The following are Joys and Concerns that members of our congregation have shared with Pastor Jessica via her TUESDAY’S TOGETHER weekly email:
Responses to the May 19 email:
Jean L: Two things–As I followed the worship service May 17, led by UCC Conference staff members across the nation, I was very impressed with the quality and faith-based messages I heard. I am very thankful for the UCC—locally and nationwide.
Secondly–I’ve been thinking about what our future will look like–and I don’t have a picture at all. I hope we, as a congregation, will think carefully about how we ‘return’ to being the church, how we are the church. I’m sure you and other staff have already thought about this–and I look forward to travelling on that journey with you.
Robin E: We are getting settled nicely in our new digs. Today we hung some pictures on one wall after much discussion. My joy is having success doing a Thomas Merton retreat on zoom for 6 hours on zoom. My prayer need is to be more intentional about housekeeping. Have a good week.
Nancy W: A Joy is that I don’t have to have an angiogram after all. I have put my health in God’s hands. No surgeries on my heart for me. My family all agrees with me – another true joy.
Another joy is that our wonderful Elizabeth brought me a tomato plant, a green pepper plant, purple petunia plants and red & white geraniums to grow on and brighten every day on my deck. Along with the pansies that Kevin gave me for Mother’s Day, they show me love at its best.
Another joy is that my granddaughter Kathryn is going this afternoon so we can “catch up”. She’s been so busy doing internet classes for her 5 sections of middle school math.
John & Dorothy N: Pray for Our Linda and Chuck. Linda hates not being able to be at the hospital with Chuck. Chuck has been moved to ICU, and put on a respirator. Heart Catheterization postponed until bleeding and other issues are dealt with. I hope both feel the reassurance of God’s love and presence.
Barbara A: For my son-in-law Joe who works as a Consumer Safety Inspector for the USDA and has been assigned to the meat packing plant in Tama (one of the hot spots). And for our daughter and grandchildren who are at heightened risk of exposure through him. May they all stay well.
Ken D: I’ve been completing–a little at a time–household improvement projects (interior & exterior). It feels great!
Responses to the May 5 & 12 email:
Gayle S: I want to add another positive experience that one of my brothers pointed me toward. He told me about the music of Jake Runestad, a contemporary composer, primarily for choral music. It is inspiring and calming. It speaks to some experiences I had in the past in ways nothing else could. I try to listen to some of the pieces he has written every evening. It is a great way to the day.
I am disturbed that those who work in meat processing plants are seen as expendable, and our current leadership seems not to value these people because they are the immigrant, the refugee, the non-English speaking – men and women who are black, brown and others from minority groups. This is sinful as it alienated one from another and from the Holy One.
My friend from high school died last night from that damn virus. He had rallied, but then went into failure quite quickly. I did have a good birthday. Got to talk with both of my brothers. Listened to an online concert by John McCutcheon and friends Sunday afternoon. His music is always a spirit lifter.
Robin E: Giving thanks to God to be able to gather bunches of lilacs from our old house down the street. Pray that I will not look too much at the future to trust God one day at a time.
Nancy W: I rejoice in the fact that I am living in a safe retirement community and pray for health for all that aren’t. I am facing an angioplasty in the near future.
My brothers and son have managed to get all 1300 acres of corn and soybeans planted – much earlier than the last two years. Prayers for continued good weather so that it will all germinate and have the rainfall that it needs to grow.
Prayers for our Church family that all may be safe and flourish during this pandemic and that they may remain safe as some others make unwise decisions.
Shannon H-L: Please pray for my sister and me as we try to negotiate with our parents, who are not in their full capabilities, that going back home is not an option for them. They have been in assisted living, 2 years for my mom and a year and a half for my dad, but now are determined they can live on their own. We just want them to be safe and enjoy their life as best as possible. And we hate having to tell them why they can’t live on their own. We are using aging resources, but it is very challenging.
Elizabeth H: My joy is my new found canine friend and therapy dog, Lola. I rescued her and she rescued me. I now have a Depression Therapy Dog to go with my Anxiety Therapy Cat. 🙂
1. I am doing this whole thing on the least stressful setting possible. My “children” require no hands on or micro parenting. We are getting along remarkably well. Surprisingly so. Like we are all adults or something. I have had no interruption of my income or my work status. My employer is taking this very seriously.
2. Thing #1 is keeping my mental health in check. (that and pharmaceuticals)
3. I never thought that I would enjoy working from home. I like the people I work with, it’s a great environment, etc. However, I am thriving here. I can concentrate well. I feel productive. It’s working for me. And I might be even a little sad when it’s time to return to my office.
4. What is this future? What is my now? This time has shown me that I am content being an indoor dog, or at least to stay in my own yard. I’m thinking about flower beds. Ideas for an etsy shop. Writing a lot more. Knitting. Staying connected. It so happens that our cable box went kaput a week before we went into isolation. So we don’t have cable TV and while I do miss sports, there’s none of that to watch, is there? I am not a huge baseball fan (I know!) but I would definitely become one this summer and I might for years to come to not take it for granted. So we have demonstrated that we can get through this by reading newspapers and not at all missing the crazy that I imagine television is right now.
5. Guilt. I am in a very privileged position right now. I feel guilty for thriving, for seeing this time as a blessed opportunity to simplify and slow down. I feel guilty for feeling good.
