Amy Jones,
Agape Coordinator
Dear God, we come to worship you today. 
We come to pray, and listen.
You always hear us. 
Help us to hear you. Amen
Psalm 9:1-2

1  I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
     I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
2  I will be glad and exult in you;
     I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
It has been a year since this Agape photo was taken and nine months since I’ve seen any of the youth pictured in it. We took this photo way back when people could stand close to each other and the worst we had to worry about was getting everyone in one frame and to look in the same direction. 

What a long year it has been! Since then we’ve had to pause Agape, revision Agape, modify Agape, revision again, and modify again. It has been frustrating to have to constantly change plans, particularly when there doesn’t seem to be any way to know what is really safe and what will really help. Even as I write, I am filled with anxiety about what the next months may bring and what else could happen - not just for Agape (though, that too), but for all the people in this picture and the people they love, the activities that bring them joy, and the places that feel like home for them. There is a lot to worry about, to lament and mourn.

Each day, my children’s teachers offer them opportunities to record something in their “gratitude journal.” I’m not sure if these journals are a routine part of the academic curriculum or a new addition offered by the new school counselors who play a major role in social/emotional learning during these difficult days of at-home learning. Regardless, keeping a gratitude list is one of the recommendations for combating anxiety and depression. I think it also helps us to remember that we do not exist in a vacuum.

It’s photos like this one that remind me that I do not exist in a vacuum. Even if I have not seen many of the people pictured in months, and even if standing that close to another human being now seems impossibly dangerous, the photo reminds me that we are still a community of people who put love first. For that, I am immensely grateful. 
God of Love, the days are short and the nights are long with sadness, worry, anxiety, mourning, and even depression. Give us tangible signs that love is stronger than other forces. Plant gratitude in our hearts so that love can grow even stronger. Amen.
Amy Jones
Amy Jones, Agape Coordinator
Amy Jones our Agape Coordinator is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church. In this tradition, deacons are ordained clergy who bridge the ministry of the church with the needs of the world, and vice versa. In more than 15 years of ministry, she has worked in churches, in children and family ministry, higher education, and nonprofits. In each setting, her focus has been on matching the resources of the church with the needs of the world. Agape Community Kitchen is exactly the type of work she was called to do. 

Amy can be reached by email at:
The Presbyterian Church in Westfield continues to burn as a light in the darkness as our community weathers this fearsome storm of illness. Our reach of care continues to extend far beyond our immediate borders. You can help us make a real impact in the lives of others by joining in our work through your time, your talents, and also in the fruits of your labors.
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