Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.

Leonard Cohen, The Last Word

Dear Sisters & Brothers in Christ;

Greetings and blessings to you all!

What a week! It seems like forever since we have seen each other! Yet much has happened these past 2 weeks as our world has been turned upside down and phrases such as “social distancing” are now part of our vocabulary. However, when health officials talk about “social distancing” they do not mean social isolation. In fact, there is much we can do at an individual, family and community level to manage anxiety, distress and also the loneliness that can come from this unprecedented disruption to life as we know it!

Yes, God hard-wires humanity to be social creatures! This is definitely a time when we need to increase our social co-operation and connections and maintain strong community bonds! And while physical separation is critical to controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, the last thing God wants is for any of us to become socially isolated!

What we can do so recent restrictions do not further isolate us:

Stay connected. Stay healthy. Stay safe.

  • Make regular phone calls/texts/emails to check in, offer support, care & encouragement
  • reach out/connect with people outside your regular circle – be especially mindful of folks who live alone, do not have family close by, new arrivals, single parents…
  • offer to buy essentials/groceries for folks who are at risk
  • drop off/mail home-made cards with words of encouragement
  • “share the love” in creative ways
  • manage stress through exercise, meditation, prayer
  • read those books you haven’t had time to take off the shelf
  • build a jigsaw puzzle as a family
  • play board games/card games — learn a new one!
  • keep to your daily routine as much as you can
  • go for walks – keep a safe distance from others, yet greet everyone with a smile and words of greeting and encouragement
  • visit face-to-face from afar (video chat)
  • as the weather gets better have social gatherings outside… together, yet with the appropriate distance
  • express gratitude often
  • be positive
  • see and share blessings
  • visit folks in long-term care, senior’s homes where lock downs are happening – wave, smile, sing, share greetings, shine light!
  • arrange visits with shut-ins — where you can be seen through a window while talking on a phone
  • share with others – food, toilet paper, help a neighbour with spring clean-up…
  • play on-line games with a friend (scrabble, etc.)
  • find a virtual community with people who share a common interest (genealogy, music, books, etc.) and make connections across borders
  • make the best of this down time: catch up on sleep… slow down… enjoy the season of rebirth that is upon us… have eyes to see God in all creation

Weekly Worship – Lent 4

Again this week I have enclosed this worship bulletin, full liturgies (including prayers, sermon, links to videos and hymns) for your prayerful consideration and engagement.

I am pleased to share beginning Sunday, March 22, 2020, Moderator Richard Bott will offer an online worship service each Sunday for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak. This will be a video-recorded service you can join on the United Church of Canada website or Facebook page. The prayers, hymns, and reflections from the Moderator’s online worship will also be available in audio and text form.

The link to Richard’s offerings and to other United Church livestream services can be found at: https://www.united-church.ca/community-faith/being-community/worship-online-during-covid-19

Lastly, the words of my dear friend/colleague, Anna Murdock, from South Carolina:

BEGINNING BLESSINGS

Beginning blessings are the best, I should think, for they reassure us that God has been waiting with joyful anticipation in the preparations of the morning.

There is dawning. There are birds just beginning to sing their Halleluias. The air is clean and cool and makes one’s skin feel oh-so-good. There is that moment when the moon greets the sun. And there is a great peace in the silence of the morning.

Beginning blessings are the best for in them God whispers, “I have been waiting for you to wake up!”

Be blessed in the beginnings of this day, my friends. And remember … God does not “social distance” from us!

Anna Murdock, South Carolina

Be safe. Be vigilant. Be of good humour. Be blessed and be a blessing!
Stay healthy!!!

And know you are in my heart and my prayers!
Peace,
Sue

Sue Cowan
Supply Minister
Carlisle-Kilbride United Churches