Last week’s anniversary service was a remarkable outpouring of love. The worship service was superb. The choir’s selections were inspirational and the tributes by the Mensah family and Rev. Thomas Bowen continue to warm our hearts. After 31 years as pastor of Shiloh, we remain pleasantly surprised by our congregation’s support. May God continue to bless and keep our wonderful Shiloh family. To God be the glory!
We reported at yesterday’s Quarterly Stewardship Meeting that our last quarter’s income was less than anticipated. Expenses, however, continued at a pace that exceeded income. As a result, we find ourselves in a challenging situation. We need Shiloh members to increase giving. A telling picture is that although we exceeded the numbers of tithers this year, income remains down. We are, therefore, asking our church family to make every effort to increase contributions.
We also reported at the meeting that we are on target to sell two properties. Yet, we cannot allow this sale to lull us into believing that our financial challenges are over. As was said at the meeting, the sale of the properties will eliminate our mortgages but will not eliminate all our debt. We know inflation rages and gasoline prices are nearly double that of a year ago, but we implore you to be prayerful about your increase in giving. As you have in the past, please respond so that we may get past the summer slump and go into the fall in a much better financial position.
Again, please increase your giving. Whatever your present level of gifts, please raise them by ten percent. With belief in God, we can achieve this goal. Amen and Hallelujah!
In July of 1991, Elaine, Christen, and I made the trek from Nashville, TN, to Washington, DC, to commence a new life. Although the three of us came initially from Philadelphia, PA, we found that DC is not a northeastern city, and that it is right on the border where North and South meet. It was astounding to me to learn that Arlington National Cemetery had been the plantation of Robert E. Lee and that one could easily walk from Lee’s former home to the Whitehouse in a relatively short time. I also learned that what people referred to as Potomac fever was real.
Once I came to the DMV, no other city could suffice. Slowly but surely, my beloved Philadelphia began to take a back seat. DC may no longer be “Chocolate City,” but it remains one of the world’s most exciting and enlivening cities. Who could ever have imagined that I would be on stage with the National Symphony Orchestra to recite a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., or that I would be at the White House to witness the signing of the Arab Israeli Peace Accords, or lead Congress in an opening prayer? It has been a fantastic ride.
It has not always been easy these thirty-one years, but the Lord has blessed me to work with some of the most exemplary Christians I have known. I thank the committee that worked to bring about this day. I thank God for the love and kindness of many members and friends.
I thank God for my wife, who has stood by me through thick and thin, and my daughter, who is fond of saying that the family moved to DC, but she lived here. I am grateful for the hard work of so many who helped to build our gorgeous church building. I am especially thankful to the God of Heaven who allowed me to live long enough to baptize my grandsons.
Thank you, Shiloh, for thirty-one beautiful years as pastor of the most incredible church family!
Another gun violence tragedy struck our nation at a 4th of July parade in Highland Park, IL. This quiet sleepy little suburb of Chicago was an unlikely place to expect a mass shooting. But then again, Buffalo, NY, and Uvalde, TX, were also unlikely places. The reality is the preponderance of mass shootings has been in what mainstream Americans see as unlikely places. White America believes that such shootings must be in poor Black or Brown neighborhoods and result from turf wars and the natural propensity of minorities to be violent. Undoubtedly, drugs and other poverty-related circumstances contribute to the killings on the streets of Washington, Baltimore, and other urban enclaves. Still, America must now deal with gun violence in so-called unlikely places.
While Congress refuses to ban assault weapons, people will continue to be slaughtered in lovely treelined communities and the concrete caverns of our inner cities. Failure to recognize gun violence is not just a city’s problem but will continue to place everyone from the most affluent to the poorest in someone’s crosshairs.