This morning, I stopped to breathe and engage in what the Japanese call shinrin-yoku or forest bathing. In other words, I went outside and rested under a tree. This practice has been promoted in Japan since the early 1980s, and significant research shows that it lowers heart rate and blood pressure, reduces stress hormone production, boosts the immune system, and improves overall feelings of wellbeing. And, yes, city dwellers can absolutely enjoy these benefits! We need only visit a park or other site with trees, sit down under or near one, put away our cell phones or tablets, and soak in the phytoncide (essential oils emitted by trees that boost human immune function). If that isn’t enough— it’s beautiful, and it feels good! For more encouragement and information, see Forest Bathing.
I share this because the level of stress in our country is historically high, and none of us is capable of making good decisions, acting with compassion, or promoting the common good when we’re unduly stressed. So, think of it as your patriotic (and spiritual) duty! Relaxation is good for both the country and the soul…
This Sunday, 5/21, our Sunday School will engage in some shinrin-yoku as they embark on an outdoor adventure to Saxon Woods, the Bishops Garden and All Hollows Amphitheater on Cathedral grounds. Come prepared to romp, run and have some fun! Note: Parents are asked to drop off children in the parlor at 10:30 am for this special event.
Following worship, I invite you all to participate in a Coffee Hour Conversation on Congregations & Climate Change with Joelle Noevy, Director of the DC Area Interfaith Power and Light. She’ll lead us in a discussion about the current climate (both political and ecological) and what congregations like ours can do to create positive change.
Remember this? I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues. I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees, which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please.
Peace is Joy at Rest; Joy is Peace with Feet,
Coffee Hour Conversation: Congregations & Climate Change, 5/21—Joelle Noevy, Director of DCMV Interfaith Power and Light, will lead us in a discussion about the current climate (political and ecological) and what congregations like ours can do to create positive change.
Poetry Hour, 5/21—Join us this Sunday afternoon from 4-5 pm in the church parlor. Invite a friend and bring one or two poems on Family to read (with copies to share). Questions? Lerowell@aol.com.
Mindfulness, Movement & Meditation, 5/23—The final session of the spring spiritual practice series is next Tuesday, 7-8:15 pm. Relax and renew through yogic breathing, gentle movements (seated or standing), meditation, and the sound of the symphonic gong. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday School Update—There will be no Sunday School on Memorial Day Weekend, though our Nursery will be open for childcare. The Sunday School summer break begins on 6/25 with the Nursery open throughout the summer. Questions? email@example.com.
St. Paul’s Food Pantry, 6/3—We need six volunteers to serve from 9 am-Noon at St. Paul’s Food Pantry, located at 4900 Connecticut Avenue, www.stpaulslutherandc.org. To participate: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cookbook Library—The Mission & Social Action Committee is collecting cookbooks for St. Paul’s Food Pantry, especially: Spanish or Asian language, special diets (diabetic, heart healthy…), easy to read/make, and low budget. Please do NOT donate: gourmet cookbooks, magazines, loose recipes, or recipes with alcohol. There is a decorated collection bin in the parlor. Questions? email@example.com.
UCC General Synod in Baltimore, 7/2—If you’d like to reserve space on a bus to the Sunday afternoon service (where we’ll worship with thousands of UCC members from across the country), RSVP ASAP: firstname.lastname@example.org