May 21, 2020 | The Seventh Week of Easter
Cultivating Patience & Compassion
Northminster Family,

During times of anxiety like the one we’re in now, how can we deal with the tension and irritability that inevitably seep into our personal relationships?

There’s an unconscious memo that circulates in Christian sub-cultures, particularly here in the South, that says in order to be a good Christian we’ve got to be ‘nice.’ And often that means that in order to keep up the image that we are ‘nice’ – whether that image is for others or just for ourselves – we end up denying and pushing down whatever it is that’s causing us to lash out or behave passive aggressively towards those we love. And that doesn’t help anyone. So first I want to validate that if you’re finding yourself to be more irritable in this season, to have a shorter temper, even or especially toward those you’re closest to, just know that…that’s normal right now. I’d be flat-out lying to you if I said there haven’t been any raised voices or any increased tension at my house in the last few weeks, and that’s with two pastors in the house. 

This is a hard time, and the hardness of it wears on us each in different ways and chooses to strike at different moments for each of us. We all  want  to be ‘nice,’ and that’s a fine thing to strive for, but  when  you find yourself falling short of that goal, of course I hope you’ll make amends, but then I hope you’ll give yourself some grace, and finally, I hope that you can take some time to stop and examine what it is underlying that tension that’s causing you to behave that way in the first place. This is one of those times we’ve got to treat the root problem, and not just the symptoms.

We also have to keep in mind that while most of us have made peace with having to adjust our expectations of ourselves in this season, it’s possible that part of our issues with those we love most – or those we work with, or interact with most – is that we haven’t made that same leap when it comes to our expectations of  them.  This is an opportunity for us to practice compassion, to practice patience, and to relax those expectations of one another. 

And maybe the best thing we can do is to find those areas where we  are  able to connect, whatever it is that helps bring us closer to those we love, and to find ways to lean in there. Whoever it is that you find yourself growing ‘short’ with, it’s about taking a proactive tack and thinking about where it is the two of you are able to connect, whether it’s a shared hobby or genre of movies or topic of conversation, and doubling down there. It’s being intentional, being creative about finding ways of growing the relationship so that in those moments when one of you gets stretched thin (because we know there are plenty of those moments still to come), you’re not stretched  so  thin that things fall apart.

If it’s helpful for you, you can bring the practice of cultivating patience and compassion for those around you into a practice of prayer, as we did on Sunday. Find a few minutes in your day when you can breathe deeply, and, calling to mind the metaphor of the breath of God hovering over the waters of creation; calling to mind the breath that God breathed into the creatures of dust, the breath that gives us life; calling to mind the wisdom of the psalms, that in the end, our lives are but a breath – so precious, so fleeting – and so, too, are the ones we love; calling to mind the faces of the people we love, which are so often the same people we lose our temper with; calling to mind that each of these is a beloved child of God, made in the image of the God Who Is Love; sit with their faces in your mind for a few breaths, the ones God has given you to love. Know that you, too, are held in love by this community of faith.

In patience and compassion,
Claire
The Prayers of the People
An opportunity to celebrate and pray alongside siblings in our community.
We pray alongside...

Mara Loeb , who continues to recover after breaking her arm in three places while helping a detainee reunite with his family. (And was, to our great shame, left out of last week's newsletter. Mea culpa.)

Tammy Conrad , who is in Wisconsin with her father, who is in hospice care

Beliza , a friend from our partner church, Enmanuel Iglesia in Cuba, who's mother is sick in the hospital. She is unable to visit her because of COVID-19 regulations and she has asked us to pray with her.

Tom McCandlish who is having a total hip replacement next Tuesday the 26th.


We celebrate with...

Kaylee Grassi , who graduated from West Monroe High School. You can see the video of her drive-through graduation on Northminster's Facebook page. We're so proud of you, Kaylee!

Carol Ann Tubbs and her sister, Patti Bewick, who found out that she is still cancer free.

Kristen Oden , friend to many at Northminster, who had surgery to remove some cancerous tumors. It went very well, and she is already up and walking.

Bill Kight (24th) , David Creed (25th), Amanda McDowell (26th), Laura Duke (28th), and
Kay Southern (28th) who celebrate their birthdays.
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 Stories: Peggy Burns
Looking for a new way to spend time with community members in the midst of social distancing?

For the next several weeks, I (Zach) will be doing a series of interviews talking to church members about moments they felt most alive, proud, or sorry at Northminster. I'm hoping to collect information that can help us see our communal story more clearly, but also wants to take the opportunity to help us get to know our fellow church-members better while we're all feeling somewhat isolated.

This week, I sat down with Peggy Burns.

The links are "unlisted," so they won't be going out to our normal podcasting audience. Only folks with links can access them.
Not Too Late to Join "The Cure for Sorrow" Online Retreat
Seasons of uncertainty of any kind are cause for grief and anxiety. This season of prolonged uncertainty is grieving our hearts all the more, whether we recognize and name those feelings of grief or not. Add to that the many losses we have each witnessed: from the loss of loved ones and members of our community, to the loss of normalcy, to the losses of income or long-anticipated milestones or a much-needed rest…and we are a people beset by grief. 

As the church, we are uniquely graced with the ability and the responsibility to hold one another in that grief through our gathering in community.

In that spirit, we invite you to join us for a 3-part online retreat led by Claire Helton with Jan Richardson’s The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief.

The three sessions will be held on Tuesday evenings, May 12, 19, and 26 from 7-8:30pm over Zoom and will be part discussion and part workshop, making space for us to craft the blessings we each most need to hear for ourselves in this season.

For details and registration info find out more here:
Our Father, Who Art in Heaven...
One of the best ways we can remind ourselves we're not alone right now is by seeing one another's faces as we ground ourselves in our sacred stories and prayers.

Please send in a video of yourself reciting the Lord's Prayer (you can use cue cards, we won't know!). We need as many as we can get! You can email your video to Zach.

And we're always looking for more scripture readers for our worship services. If you're willing to record just your voice reading scripture please email Renee to let her know!
"How can we keep from singing?"
The choir continues to meet at their usual time over Zoom for a brief check-in and a chance to make music together from home. If you haven't been able to connect so far please contact DH Clark and he can help you get connected!
Online Sunday School
If you are interested in meeting with your Sunday School over Zoom at 10am on Sunday morning, contact your Sunday School teacher. They should be able to give you a link to follow to gather on Sunday morning.

If you're not already a part of one of these classes, feel free to drop in anyway! Contact Craig Henry or Zach & Claire.
Do you need help getting groceries, or financially?
Do you need help getting groceries this week? Don't be a hero! If you're in the more vulnerable population, please stay where you are and let us help. There are church members who have offered to meet this exact need.

If you've lost your source of income because of COVID-19 and find yourself in need of food, assistance, or money, please contact your care group leader or office@northmin.org.

You can also check out our website, at https://www.northmin.org/resources-in-monroe-1.

We can help you navigate your options and connect you to folks to ensure your needs are met.

No one is alone in this.
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 and Renee will virtually post or sign your name to it.

If you have questions about an existing idea, email the person listed as its sponsor.

Our usual system is as follows: If the idea gets the support it needs (3 signatures) within 3 weeks, the supporters will meet with the appropriate commission to clarify and refine the idea into a specific, time-limited plan. If adjustments to this system are needed given the novelty of this new situation we find ourselves in, we will reevaluate as needed.
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 5/24
10am - Digital Sunday School
10:45am - Preludes and Online Chat
11am - Sunday Morning Liturgy
After Worship - Narthex Chat
Worship This Week

The text for this week is Acts 1:1-11.

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