8 May 2020

“In a time of drastic change it is the  learners  who  inherit the future . The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.” -Eric Hoffer

Greetings to the “Mid-Hudson Region” in the name of Jesus Christ!
Yes – that is how we have all been designated by the state of New York. We are the Mid-Hudson Region when it comes to “un-pausing”. I find it comforting that from Westchester to Sullivan, through Orange, Rockland, Putnam and Ulster, we are a single region. (We have First Ancramdale nestled right over the Putnam boarder in Columbia County, the Capital Region, in our midst as well) We will be monitoring the phases of un-pausing closely and we will communicate information to you in a timely manner.

Announcements for this week :
·          Our ZOOM gathering last Monday, “What to think about before you think about it….” was attended by many. (If you missed the ZOOM, you can find the recording via the HRP website. Just click on the Coronavirus Resources box.) As promised, we are finalizing a document that blends the best of the Wisconsin example and NY State regulations, along with your comments, to address your questions and concerns around un-pausing. It will be very helpful in your discussions with your Sessions, and we will send it out as soon as we can.

·          As you are no doubt aware, the food crisis in our area is profound. Congregations in HRP that house food banks and food pantries are coming together on a ZOOM Monday May 11 at 10 am . One of the goals of our time together is to share what your congregation can do to help our struggling food pantries as they attempt to feed the hungry. Please join us for specific ideas on ministering here in our own region to folks in desperate need.

·          Pastors in Pulpits will continue to ZOOM together on Wednesday and a beautiful opportunity to practice spiritual disciplines and meditation will continue on Friday.

·          The Clergy Coaching program begun a few weeks ago has exceeded our expectations! Take advantage of this opportunity to work with an IFC certified coach at no charge to you for six sessions. Information and application can be found here  http://www.hudrivpres.org/hrpgrants/

·          A reminder to those congregations that received a Payroll Protection Program loan. It is considered a loan until you request loan forgiveness through your bank. Keep abreast of how to do that and the timing that is associated with your request.

·          General Assembly Update: As you know by now, the General Assembly originally to be held in Baltimore is now scheduled to be an online experience. Only “critical business” will be considered on June 19, 26 and 27 th . As they develop this complicated process, we will watch closely and send you updates beginning at the end of this month.

·          I’m worried about you. Most of you are doing yeoman’s work on worship services and pastoral concerns, keeping up meeting schedules and navigating your own personal challenges during these times. It is soon to be mid-May – have you taken a week off or a week of study leave? You probably would have by this point during times past. What would it look like to attend the Festival of Homiletics on May 18 th for a week of study leave? What would it look like to disconnect from your church and “be bored”? Could you partner with 2 or 4 other pastors, “produce” worship services together with one pastor taking off each week? Have you visited the “Call to Health” on the Board of Pensions website? If ever there was a time to tend to your own well-being, this would be that time. We are not in a sprint through an emergency – this is a marathon and we need to pace ourselves to have the strength that we will need as we minister into the future.

Please enjoy this lovely story about our own Rev. Angela Maddalone, who began her work as a hospital chaplain just as the virus hit. “You are not alone……”

Finally, when all is said and done, we will have a story to tell. Your church will have a story to tell about what happened during the spring of 2020. Begin to form your story. Here is one for you to hear:

May God bring peace to your hearts. May you be among the learners
Deb Milcarek