I apologize for not attending to my weekly commitment of writing yesterday. Like many of you I found myself consumed by all that was happening in our world. Today it seems I have begun to adjust to this ‘new normal’ and have pulled myself away from the news channel so as to engage in some more productive activities.
This morning I made my way to the office and began working my way through the congregational lists, reaching out by telephone to some of our key people and some of those who I believed might be experiencing current events and the resulting isolation acutely.
At 11AM I convened a video conference with key leaders in the congregations. It was deeply reassuring to hear their voices as we began with sharing words of gratitude, giving thanks for family, the changing light of the dawn, one another and many other gifts that sustain and strengthen us. The rest of the afternoon was spent on the phone and assisting a member of one of our congregations who is having to plan a move in the midst of these current challenges.
This evening I will be crafting something of a video presentation for what my mom always called ‘hump day’ – something that will get us over the hump that is the middle of the work week. I will post it on the Sackville Pastoral Charge website, place a link to it on the Sackville Pastoral Charge Facebook page and send short note with a link it around to our email list – I am trying to ensure that information is shared as widely as possible using every resource at our disposal.
Tomorrow I will be attending to some personal business.
On Thursday morning I will take my first shift (since this new normal) at the Moncton Hospital. Many of you know that I serve in a part-time capacity as Chaplain at the George Dumont and Moncton City hospitals. At the present time local clergy are restricted from visiting members of their congregations. As one of the three denominational Chaplains, during this current crisis, I will be assisting the staff chaplains in attending to the spiritual care needs of the patients at both locations, focusing primarily on people in serious condition and/or near end of life. I covet your prayers for the work I am about to undertake.
On Friday, I have planned for another video conference with our leadership team and Jennie and I will make plans for Sunday morning. I look forward to the contributions of families in changing the light. If you would like to take part by submitting a video clip please be in touch with me and I will try and make it happen.
In closing, hold each other and yourself in care. Know when to turn the TV off and go for a walk. Talk to someone you trust – share your fear, your hope and your gratitude. Let your heart softened with music. Explore your creative side: draw, paint, bake… and remember, we are NOT alone!
Don’t be afraid… (click on the link and let the music soothe you)
PS: if you’ve not already seen Lynn Ungar’s new poem Pandemic I encourage you to take a few moments of silence and ponder her words.
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
–Lynn Ungar 3/11/20