July 23, 2020 | The Eighth Week After Pentecost
Wellbeing in a Lonely Time
Northminster Family,

This week I want to share a “re-run” from one of the newsletters we sent out in the first month or two of the pandemic, focused on finding wellbeing in a season of intense loneliness and isolation. For many of us, it may be that it’s only now, as the months are wearing on and our hopes of returning to normalcy anytime soon are dwindling, that we’re able to take these words to heart. May they offer us each something new today.

Love and light,
Claire
This week, we spend time with the question,  “How do I foster wellbeing if I’m feeling lonely?”

I heard an interview recently with 19th US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy in which he pointed out that loneliness is an incredibly subjective thing to measure. It describes the disparity between how much social interaction you  need , and how much you actually  get , and that baseline level of  need  is different for everyone. That means you could be sheltering in place alone or with your family but still feel lonely, and that is completely normal.

(Let me also mention that if you’re locked down with kids, they might not know how to express it, but they may be experiencing similar feelings of loneliness, and much of what we’re about to walk through could also be beneficial for them if they’re open to it.)

In this season, the research points out that we can be  physically  alone without being  socially  alone. Dr. Laurie Santos of Yale University says that  intentionally connecting in real time online, over Zoom or FaceTime, for instance,   can actually be almost as effective as face-to-face interaction . That means things like Zoom yoga, Zoom dinner with family or friends, Zoom choir, or Zoom Sunday School… they might feel weird at first, but you’d be surprised at how quickly they can become the new normal.

But, while it’s important to our wellbeing to connect with others, it’s also very tempting to confuse that need with the drive to  distract  from what you’re feeling.  As important as it is to connect, it’s also important to learn to embrace the silence and solitude.  There’s a rhythm to it, moving back and forth between the two, and this may be an opportunity to better learn that rhythm.

In our liturgy, we often use Nan C. Merrill’s paraphrases of the psalms, and one of her favorite titles for God is the constant “Companioning Presence,” who we meet in the silence. “Companioning Presence.” This challenge is also an opportunity to discover, like the mothers and fathers of the faith that  sought out  solitude in the desert, that we too can discover the Holy Spirit of Life that lives at our core. 

It is an opportunity to get in touch with that which connects us to all other life, and remember that we are only one expression, one member of the Great Body of Christ. It’s an opportunity to bring awareness to that innate connection we have with all expressions of life, an awareness that cradles and speaks softly to our fears of loneliness.

As a prayer practice several weeks back, we read through  Blessing for Dining Alone  from Jan Richardson's collection of poetry,  The Cure for Sorrow . To engage that practice with us, you can go to  https://youtu.be/uqMr7lPFT2k?t=1175.

As always, please let us know if you'd like to get together (digitally or over the phone) to talk about it more. I'd love to hear what you think and how you're doing.

Zach

The Prayers of the People
An opportunity to celebrate and pray alongside siblings in our community.
We pray alongside...

Tammy Conrad, as she grieves the death of her father on Wednesday.

Gail Blackman , as she grieves the death of her aunt this week.

Peggy Caskey as she recovers from a hospitalization last week. She is home now and doing much better.

Scott Higginbotham as he and his wife Amy both recover from a bout with COVID-19. They're both recovering well and seem to be on the mend.
If you have concerns or celebrations you would like us to add to the newsletter, please call the church office or email office@northmin.org. 
The Work of the People
How we are responding to the Spirit of Love
Northminster Virtual Talent Show!
From the Family Ministries Commission:

It's not too late to submit your talent video for the virtual talent show! Snap a video on your phone and email or text it to DH Clark by this weekend to make the cut for our watch party in early August.

And keep an eye out for more details on when the show will premiere and how to watch it together! Let's have some fun!
Virtual VBS Begins This Sunday!
Northminster kids up through 12 years old can join Ms. Beth and other friends over Zoom beginning this Sunday night at 5:30pm, and continuing on through Wednesday evening at the same time, for virtual VBS!

Parents should receive an email with more details and the Zoom link for their kids - or contact Claire if you have any questions about how to get connected!

We're so grateful for the time and energy our children's volunteers have put into both Sunday School and now VBS during this pandemic - look for more fun photos and updates in the weeks to come!
Brookshires offer of help
We received a call this week from Brookshire's on 165-N offering a service for anyone in need of training on how to fully make use of Brookshire's curbside service for groceries. If the technology has been getting in your way, please give them a call at 343-3300 and ask for Joseph to set up a short training session!
Holy Ideas
How might we respond to the Spirit of Love?
In this new season of social distancing, we need holy ideas to help stretch our imaginations for what is possible within this community more than ever.

Since we can't make use of the physical "Holy Ideas" board in the hallway, we'll maintain it virtually and keep it updated here in the newsletter. If you have an idea for a way the church can be church in this season, or if you see an idea you'd like to support to help it become reality, email the office .
Around Town
(Virtually, or otherwise)
Whenever we hear of events (virtual or otherwise) around town that involve one of our members, friends, or commissions, we'll be sure to share it here. Please feel free to send notice of events to office@northmin.org!
Giving to Northminster

Practicing Stewardship in an Uncertain Time
We are sensitive to the reality that financial uncertainty is one of the side effects of the spread of the coronavirus. However, if you find yourself in a position to continue or increase your contributions to the church, know that your donation will be greatly appreciated. We have made the decision to honor our commitments to all those on our payroll (ministers, staff, choral scholars, childcare) who are relying on this income in an anxious time, and we cannot do that without your continued support.

To support Northminster financially, you can click here , or scan the QR code below with the camera on your phone.
Over the Coming Week
Sunday 7/26
10am - Digital Sunday School
10:45am - Preludes and Online Chat
11am - Sunday Morning Liturgy
After Worship - Narthex Chat

Wednesday 7/29
6:30pm - Digital Choir "Rehearsal"
Worship This Week

The text this week is Romans 8:26-39.

Zachary Helton will preach Sunday's sermon, which will be streamed on our YouTube channel.
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