Youth Choir & Band Nats Game Outing!

As of the end of the school year...

Rising 6th graders are now officially eligible to participate in Youth Band and Youth Choir at Abiding Presence!

To officially welcome them to the groups (and just for a super-fun thing to do together!) we're going to a Washington Nationals home game vs. the Atlanta Braves at 1:35pm on Sunday, July 22.

We'll meet at Abiding Presence right after worship and head over together. Everyone should bring money to get lunch at the ballpark. Afterward, we'll visit an incredible ice cream place nearby that makes their own ice cream daily.

All rising 6th-12th graders interested in Youth Band and/or Youth Choir are welcome to join us! (You don't have to commit to anything long-term.) If you'd like to join us, please email David Chávez (Music & Worship Minister) at by the end of the day on Monday, June 25 so we can get a final count for ordering tickets.

Ticket prices will likely be around $15 to $23 depending on how many people go, but do not let cost be an obstacle to coming! If you need help purchasing a ticket, we will figure it out; just talk to me. I'm really excited about the work Youth Band and Youth Choir have already done, and the potential for musical growth and worship leadership among this year's amazing group of students!

For more information about Youth Choir and Youth Band, email or visit

Help Needed for Vacation Bible School
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Help is still needed with Vacation Bible School from July 9-12 from 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. We are in need of both station leaders and crew leaders. Station leaders prepare a workshop that is visited by small groups of kids. Crew leaders lead small groups around to the various stations. Station leaders need to be adults. Crew leaders can be teens and/or adults. If you can help, please contact Children and Family Minister Sara Dyson

Joint letter from ELCA Presiding Bishop and leaders of other faith traditions

Below is a letter from ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and faith leaders from faith traditions across the country in response to separation of families at the border. Church leaders from many traditions are speaking out in a unified voice. 

Recently, the Administration announced that it will begin separating families and criminally prosecuting all people who enter the U.S. without previous authorization. As religious leaders representing diverse faith perspectives, united in our concern for the wellbeing of vulnerable migrants who cross our borders fleeing from danger and threats to their lives, we are deeply disappointed and pained to hear this news. 

We affirm the family as a foundational societal structure to support human community and understand the household as an estate blessed by God. The security of the family provides critical mental, physical and emotional support to the development and wellbeing of children. Our congregations and agencies serve many migrant families that have recently arrived in the United States. Leaving their communities is often the only option they have to provide safety for their children and protect them from harm. Tearing children away from parents who have made a dangerous journey to provide a safe and sufficient life for them is unnecessarily cruel and detrimental to the well-being of parents and children.  

As we continue to serve and love our neighbor, we pray for the children and families that will suffer due to this policy and urge the Administration to stop their policy of separating families.  

His Eminence Archbishop Vicken Aykazian 
Diocesan Legate and Director of the Ecumenical Office
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America

Mr. Azhar Azeez President
Islamic Society of North America 

The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera
Bishop of Scranton, PA
Chair, Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs

Senior Bishop George E. Battle, Jr.
Presiding Prelate, Piedmont Episcopal District
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

Bishop H. Kenneth Carter, Jr. 
President, Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop Episcopal Church (United States)

The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer
General Minister & President
United Church of Christ

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Rev. David Guthrie
President, Provincial Elders' Conference
Moravian Church Southern Province

Mr. Glen Guyton 
Executive Director
Mennonite Church USA

The Rev. Teresa Hord Owens
General Minister and President
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Rabbi Rick Jacobs
Union for Reform Judaism

Mr. Anwar Khan
Islamic Relief USA

The Rev. Dr. Betsy Miller 
President, Provincial Elders' Conference
Moravian Church Northern Province

The Rev. Dr.  J. Herbert Nelson II 
Stated Clerk
Presbyterian Church (USA)

Rabbi Jonah Pesner 
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

The Rev. Don Poest
Interim General Secretary

The Rev. Eddy Alemán 
Candidate for General Secretary
Reformed Church in America

Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick III 
Presiding Bishop, The Eighth Episcopal District
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

The Rev. Phil Tom 
Executive Director
International Council of Community Churches

Mr. Jim Winkler
General Secretary & President
National Council of Churches USA

Senior Bishop McKinley Young 
Presiding Prelate, Third Episcopal District
African Methodist Episcopal Church

CoverMeredith Keseley
Synod Assembly this Weekend

This Saturday the Metropolitan Washington, DC Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will gather for the the annual synod assemble. Voting members from Abiding Presence  will include Rev. Meredith Keseley, Rev. Heidi Eickstadt, Rev. Ivan Ives and Karen and Joe McGavin. The assembly will gather under the theme "Connecting - Up In Out" at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Fairfax. 

