G ood news from
in this i ssue Pastor’s r eflections
BY e milY rose m arTin
PasTor’s r eflecTions 1
c lerk’s c orner ....... 2 I have never been one for New Year’s resolutions. The Enneagram describes my
personality as a “reformer” or “perfectionist,” so I am pretty much on a constant
“h e Wears The rose self-improvement regimen. Honestly, I often wonder about the way that these
of YouTh uPon h im ” 2 running “to do (more)” and “to be (better)” lists create more anxiety
than they do quality of life, and feed into that old heresy that we need
a sk The PasTor ........ 3 to earn our salvation. So I’ve been thinking about two very different
ways to think of ushering in this new year.
a noTe of Thanks ..... 3 One is based on the practice of “Examen” that the youth do every
Sunday, and that the adults gave a try this past month during the Wednesday Nights
Build and The Bec at Brown series on Gratitude. The suggestion is this: sometime this month, take
P roTecT school some time for yourself – on your couch, at your breakfast table, at a local coffee
funding.................... 4 shop, with your partner – and think back on the past year. For what in the past year
are you most grateful? Make a list, then see if you can prioritize your top three
a r eminder: sign uP things. Then ask yourself, for what in the past year were you least grateful? Then,
conTinues for The finally, ask yourself, “What am I hungry for?” Take some time to meditate on your
neW BmPa P icToral answers to these three questions. Lift them up to God in prayer and ask God for
direcTorY ................ 5 guidance as you think about the year to come. What should your priorities be? How
might the Spirit be using your gratitude, ingratitude, and hunger to get your
a “Thank You ” from attention or nudge you down a particular path? Let these questions and your
The m emBershiP reflections on them tumble around in your heart and head, and in conversation with
c ommiTTee ............... 5 friends and loved ones, until you hear the Spirit speaking (perhaps gently, perhaps
surprisingly, perhaps in a way that knocks you flat)…however long that takes.
BirThdaYs................. 5 The other way to think about the New Year is as a chance to be a new parent.
When I think about how that first Christmas must have changed the lives of Mary
BmPa communiTY and Joseph, I think about the changes that occur for every couple newly blessed
a nnouncemenTs/ with a child. It’s not that you create a new list of things you’d like to do now that
commiTTee c hairs .... 6 you have a new child. Everything about your life changes – from your schedule to
your budget! They have to change, and so do you. Your priorities shift. So does the
JanuarY 2010 way you see the world. I invite you to wonder with me how our lives would shift if
aT BmPa ................. 7 we thought of Christ as a newborn that has suddenly taken center stage in our lives.
How would our priorities shift? How would we rethink the way we spent our time
and our money? What about our present reality would we be willing to sacrifice in
light of this new person, so demanding of our time and energy, and yet such a source
of meaning and joy? If you are part of a couple, how do your perspectives of this
seismic shift in your lives compare? If you are a “single parent,” with whom will you
share your new joys, fears, responsibilities, and dreams of the future?
No matter how you think about the new year, my hope is the Brown Memorial
Park Avenue Presbyterian Church will be a place where you find inspiration
and support in prayer, in worship, and in fellowship for whatever comes your
way in 2010.
BY carol g evecker g raves for consideration by the entire Presbyterian Church
firstname.lastname@example.org (U.S.A.) in July 2010.
In December, we spent practically the entire session
A lot happened in November. We welcomed a large meeting going over the proposed budget for 2010. Luke
class of new members, the second largest group in the Clippinger worked hard putting together requests from
past eight months. all sectors of the church. John Tucker and his
We held a congregational meeting and stewardship committee worked hard on obtaining
accomplished two items of business. pledges. Both deserve our sincere thanks. Do you
We elected Andy Imparato and Andy realize/appreciate the size of the budget? Our annual
Johnston as elders, Barbara Christen and income is projected to be over $570,000 (including
Hanna Loring-Davis as deacons, and Willard Graves as $160,000 from the endowment). Our expenses are
trustee. We also approved a loan from the Presbyterian projected to be $610,000. You can do the math. Any
Loan Program for $100,000 to repair both the church deficit also comes out of the endowment.
and church house roofs. The church house will get a I view the Clerk’s Corner as a means to inform you
white, eco-friendly roof which we hope will save us of news you might miss if you are not in church every
money in the long run. week. I go through session minutes to prepare these
In response to flooding in El Salvador, we took up a notes, and I know they are more business than
special collection and sent over $500 to SHARE for inspiration. But please know that, while the session
emergency relief. goes about the business of Brown Memorial, we try
The Baltimore Presbytery met and passed the Govans hard to keep in mind the lessons from the Bible and to
Overture changing the Book of Order to define follow Jesus’ path.
marriage as between two people. We concurred with The elders (members of the session) wish you the
this overture. It now goes to the General Assembly Peace of Christ in the New Year.
