July 2008 Soundings

This issue of Soundings includes:


Seekers travel stories, movies at Seekers, Wellspring invitation




July 6—InterPlay, 1–3 pm, Sanctuary, Seekers Church (see story).

July 10, 13, and 16—"For Tomorrow": part of Capital Fringe Festival (see story).

July 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29—School of Christian Living, "God and the Cinema" (see story).

July 25—Summer session of Seekers Singalong, 7:30 pm, Carroll St., Circle meeting area. Bring a snack to share, and your voice too, to share with others in songs from "Rise Up Singing." Glen Yakushiji plays guitar and facilitates. Others sometimes bring instruments too….The summer sessions are new this year—thanks, Glen.



David Lloyd and Kevin Barwick write: Come to the School of Christian Living class on meeting God through cinema each Tuesday night at 7 pm through July 29. July 1 we’ll be showing a classic: "Chariots of Fire." Bring a brown bag dinner; we start the movie at 7:05, followed by discussion until 9:30. We provide popcorn! July 8 will be "The Apostle," starring Robert Duvall. July 15 will be "Pay it Forward," with Helen Hunt and Kevin Spacey. July 22 will be "With Honors," starring Brendan Fraser and Joe Pesci. July 29 will be another classic, "The Mission," starring Robert DiNiro and Jeremy Irons.



Sandra Miller writes for the CC—Beginning Sunday, July 13, we will be in what Seekers has affectionately come to know as the Green Season. Our altar installation will be set up to receive your donations of shelf stable and canned goods, which we will take to the Capital Area Food Bank at the end of the season. Bring a lot at once or bring a little many times over the season, knowing that your contribution will help with our local food shortage.



Rachel Smith has sent all Seekers an e-mail to all Seekers (June 25) with an attachment. She writes: Attached is the prayer letter from Bryan & Meg, my brother and sister-in-law who are Bible Translators to Sudan, and whom you are all so graciously helping to support! The letter has details about Bryan’s 6-week trip to Sudan, from which he returned this month.



Muriel Lipp writes: Wellspring is sponsoring a Praise, Paint, and Play event—FREE meals and overnight if we help them work on the property. Dates: choice of days Aug. 11–16. I am planning to go there to work Thurs. and Fri., August 14–15. Would other Seekers like to help out these days or any other days in that week? Also, we can buy Peter Bankson’s notecards for sale there. All of this will help Wellspring, and I think it will be fun. [Muriel’s e-mail: ]



[Note—This issue of Soundings will arrive late for us to respond by Gordon’s birthday before July 3, but we can certainly still contribute.]


Elizabeth Branner of the Festival Center sends an invitation to anyone who would like to help recognize Gordon’s 91st birthday:


Dear friends—We know Gordon will not care for personal recognition on his upcoming birthday, but here is a way to do this, for anyone who may want to participate. "Friends of Gordon", c/o Festival Center can present Gordon with a certificate for a month’s supply of ice cream and cornbread at the Potter’s House. Additionally, we will accept any gifts to the prison ministry. All will be accepted and presented anonymously to him on 7/3 (details to emerge – please send me your suggestions) by "Friends of Gordon" c/o Festival Center. You can contribute by making a check out to "Festival Center" with "Friends of Gordon" in the memo line.


Please pass this on (confidentially) to others who may want to know about it…and thank you Sydney for helping us figure out a way to show our appreciation for Gordon, in a way that honors him and his work!



Kris Herbst sends an e-mail to all Seekers (June 18) with a request from the head of the Humphrey Fellows program:


Would you or any friends/family in the D.C. area be interested in an opportunity to host a Humphrey Fellow for the 2008-2009 academic year? Administered by the Institute for International Education and funded by the State Department, the program brings together accomplished mid-career professionals from developing countries for one academic year of study and professional development in the United States. (More information on the program can be found at [See Kris’s e-mail for more details.]



