Our Greetings to You
Welcome to the web site of the Universalist National Memorial Church, "a liberal Christian church in the heart of the city." We hope to answer your questions, spark your curiosity, and encourage you to visit with us in person.
Our church building is at 16th and "S" Streets, NW, where the Washington, DC neigborhoods of Dupont Circle and Logan Circle meet. Sunday worship starts at 11 a.m.
Ash Wednesday 2014 – Recognizing Injustice & the Rejected
"Invitation to Lenten Discipline"
by Deacon Sue Mosher on Ash Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Throughout the ages, in many cultures and many religions, people have found that fasting can lead to a higher state of alertness - can sound the trumpets, as the prophet (Joel 2:1-2, 12-17) would have it. During Lent this year, we as a congregation will try to fast not from chocolate, alcohol, or Facebook - although you're certainly welcome to take on any of those fasts - but from the slumber that leaves us unaware of the injustice in our midst and indifferent to its dehumanizing effects. Our preachers during these 40 days will focus on injustice and the rejected.
The first step in this undertaking is merely to recognize the issues. In her article "Five Faces of Oppression", Iris Marion Young breaks down this sometimes overwhelming concept into five interrelated conditions: exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence. When oppression is teased apart like this, I personally have found unavoidable the reality that oppression is not something that other people do, but I myself. Each day, I participate in injustices that sustain the five faces of oppression:
- When I grow short-tempered with a store clerk whose words I do not understand because English is not their first language, I participate in violence because my anger may fuel another customer's hatred.
- When I do work all by myself at church, home, or office instead of sharing it, I participate in powerlessness because I am not allowing others to develop their own capacities.
- When I tell a story from another culture without asking permission or studying its meaning in context, I participate in cultural imperialism, seeing another people's story only through the lens of my own preferences and prejudices.
- When I stay home rather than rally for a living wage or other efforts at redistribution in the cause of justice, I participate in exploitation as I benefit from the work of those who do not receive just compensation. And I participate in marginalization because I perpetuate their dependence.
During this Lenten season, can you fast from indifference and open your eyes to your own participation in injustice? Can you listen with better appreciation for others' yearning for justice and wholeness?
May God's light and peace inspire us all to greater awareness and generosity in the service of those whom we should rightly thank for the privileges we enjoy. Amen.
New Worlds of Presence
Sermon preached by David Gatton on February 9, 2014
I don't know about you, but I have been prone this year to the February blues-that period where the sky is gray, the nights are long, and the weight of a cold December, January, and February begins to feel heavy on the shoulders.
So when I went to the lectionary for today's passages, I found it intriguing and somewhat welcome that light played such a prominent role.
In Isaiah, "Then shall your light break forth like the dawn; and your healing shall spring up speedily."
And in the Gospel, "You are the light of the world."
UNMC bookstore benefits PDF
Through Amazon.com's affiliate program, a small portion of the sales price of any item that you purchase after clicking the link below will benefit the church's Pastoral Discretionary Fund, which the minister can use to address unmet needs of church members and the wider community.
Here's how the Amazon.com affiliate program works:
When you click any Amazon.com link on the church web site, you'll be taken to the appropriate page on the Amazon.com site, and Amazon.com will note that you arrived there from the church web site. Any purchase that you make -- books, music, household items, clothes, etc. -- will result in a small percentage going to the church, designated for the Pastoral Discretionary Fund.