The synod assembly is a bit like the annual meeting of a congregation. The assembly will vote on the proposed budget. They will also elect members to the synod council,  synod committees and to serve as voting members to the churchwide assembly next summer. In between the business sessions, there will be opportunities for worship, workshops and fellowship. If you want to stay up to date on the action, there will be a blog running from the floor of the assembly all day on Saturday.

As our synod gathers for assembly, it's a good time to remember that we at Abiding Presence are part of a larger church. The work we can do as one congregation can feel limited at times. The work we can do as 80 congregations in our metropolitan area or as one of more than 9.250 congregations in the country is limitless. Together we support ministries around the country and even the world. Our witness to the good news of Jesus Christ and God's love for the world is stronger together. 

Abiding Presence is especially grateful for the support of the synod of our congregation. We are currently in the second year of a three year grant to help us fund our Pastor of Discipleship position. Pastor Heidi's ministry with us would not be possible without the synod's backing. As the synod is helping to support us, we are blessed to be able to help the synod support ministry at many other congregations in our area. This is what it looks like to be the church together - connecting up, in  and out in our world!  

Recognize These Chairs?

While the majority of our old sanctuary chairs found a second life at a Christian church in Maryland, about 30 of them found their second life at ECHO. ECHO is one of our community partners who supports people in need in the immediate Burke and Springfield area. 

Recently, ECHO lifted up the need of children's shoes, especially for older children. If you have new or gently used shoes to donate, please bring them to church and drop them in the ECHO bin under the coat rack.

If you're looking for an opportunity to volunteer this summer as a teen or adult, consider signing up for one of ECHO's backpack packing sessions to help them get ready to distribute backpacks with school supplies to local school children. 

We're grateful to have such a strong community partner with whom we can serve our community!

Saturday Evening Worship
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Abiding Presence has three services each weekend - Saturday at 6:00 p.m. and Sunday at 8:45 or 10:15 a.m. Our Saturday evening service is a great option for worship throughout the year, but we find many people especially enjoy the service in the summer.

On Saturday evenings we use Holden Evening Prayer, a sung evening prayer liturgy, for the beginning of the service. There is a children's sermon, regular sermon and Holy Communion as part of the service. We sing two traditional style hymns during the service. The service usually lasts around 50 minutes.  

While you will find people wearing all sorts of different things at the service, it tends to be a more relaxed and casual crowd. Most people will be in shirts and slacks. Shorts are welcome and won't  be out of place at all. We'll be glad to see you in whatever you are wearing. 

New to Abiding Presence Lunch

If you are new (or relatively new) to Abiding Presence, we'd love to connect with you! Join Pastor Keseley and others from the church leadership team for a family-friendly lunch in Bailey Hall (to the left of the main entrance to the building) to learn more about the church. You'll have the chance to connect with others in our faith family, eat some food and enjoy fellowship. Kids are welcome to attend. If you're interested in formally joining the church, we'll have paperwork to do so. There's no pressure to join, however! We're just glad you're here and would like to get to know you better. You can RSVP to Pastor Keseley or just show up as we'll make sure to have plenty of food. 

A New and Exciting Opportunity

What if youth ministry was more than youth group? What if churches built youth ministry not just for young people, but with young people? What if youth ministry became a construction site: a place where young and old work together to survey, build and reflect the kingdom of God in their local community? These are the questions being asked by Princeton Seminary as they launch a new initiative called the Log College Project, in which Abiding Presence has been chosen to participate. I am excited for our congregation to learn, grow and discern alongside 53 other churches of various denominations from around the country.