Anna Gilcher writes: "For Tomorrow/Ich hoff’ auf morgen: The Story and Poetry of Hilda Stern Cohen" is the story of a Holocaust survivor (Hilda) who was also a fabulous poet. The performance is Hilda’s own story, told in her own words by Jewish storyteller Gail Rosen, together with Hilda’s poetry, set to music by my father, and sung by Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton—with accompaniment on flute by me and on piano by Tom Moore. You can find out more about the project at


We had a performance at Seekers in February, and now here’s another chance to see the performance! We’re performing at the Capital Fringe Festival this summer on July 10 (at 7 pm), 13 (at 5 pm) and 16 (at 7 pm). Tickets will be available starting June 23 at or 1-866-811-4111. Location is Goethe-Institut Washington, 812 Seventh St NW, DC. (Metro: Gallery Place/Chinatown.)

[Note: See Anna’s June 29 e-mail to all Seekers for printable information you can use to make flyers or to send e-mails.]



The Seekers Green Team writes: You may have noticed a stainless steel trash can in the kitchen, across from the stove. This is our new recycling can. We can recycle all paper products and cardboard; aluminum, steel and tin cans; brown, green and clear glass bottles and jars; and plastic food containers and beverage bottles. They can all go in the same can. (Mr. Ford, our solid waste contractor, has also reminded us to put only recycling and not trash in the blue outside trash can.) Making it easier for us to recycle is the first project of the Green Team at Seekers. More to come.—The Green Team (Sue Johnson, Katie Fisher, Sharon Lloyd, Jeannine Caracciolo, Paul Crumrine, Emily Gilbert, Muriel Lipp)



Sandra Miller writes: This week I had confirmation from Covenant Christian Community that their worship time on July 13 from 1 to 3 pm will be the time we have our second "community of communities" conversation on race and diversity. What is being asked of Seekers is to come with stories of how your experience of your own race or interactions with people of other races has affected your faith journey. In other words, we are being asked to share as openly as Reverend Paulette, Maybelle Bennett, and Reverend T did in our first meeting together. The setting will be conversational, and while all plans are not firmed, up I can only imagine that we will have a time of prayer and that our conversation will be sacred. Covenant is planning on providing refreshments.


If you are planning on being there, please let me know so that they can plan accordingly. I hope you will join us and accept Covenant’s most generous invitation to make this a time that brings us closer together and closer to God.



InterPlay DC will hold its regular First Sunday Gathering July 6, 1–3 pm in the "play room" (sanctuary) at Seekers. Free to first-timers; a donation of $10–$20 towards the rent is suggested for returnees. InterPlay is a practice and philosophy rooted in the transformational power of play. Its creative process uses easy-to-learn forms of movement, storytelling, and voice that anyone can do. Just ask Sue Johnson, Lewise Busch, Billy and Kate Amoss, Kevin Barwick, Kathy Tobias, and others! The July Gathering will be led by Sue Johnson and Lacey Gude. Next Gathering at Seekers will be August 3. 



Pate Conover and Trish Nemore write—What We Did on Our Summer Vacation That We Took in the Spring: Day one was a little rocky. We missed our first major turn, about 20 miles from our house, due to serious rain and bad signage. That corrected, we sped along for several hours, deeply engaged in conversation that is difficult to find time for in the normal course of daily life, until we realized that we were no longer on the route we needed to be on—we’d gone about 50 miles out of our way. We chuckled to ourselves, turned around and felt deep gratitude and relief that we did not have a carful of small children. (This feeling returned to us many times on the trip!)


Thus began our 27 day road trip across America. From May 9 to June 4, we engaged in what Trish has come to call our "tapas" taste of America—a little bit of here, a little bit of there. Trish had never done anything like this before—either the length of the drive (over 6,000 miles) or the amount of time (we usually taking vacation in increments of about four days). It was quite wonderful!


Our first "tourist" stop, after a fabulous visit with Sonya Dyer in Charlotte, NC, was Great Smoky Mountain National Park which we crossed, from Cherokee, NC to Gatlinburg, TN just before sundown, stopping at every look out point to ooh and aah over the gorgeous Smokys. The next day, bad weather and insufficient clothing to deal with it prevented us from climbing to the "top of old Smoky", but we enjoyed the vistas just below the peak. Gatlinburg, TN is so over-the-top tacky as to be amusing—walking down the street is like walking through the mid-way of a carnival. When we couldn’t find the street musicians whose CD we wanted to buy, having failed to buy it the previous night because we thought they’d be back, we adopted the motto of Carpe Diem for the trip. That served us very well.


