As many of you know, this past Friday, August 7, was the final day of operation of our Childcare for the foreseeable future. We cannot predict the length of our shutdown. However, the pandemic conditions that prompted the shutdown will have to improve significantly before we can realistically consider re-opening.
Many white people would like to help and support movements for equality and justice for our black and brown siblings. Especially in the midst of a global pandemic, we all may not be able to march in protests. Some of us may have little extra money to spare. However, there are ways that we can all offer support, from educating ourselves on systemic racism to having tough conversations. Guilt will do very little for our neighbors, and sometimes trying to figure out the "best" thing to do can lead to inaction. Here are a few ideas that we've compiled from various places, along with links to other resources for people who want to support.
Join the Wallaces as they cook 2 different polenta recipes.
Moving our Sunday services completely online has been an adventure. Even though we've been streaming our services for over a year, we never envisioned that this would be our primary means of worshipping together. We've had to make quick adjustments and troubleshoot last-minute technical malfunctions, but we've managed to be on the air by eleven o'clock (or pretty close) every Sunday.
A few weeks ago during our virtual Sunday service, Aaron led us through a time of meditation. As a prompt he asked us to visualize a place where we felt most comfortable and where we could be most like ourselves and where we felt loved. Pictures of family and childhood raced through my mind but the picture that kept coming back to me was the image of my choir chair. Hard as I tried to refocus my thoughts the image of that chair kept coming back to me.
A prayer offered by Mark Johnson on April 12, 2020.
In prayer we discover the space between our hopes and our worries. It fills up the distance between the new creation promised by the Risen Christ and this decaying creation that we must content with, even while we are am assured it is passing away.
Here is what I pray for you:
I pray for you: a faith that can sustain you through these difficult times and the shaking of the foundations,
I pray for you: a song to sing or a poem to recite that can fill with so much love and joy that you feel as if your heart will burst out of its chest,
I prayer for you: a dance to remember (with appropriate Baptist distancing ;)) to train your feet to help chase this virus away and never come back,
I pray for you: a purpose, so rewarding that it makes getting up in the morning worth it,
I pray for you: plenty of friends and family members to love and hug on, even if for a while, it must be done virtually,
I pray for you: peace and health in your home, and rest from your labors.
A prayer offered by Raleigh Kincaid on April 5, 2020.
The scripture says that your love endures forever, and that we can have faith that this is so. During this time of trial, though, there are moments when our fears grow strong, our hearts grow faint, and our faith grows distant. But how blessed are we that even when we are afraid, tired, and feeling alone, your love and faithfulness do not waiver. Not for one instant are we alone. Not for one instant are we left to face our trials with only the paltry strength of these mortal bones and the limited understanding of our feeble minds. We are filled with questions that have no answers, and yet there you remain, reaching tenderly out to us and gently inviting us to lay our weary souls on your eternal breast. Thank you, God, for your steadfast love.
This time, I would like to offer a little reminder and some practical advice for those of you who are isolating and staying at home all or almost all of the time. Again, this is from my perspective as a therapist, as I know that spiritual and theological words are more the skill of our other staff members.
A prayer offered in worship by Charles Conkin on Sunday, March 29, 2020.
Let us join our voices and offer our prayers to God.
O God, our hope of passed days and our refuge in our present time, what a great uncertainty we live in.
We cannot know what tomorrow will bring with the increasing unrest. We cannot get through to the other side with the numbers growing. We cannot see an end in sight and that makes us uncomfortable.
So we come together, through our multitude of platforms, with an unfettered faith, knowing that you will hear our prayers and you will guide our days.
I'm generally not a fan of social media. I don't usually post much on Facebook—it's much too easy to make folks mad, and I don't have the emotional constitution to deal with that. In my experience, social media platforms seem to facilitate talking past each other rather than fostering real conversations. I often feel like everybody has a soapbox and microphone, and we just shout back and forth. I do, however, love cat videos. Strangely, over the last couple of weeks, I have found more peace, comfort, and encouragement from online video meetings, YouTube chats, Facebook posts, and emails than I could have ever imagined.