How can the true meaning of Christmas be found and experienced in a city characterized by media overload, cynicism, and a pursuit of individual power? We are excited to host author and spiritual retreat leader Enuma Okoro as she shares some timely lessons on Christmas from her new book, Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent. In her book, she meditates on the trials and travails of those connected with the story of Christ's nativity, particularly those of Zechariah and Elizabeth. The cover jacket of Silence explains why Zechariah and Elizabeth are so important: "This is a story filled with deep sorrow and heartfelt longing, and Okoro's tough yet tender wisdom acknowledges both the wounds we endure and the blessings we receive; the grief we bear and the joys we are given." (click here to order book).
Besides hearing Enuma's inspirational thoughts, we’ll host a old-school potluck-style Christmas dinner, mulled spice wine, and our favorite Christmas Carols to round out our celebration of Advent. According to Enuma the theme of patience found in the Advent stories of Zechariah and Elizabeth are relevant to us today: "We [also] want to become a people who seek after God and who cultivate patience as we wait for divine justice to bring peace and freedom to an aching world." Finally, this coffeehouse also marks the 3rd anniversary of our community founded in 2010 so we want to celebrate that too.
You won't want to miss this fun & meaningful coffeehouse!
Glenn, Jen and the whole gang
More about our Conversation partner: Enuma Okoro is a critically-acclaimed author and spiritual retreat leader. She's written extensively on the topics of emerging Christianity, spirituality, gender, and the immigrant experience. As a Nigerian-raised author who grew up alternatively in the Anglican and Catholic traditions, she never quite found a spiritual home of her own. She has lived in North America, Europe, and Africa over the years. Her books include: Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent; Reluctant Pilgrim: A Moody, Somewhat Self-indulgent introvert’s Search for Spiritual Community; Talking Taboo: American Christian Women get Frank about Faith, and Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (with Shane Claiborne & Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove).
Reluctant Pilgrim has been a finalist for the 2011 National Indie Excellent Book Awards and the USA Book News Best Book Awards. She has also served as the Director of the Theological Writing Center at Duke University Divinity School. For more information, check out her website (click here).
How you can help with Food: The dinner will be old-school potluck style. If we can get a number of people bringing a holiday-themed meat dish, green salad, side dish or dessert, that would be great. Please list what you might bring in your RSVP line to help me prepare. If you don't have time to prepare something, sponsoring a $10 bottle of wine for our mulled wine drink would be great instead. If you can help with a bottle sponsorship or meal item, please indicate what you are planning in your RSVP line up to 3 days before the event. If you can't help in these ways, that's ok, just bring yourself! (If you are a last minute RSVP and want to help, just sponsor a bottle of wine, that's easy).
Collection for the people of Phillipines: This year, people can contribute to our Christmas cause this year, relief funds for the people of the Phillipine Islands who recently suffered from a tropical storm.
Schedule: For those who want to participate in the Christmas common meal, we'll start that at 7PM. For those who just want to come to the gathering, we'll start the carols at 7:30PM. If you are late, you can still pick up some dinner on the buffet table and join us in the discussion. We are very casual about that sort of thing.
Location: Going forward, we're hoping to have our gathering in the "community/fireplace room" space of the Church of the Pilgrims. If you are having problems finding the location on mapquest: mapquest Bier Baron Tavern [masked]nd Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037) which is just across the street on 22nd Street NW.
Directions from Metro: Church of the Pilgrims is about 2 blocks west of the Q Street Exit (that's the north one) of the Dupont Circle Metro Station. Once you hit 22nd street, go south a block to the sanctuary entrance at P St and 22nd.
About Parking: Church of the Pilgrims has a parking lot entrance on 22nd Street twenty feet away from the corner of Q St. and 22nd St (where the big "Church of the Pilgrims" sign sits). The parking lot is surrounded by bushes so it's not always easy the entrance at first. There's about 20 parking spots. There's usually 20 parking spots right on the street in front of the church too.
About entrance Doors: The first time people come there can be confusion about which door to enter. There are two to look for. First, there's a back door off the parking lot. That's the best door to enter. Second, there's a front door that next to the big sanctuary doors and which one can use to get to the church office usually.