Posts in ENews
"Labyrinth Week" at Abiding Presence

Maybe you've heard of "Shark Week" on the Discovery Channel, but you probably haven't heard of "Labyrinth Week" at Abiding Presence! Join us for our first ever "Labyrinth Week," as we start the new year with an opportunity to embrace an ancient form of prayer.  

"The labyrinth is a sacred place set aside for you to reflect, look within, pray, negotiate new behavior. The rhythm of walking, placing one foot in front of the other, empties the mind, relaxes the body and refreshes the spirit. Follow the pace your body wants to go." (Read more about it at It is an active way of praying and being in conversation with God. 

We will be bringing in a full size labyrinth and be setting it up in the sanctuary. The labyrinth is one of the ways we are looking to fulfill our vision this year of providing opportunities for people to experience "Sabbath rest" in the midst of our busy lives. 

There's no experience necessary to walk the labyrinth. It is an equally powerful experience for people who are new on their faith journey and people who have been on it a while. If you have any questions, contact Pastor Keseley.

**Please note that shoes and bare feet are not allowed on the labyrinth, so wear or bring a pair of socks**

Labyrinth 101

Monday, January 28 from 7:30 - 9:00 p.m. OR Tuesday, January 29 from 9:00 - 10:30 a.m. 

Kick off "Labyrinth Week" at Abiding Presence with Pastor Keseley as we gather to learn about the ancient prayer practice of labyrinth walking, walk the labyrinth and then reflect on the experience together. 

Morning Prayer around the Labyrinth

Tuesday, January 29 from 7:00-7:30 a.m. AND/OR Thursday, January 31 from 9:30-10:00 a.m.

Gather around the labyrinth for a brief service spoken service of morning prayer followed by the chance to walk the labyrinth in prayer. 

Open Labyrinth Times

Monday, January 28 from 12:30 - 5:00 p.m.  

Tuesday, January 29 from 7:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. 

Wednesday, January 30 from  9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. and 6:45-7:45 p.m.

Thursday, January 31 from 7:30 - 9:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

The sanctuary will be open for quiet labyrinth walking at any of the above times. Self-guided resources will be available for those who would like to use them.

A Word about the Federal Government Shutdown

We know that the federal government shutdown is impacting some in our faith family. If you are in need of support or assistance during this time, please reach out to Pastor Keseley. If you know of people in the community who could benefit from food assistance, we are happy to confidentially and discretely provide food bags anytime.

ENewsMeredith Keseley
A Word about the Weather

If you have listened to the weather recently, you know there is talk of snow this weekend. At this point, we anticipate holding services as scheduled. If there is a need to cancel Sunday School and the Abiding Table, we will do so by 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning and announce it on our Facebook page, website and with a congregational email. If more snow comes in than predicted and we need to make a decision about worship, we will announce on those same platforms.

We are putting plans in place to keep the parking lots and sidewalks clear for anyone who can safely make it to church if there is snow. If you are willing to be part of the Sunday morning snow shoveling team, please contact Pastor Keseley or simply show up with a snow shovel in hand.

If there is snow, then be sure to check our Facebook page as we will likely “go live” Sunday morning with our worship services so you can tune in from home. If there’s a LOT of snow then we might even go for an “Abiding in the Snow 2.0” video service.

Stay tuned and stay safe!

Adult Choir Rehearsals Resume Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. — Open to All!

Is one of your New Year’s Resolutions to get more involved in church? To sing more? To get closer to God in worship? Or, do you just love to sing? Our adult choir is open, and fun!

Rehearsals are on Tuesday evenings from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (starting up again this Tuesday, January 8, 2019) from September to May. During rehearsals, we sing the music for upcoming Sundays and special events, going over any tricky parts bit by bit. We also laugh a lot, and eat delicious snacks!

The choir sings music of all eras, from Medieval and Renaissance to contemporary, accompanied by varied instrumentation (a cappella, organ/piano, orchestra, etc.). As worship leaders during the Sunday morning 11:00 traditional service and various special services, the choir is integral to supporting congregational participation in worship. If you love to sing, this is a great way to be involved! Choir is open to all adults, high school students, and (with director permission) middle schoolers.

