Over the Easter weekend, I had virtual chats with some clergy colleagues, and a common theme was that most of us are busier than ever, and are having to learn new ways to function, in this strange time.
In my early forties I started running long distance, after having been a happy and plump couch potato, for quite a while. The process of training to build the capacity to run 42.2 kilometres taught me a lot.
I remember from my marathon preparation that I need both consistency and variety in my training regime. Consistency requires setting up a schedule, so that I know what I am meant to do each day. Variety means not doing the same thing with each block of training time.
So I am working on my own schedule, so that there is a structure to my days, but not boring, grueling, sameness. I am building in blocks of time dedicated to leading classes, creating worship, reaching out with pastoral phone calls, working with congregational leaders and colleagues, as well as doing things for the good of mind, body, and spirit.
I have some ideas to share with the Harrow United Church faith community, that I hope may help us make this time of enforced (and necessary) isolation more like a retreat, and less like jail.
I will offer a weekly online “bible study” based on one of the scripture passages I will talk about in my “learning time” in the weekly worship resource. This would be a video chat, so we can hear and see each other.
All you need is your computer, tablet, or smart phone, an internet connection, a bible, and paper and pen.
If you want to be part of this ZOOM based online discussion, email me and I will send you a link. firstname.lastname@example.org
The first online Bible study will be next Wednesday, April 22 from 10:30 to 11:30 am. Bring your own coffee (or beverage of choice). The passage we will talk about is Luke 24:13-35, which is the story of an encounter with the Risen Christ, on the Emmaus Road. Here is a link to the scripture, as found on Bible Gateway.
I am also looking into the possibility of offering an online Sunday School class. Please let me know if there are kids in your house who would want to take part. (It may require a big person to be with them, to help with activities.) The idea would be to drop off a shoebox at your house containing what you would need for the at home crafts and activities, then we’d all meet online at the same time (In a ZOOM room) for the class. We are calling this ShoeBox Sunday School, but that does not mean it has to happen on Sunday- although it could!
(In related news, if ShoeBox Sunday School happens, we will need some shoeboxes. I know we have a few in my house, but may require more.)
I like the look of this free online course, for those who like to read, and may even enjoy writing their own poetry:
A Fierce and Enduring Gratitude (A free on-demand eCourse: How Poetry Supports Us In Good Times and Bad with Dale Biron)
We’ve all experienced difficulties and losses in our lives. From health challenges to losing friends and loved ones. From career and business setbacks to divorces. Perhaps our most heroic act in the face of such loss is simply allowing our hearts to break and then transforming that pain into compassion, healing and finally service. In this eCourse, we will explore poems as wise and timeless tools that can support us on our path back to gratitude, happiness and yes, even joy.
If you are more into creating something visual or working with your hands, you may want to check out these “art therapy” suggestions. I would love it if you tried a project, and sent me a photo of the results.
Many people, young and old, enjoy colouring as a spiritual practice, as a stress-reliever, or just as a fun way to pass the time. It’s a little less daunting than creating our own art from “scratch”. I would love to see photos of your masterpieces!
My family is taking part in a weekly trivia game with some friends spread across the country, that is something like a pub trivia night. We are doing this as a video chat, and it works quite well. (My adult children are very adept at using the technology!)
I was thinking that if Harrow United Church folks are interested, we could set one up for the congregation. (You’d need to provide your own beverages and snacks!) Again, email me if that is something you’d like to do, or help with. email@example.com