A must-see in Memphis is the 1/2 mile topographical scale-model of Old Man River—the lower Mississippi from Cairo, IL to the Gulf of Mexico—carved into concrete at the Mud Island River Park. And, of course, listening to music on Beale Street, which turned out to be more than just a tourist experience.


At the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock we heard about the great accomplishments of President Clinton—in his own words. (No, he wasn’t there.) The truly fun and remarkable thing there was The White House in Miniature, which has been in the making for several decades and which has toured the country for some years.


Who knew that Amarillo, Texas, could be a fun place to visit? We planned to stop there for the night, just because it was at the end of the right amount of driving for a day, but Chip, Trish’s managing attorney, reminded us that his sister and brother-in-law live there, so we got the treat of seeing Jewel’s fabulous Beadz Shop and being the beneficiaries of her prodigious jewelry-making talents.


The best pancakes Trish ever ate she enjoyed at the outdoor café at Museum Hill in Santa Fe with Pat and Seekers Alum, Phoebe Girard. Yummy food and terrific conversation.


Ma’drid, NM (fabulous hippy town), Chaco Canyon, NM (home of Ancestral Puebloans or Anasazi), Canyon de Chelly on the Navajo Indian Reservation, Second Mesa on the Hopi Reservation and Grand Canyon, AZ, were all experiences to treasure.


The southwest is so vast in so many ways—history, geography, spectacular and otherwise remarkable vistas, among other things—that it’s nearly impossible to capture the feeling of being there. Trish felt she got a better understanding of the tragedies of US policies toward Native Americans over the centuries—especially the lasting effects of the Navajos’ Long Walk and the Cherokees’ Trail of Tears. (Pat had visited these places before and had a little more of the history and story under his belt.) On the Hopi Reservation in AZ, they refer to their schools as "Day Schools" to distinguish them from the hated boarding schools into which white America conscripted native children.


We really wanted to bring home a Native American woven rug—many of them are stunningly beautiful. And waaaaay out of our price range. We thought Samantha might not like having to give up the financial assistance we’d offered for her graduate school. . .


Trish had a lot of fun planning the trip and it was everything we both hoped for. Now, if we can just remember how to run our daily lives at home. . . What’s my ATM pin number?



Elara Strand writes: So many of you were so kind as to ask about our trip to Jordan and ask to see pictures that I thought I would send you all a link. I wrote all about the trip, including pictures, on my blog. You can read about our trip at:

and the Egyptian side trip at:


For anyone unfamiliar with blogs, please note that the most recent are at the top, so if you want to look at them in order you have to scroll to the bottom and read to the top. Take care, Elara



And for a finale to these Seekers’ trips, see all the e-mails to Seekers from Kate Cudlipp [] with the continuing story of Jackie and Dave McMakin’s bicycle trip through northern France. Dates are May 30 and June 4, 10, 17, and 29.


Go J & D, both on your bikes and in your letters!



On the Seekers website, you can see many of the community’s sermons. The most recent sermon is on the top of the page. You can view the page two ways: the default is the sermon title with a summary, but you may also look through a list of sermon titles with preacher names. Our sermon archive covers sermons 2006 and earlier, with some all the way back to 1994.



6/22—"Trans-formation Through Being," Kjerston Priddy of N Street Village. In a reflection on the work of N Street Village, one of my co-worker’s shared a quote. Famously attributed to Nelson Mandela, the quote by author Marianne Williamson went as follows: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.



6/15—"Sent as Apostles," David Lloyd. Last week the Hebrew Scriptures passage was about God, out of grace, calling to Abram—but not to his wife Sarai. Abram was 75 years old when they moved into the land of Canaan, Sarai was presumed barren (the name Sarai means mockery) and as we just heard, this week’s passage is about how the now 99 year old Abraham, as he has since been renamed to mean "father of many nations", and Sarah, as she has been renamed to mean "princess", were, out of God’s grace, promised a son within the next year.



6/8—"The Illuminated Sea," Jacqie Wallen. I had planned to use my time in Mexico to work on the sermon I had volunteered to give today. I thought it would be something about Illuminated Sea, since that was my overall theme for the trip. That topic seemed initially to fit nicely with the lectionary verse from Psalms for today: "He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses," even though that verse made absolutely no sense at all to me. Why would God put the waters of the sea into jars? And did they even have jars back then when only the basic elements had been created?

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August 2008 Soundings
June 2008 Soundings