The first phase of the project is to become part of a “Community of Engagement.” Following a curriculum provided to us from the Log College Project, we have formed a design team made up of young people, parents of children and youth, staff, church council representation and adults in the congregation who are currently involved with our senior high youth. This design team is spending the next few weeks researching, meeting and developing a community blueprint.  We look forward to sharing with the rest of the congregation what we have developed. It will be out on display by the weekend of June 23/24.

We will submit our community blueprint, along with some of the other research about our congregation we have collected, to the Log College Project. They will choose 12 churches to move forward into the next phase of the project, which includes spending two years as part of a “Community of Practice” rethinking youth ministry. While we certainly hope we are chosen to move forward, even if we are not both the process and the research will be helpful to our Senior High Discernment Group as the continue to listen, pray and imagine what God has in store for us. In many ways, the Log College Project intersected in a “Holy Spirit moment” with the work of our Senior High Youth Ministry Discernment Group that has been meeting since January.

I invite you to join me in praying for what God has in store for our congregation as we complete the Community of Engagement phase and wait to hear if we are chosen as one of the congregations to move forward to the next phase of the project. One of the things that has been clear in our discernment so far is that we envision youth ministry happening not just off in the corner of the church in the youth room, but instead as part of the DNA of the congregation in many and various aspects of our church’s life together. We hear God calling us to be a community that is about building relationships between people of all generations in ways that lift up the gifts that each person has to bring to the church. This means that all of us – all of us – will have a role to play as we move forward. So, I hope you will start praying, listening and discerning alongside of me and our leadership about what your role might be. If you want to chat more about it, I’d love the chance for a conversation!  

FUNdrive for Abiding Presence Youth

Do you have unwanted clothes and household items, but no time to have a yard sale? Here's a way to clean out all that stuff and help send our 13 Senior High youth and 3 chaperones to Houston for the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering. 

Bag up your unwanted items and drop them off in the Abiding Presence Narthex anytime between May 25th and June 3rd. The following items in good, clean condition are accepted: Clothing, Accessories (hats, belts, scarves, etc.), Shoes, Linens, Books and Small Household items.

Every item donated turns into money to help send the kids of Abiding Presence to Houston. We've partnered with the company FUNdrive who will pay us per pound of items collected.

Meredith KeseleyYouth
Red Cross Blood Drive

Monday, June 4 from 3:00-7:30 p.m.

One of Abiding Presence's longtime service ministries has been a partnership with the American Red Cross. We host six blood drives a year. Members of the congregation support the blood drives by volunteering at the check in table. If you would like to get involved in our blood drive ministry, please contact the church office to get connected to the blood drive coordinator.

Blood donors are always needed. Please call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit and enter "AbidingVA" to schedule an appointment. Eligibility Questions? Call 1-866-236-3276.

You can help us share the word in the community by sharing our Facebook event

Plan for approximately 1 hour. Eat and drink plenty of fluids prior to your donation. 

One Service this Sunday!
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There's only one service this Sunday at 10:15 a.m. We'll gather outside for our annual outdoor worship service and picnic. All are welcome to join us. It's a great service to invite a friend or neighbor to come along,  too. The service will be about 45 minutes with Holy Communion followed by a picnic and moonbounce. Bring a lawn chair or plan to sit in one of our folding chairs. Families are asked to please bring a side dish or dessert to share. The church will provide the hot dogs, hamburgers and drinks. Help is still needed with set up beginning at 9:00 a.m., monitoring the moonbounce and clean up. If you can help, email Pastor Keseley so she can put you in touch with our picnic coordinator. 

The Saturday 6:00 p.m. service will continue as usual this weekend. 

MOPS for Fall 2018
 Our 2017-2018 MOPS Group

Our 2017-2018 MOPS Group

2018-2019 MOPS Registration Form

2018-2019 MOPS Meeting Dates

MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers and is a Christian faith-based moms group for moms of birth through kindergarten age kids.

Moms get connected to a community of other moms who meet together to laugh, cry and embrace the journey of motherhood. MOPS is meant to help moms be more honest, feel more equipped and find our identity by journeying alongside one another. MOPS moms gather the 2nd & 4th Mondays of the month from 9:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. to talk, eat, pray and grow in faith. While moms are doing all of that, kids are in their own age appropriate children's program right down the hall. MOPS moms also get together for "Mom's Night Out" and get their kids together for organized playdates throughout the month.

