There will be a lot going on this Sunday at church. We are welcoming back a beloved guest preacher, the inspirational Michael Eselun. Then immediately following the service, we will “Ingather” outside in The Woods (the grassy area under the tall trees by the playground) to welcome Jason Taksony Hewitt as our new Director of Religious Exploration. This is a chance to connect with Jason if you haven’t already, and of course he is available beyond this Sunday!
My excitement about welcoming Jason is even more palpable after the Florida school shooting last week, and as I see and hear the young people speaking out in Tallahassee against the insanity of our current gun laws and the role the NRA is playing. My 15-year-old niece Finley is included, as she is a sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. What a small world it is! I have a relatively small family, with only three nieces and no nephews, and I am stunned to find that my youngest niece hid in a closet with her entire class for two hours on Valentines’ Day. This shooting was the 18th school shooting in 2018 alone.
I know that Jason’s leadership of our children’s and youth’s Religious Exploration Program will help produce young people like the teens in Florida – not afraid to speak out, not afraid to demonstrate, not afraid to call the NRA out for its blood-soaked campaign financing tactics that have paved the way for children dying in what should be one of the safest places of all, our nations’ schools. For my part, this most recent experience brings home the fact that this is not something that happens to “other people.” I am those people, as are everyone close to teenagers in America today, as are all of us who care, period.
I will comment further as part of the service this Sunday during my Pastoral Thought, as well as show a brief video of one our very own teens, Clara Pierone, speaking out against gun violence at a local LA protest that took place one week after the horror in Parkland, FL. I am very proud of our congregation for being so committed to ending senseless gun casualties as part of our Gun Violence Prevention Promise. Please plan to come to their next event March 4, when we will hear from our California Congressman Adrin Nazarian and his activities in support of sensible gun laws.
Like Mary Stoneman Douglas, the activist for whom my niece’s school is named, we won’t stop until there is change.
See you this Sunday!
– Rev. Hannah