Learn more at

Looking for a Church Home? There's a Place for You Here!
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There are lots of reasons people look for a church home. Sometimes it is because of a move, a life event or a transition. It could be that you keep hearing that still, small voice of God in your heart or have a nagging feeling that maybe there's more to life than what you are currently experiencing. Maybe you want to find a community and friends. Perhaps you have a child who you would like to have baptized or are recently engaged and looking for a church in which you can get married. You (or your kids) might have big questions about God and are looking for answers. Whatever your reason, we're glad that you are looking for a church home and we're especially glad you are looking at Abiding Presence! 

Each weekend in worship at the time of Holy Communion you will hear our pastors say, "This is the Lord's Table and all are welcome here." When we say all, we really do mean ALL. No matter who you are, where you have been or what you are up to now, you will find a place of welcome in this faith community. 

We worship at three worship services each weekend - Saturdays at 6:00 p.m. and Sundays at 8:45 and 10:15 a.m. (the late service moves to 11:00 a.m. on September 9). Each service has its own distinct feeling to it, which means there is probably a service here that fits the style of worship that connects most with you. You can read more about our different services here.

Our church is filled with people of all ages and offers an intergenerational experience. We have lots of babies, lots of retired people and a whole bunch of people of all ages in between. At Abiding Presence, we think one of the unique opportunities the church offers is the chance for people of different ages and backgrounds to come together as a faith family. 

If you have questions, need support on your faith journey or just want to learn a bit more about the church, Pastor Keseley, our Senior Pastor, would be happy to connect with you. We hope to see you at Abiding Presence soon!

ENewsMeredith KeseleyWorship
Great & Wondrous Mystery Cantata Service (Fourth Saturday of Advent)

Our Saturday Vespers service for this final weekend of Advent features the premiere of a new cantata by our music minister, David Chávez, featuring the Abiding Presence Chamber Orchestra and guest soloists:

Melissa Chávez, soprano
Natalie Naudus, mezzo-soprano
Michael Forest, tenor
[tap links above to learn more about our soloists]

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Q: What is a "cantata"?

A: Many of the best-known works of the most famous Lutheran composer, Johann Sebastian Bach, are cantatas. In fact, there were points in his career in which he wrote a new cantata weekly as part of his church job... in addition to playing the organ, directing the choir and orchestra, maintaining instruments, and on and on! Luckily, many of his twenty children had great musical talent as well, so one would suppose they helped out. The easiest was to think of a cantata is like a shorter version of an oratorio or unstaged opera––that is, like, Handel's Messiah but in miniature form so it fits within a regular church service. A cantata usually has a story or unifying idea, told across multiple movements by singers and orchestra. Our cantata on Dec. 22 features fabulous guest soloists with members of the Abiding Presence Chamber Orchestra.

Q: Why is the cantata called "Great & Wondrous Mystery"?

This cantata is inspired by an ancient Orthodox hymn of the same name, "Great and Wondrous Mystery," and especially by a recording of this hymn from the Forty Martyrs Church in Aleppo, Syria. This idea of opening oneself to mystery is central to worship in many Eastern Christian traditions. According to an Armenian Orthodox writer describing this hymn, "Rather than being a state of ignorance and lack of knowledge, mystery is the beginning of worship. It’s the place of awe where we realize the shadow God’s vast glory and divine infinitude. It’s the place where we dare not attempt to understand or grasp with our feeble and flawed minds, so instead we bow before Him in worship...The Mystery is the Incarnation – Jesus Christ revealed among us, the Son of God, who became a human being in order to fill us with His divine blessings, with eternal life, so that we would become like Him. The mystery is the reality of God with, among, and in us."

ENewsDavid ChavezMusic
Sign Up for Bagels with Santa

Saturday, December 8 from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa is coming! Join us in Bailey Hall for a bagel breakfast. Santa will be making an appearance, and provide an opportunity for children to have their picture taken with him with a photographer onsite (FREE!). There will also be crafts for the children to work on. Don't miss this exciting event! Advanced sign up is requested.

We will also be holding a coat drive raffle! For EVERY new or gently-used coat you donate, you'll receive a raffle entry ticket to win some fun prizes! Coats will be donated to ECHO to help those in need this winter.

Special Worship Opportunities During the Season of Advent

Advent is the season of promise and hope. It is not only a season of preparing for Christmas, but also a time of actively watching and waiting for Christ to come again. Throughout Advent we have special opportunities for worship as we pray, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”

Advent Jazz Vespers
Saturday, December 1 at 6:00 p.m.

The service will feature a Jazz Combo led by Craig Fraedrich, a Christmas market by Fair Trade Winds and a dessert reception in the narthex. See the event page for more details.

