Category Archives: District of Columbia

Saraswati statue dedicated in D.C.

Daisy the Dog took me out on my evening walk, and we happened upon the aftermath of the dedication, at the Indonesian embassy, of the statue of Saraswati, the Hindu deity of learning.

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I was glad to see the dedication plaque: the right-hand plinth had a rough top for ages, and I thought it might have been vandalized!

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If you are devoted to Saraswati, you can find her statue on Massachusetts Avenue, between 20th and 21st Streets, near the north exit of the Dupont Circle subway station.

Silver Line opens; new way to Dulles Airport

Photo, courtesy, Jonathan Padget.

Photo, courtesy, Jonathan Padget.

So, my husband and I rode to the eastern terminus of the Washington Metro Silver Line on opening day yesterday. This is the first new subway — really, an elevated line — since 1991, and it goes through and past Tysons Corner, a local byword for big shopping malls, wide highways and mammoth office blocks. And until now, access by car or difficult bus connections. The plans for the future include more residents, and replacing an old-style suburban built environment with one more urban. But that’ll take many years.

As, indeed the rest of the planned, but not yet built, Phase 2 of the Silver Line. At least that’s scheduled for 2018, and not decades away. But the reason I suspect most in-town Washingtonians want to ride the Silver Line is to reach Dulles Airport, but that station is in Phase 2.

But the options to Dulles have improved.

The old “medium cheap” brown Washington Flyer bus — that only came in as far as East Falls Church Metro station — has been replaced by a blue Silver Line Express, to the Wiehle-Reston East station, the current terminus. It’s a shorter run, and also cheaper at $5.

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The Silver Line Express waiting at Wiehle-Reston East

Here are some notes:

When you arrive at Wiehle-Rest East, well, you’re really in a parking and bus transfer center. The station is in the median of the major arterial Dulles Toll Road, and so there’s no direct access.  Go up the adjacent escalator, turn right out the enclosed vestibule. You’re now in an open-air plaza; turn right again. About thirty feet or so ahead is a path; look left. You will see a covered foot bridge over the Dulles Toll Road to the station ticketing area. There you can buy your fare; I’d recommend getting a SmarTrip card from one of the sales machine. You’ll save the cost of the card almost immediately, and spare yourself the trouble of fiddling with a paper fare card (for which there’s a $1 surcharge) and money. And there are discounts for using one.

Footbridge to the Metro station

Footbridge to the Metro station

Proceed though the gates, and down to the platform. and take any train.

Stand behind the bumpy edge on the platform.

When using escalators, stand on the right and walk on the left, unless it’s just packed solid.

On the return trip, just get on the bus. You’ll pay at the airport.

 

I’ll blame Putin

Horrible for Daisy the Dog! Some of her favorite sniffing places at the little, angular park in our neighborhood are trapped behind chain link fencing and barbed wire. The park has no formal name, but its impossible to not call it Schevchenko, for the large monument to Taras Shevchenko, “bard of Ukraine” in the middle of it. It has also been the site of rallies and demonstrations since the Russian-prompted annexations of Ukraine. Someone tucked a Ukrainian flag under Schevchenko’s right arm.

Not that you can get to the monument now. The fence went up yesterday, and when I walked Daisy last night, the plaza had been plowed up to the concrete slab.

Putin’s doing? More likely the National Park Service. Many of the plaza’s concrete tiles had come loose or eroded to reveal sharp reinforcing wire. The fountain hasn’t worked in our time in the neighborhood. Time for restoration. If Daisy can cope.

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Universalist National Memorial Church debuts new website

So, I made it to church Sunday, was greeted and then asked: how you seen the new church website. I had seen a preview, but not the release.

Seeing as I was the lead on the last revision a decade ago, I knew it was overdue for a refresh. And a new breeze is blowing…

I’m glad to point to Universalist National Memorial Church’s site at universalist.org.

Churches: merged, disaffiliated and dead

As I wrote yesterday, one of the UUA backends has — if you know how to look — references to churches that are “not constituent[s]” though I suppose they must have all been thus at one time.

Since the larger list includes Canadian congregations (not listed here) that departed around Canadian Unitarian Council autonomy in 2003, this list has to be at least that old.

Which is also to reinforce that not all of these are dead. I see at least one Universalist church (Rockwell, Windsor) that has come and gone over the years. So also I can image a couple of community or federated churches doing fine outside the UUA.

But the rural and small-town Universalist churches and the marginally placed Unitarian fellowships are surely gone. Two were intentionally African-American-focused starts. (T.H.E., Atlanta and Sojourner Truth, Washington, D.C., which was long gome before I moved to D.C. in 2000.) The hardest to see is Epiphany, Fenton: the hoped-for firstfruits of a new age of Christian church planting. Others surely feel the same way about Panthea Pagan, Hoffman Estates. I’ll miss Muttontown’s sheep banner at General Assembly.

