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  • Writer's pictureSt. Matthews

Meet me at Algonkian Park this Sunday! (May 30th)

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

Dear Friends,

A global pandemic has kept us apart for way too long. In fact, it’s been two years since we’ve met at Algonkian Park, along the waters of the Potomac, for our annual Memorial Weekend service and picnic. As I prepare to sing with you this Sunday, I find myself thinking about the overwhelming toll taken by the pandemic on us, and I cannot help but reflect on the healing power of water.

I am incredibly blessed to have access to Algonkian Park just a short two-mile run from my home. It is not uncommon that you will find me on a run, or walk, to and ultimately through the park. Weaving in and out of the trees, alone with my thoughts, gazing at the beauty of the water. Actually, many of you have said, “Hey, Akila, saw you running this morning,” or “Saw you filming,” or “Saw you with your girls.” (Thank you, Cecilia, for getting up with me at 5 a.m. to catch the sunrise in order to film music for the service…kids are the best!)

Yes, friends, I am drawn to the water for many reasons. I am a water baby; water feeds my spirit and quenches the thirst in my soul, and even more so when combined with music and exercise. I especially found peace there, along the water, in the midst of the chaos brought on during the pandemic. The soothing sound of the water served me well, helping me navigate through a jumble of feelings. I cried, laughed, pushed harder than necessary out of anger, and sang with joy. One of my running motivational tracks says, “Headphones on, world off.” Yup, it was kind of like that. I would go there to be at peace; I would go there to be alone.

But guess what? We have come full circle. The very first song I filmed for an online service was at Algonkian Park. It was, “The River.” The lyrics say, “Let’s get washed by the water and rise up in amazing grace!” How cool is that?! This weekend, we will get to be together, down by the river once again, and …, “We will leave changed!”

I have missed you all oh so much, and I am super excited to bring the joy I am feeling, to feed my soul with the sound of the water, and to be together once again with my St. Matt’s friends and family on Sunday, May 30th, at 11 a.m. at Algonkian Park! Bring the kids and your pups (you know I will have my girls and MJ), and “Let’s go down to the river!”

See you Sunday rain or shine,

Akila O'Grady

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