Blue Christmas Service
Wednesday, December 5 at 7:00 p.m.

We invite you to gather with us for a time of quiet reflection and stillness with God and each other. We realize that not everyone is filled with "holiday cheer" this time of year. Illness, death, the loss of a job, a change in family traditions and lots of other things can leave us struggling. This service recognizes what can be hard about the holidays and offers the opportunity for healing and hope. The service will be about 45 minutes and will include Holy Communion. Childcare will be provided in our professionally staffed nursery.

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Advent Evensong
Saturday, December 15 at 6:00 p.m.

The tradition of choral evensong dates back to the time of the Reformation. This service will feature chants based on the tune of "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" and music by the Abiding Presence Adult Choir and Handbell ensembles.

Children's Christmas Program
Sunday, December 16 at 8:45 a.m.

The children and youth of Abiding Presence's music ensembles will bring the Christmas story to life through drama and song. All are welcome at this special worship service that includes the singing of Christmas carols, the Christmas drama and Holy Communion. See the event page for more details.

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Great and Wondrous Mystery Cantata
Saturday, December 22 at 6:00 p.m.

An original cantata inspired by the ancient Orthodox hymn of the same name featuring guest soloists with members of the Abiding Presence Chamber Orchestra.

Service of Lessons, Carols and Holy Communion
Sunday, Dec. 23 at 10:00 a.m.

(One Service Only this Sunday. There will be no Sunday School or Abiding Table.)

Thanksgiving Eve Service

Wednesday, November 21 at 8:00 p.m.
Temple B’nai Shalom

Abiding Presence and Temple B’nai Shalom have an over 30 year tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving Eve together. Join us at the Temple this year where Pastor Keseley will deliver the sermon. Our combined children, teen and adult choirs as well as a combined brass ensemble will provide the music. This uplifting service is a great way to begin your Thanksgiving celebration.

ENewsMeredith KeseleyWorship
Submit Your Statement of Intent Online or by Paper

If you have not already done so, please plan to fill out your Statement of Intent online or by paper. Paper copies can be mailed to the church office or dropped in the offering plate this weekend.

This year we have a challenge grant of $5,000 that has been offered if we meet our goal of 75 new or increased commitments received by Celebration Weekend – next weekend, November 17/18!

ENewsMeredith Keseley
Thanksgiving Baskets for Families in Need

Each year Abiding Presence provides ECHO Thanksgiving Baskets for families in need in our community. Please bring the following basket items to worship with you this weekend. Baskets will start to be assembled following the 11:00 a.m. worship service on Sunday.

$25 Grocery Gift Cards
Stuffing mix, readymade
Gravy mix packets or jars/cans of gravy
Cranberry sauce
Boxed potato mixes 
1 box or package of rice
4 cans vegetables (or 2 large cans)
Bread or muffin mixes
Dessert mix (cake/frosting, brownies, puddings, etc.) 
Disposable roasting pan
Canned fruit 

ENewsMeredith KeseleyServe
Making Firm Our Facility Care
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As a growing church, it has become apparent that our facility has become a limiting factor to expanding our ministry and outreach to the community. We still have plenty of room in the sanctuary (although we might need to order a few more chairs!). The rest of the building, however, has the wonderful challenge of bursting at the seams.

 Firming up our facility will allow us to continue to respond to God’s bold vision for our faith community. We will take the following steps this year:

·       Engage an architect in a planning study of the facility, which will involve establishing a facility use committee, writing an RFP, interviewing architects and spending 4-5 months engaged in the actual planning study

·       Explore health and wellness resources that might be offered to the congregation and community during the week, especially counseling, spiritual direction and a parish nurse

·       Be intentional about how we connect people to Christ through our Abiding Presence Community Center by providing a welcoming space that makes clear who we are and what we are about as a faith community

ENewsMeredith Keseley
Abiding Table this Sunday

Join Pastor Keseley at the Abiding Table this Sunday from 10:00-10:45 a.m. to hear a bit about where we’ve been this past year and where we hear God calling us to go in 2019. Come be part of the conversation in shaping the future of our ministry.

ENewsMeredith KeseleyAdults
Making Firm Our Living Out of God’s Story in Our Story
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Making Firm our Living Out of God’s Story in Our Story

God’s story is not just limited to the pages of Holy Scripture. God’s story is our story, too, lived out in our experiences and relationship. Having spent the past year focusing on dwelling in God’s word and learning God’s story, we will now turn our focus to living out God’s story in our daily lives. We want to equip each person with tools, experiences and relationships to take the next step in their discipleship journey.

