Pastor's Letter

May -- 2020


Dear Family

Acolyte Photo
    I love this photo!   
This is one of our faithful acolytes lighting the candles in his home before he settled down with his family to enter into our Easter worship service online. Thank you, Max, for giving permission to publish it. The photo reminds me of how much I miss seeing so many of you on Sunday mornings and leaning into the help I get from Max Turbyne and Rebecca Henderson with regularity.

My work week has a very different appearance than what has been normal for me for the last 42 years of ordained life. I sit more than I ever have before: in front of the computer screen attending Zoom conferences, answering emails, texts, and making phone calls. I am very grateful for the number of ways we are staying in touch as a family, caring for each other, checking in, and worshipping together even while physically apart. I am grateful to the parish family.

I also find myself deeply appreciative that this pandemic did not arrive in the middle of winter when we would be far more “penned” in. I delight in daily walks on the bike paths, watching signs of spring everywhere I turn:
  • Two families of geese, each shepherding their small multi-numbered newborns across the bike path to the river;
  • Grace and Gus seemingly enjoying the quiet of Aspen Lake until geese fly in and land on their island. Gus goes after them with loud honks and flapping
       wings, as if to say, we are happily quarantined here and you had better find your own home elsewhere;
  • The grass is getting a bit greener, the maple tree is budding, and hummingbird feeders are hanging out hoping to welcome the hummers back in due time.

These springtime annual events feed my soul and drive away my fatigue. I can listen to the newscasts with more energy, seeking to hear stories of flattening curves across the globe.
We are left with questions that at present we cannot answer: when can we travel to visit family, or plan a vacation, or host a party, and when can we assemble in the sanctuary to worship together as the Body of Christ? The answers to these questions seem to ride on how well we remain “hunkering down”, and, when outside, how careful we are to stay six feet apart with mask and gloves on. There is a conversation of a three-phase “rolling return” at the National level and Oregon’s Health Authority will guide us through.
Meanwhile, I find myself grateful I have a home in which I can quarantine and I daily remember those hardworking people who permit me to have food on my table: local restaurants serving Meals-To-Go, grocery workers, farmers, field workers, fishermen, sanitation workers. The list goes on and on. This list does not even touch the countless medical workers pushing themselves to the edge to save lives and restore health. I heard that New York City might plan a ticker-tape parade for health workers at the end of the pandemic. Every city and town should do the same - even if we have to stretch out for miles so we are not standing too close.
We will get through this in time. But, at this moment here is a list of daily quarantine questions put together by Brooke Anderson as a way to check in with herself every day:
   What am I grateful for today?
   Who am I checking in on or connecting with today?
   What expectations of “normal” am I letting go of today?
   How am I getting outside today?
   How am I moving my body today?
   ♥ What beauty am I either creating, cultivating, or inviting in today?

I invite you to ask yourselves these same questions as our days march on.

Blessings, Nance

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