But many more are simply mergers. I recall the two in Flushing, Queens continue as one. Two in Minnesota. Saugus recently merged with First Parish, Malden. Oregon City’s merger even has a note online. Perhaps, too, the references to Dayton, San Diego and San Antonio?

Comments (and clarifications) welcome.

'Not a Constituent Congregation' City State
Guadalajara Unit. Univ. Fellowship Guadalajara Jalisco
Seward UUs Seward Alaska
Coronado UU Church Coronado California
UU Fellowship of the Mendocino Coast Mendocino California
U. U. Fellowship Southern Marin Mill Valley California
Aliso Creek Church Mission Viejo California
U U Fellowship of the Ojai Valley Ojai California
Channing Society of Orange County Orange County California
The Chalice Unit. Univ. Church Poway California
U. U. Inland North County Fellowship San Diego California
Unit. Univ. Fellowship of Friends San Diego California
All Souls Unitarian Church San Juan Capo California
UU Fellowship of Leisure World Seal Beach California
UU Fellowship of Aspen Aspen Colorado
Darien-New Canaan Unit. Society New Canaan Connecticut
UU Fellowship of the Farmington Valley Simsbury Connecticut
Sojourner Truth Congregation of UUs Washington D.C.
U. U. Fellowship of South Dade Homestead Florida
Eastside UU Church Miami Florida
Thurman Hamer Ellington UU Fellowship & Ministry Atlanta Georgia
Rockwell Universalist Church Winder Georgia
Glenview Unitarian Fellowship Glenview Illinois
Panthea Pagan Fellowship, UUA Hoffman Estates Illinois
Universalist Church Waltonville Illinois
Sauk Trail Unit. Univ. Fellowship Crown Point Indiana
UUs of Northern Kentucky Lawrenceburg Indiana
UU Fellowship Johnson County Prairie Village Kansas
UU Church of Hopkinsville Hopkinsville Kentucky
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Ruston Louisiana
First Universalist Society Brownfield Maine
Seneca Valley U. U. Fellowship Gaithersburg Maryland
First Federated Church Beverly Massachusetts
First Parish Unitarian Church East Bridgewater Massachusetts
UUs of Lowell Lowell Massachusetts
First Parish UU Church in Saugus Saugus Massachusetts
U U Fellowship Northern Berkshire N Adams Massachusetts
Church of the United Community Roxbury Massachusetts
First Unitarian Church Stoneham Massachusetts
First Unitarian Church Ware Massachusetts
U. U. Fellowship of Saginaw Bridgeport Michigan
First Universalist Church Concord Michigan
Epiphany Community Church UU Fenton Michigan
First Unitarian Church Virginia Minnesota
Burruss Memorial Universalist Church Ellisville Mississippi
Universalist Church of Westbrook Concord New Hampshire
Community Church Dublin New Hampshire
Dorothea Dix U. U. Community Groveville New Jersey
U U Gloucester County Congregation Turnersville New Jersey
Unit. Univ. Fellowship of Burlington County Willingboro New Jersey
First Universalist Church Dexter New York
Hollis UU Congregation Flushing New York
Unitarian Universalist Church of Flushing Flushing New York
Universalist Church of the Messiah Fort Plain New York
First Universalist Church Henderson New York
Unitarian Universalist Church Lockport New York
Muttontown UU Fellowship Muttontown New York
First Univ. Church Schuyler Lake Schuyler Lake New York
U. U. Fellowship of Fayetteville Fayetteville North Carolina
First Unitarian Church Dayton Ohio
Miami Valley Unitarian Fellowship Dayton Ohio
U. U. Society Western Reserve Kirtland Ohio
Community UU Congregation Tulsa Oklahoma
Unit. Univ. Community of Cottage Grove Cottage Grove Oregon
Valley Community U. U. Fellowship Newberg Oregon
Atkinson Memorial Church (merged) Oregon City Oregon
Boones Ferry U. U. Congregation Oregon City Oregon
Unitarian Fellowship of Bucks County Fountainville Pennsylvania
Venango Unit. Univ. Fellowship Franklin Pennsylvania
First Universalist Church Woonsocket Rhode Island
Brookings Unit. Univ. Fellowship Brookings South Dakota
First U U Fellowship Hunt County Greenville Texas
Community UU Church San Antonio Texas
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship San Antonio Texas
The Old Brick Church East Montpelier Vermont
Jenkins Unit. Univ. Fellowship Chesterfield Virginia
Lewis Clark Unitarian Fellowship Clarkston Washington
UU Congregation of Grays Harbor Hoquiam Washington
Fork Ridge Universalist Church Moundsville West Virginia
UU Fellowship Buenos Aires
Tokyo Unitarian Fellowship Tokyo 106-0032

Mixed thoughts about memorial wreaths and flowers at momuments

I meant to make this post available well ahead of Memorial Day, but that obviously did not happen. There will always be another occasion for wreaths and tributes at monuments, though.