 Adult Small Groups

·       Increase the number of people involved in congregation-wide adult small group experiences so that at least 125 people will be part of a group this year

·       In order to help people experience Sabbath rest, create an adult spirituality group that will be led by a trained spiritual director to help people explore various spiritual gifts and discipline

 Senior High Youth Ministry

·       Discern the “next big thing” for our ministry to and with senior high youth through our participation in the “Community of Practice” with the Log College Project of Princeton Seminary

·       Establish a new ministry specifically geared toward 11th graders called the “Launch Team” that will gather youth for small group Bible Study, prayer, participation in the Dominican Republic Mission Team and discussion about the transition to young adulthood

 Children’s Ministry

·       Explore how to make our children’s ministry scalable for growth given the significant increase in the number of children involved in Sunday School and midweek youth groups

·       Find ways to provide tangible and intentional experiences for children to live out their faith

·       Explore ways for our senior high youth to serve as faith role models for our children and continue equipping them to lead our elementary school youth groups

ENewsMeredith Keseley
All Saints Remembrance

On All Saints Sunday, we remember the saints who have gone before us and are part of the great cloud of witnesses. This year we would like to create a visual representation of the friends and loved ones who gather with us at the Lord’s Table, not just on All Saints Sunday, but every weekend we worship. You are invited to bring in a picture of your friends and/or loved ones who have died. It can be in a frame or not in a frame, any size or shape you wish. Please put your name on it so we can be sure to get it back to you. Pictures can be dropped off in the church office anytime before November 3, or you can bring them to worship with you the weekend of November 3-4 and put them directly on the altar. If you would rather not bring a picture, you can fill out a name card with your loved one’s name or email the name for us to fill it out. These name cards will be displayed along with the pictures. Pictures and name cards will help all of us experience the power of being surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses.

We will also be reading the names of anyone who has died since last All Saints Sunday. If you have a loved one who has died this past year, please email the name along with their date of death (or approximate date of death). We will read these names aloud in worship. Please email all names by Wednesday, October 31.

Photo by  David Menidrey  on  Unsplash

Wednesday, October 24 from 6:45-7:30 p.m.
Looking for a safe, family-friendly way to trick or treat? Children ages 6th grade and under are invited to dress in costume and come trunk or treat in the church parking lot! "Trunk or Treat" cars will be parked in half the parking lot and roped off to incoming cars. Children then walk from trunk to trunk to collect candy.  Trunk or treating will be from 6:45 - 7:30 p.m. All are welcome!

Feeling creative? We are also in need of families and individuals who will decorate the trunk of their vehicles for this event! Please let Sara Dyson, Children and Family Minister, know if you can provide a trunk and approximately 300 pieces of candy. Trunks will need to be parked by 6:30 p.m. and will be asked to stay in the lot until 7:45 p.m.

Fall Festival This Saturday!
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Saturday, October 13 from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Abiding Presence offers a free community fall festival. Lots of volunteers are needed to make this event possible! Please consider volunteering for an hour shift (or more) before or after enjoying the festival by signing up here. The festival is completely FREE and offers food, games, live music, haunted houses, bouncy house, pumpkin paining, balloon artist, face painting and much more.

The Fairfax County Sheriff's Office will be on hand to provide FREE Child Identification and Fingerprinting. Information on Internet safety for children and parents will also be provided.

This completely FREE event is a great way to come celebrate fall with friends and neighbors. There will be several free raffles to enter, and gift cards given out throughout the day.

Adult Social at Paradise Springs Winery

Sunday, October 14, 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Join us at Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton for an afternoon of socializing with other adults in the congregation. Meet new people, reconnect with those you haven’t seen in awhile and enjoy tasty food and beverages. We’ve reserved ½ of the picnic grove, which is to the right past the small vineyard as you come into the winery. Please bring an appetizer or dessert to share. Non-alcoholic beverages are welcome as well. You’ll be able to purchase whatever wine you would like from the main tasting room and bring it down to the picnic grove. Feel free to invite a friend or neighbor to come along. RSVPs are helpful, but not necessary.

**While Paradise Springs is a family friendly winery, this particular event is for adults 21+ only.**

ENewsMeredith KeseleyAdults