"Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You..” (Psalm 143:8 NKJV)

Shenandoah District
Daily Connection--
From the Heart
March 31, 2020
What You Will Find at shencob.org :

-Links to churches who have let us know of online experiences offered in lieu of corporate worship services
-Links to papers, articles, and official press releases dealing with the response to the coronavirus outbreak
-Links to previous meditations and prayers

(Note: new items received will be uploaded to the website no later than 9 a.m. on Sat. morning)
A Meditation and Prayer for the Times
This Lent is Re-lent-less

Last week I read an article in Christian Century magazine that made reference to Dorothy Day, a Catholic activist and co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. Every year she would give up smoking for Lent. But it resulted in her becoming so irritable that her friends were greatly relieved when Easter came and she resumed her habit. The next Lenten season she would resolve again to fast from cigarettes, with the same result.

How often our best intentions exceed our ability to achieve them. When we try we realize that Lent can be relentless (or re-lent-less). This one certainly is. Whether we intended to make major sacrifices during this season or not, we are all doing so now. Maybe not just out of piety, but also out of concern for our personal safety and by order of public officials.

How ironic that the Coronavirus hit right in the middle of the Lenten season. We are all now forced to give up things we enjoy, like the freedom to have person-to-person contact with friends and our church family. Our forced physical isolation from one another is unprecedented, certainly inconvenient. Yet there are many for whom this time much more than inconvenient.

I share this prayer, seen on Facebook, and originating with the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor. May it remind us to pray for those for whom this Lenten season is even more re-lent-less:

May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors remember those who are most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips remember those who have no place to go.
May we who are losing our marginal income in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.

May God bless and keep you and yours and make you a blessing to others during this re-lent-less season,

Wayne Pence
Pastor Mountain View Fellowship McGahyesville
From the Desk of District Executive Minister John Jantzi

Yesterday was a day filled with many sobering sights and sounds. The images of some of our hardest-hit areas (e.g., New York City) are seared into our consciousness. In addition, with President Trump extending the social distancing guidelines until April 30 and Virginia Governor Northam’s “stay at home” Executive Order, we face the prospect together of the “status quo” being with us for some time. The termination point is not yet clear.

This is not easy for many of us. I know from conversations that many were hoping that Easter would be a time of easing of the restrictions. It can be difficult to move from dealing with a temporary crisis to a more long-term pattern. The questions move from managing a crisis to longer-term sustainability.

During the initial three weeks of working together, we found the Holy Spirit moving in new and unexpected ways. During the defining of a “new normal,” God opened avenues of ministry previously not known.

The same is true of this next period of our life. As we journey together considering questions and challenges of sustainability, be assured the same Jesus who has been with us thus far will continue to guide our steps. The choices and decisions will not necessarily be easy, but the same God, who provided a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, continues to guide our steps. We can rest in that.

It is an important first step to start talking with each other regarding some of these issues and concerns, to begin to identify our insecurities and find support for each other. One of our/my deepest insecurity is money and finances. For some among us, resources were scarce to begin with; for others, we are facing unemployment and its uncertainties. Others are working for organizations and businesses with fewer resources; for others, it involves facing dilemmas regarding pension and retirement funds.

With that in mind, we will be scheduling a Zoom call for April 14 at 7 p.m. The format is not yet set but will be designed for pastors and congregational leaders. We are working to have a resource person guide our discussion regarding sustainability issues.

Daily Connections is also continuing to evolve. We will continue to focus on strengthening the daily meditation and prayers, continue the Thursday Update, focusing on District news. Primary leadership resources will be distributed through the Pastors Alert.

With Deep Gratitude and Affection,

John Jantzi
District Executive Minister
News and Events
A Zoom conference has been scheduled for pastors this week on Thurs., Apr. 2. The online meeting will take place in the evening to accommodate our bivocational pastors.

Bethany Seminary is also planning to connect with pastors on a weekly basis through Zoom. Details were sent out today in the Pastor Alert.

Antioch will provide tech and logistical support for the needs listed below. If your congregation desires assistance with these items, call George Bowers at (540) 459-3661. If no one answers leave a message and your call will be returned. You may also e-mail George at  gabowers@shentel.net .

1. Assistance in recording digitally
2. Assistance in posting to whatever platform the congregation might have
3. Assistance in helping create platforms
4. Record and transfer to CD beginning the week of March 29

We are grateful to Antioch for extending this offer. 
If you have questions about the Daily Connection, contact:
Director of Communications
Shenandoah District Church of the Brethren
P.O. Box 67
Weyers Cave, Va. 24486
(540) 234-8555
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