In our children's program, kids have circle time, learn a Bible Story, do activities, enjoy free play in the classroom and/or on the playground, sing songs, have snack and experience God's love for them. Our Classroom Policy is a helpful guide. We hire teachers and assistants who have experience working with kids and who can create a loving environment. We have a music teacher who comes in each week to lead 25 minute music classes for our older classes. We know that in order for moms to feel good about having "mom time" that their kids need to be in a fun and safe environment.  

If you're a mom of a birth through kindergarten age kid looking to connect with other moms, MOPS is for you! 

If you are interested in being part of MOPS for the 2018-2019 school year, please contact Pastor Keseley

You can pay MOPS fees online using the button below. When checking out, please enter your name and which fee you are paying in the “Add instructions to church if needed” section.

2018-19 MOPS Online Payment Fee Amounts
Annual Registration Fee (paid by everyone each year): $52
Semester dues (no MOPS kids): $52
Semester dues (one MOPS kid): $77
Semester dues (two MOPS kids): $102
Semester dues (three MOPS kids): $127

Outdoor Worship and Picnic
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We're worshiping outside on Sunday, June 3 for our annual Outdoor Worship Service and Picnic. There will only be one Sunday morning service at 10:15 a.m. (Saturday worship will happen as usual at 6:00 p.m.) Grab a lawn chair or use one of the many folding chairs we'll have set up. After a 45 minute worship service with Holy Communion, we'll have a picnic. There will be a moonbounce by the playground for the kids. The church will provide hamburgers, hot dogs and drinks. Each family is asked to bring a side dish or dessert to share. We welcome all from the community to join us! It's a great service to invite a friend or neighbor to come along.

If you are able to help with the picnic, please contact the church office

Hot Dogs & S'mores on the Patio

Hot Dogs & S'mores is a favorite summer kick off activity at Abiding Presence! We'll be out on the church patio (weather permitting) Wednesdays, May 30, June 6 and June 13 beginning at 6:15 p.m. We provide all of the hot dogs, fixings and s'mores components. You simply show up! The fire will be ready to go and you can roast your hot dog over the hot coals and make your s'mores. After dinner, head over to the playground to play. A freewill donation is collected for the meal. We welcome anyone in the community to join us! 

Help is always needed and appreciated with set up and/or clean up. Contact Sara Dyson, Children and Family Minister, if you can lend a hand one of the nights. 

What a Celebration
 Chair Dedication and Blessing at the 40th Anniversary service on May 20, 2018

Chair Dedication and Blessing at the 40th Anniversary service on May 20, 2018

***Summer Worship Schedule Begins this Weekend with Services on Sunday at 8:45 & 10:15 a.m. and Saturday 6:00 p.m. ***

WOW! Abiding Presence, you know how to throw an anniversary celebration! Last Sunday's 40th anniversary service and luncheon was amazing. The music was exceptional, especially the choral anthem our Music and Worship Minister David Chavez wrote for the occasion. The mood was festive. The clergy who came to celebrate with us were plentiful. The people of Abiding Presence packed the sanctuary and narthex over 380 strong to give thanks to God for the past 40 years and look ahead to the next 40 years...and beyond. Thank you to everyone who came out to help us celebrate! 

A special word of thanks to everyone who pitched in to make the celebration possible. Our 40th anniversary team had been meeting since last summer planning the festivities. The property team and others from the congregation were at church every day for 10 straight days cleaning, fixing, moving and preparing the inside and outside of the church. There wouldn't have been a celebration without the countless members of the church who worked tirelessly to make it happen. 

And now, we're off and running toward the next 40 years. Summer may be approaching, but the ministry of Abiding Presence doesn't slow down much. This Wednesday we launch three weeks of "Hot Dogs & S'mores" as a chance to enjoy fellowship with one another during the week. Next Sunday is our annual Outdoor Worship Service and Picnic, a favorite Abiding Presence tradition. Then on Sunday, June 10 at the 8:45 a.m. service we'll have our annual High School Baccalaureate Service where we send our graduating high school seniors off with the prayers and blessings of the congregation. 

As the children's choir sang at last Sunday's celebration service, "I am the church. You are the church. We are the church together." I'm grateful to be the church together with all of you!