“h e wears the rose of youth uPon h im” *
BY e llen carTer c ooPer of the church. Gareth said the church helps him to display
You have seen him moving in and out of the Church House the “accepting and positive form of Christianity that I can
and the Sanctuary. He has grown taller and more hirsute. exhibit to my peers”. If he could deliver a sermon to the
This junior at Baltimore City College High School was born congregation, this wise
in Washington, D.C. He moved to Baltimore at the age of young man would exhort
one. His parents, Betsy Nix and Andy Imparato, brought him the hearers to discuss and
to Brown Memorial when he was five years old. Since then, demonstrate the diverse
Gareth has been a fixture here. He is a very active member of and varied aspects of
the Youth Group and has appeared in the Brown Memorial Christianity because the
Christmas Pageant. His most recent public gesture was world too often only sees a
serving as a reader for the annual Lessons and Carols service very narrow view of
on Christmas Eve. our religion.
Gareth is equally visible at City College. He participates in Whatever path Gareth
the speech and debate club, mock trials team, and the student decides to create and
congress. As a member of the drama club, he has appeared follow for himself and
in The Visit and William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Not others, expect to learn of
surprisingly, his academic interests include the humanities and his contributions in the
philosophy. Looking to the future when he is graduated from years to come. He
City, Gareth is considering, among several options, remembers that there is
matriculation at Yale University (the Alma Mater of both another Imparato, his younger brother, Nicholas, who is
his parents). watching from his middle school perch as he starts his journey.
“A fantastic place to grow up in” is the phrase Gareth would
use to describe Brown Memorial. He likes the “community” * William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra
PaGe 2 t he t idinGs January 2010
a sk the Pastor
BY a ndreW fosTer c onnors them, as well as understanding the gravity of their situations,
email@example.com clapping was truly an act of grateful response to God. In the
same way, I recall a spontaneous outburst of applause (did
Q: Is it okay to clap in worship?
this really happen or only in my imagination?) following
A: Some of you might be surprised to know how often this
the choir’s triumphant Easter declaration that death does not
question arises. I have heard it said here that clapping in
have the last word. I was not applauding a performance
worship is “the way white people say ‘amen.’”
but signaling that the choir’s hopeful prayer and their
The blanket statement isn’t true across the
determined affirmation was indeed my own.
board, of course, but it does raise the issue
On the other hand, I wonder about the clapping that has
of the way culture affects worship style and
now become a part of what follows the postlude. I challenge
substance. Comparatively speaking, our own
those of you who listen during the postlude to examine the
congregation tends to be somewhat reserved in congregational
motivation behind the response. There are many Sundays,
expression in worship. I was reminded of this at the City
when the joy of the postlude expresses our gratitude and
Temple Baptist Church during the BUILD Advent Service
clapping is indeed our prayer of thanks. But when we enter
as those of us in the pulpit area swayed, raised our hands,
Lent, for example, and John Walker’s postlude selections
clapped, and shouted out at different points in the worship
turn pensive, penitent, and sometimes pleading, the
service. The worship was every bit as focused on worshiping
clapping feels out of step to me, more like applause for a
God as is our own worship experience. The cultural manner in
mini concert than a response to God. On these Sundays, I
which that worship was expressed was different.
wonder if a different kind of expression, perhaps a spoken
Of course, as soon as one starts making generalizations,
“amen,” an authentic posture of prayer, or the embrace of a
countless exceptions have to be made. I recall, in particular, a
fellow worshiper might be a more meaningful response.
newspaper article that quoted Rev. Marion C. Bascom,
Ultimately the best judge of how to respond most
pastor emeritus of the Douglas Memorial Community
authentically to our encounter of God in worship is the
Church (and friend of BMPA), criticizing the shift in many
worshipers themselves. The challenge is to be aware of our
African American churches toward “shake and bake”
own preferences, be they guided by cultural background
worship. If my memory serves me correctly, his critique was
or contemporary choice, so that we make room for the full
that some African-American churches were sacrificing
expression of diversity in our congregation.