But it wasn’t a national holiday that made me think about this subject originally. I live in Washington D.C., and live near several memorials to foreign luminaries. Embassies and ex-pats will often leave flowers in tribute, so I see a lot of these. And then there are the wreaths and other flowers left at the military memorials. Florists must do well around here.

But not all choices are equally good. Here are some ideas if you intend to leave a wreath or make a floral  presentation at a public monument.

If I had to pick one action, plan for someone to clean up the wreath-remains within a few days. A pile of compost isn’t a tribute.

After that, choose the backing (and if needed, easel) well. The Ukrainian embassy left a wreath for the Schevchenko bicentennial earlier this year — in the context of a national crisis no less — but the flowers were attached to a plastic (think bread wrapper) covered foam hoop. Worse, it was too heavy for the wire easel, and with a slight breeze it toppled over and broke.

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Before it fell apart

…and after

I found it broken I was out walking Daisy the Dog, but it was past re-staging.

Contrast this with a wreath the Slovak embassy left on the birthday of the first Czechoslovak president (and husband of American-born Unitarian, Charlotte Garrigue) Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. The papier mache is stronger, so the wind did not destroy it, and the wooden easel adds dignity.

Before I put it back up

Before I put it back up

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Or do without the easel, and mount the wreath with this tribute to the Madonna of the Trail, in suburban Bethesda. The coated wire provides a backing to hang the wreath. (And now I can imagine where the typical toothmarks of decay on old sandstone monuments comes from…)

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Bold experiment in ministry

I’m a member of the Universalist National Memorial Church, and today Sunday the church’s leadership made an exciting announcement at the climax of a congregational meeting: we are moving into the next phase of the church, but it’s not quite like anything I’ve ever seen. In consultation with district and association staff, and after six months’ work from the search commitee, the church is beginning a part-time, shared (but non-spousal) contract ministry by two theologically-trained laypersons. Some of you may know Crystal St. Marie Lewis, M.T.S, from her blogging. David Gatton, M.Div., is a long-time member of the church, but has had a secular career.

So this something new. Neither we nor they know what to call the experiment, or even what titles to use for them. That’s less important than them developing a working partnership, and the congregation providing support. (If all goes well, we hope to increase the percentage to full time within three years.)

Read the outline of the proposal here.

The team ministry begins June 15, and I pray them and the church every success. I’ll return to this subject from time to time.

Archives search: between “Christ will conquer” and the off-center cross

ugc1891_html_m49241d7fWhen the new UUA logo came out recently, quite a few people (myself included) japed about it on Facebook and mused about the past logos, some quite old. I noted the Universalist “Christ Will Conquer” seal and the off-center cross.

Here's a "Christ Will Conquer" use from 1920

Here’s a “Christ Will Conquer” use from 1920

But dang if, in my research at Harvard-Andover Theological Library, I didn’t find a missing link graphically between the two. It should be noted that I have found no official adoption for any of these logos, but it’s not the sort of thing that’s voted upon, so I suppose the most we’re ever likely to find (if anyone looks) is a launch notice, and probably not even that. We live in a branded age today, and I suspect these earlier “logos” were originally corporate seals (as we’ll see evidence below) that later took on an “inked” existance, much as the flaming chalice started on letterhead.

So let me introduce the “All Conquering Love” seal.

all-conquering-loveI’m guessing that it did not predate 1935, when the Washington Avowal was adopted by the Universalist General Convention (UGC) at the still-swank Mayflower Hotel, a short walk from my day job office and a lovely place for drinks.

The version of the image here is from the cover of the 1946 edition of the Laws of Fellowship, and in this context I wonder if its release was associated with the UGC’s 1942/43 re-conception as the Universalist Church of America.

The whole Washington Declaration text is a historical layer cake, and its use was to define the terms of fellowship between the General Convention, the state conventions, the churches and parishes and the members of the ministerial college. The Avowal is its core, with the text in bold type being the part best remembered:

The bond of fellowship in this Convention (church) shall be a common purpose to do the will of God as Jesus revealed it and to co-operate in establishing the kingdom for which he lived and died.

To that end, we avow our faith in God as Eternal and All-conquering Love, in the spiritual leadership of Jesus, in the supreme worth of every human personality, in the authority of truth known or to be known, and in the power of men of good-will and sacrificial spirit to overcome evil and progressively establish the Kingdom of God. Neither this nor any other statement shall be imposed as a creedal test, provided that the faith thus indicated be professed.

And while you can draw a straight line from “the supreme worth of every human personality” through “to affirm, defend and promote the supreme worth of every human personality” (from the 1961 Principles) to “inherent worth and dignity of every person” I think that image of God being Eternal and All-conquering Love is far more evocative, even thrilling.

all-conquering-love_seal_1960Back to the idea that it was a seal: well, I found two cases (1958 and 1960) of the UCA corporate seal with this design, the rings simplified. Here is the easier-to-read 1960 version: a level of officialdom the off-center cross could not claim. (I did see it on the letterhead of the Illinois state convention; Clinton Lee Scott’s influence from his Peoria pastorate?)