Thank You!
 Photo by  Aaron Burden  on  Unsplash

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

This Sunday marks the end of our Sunday School year and I want to offer a big "Thank You" to all of our Sunday School teachers, confirmation mentors and senior high youth advisers. I am grateful for all of the ways these faithful adults have taught and inspired the faith of the children and youth of our congregation. Please join me in offering your thanks, too, when you see one of our Sunday School teachers, confirmation mentors or senior high youth advisers. 

Volunteers Needed for Next Sunday

We still have a few key volunteer spots to fill for next Sunday, specifically help with serving in the buffet line during the luncheon (4-5 people still needed) and clean up (8-10 people still needed).  Please consider lending a hand. If you can help, please email Pastor Keseley or sign up at 

Meredith Keseley
Everything You Need to Know for the 40th Anniversary Celebration

Sunday, May 20

·       There is only ONE service on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. with no Saturday service that weekend. The service is expected to be a bit longer than our usual service and will likely run around 75-85 minutes. 

·       Overflow parking will be available at Old Keene Mill Swim Club located at 9534 Orion Ct, Burke, VA 22015. We will have a shuttle running between the swim club and Abiding Presence. We’re especially asking musicians, volunteers and those who are coming early to take advantage of the overflow parking. 

·       We are expecting a big crowd! There will be plenty of seats, but some of them will be in the narthex for overflow seating. Come early if getting a good seat is important to you. That said, the people who sit in the narthex will be the first ones in line for the lunch buffet. So, there is definitely a perk to the less desirable seats! We will have a reserved seating section in the sanctuary for people with mobility challenges and their families. Ask an usher or look for the signs to be directed to it. We’ll be bringing communion to people in their seats who might need it in this section.

·       There is no cost for the luncheon following the service. There will, however, be a freewill donation basket for those who would like to contribute. If you have not yet RSVPed for the luncheon, please do so at If you didn’t RSVP but find yourself able to come at the last minute, don’t worry. We’ll have a seat and plenty of food for you.

·       There will be two seating areas for the luncheon – Bailey Hall and a large weatherproof tent in the parking lot. There will be plenty of seats for the luncheon. We’ll also have two serving lines that will go into the two seating areas. Drinks, cake and high chairs will be found in both seating locations.

·       The lunch menu is garden salad, brisket, barbecue pulled chicken, seasonal vegetables spring mix, mac and cheese, coleslaw and cake. If you have a food allergy, just ask one of the catering staff and they will be able to answer any questions about ingredients.

·       There is no formal program during the luncheon. Feel free to stay as long or as short as you would like.

·       Childcare will be available for children ages 5 and under in the church nursery during the worship service. The nursery will only be staffed during the service, so please pick up your children before heading to the luncheon. Parents are asked to please keep their elementary school and younger children with them throughout the luncheon. We’ll have a lot of guests in the building and we want to keep everyone safe. Playing on the playground after lunch is welcomed and encouraged. Parents are asked to please be within the fenced in playground area with their elementary school age and younger children while they are playing.

ENewsMeredith Keseley
Many Hands

We are getting to work! Starting this Thursday, May 9 and continuing every day (except Sunday) up to our 40th anniversary celebration on May 20 we will have people gathering at the church beginning at 9:00 a.m. to work. There's lots to be done...lots! I hope you will lend your hands to help us prepare for the anniversary festivities and, more importantly, care for the church facility God has entrusted to us. Thank you, in advance, for getting involved! 

As we celebrate our 40th anniversary we are also looking ahead to the future. One of our guiding principles as a congregation is to care for our church facility in such a way that it is an asset to the next generation of Abiding Presence members. We want to make sure we are passing down to those who will worship after us a vibrant and active faith family, a financial healthy institution and a well maintained facility. Thoughts of those who will come after us are always on our minds when we are making decisions today. They are even on our minds as we paint, scrub and clean! 

Our new sanctuary chairs will be delivered on Thursday, May 17 at 7:00 a.m. Yes, it's early! But, we hope this might allow a few people to come over before work/school to lend a hand. Consider making chair moving your morning workout that morning. We can put all ages to help. 

Thank you for being the church! Your dedication, faithfulness and generosity continue to inspire me.