substance for a new form of entertainment, heavy on style
* “Ask the Pastor” is a new feature of The Tidings. You
and light on theological integrity. It seems to me that a
may submit a liturgical or scriptural question to be
similar kind of critique could be made of other churches not
answered by one of the Pastors to Ellen Carter Cooper at
considered part of the black church. All of this leads me to
firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for questions is
believe that while it is helpful to recognize that cultural
the 15th? of every month.
backgrounds affect assumptions about worship and
expressions that grow out of those assumptions, we need not
be limited by them either. I firmly believe that God is calling A Note of Thanks
us to a wvision of the reign of God that is much larger than
Dear Brown Memorial Park Avenue
our racial or cultural backgrounds, or any other distinction
for that matter.
So back to the question at hand: is it okay to clap in
On behalf of the Midtown Academy community, I
worship? The Directory for Worship in our Presbyterian
would like to thank you for allowing our Food for Life
Book of Order gives an emphatic yes:
Program to use your space on Friday afternoons. We
“In the Old and New Testaments and through the ages, the
believe that strength within a community creates great
people of God expressed prayer through actions as well as
places for students to live and go to school. By providing
speech and song. So in worship today it is appropriate:
the space for our program, you have made it possible for
• to kneel, to bow, to stand, to lift hands in prayer,
us to offer our students the opportunity to learn and to
• to dance, to clap, to embrace in joy and praise,
begin living with healthy eating habits! Thank you for
• to anoint and to lay hands in intercession and
your generosity and community spirit.
supplication, commissioning and ordination.” (W-2.1005)
The context is important. Clapping is included as an act of
prayer. It felt like prayer to me this past week when
spontaneous clapping broke out celebrating the healing
wrought in the lives of Bonnie Schneider, Deb Milcarek,
and Sally Robinson. Having spent time in prayer for each of
January 2010 t he t idinGs PaGe 3
Build and the Baltimore e ducation coalition
P rotect s chool f undinG
BY e lizaBeTh r eichelT
The Baltimore Education Coalition (BEC) was founded last year by BUILD, Child First, the ACLU and several
other Baltimore organizations in response to Governor O’Malley’s proposed budget which would have cut
Baltimore City Schools funding by $32 million.
This year, BUILD and the BEC is already organizing in advance of the Governor’s
budget, which will be released the third week of January. With 40% of the state budget
going towards education, funding is sure to be a contentious issue. Baltimore City schools
have made great strides in key areas such as test scores, drop-out, and graduation rates. In
2008-09 three high schools exited “school improvement” status as calculated by Adequate
Yearly Progress (AYP) the federal student achievement standard required under No Child
Left Behind. Over the past two years, 931 fewer students dropped out than in 2006-07,
resulting in the schools’ lowest drop out rate on record. And last year, the first year that
students in Maryland were required to meet the High School Assessment (HSA)
requirement in order to graduate, 253 more students received diplomas. All of this great
progress is the result of a significant commitment to education funding over the past
However, now is not the time to back off on funding for our schools. Too many children are still not getting the
opportunities they deserve. For example, more than half of Baltimore City’s thirty-eight schools did not make
AYP. Only 66% of seniors received diplomas and 6.2% of high school students dropped out of school.
Several teams of parents and teachers have begun meeting with the Senators and Delegates that represent
Baltimore city. I joined Bebe Verdery of the ACLU, Karen DeCamp of Greater Homewood Community
Corporation and Kevin Brooks, a RPEMS parent, BCPSS principal and BUILD pastor in a meeting with
Delegate Maggie McIntosh. She gave us some valuable insight as to how we might approach the various members
of the City Delegation. Senator Joan Carter Conway, the chair of the Education, Health and Environmental
Affairs Committee pointed out during her meeting with BUILD and BEC that every year, she sees Dr. Alonso,
the CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools, down in Annapolis lobbying for the children. But she does not see
much of a presence from parents and the broader community. We aim to change that.
I invite the Brown Memorial Park Avenue community to become engaged in this important issue. Now is the
time to write, call or e-mail Governor O’Malley to tell him we cannot afford to cut funding to Baltimore City
Public Schools. You can also call, write or email your state Senator and Delegates to let them you expect their full
support of protecting education funding during the legislative session. Also, plan to attend the BUILD and BEC
Action on Tuesday, January 26th from 5:30-7:30. This action will be a response to Governor O’Malley’s budget,
which will be released the week before. Once the location is determined, announcements will be placed in the
church bulletin and weekly emails.
