February--put it on your calendar now—is skiing the weekend of February 8-10 at Wisp Ski Resort in Marlyand, compliments of the Bells who have graciously offered use of their vacation home. If you have any questions, contact Kathy Morland at or 703-593-2650. Rock Spring News January 2013 11

Task Force Corner Global Mission: A Partner in Jerusalem? In October, the congregation adopted the identity of a Global Mission Church with a particular focus on the Middle East. By December, so much progress had been made in our exploration that it was possible to send Christmas greetings to the pastor of a probable partner, the (Lutheran) Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem. This rapid progress reinforces the sense that we are embarking on a Spirit-led journey. How did we get here? and what lies ahead? Last summer, the Global Mission Task Force (and later the new Global Mission Committee) began discussions with Rev Dr Peter Makari, Executive for the Middle East and Europe in Global Ministries, the joint mission agency of the UCC and the Disciples of Christ. Peter has been an invaluable source of information, guidance and inspiration. It turned out that he would visit the region after Thanksgiving, and he offered to explore potential partnership with church leaders there. In support of this, the Global Mission Committee and the pastors prepared “An Invitation to Partnership.” which can be viewed at

Time, the deepening of the conversation, and a visit to the website of the ELCJHL, www.elcjhl. org, will begin to provide answers. In the meantime, a sense of the ethos and background of the ELCJHL can be found in the Christmas message of Bishop Munib Younan, who is also the President of the Lutheran World Federation In the New Year, we hope direct contacts with the Church of the Redeemer will broaden. We also hope to organize educational opportunities so that we can learn more about the new partner and the context in which it operates. And on Sunday April 10, Peter Makari will join us to preach, to teach more about the work of Global Ministries in the Middle East, and to recognize Rock Spring as a Global Mission Congregation. Contact: Global Mission Committee: Michael Bell (chair), Marty Stansell-Gamm, Rick Hale, Howard Hjort; or the Pastors

We soon began to learn of strong interest from the Church of the Redeemer, located in the old quarter of Jerusalem, one of the six member churches of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land. The Church of the Redeemer serves three congregations—Arabic, English, and German—and we have been in touch with the pastor of the first of these, Rev. Ibrahim Azar, who ministers primarily to Palestinian Christians. We have only just begun to learn, and at this stage have innumerable questions.

Rock Spring News January 2013 12

Social Justice Pray-In for the Climate

You are invited to join and/or support a multi-faith Pray-in for the Climate outside the White House on Tuesday January 15. The timing is propitious: days before President Obama’s second inauguration, and a few days after the end of a year of extreme weather events—super storms, massive flooding, and severe persistent droughts. Climate change is a reality. Indeed it may be progressing faster than anyone anticipated. It may not be too dramatic to use the language of a “Climate Cliff.” Interfaith Moral Action on Climate (IMAC), a coalition of religious groups, seeks to elevate the response to climate change from partisan politics to the moral issue that it is. At this critical juncture, along with many other groups, IMAC is calling on the President to: 1. Permanently refuse permits for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, because tar-oil is among the most dangerous of the planet-heating forms of carbon. 2. Call a National Summit Conference on the Climate Crisis that includes leaders of business, labor, academia, religious communities, governmental officialdom, science, and other relevant bodies. 3. Publicly support and advocate for a carbon fee, with provisions to make sure that working families and the poor are not damaged; for an end to subsidies to the coal, oil, and gas industries; and for substantial subsidies for research, development, and use of renewable, sustainable and jobs-creating clean energy sources. It is the actual birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The action will be carried out in the spirit of his work. Gather at 11:00 a.m. at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. At noon, walk to the White House in a religious procession, and join voices in a prayerful vigil. Some participants may feel called to risk arrest by nonviolently disregarding the conventional regulations and assuming positions of prayer at the area near the White House fence. Full details may be found at or contact Michael Bell or Janet Parker.

Rock Spring News January 2013 13

Rock Spring Review Audio-Visual Team Seeking Additional Volunteers

The AV Team is looking for a few individuals who are interested in helping to record the audio and video of the 11:00 a.m. worship service every Sunday. Interested participants should be able to volunteer once a month and have the flexibility to occasionally swap dates with other volunteers. We currently have a specific need for a volunteer on the 3rd week of every month. Training will be provided. We occasionally have other A/V needs and it would be great to have a few people who are on call to help with special events, programs, weddings, or funerals. This effort not only provides an important service for our worship service, but it also enables us to post all services (audio files and video files) on our web site each week. Interested? Please contact Dale Dwyer at or 419-340-1956.

Secret Santa, A Success! Secret Santa 2012 was another wonderful outpouring from RS to children and adults in the Shaw Ministry, Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, and Offender Aid & Restoration Arlington. Over 120 gifts were received and distributed including 40 gift cards for teenagers, one cooking pot, newborn baby clothes, a specially requested bottle of cologne, coats, boots, and so much more! This year’s effort was coordinated by Martha Huelsbeck and Amy Ovuka, but supported by the entire congregation. Thank you to everyone who poured out their time and love in the Christmas season.

Rock Spring News January 2013 14

Rock Spring Review Staff Point of Contact for Boards, Task Forces & Committees Council Kathy Dwyer Mission & Vision Kathy Dwyer Nominating Kathy Dwyer Deacons Mark Suriano Caring Ministry Mark Suriano Spirituality & Arts Kathy Dwyer Christian Education Mark Suriano Nursery Mark Suriano Pre-K-5th grade Linda Carder MH and SH YoRS Mark Suriano MH and SH Sunday Mark Suriano Mission Trip Mark Suriano Confirmation Kathy Dwyer Adult Education Mark Suriano

Fifth Sundays

Mark Suriano

Women’s Fellowship

Kathy Dwyer

Constitution Task Force Kathy Dwyer Neighborhood House TF Kathy Dwyer Staff Contact Information: Kathy Dwyer: 703-531-7078 Mark Suriano: 440-725-3964

Social Action and Mission Mark Suriano Global Mission Kathy Dwyer Friendship Comm Kathy Dwyer ONA Mark Suriano Eco Justice Mark Suriano

Linda Carder: 703 533 0278

Music Elizabeth Klugel Choristers Elizabeth Kluegel Youth Choir Elizabeth Kluegel Sanctuary Choir Elizabeth Kluegel Recitals/Concerts Elizabeth Kluegel Bell Choir Ed Roberts

Laura Martin: 202-262-2320


Kyle Wyman: 610-506-8011

Rock Spring Office: 703-538-4886

Kathy Dwyer

Finance Kathy Dwyer Stewardship Kathy Dwyer Personnel Kathy Dwyer Staff Configuration Kathy Dwyer

Rock Spring News January 2013 15

One Service on Annual Meeting Sunday, January 27 Call to Annual Meeting

All members of Rock Spring Congregational UCC are hereby called to the Annual Meeting of the Congregation, Sunday, January 27, 2013, in Carpenter Hall immediately following the 10:00 a.m. worship service. A light lunch will be served. Childcare will be provided. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Agenda: Receive and act upon the minutes of prior meetings of the congregation. Receive and act upon the recommendation of Church Council on the 2013 Church Budget. Receive and act upon the Annual Report of the Congregation’s ministries and programs for the Year 2012. Receive and act upon recommendations of the Nominating Committee. Receive and act upon recommendations of the Constitution Task Force Receive and act upon any other business appropriate to come before the meeting.

Rock Spring Congregational 5010 Little Falls Road Arlington, VA 22207

RSN January 2013  

January 2013 edition of The Rock Spring News.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you