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SED September 2020

Dear South East District Friends,

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, the one who sustains us through the most difficult times and rejoices with us in our triumphs. Thanks be to God!

I have been sharing with many of you the title I have given these last few months of pandemic life, “Lots of Headaches, Few Rewards.” If we are honest with each other, much of what we have been doing in our personal lives, work lives, and church lives has been the typical stuff of “headaches” without any of the typical rewards to which we are accustomed. Can I get an “Amen?”

We, laity and clergy alike, log onto a virtual meeting where we have to go through the business agenda and make tough decisions but do not get the coffee and fellowship when it is all over. We preach sermons and craft worship to a video camera but do not get to see the smiling, joyful faces of those we serve with when we finish. We console grieving families over the phone or with appropriate distance at a funeral home but we do not get to experience the depth of grieving together as a community in a worship service that celebrates a person’s life. Plus, we have adopted the added stress of face masks, measuring distance, and overall anxiety about health and safety for ourselves and our loved ones. These are incredibly challenging times

I want you to know that my assessment is that you are doing this with remarkable grace, love, and talent. There is incredible ministry happening in the midst of this very trying time. You are caring for each other, leading your churches, making hard decisions, and sharing joy on every level. It has been an inspiration for me to see. Thank you for all that you are doing to support your church, family, and community during this time.

Allow me to share some reminders to help us continue to stay strong in this season.

  1. Go easy on yourself. This is hard and you cannot do it all.
  2. Remember the small things that always make people feel good – a phone call, a note or text, a prayer.
  3. Pastors, remember to ask others to help you. Laity, remember to ask your pastor how you can help and say no when you just cannot do one more thing.
  4. Give an abundance of grace – at home, church, and beyond. Assume the best and when you are troubled about something, call the person who can help you understand what might have really happened. Seek peace. We all need it right now.
  5. Get your sleep.
  6. Drink lots of liquids.
  7. Buy something that smells like pumpkin because it’s fall.
  8. Remember that Jesus loves you so very much, along with the entire creation that surrounds us. My, oh, my.

Sisters and brothers, feel the love of God surround you today. Try and recognize the small rewards around us in this season of abundant headaches. God is, indeed, with us!

Grace and peace,

Cynthia D. Weems