Dear Brothers & Sisters,
With the additional mandate by our province to shutdown ALL services with the exception of those deemed “essential services” until at the earliest April 6th… it is VERY likely we will not be allowed to worship in person during Holy Week. In response to these further restrictions, and as directed by the Ministry & Personnel Committee (with the blessing of both Church Boards) both Janet and myself are working from our homes for the foreseeable future.
If you need pastoral care, have concerns, need some assistance with procuring groceries or prescriptions, or other needs, PLEASE contact one of your Carlisle-Kilbride Emergency Team members named below:
|Carlisle UC Chair – Andrea McRaefirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Kilbride UC Chair – Maureen Trenkleremail@example.com|
|Office Administrator – Janet Heeleyfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Pastor Sue Cowanemail@example.com or |
Also we thank you for phone calls made to folks in your communities and hope you will continue to be in contact with one another! It REALLY makes a difference!
Remember: The church building may be closed, however we, the church are to remain open!
Now, when it comes to COVID-19, in addition to the tragic losses of life and health and jobs… amid the anxiety that is real… we are also grieving the loss of sports, our social lives, the ability to easily buy eggs or get a haircut… the loss of weddings, funerals, gathering as a church family… with our own families… of being community to and with one another.
Many people are experiencing tremendous loss as a result of this global pandemic: the big losses we all know and can name, yet also the loss of normal rituals… known freedoms… our emotional and spiritual health. And whether we wish to admit it or not, we are at an unparalleled time of collective grief.
Because of social media we hear, see, receive messages from sources throughout the globe, from family, friends, community, acquaintances. We receive memes and posts that often rank our losses; validating some, while minimizing others… creating the silent losses we often bear alone (miscarriage, mental health, a marriage breakdown, a health diagnosis… and so many others).
Right now, in addition to the tragic losses of life and health and jobs we must add the losses experienced by people of all ages: missed graduations and proms, canceled sports seasons and performances, postponed weddings and vacations, separation from family and friends when we need them most. We have also lost the predictability that we take for granted in daily life: that there will be eggs and toilet paper on supermarket shelves, stores have extended hours that we find helpful, that we can safely touch a door knob with our bare hands, that we can get a haircut and our teeth cleaned or spend a Saturday afternoon at the movies.
Yet at this time of collective anxiety and collective loss there is still much we can do!
- Acknowledge loss/grief – While we can turn our anxiety into something productive (using our worry to take actions such as hand-washing, social distancing, sending meals to elderly relatives, or calling a neighbor who lives alone), grieving is a much quieter process. It requires us to sit with our pain, to feel an uncomfortable sadness, and to acknowledge others are feeling this too! So be kind to one another. Create space for the other. Listen deeply to the isolation, loneliness, discomfort, loss of another. Share deeply, intimately… which make us vulnerable… but also acknowledges the reality of what we are experiencing and affirms we are not alone!
- Stay in the present – At this time when there is great uncertainty about our current situation… How long will this last? How long will I be isolated? When will we return to normal? What will this new normal look like?… we not only mourn our current losses, we are also mourning ones we haven’t yet experienced (Easter? Graduation? A family wedding planned for July? Summer vacations? No school till September? No ability to pay or attend university/college in the fall? No ability to retire in the near future… or will retirement be forced upon me because of this?…) So many unknowns beyond our control, so instead of futurizing and catastrophizing, we can chose to focus on the present… seeing God’s presence in our midst… seeing blessings in the ordinary… seeing our isolation as an opportunity to reconnect, read, do things we have put off… enjoy a walk, not live with the same time constraints that come with an overloaded calendar, read scriptures, pray…
- Let people experience loss in their own way – Although loss is universal, the ways in which we grieve are deeply personal. There is no one-size-fits-all map to loss. It’s more like a roller-coaster… the waves of the ocean… it rises and falls, often when you least expect it. Even Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s familiar stages of grieving — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance — aren’t meant to be linear. Everyone moves through loss in a unique way, so it’s important to let people do their grieving in whatever way works for them without diminishing their losses or pressuring them to grieve the way you are. A good rule of thumb: you do you and let others do them!
Lastly I draw your attention to our scriptures for this Sunday… the stories of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 37: 1-14) and Lazarus (John 11: 1-45) that reveal God’s faithfulness in times of loss, grief, and mourning… calling us to the new thing God is doing, the new life that is offered, the resurrected life of faith that is ours… all of this God alone provides!
Be well. Be kind. Be vigilant. Be of good humour.
Be blessed and be a blessing!
Carlisle-Kilbride United Churches
Worship for March 29, 2020
Please also find (in addition to churches previously named) EDGE has provided an online map of UCC churches providing online streaming (new churches are added each week). Click on a location for the Church name and worship time!
I commend stepping outside your comfort box in the safety of your home… and to experience how God is working/moving in a different setting than your regular comfortable pew!
Perhaps a paper and pen handy too to note…
What did you see, experience, like or dislike?
What was a blessing/resonated?
What was odd or jarring… challenging or uncomfortable? Why?
Spend time with God processing your experience. LISTEN for the Spirit!
Make some notes for when we reconvene in person so you can share and we all can grow!
“We are billions of caterpillars forced into cocoons, being called to change from the inside out, to metamorphosize, to rest, reflect and sprout wings”!
In all you do this week, know you are being held in prayer and love… You are NOT alone!
Now go and soar! 😊