If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Elizabeth Reichelt at 410 435 6152 or
PaGe 4 t he t idinGs January 2010
a r eminder: siGn uP continues for the new
BmPa P ictoral d irectory
BY JennY Williams • You can invite other family members and friends
to have portraits taken while we are photographing
Photography dates are: for our directory. They just need to sign up for an
wednesday, January 13, 2010, from 3:00 P. m. appointment slot.
to 9:30 P. m.
f riday, January 22, 2010, from 3:00 P. m. to Please make a point of sitting for a photo for the
9:30 P. m. directory. It will not be complete without you!
saturday, January 23, 2010, from 10:00 a. m. Questions? Want to help? See Carol Graves or Jenny
to 5:00 P. m. Williams.
Through January 10, we will be signing up
members after worship in the assembly room.
a “t hank you”
Here are some more important facts:
• Every participating family/household that selects a m emBershiP committee
pose for the directory will receive a free BY monica r akoWski
directory and a complimentary Olan Mills 8x10
Custom Natural Portrait. The Membership Committee would like to extend a
• You will come to the church only once for huge “thank you” to Laura McConnell for her work
photography and for portrait viewing. designing the new welcome brochures and prayer
• This program is available at no cost to the church. requests cards. Without Laura’s suggestions, design and
• You will have the opportunity to order additional efforts, our committee would more than likely still be
portraits during your scheduled time, if you wish. working on the layout. I hope each of you will join me
These portraits come with Olan Mills’ 100% in saying a very heartfelt “thank you” to Laura. Laura’s
satisfaction guarantee. professionalism and talents are greatly appreciated.
January Birthdays 01/17 Elena Kirkpatrick
01/19 Elizabeth Wagner Cavallon
01/01 Fred Lazarus
01/20 Michael Hughes
01/02 Pauline Piper
01/21 Kristi Satterlee
01/03 John Warmath
01/22 Chrystie Adams
01/04 Emily Burton
01/22 Jane Swope
01/05 Elden Schneider
01/24 Charles McManus
01/09 Yari Armand
01/25 Shayna Blinkoff
01/09 Rebecca Thomson
01/26 Sean Artes
01/10 Brad Bradford
01/27 Rebecca Adams
01/12 Elizabeth “Lizzie” Mills
01/28 Charles Joseph Reichelt, II
01/12 Meredith “Nellie” Mills
01/31 Moragan Happ
01/13 Emily Bishai
01/13 Richard Cook
Note: If you wish to have your birthday listed in The
01/14 Taylor Branch Tidings, please contact Sharon Holley, church secretary, at
01/16 Kathy Smith 410-523-1542, or via e-mail at Sharon@browndowntown.org.
January 2010 t he t idinGs PaGe 5
BmPa community committee chairs
a nnouncements Adult Education Henry Taylor
local food Pantries have Bare shelves
The need for non-perishable food items is crucial right now BUILD Liaison Elizabeth Reichelt
as the economy worsens. Many of the food banks that local
Christian Education Carol Newill
programs such as Memorial Episcopal’s Samaritan Community
go for resources simply don’t have any food to give out. Please Diversity Hilbert Byers
consider bringing a non-perishable food item each week along and Page Campbell
with your regular offering. We have food baskets to collect
Eco-Stewardship Task Force Luke Clippinger
items as you enter the sanctuary from Park Avenue. This is a
wonderful opportunity to involve your children in stewardship. Finance Luke Clippinger
Children can participate in the selection of foods to be donated
and can help remember to bring them on Sunday mornings.
m emBers h elPinG m emBers Global Mission Christy Macy
Our church has been looking for ways to help our members • Cameroon (Mary Taylor Fund) Julie Hanks
in these times of economic uncertainty. We offer this space to
church members to let other members of our community know • El Salvador Susan Saudek
about their particular concerns. Please contact them if you • Dakota Partnership Chrystie Adams
know of resources that might be useful. Please contact sharon@
browndowntown.org if you would like to be added to the list.
• Philip Aaron, Rachel Aaron Smith’s brother, is Investment Hilbert Byers
unemployed at the moment. He is a graphic artist, web and John Warmath
designer and does print work. He graduated from the Art
Institute of York, PA with an Associates Degree in Digital Membership Monica Rakowski
Arts. If anyone has any leads, he will be happy to pursue
Nominating Donna Senft
them. His cell phone number is 410-336-3102.
