Dear Church Community,
Last Sunday, I preached on the experience of grief, and following the service Kristin Cotts led us in a Coffee Hour Conversation about supporting others and ourselves during times of grief and loss. Key to both were the support we can offer one another, including the most important gift of all: listening. If you’d like more information about how to support others and yourself in times of grief, check out Speaking Grief or email me for a list of resources shared by congregation members. This includes an upcoming March series about The Grieving Brain: The Surprising Science of How We Learn from Love and Loss on NPR’s Science Friday.
I’ll be leading a Lenten Series on Grief & Loss beginning February 20. The group will meet from 7-8 pm over six Mondays (2/20, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20, 4/3, 4/10), and we’ll discuss personal experiences of grief and loss in the context of our faith using poetry, scripture, media, and memoir. RSVP for the Zoom link: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In last Sunday’s sermon I shared a practice called “Anchoring Heart” from the organization Opus Peace that can be helpful when experiencing grief, stress, anger, fear, or any other uncomfortable emotion. To learn how, I invite you to follow the steps in the photo above and/or read this excerpt from my sermon:
First, place one or both hands over your heart and settle into your body. Breathe. Move your attention from your head to your heart and ask, “what am I feeling?” Allow your emotions to arise without judgment or censor. Are you feeling peace, fear, anger, sadness, love, joy? See if you can drop below the surface and access whatever is most real. Not preferred, real. Now, spend ten seconds just feeling. Breathe. Wonderful. Finally, with your hands still over your heart, validate yourself for being courageous enough to do this. Notice that there’s a place inside you that’s strong enough to experience your feelings. Offer yourself gratitude and compassion for this capacity.
I encourage you to engage in this practice whenever you get overwhelmed, stressed, or tempted to numb out. In other words, multiple times a day! The hardest part is remembering to do it. But I promise; when you do, when you stop for just a minute, take a pause, place your hands over your heart, and acknowledge how you feel and that it’s okay to feel, it can make a world of difference. In fact, I don’t know how else the world changes, except by taking a risk, doing things differently, perhaps one feeling at a time.
This Sunday, February 12, our Children & Youth Program will launch a Little Food Pantry in the church parlor. We got the idea from a wonderful book, Emilio’s Very Bright Idea, published by No Child Goes Hungry. We hope you’ll bring non-perishable food items, toiletries, and cleaning supplies in regular (not Costco) size containers on a regular basis. The Children & Youth will contribute them to a local “big” food pantry once a month.
At this Sunday’s Coffee Hour, we’ll celebrate Valentine’s Week with a special concert of Scottish and Irish love songs played by Dorothy Mora and Pat Henry; chocolate will be provided by our Fellowship Committee. Please join us for a wonderful trinity of music, love, and chocolate!
Blessings and Peace,