Mulch Sale: April 2


We’re selling and delivering shredded hardwood mulch to neighbors and friends again this year. Orders can be made by calling the church office (as long as supplies last) at 301-864-4328 or better yet stopping by the church parking lot early Saturday morning! We’ll be delivering by 8am.

Proceeds from the mulch sales go to various church projects. In recent years, these have included:

*sponsorship of Rwandan university student Venuste Gatabazi

* assistance for children attending camps and conferences

Christmas Sharing Fair: Alternative Gift-Giving for the Holidays

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Saturday, December 5
9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

A marketplace of craftspeople, non-profits, and artists supporting justice, peace, and the good of the earth:

SERRV – global handcrafts
HEIFER INTERNATIONAL – passing on the gift of food
INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE – helping refugees around the world
ON EARTH PEACE – building justice and peace
ECO CITY FARMS – promoting sustainable local agriculture
NEW COMMUNITY PROJECT – supporting women and girls
EQUAL EXCHANGE – offering fairly traded coffees, teas, and chocolates
KOINONIA PARTNERS – cultivating community (and pecans)
CHEETAH CONSERVATION FUND – protecting life in the wild
…and more


Find creative gifts…
Sample the grilled brats or burgers…
Take something home from the baked goods table
Savor some roasted almonds…

Cookie-baking and decorating for children will also take place throughout the day!


Heeding God’s Call Memorial to Those Lost to Gun Violence


Last year, 155 people in our metropolitan area died of gun violence: There were two children who were three years old, a 73-year old man whose life was irrevocably altered many years ago when he was shot, dozens of teens and young adults, and many in the prime years of their lives. Some died by their own hands, some at the hands of others.

We at University Park Church of the Brethren and at Hyattsville Mennonite Church stand with the faith-based efforts of “Heeding God’s Call” –lamenting this loss of life, grieving with those left behind, and calling for change to prevent such tragedies in the future.

We acknowledge that none of us is immune to fierce impulses within or beyond us.

But behind the trigger stand arrayed forces of cultural violence. Recognizing that economic interests, fear, militarism, poverty, and racism are at play, we want not only to mourn the tragedy of gun violence, but to transform it.

The One who calls us to seek the welfare of the city in which we live is here among us. In this place and beyond, many are working to address causes of the crisis.

They tend to the vulnerable.

They advocate for just regulation and accountability.

They invite us to join in stepping forward to act.

Today, we light the peace lamp as a sign of our commitment to be a part of this diverse community of concern and deeds. Let its flame burn steadily.

IMG_5370A Prayer

God of love,

Light a flame of love in our hearts to you,

A flame of love in our families and friends,

A flame of love for our neighbors,

A flame of love for our enemies.

As we gather in your Spirit,

Light a flame of love in our hearts for all,

From the lowliest thing that lives,

To the Name that is highest of all.





A Confession

One: God of life,

Our anxieties are too much and our trust is too little.

Falling captive to fear, we build defenses.

Through your grace

All: Turn us and transform us.

One: Removed from violent death, we are often oblivious.

Privileged enough to turn away, we close our eyes.

Through your grace,

All: Turn us and transform us.

One: Busy with our lives, we are distracted.

Ill at ease with confrontation, we remain silent.

Through your grace,

All: Turn us and transform us.



Behind each of these shirts is not only the person it represents, but the parents, siblings, extended family, friends and neighbors who know the grief of loss.

And behind each is a hand that pulled a trigger for reasons that can, we believe, be avoided.

Behind them is a community broken by this violence, longing for healing.

And in the midst and beyond all of these is the God who yearns for the wholeness of our community and every community on earth.

We’ve heard the names. We see these shirts that remind us of their living, breathing presence in the world. And we protest their loss.



Follow the link to see the 2015 Memorial list of 155 names (1) that each shirt is labeled with. All were a child of God that was killed by gun violence in 2014 in the Metropolitan DC area.

This post includes excerpts from the service around the setting up of the memorial at the University Park Church of the Brethren.

Making All Things New

Destin Sandlin is a rocket scientist but I came across him struggling to ride a bike. (You may have seen him in one of his YouTube videos as well.) Like most of us, he had learned to ride perfectly well when he was young. It’s something you don’t forget, and he was as good at it as anyone.

There was a twist to his ride, though. He thought it would be easy to overcome. The bike had been adjusted so that turning the handlebars to the left actually turned the bike right (and vice versa.) Destin got on believing that he could mentally correct for that. He couldn’t do it. Not for six months.

Neither could anyone else who thought it would be possible to master quickly. Their minds just didn’t adjust. One after another, volunteers got on the bike and pushed off confidently. Each time, they began to wobble immediately, almost fall–and they had to stop. Again and again. It was striking to watch. They knew what was going on but as Destin said, knowledge did not equal understanding.