• Graham Richardson has been out of work for several Personnel Donna Senft
months and is seeking employment in education,
construction, historic preservation, etc. (Graham is a real Presbytery Donna Senft
renaissance man!) At present he is doing odd jobs for Stewardship John Tucker
people around town and could do things for Brown
Memorial Park Avenue, too. Please call Graham at
443-618-5741 or e-mail him, email@example.com. TAMFS:B Carol Graves
• Daryl Smith, Rachel Aaron Smith’s husband, is a and Donna Senft
contractor, specializing in painting services, and is
looking for jobs/projects to bid on, commercial or
residential. His number is 410-419-5944; the company is Tiffany Series Shirley Parry
Blue Line Services. and Chris Saudek
WN@B S eSSion iii
Wednesday Nights @ Brown
and Elden Schneider
The third session of our Wednesday evening
fellowship program begins January 6, 2010 and runs
through February 10. We gather for a catered meal
Worship Ellen Carter Cooper
followed by educational programs for children and and Betsy Nix
adults. Dinner reservations are required.
Contact Rachel Cunningham for more information,
(410) 523-1542, Ext. 14, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
PaGe 6 t he t idinGs January 2010
January 2010 at BmPa
S unday M onday TueSday WedneSday ThurSday Friday S aTurday
27 d eceMber 28 29 30 31 1 2
No Adult Forum Chancel Choir No Rehearsal January, 2010 Saturday Morning
or Sunday School Bible Study 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m.
t he t idinGs
Service of Worship 11 a.m
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Adult Forum, WN@B Session III Chancel Choir Midtown Academy Food for Life Saturday Morning
5:30-7:30 p.m. Rehearsal 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Class 12 p.m.-3 p.m. Bible Study 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m.
9:45 a.m.-10:45 a.m.
Service of Worship 11 a.m.
Youth Group Meeting
10 Sunday School,
11 12 13 14 15 16
Choir Warm-Up Saturday Morning Bible Study
9:45 a.m.-10:45 a.m. Session Meeting 6:30 p.m. Directory Photos- Olan Mills Chancel Choir Midtown Academy Food for Life 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m.
Service of Worship 11 a.m. 3:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Rehearsal 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Class 12 p.m.-3 p.m.
Teacher Roundtable WN@B Session III
Discussions 12:15 p.m. 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Handbell Choir Rehearsal
12:15 p.m.- 1p.m.
17 Adult Forum, 18 19 20 21 22 23
9:45 a.m.-10:45 a.m. WN@B Session III Chancel Choir Midtown Academy Food for Life Bible Study 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m.
Service of Worship 11 a.m. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Rehearsal 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Class 12 p.m.-3 p.m.
Youth Group Meeting
12:15 p.m. Directory Photos- Olan Mills Directory Photos- Olan Mills
Handbell Choir Rehearsal 3:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m. 10:00 a.m.-5 p.m.
12:15 p.m.- 1p.m.
CFM Team Meeting 12:15 p.m. Youth Group Dinners Out
24 Sunday School,
Adult Forum, 25 26 27 28 29 30
Choir Warm-Up Saturday Morning
9:45 a.m.-10:45 a.m. WN@B Session III Chancel Choir Midtown Academy Food for Life
Rehearsal 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Class 12 p.m.-3 p.m. Bible Study 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m.
Service of Worship 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Youth Group Ski Trip
Handbell Choir Rehearsal
12:15 p.m.- 1p.m.
Bowling Party TBD
31 Adult Forum,
9:45 a.m.-10:45 a.m.
Service of Worship 11 a.m.
Annual Congregational Meeting
12:15 p.m.- 1: 30 p.m.
Handbell Choir Rehearsal
12:15 p.m.- 1p.m.
April Chisolm Cello Students
Recital 2:30 p.m.- 4 p.m.
G ood news from Paid
P ermiT no. 2610
1316 Park Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21217
daTed m aTerial
a ddress service r equesTed
Published for members and friends of
Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church
Andrew Foster Connors, Pastor
1316 Park Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21217
Published monthly by the Membership Committee. Send
contributions by January 15th to Ellen Carter Cooper
(email@example.com) or to
Sharon Holley (firstname.lastname@example.org).