6. Hope. I hope we don’t go back to “normal.” As a friend of mine pointed out, “normal” wasn’t working for a lot of folks. No health insurance, no savings, no home, no clean drinking water, not enough food security. Too much racism. Too much elitism. Too much hate. This has all been laid bare now. I hope that this is the moment where we rise up and don’t go back to “normal.”
Robin E: Today I am grateful for the pink flowers on the crab tree just outside our front window in our new apartment. I ask God’s healing in body, mind, and spirit for the staff and residents of St. Francis Manor here in Grinnell. Blessings and keep well.
Terese G: I have a joy and concern. A former colleague contacted me and asked if the UCC is offering online worship services. She wanted to know because she has been doing a lot of thinking during this past month (have’t we all?) and has decided that she wants to see if she can find God or a spiritual life once again. So, my prayer is for my friend. I hope she finds herself and God’s love along the way.
Ann and Lisle D: Joys, emerging plants and the renewal of the earth with the arrival of spring. Remember, the farmer is the ultimate optimist, they plant with faith that the seed used will grow and bloom into something wonderful. No guarantees, just faith in the natural system.
Concerns, The safety of all known and unknown persons who have risk factors for the pandemic and prayers for our officials at all levels of government to step up and step forward to provide testing, PPE, fund research and become the leaders we need them to be.
Jessica B: Joy: ability to practice new skills (guitar, gardening, cooking/baking recipes, candle making)
Concern: so much anxiety
God at work: my fiance’s grandpa has been sharing Bible studies through YouTube. I knew he was a spiritual leader at his local church, but we hadn’t had opportunities to watch him lead. It is so special to watch him do it, especially when my soul is aching for connection and spiritual wholeness.
Invite the Spirit’s presence: into my mornings (waking up without a sense of purpose and routine feels negative)
Betty Anne F: Thank you for asking for prayers for our joys and concerns. I am thankful for my family who sustain me with phone calls and offers of help in so many ways. I am concerned for the health and well being of my son, Clay, who is an Emergency Room physician at Grinnell Hospital.
Orlan & Verlene M: Thanks…
1. For the virtual worship service each week.
2. For pastor Jessica’s posting of personal experiences on Facebook. We are all in love with the dog! And grieve her loss.
3. For Mayflowers providing and delivering on call meals as we shelter in place even after our two week quarantine when we returned home early April.
4. For Fareway delivering our grocery needs to Mayflower and then staff bringing to our home as needed.
5. For Mayflower staff calling to see if we are all right.
6. For care, concern, and prayers, especially for Verlene.
7. For the Medicap staff delivering our meds to our home.
8. For Verlene’s doctor in Iowa City for arranging a telemedicine conference to avoid a trip to Iowa City.
Katelyn T: My joy is watching my children play with family they previously only saw a few times a year. I ask for prayers as I try to come to terms with my new life situation and try to be the best single parent I can. And for the words to explain our new life to my children.
Dorothy N: I see joys in neighbors trying to stay in contact with each other via phone, note or FB. I see joy in the number of people making face masks and hospital gowns. I see encouragement by grocery stores trying to do social distancing and joy that some families are able to enjoy the outdoors together. I have great concern for those who cannot make rent, mortgage or car payments, and for those who are ill. I pray for parents and children doing home schooling. I pray for the ability to count one’s blessings. God is at work, through people and circumstances we face.
Ken D: I have found new joy in taking long walks. Under the old normal, I did not walk because I swam laps four times per week & lifted weights twice weekly.
Erin B: My joy is having time to plant and care for a garden, and for the peace I find in gardening.
I pray for my choral colleagues as we look forward with uncertainty, not knowing when it may be safe to sing together again — even though other gatherings may be ok, choral singing will be one of the last things to resume to “normal.” It’s a source of joy, community, life, belonging, expression, beauty, and much more, for me and many others. For many of my loved ones, it’s also their main income. I am mourning this loss and I know many others are, too.
Also, Prayers of joy for my new nephew, accompanied by prayers of support and concern for all of the new parents bringing babies into a tumultuous reality. Prayers for the extended families who can’t hold their new grandchildren and nieces and nephews and cousins, and who can’t help in the ways they wish they could. Prayers for the new parents trying to figure it all out without that (physical) help and support.
ONGOING PRAYERS OF LOVE AND SUPPORT…
We hold to the heart of our congregation and lift up to the embrace of God all who are in need of prayer. To contribute prayer concerns to the whole church, please contact the church office at email@example.com.
We pray for health & strength for Molly Campe, Shannon Hinsa-Leasure, Verlene Mitchell, and the Thomson Family.
We pray for health & strength for Lauren Graham, on the front lines directing our local hospital’s COVID-19 response.
We pray for comfort & peace for the following families and friends who have lost loved ones:
- for Joanne Bunge’s family and friends. Joanne passed away on April 5.
- for Judy Scheer and family. Judy’s mother, Vera, passed away on April 2.
- for Don Schild and family. Don’s father, Dick, passed away on March 30 at age 100.
- for Jay Hansen and family. Jay’s mother, Frances, passed away on March 13 at age 96.
- for Pastor Jessica and family. Jessica’s father, Ed Margrave, died suddenly on March 7.