It took Destin six months of practicing, struggling, and re-learning before he was able to really integrate the new way of functioning and ride the bike.

Pentecost is a season for noticing how the Spirit sweeps in and through and beyond us in ways that often change us. We’ve taken note that the Celtic image of the Holy Spirit is of a wild goose – something that can’t be controlled or directed. A presence that pushes us into new territory.

Thinking about this, I was reminded of Destin. And of how hard it is to set aside established patterns. Our brains and muscles get deeply accustomed to familiar ways of doing things. We can scarcely grasp and often resist new ways. To carve new channels of behavior or being is no small thing. It takes a lot of wobbling and falling!

Yet we believe in the presence of the Holy Spirit with us – one who is, in the words of the book of Revelation, “making all things new!” Who can transform knowledge to true spiritual understanding. Who disrupts in order to ground more deeply, and who brings us to awareness of our connections beyond the bounds we’ve normally observed.

So, wherever we’re facing change–as individuals, in the church, in our world–maybe one key is to keep practicing new ways. The wild goose will nudge us forward. And with time, a new pattern–perhaps closer to what we were meant to be, but at least evidence of possibility–will emerge!

~Kim McDowell

Valentine Spaghetti Supper

Plate of spaghetti

Invite Your Friends!
Bring Your Sweetheart!
Join Us as We Transform Our Social Hall into an Italian Bistro for the Evening
for the annual Valentine Spaghetti Supper

Saturday, February 14, 2015
5 – 8 pm

Our menu includes
Delicious Meat Spaghetti Sauce and Vegetable Sauce
Regular and Gluten Free Spaghetti Noodles
Never Ending Salad Bar
Warm and Buttery Garlic Bread and Gluten Free Garlic Bread
Assorted Cookies and Ice Cream Sundaes!

All donations received will benefit crisis services in our area.




Do Police Stops Define Race In America?

2015_Pulled_Over0001Join the discussion with Political Scientist Charles R. Epp, PhD, as he explains why they do. Epp will present findings from his recently published book, Pulled Over: How Police Stops Define Race and Citzenship. Click here for a pdf of the picture to the right.

The discussion will take place at the Hyattsville, Maryland Busboys and Poets (check the link for address & directions) on February 17, 2015 from 7-9pm (with Q & A)


Alternative Christmas Fair! This Saturday!!

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Alternative Christmas Fair
Saturday, December 6
9:30am – 3:00pm

Please join us at our annual Alternative Christmas Fair and support non-profits and artists working for justice, peace and the good of the earth. Purchase holiday gifts and much more!!

Come learn about the following organizations and support their work

SERRV…..sharing hand crafts from artisans around the world

HEIFER INTERNATIONAL……passing on the gift of food via animals & farming

NAKBA MUSEUM…Nakba Museum Project of Memory and Hope — a new museum highlighting the experience of Palestinian refugees

FISTULA FOUNDATION….dedicated to ending the suffering caused by the childbirth injury of obstetric fistula

EPIC……Empowering Youth for Peace in Iraq — one of EPIC’s core focuses is supporting local programs that empower youth—in conjunction with local partners, and with the Iraqi youth themselves

New Community Project ….supporting women’s issues & care of the earth

Koinonia Partners …fresh pecans for sale, supporting job opportunities and more in Georgia

Equal Exchange …. fair trade coffee, tea, & chocolate

Local artists’ work will be featured and available for purchase.

Our bake sale table sells individual treats for enjoyment while you are browsing the fair, and whole pies, cakes and assortments of cookies and other baked goods to compliment your holiday party or dinner.

Bring the kids for free cookie baking & craft activities and enjoy lunch at our food stand selling polish sausages & veggie burgers, fresh candied nuts, and more.

The Alternative Craft Fair is held in our church building on the corner of Route 1 and Tuckerman Street in University Park, MD (the church address for your GPS is 4413 Tuckerman St, University Park, Maryland 20782 or we are a few blocks’ walk from the PG Plaza Metro station on the Green Line)

Grateful Giving and Pie!

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Sunday, November 23rd we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving week together with a simple meal after church. Bring bread, rolls, or pies to share! Some tasty soups and salad will be provided.

You’re also invited to bring a Metro Smartrip pass, grocery, gas, McDonald’s or other gift card ($10 or $15 cards are ideal) to add to the stash from which we can draw when people come to the church looking for help. Or bring quick-prep food to save for sharing with those in need.

Following the meal you’re invited to join in some community service as we drive over to the stretch of Kenilworth Avenue for which we’ve taken responsibility and pick up litter and trash along the road. If you have gloves, bring those, too!

Photo by Flickr user jeffreyw