The following are Joys and Concerns that members of our congregation have shared with Pastor Jessica via her TUESDAY’S TOGETHER weekly email:
This week’s responses:
Join us for a ZOOM Joys and Concerns gathering this Sunday, July 26, at 10:30. See our Friday email for the link.
Elizabeth H: Prayers for my family as we approach the anniversary of my brother David’s death, July 18. It’s been a year of sadness and remembrance and also gratitude for a life well lived.
Dorothy N: I see God at work in neighbors helping each other access ZOOM- both video and audio. I ask for prayers for teachers who may find themselves teaching/presenting both in classrooms and on internet and trying to home school their own kids at the same time. Prayers for other parents trying to work and home school at the same time.
Barbara A: While on a walk, I saw loving kindness in the effort of a peace-making man scrubbing away words of hate from the sidewalk in front of his neighbor’s house. “BLM, F* Trump” had been spray painted in response to the “Trump/Pence 2020” and “Keep America Great Again” signs posted in the yard. Although disheartened by those signs, he saw no good in having his neighbor further disparaged.
Ann D: Driving to Des Moines today I was thankful for the ability to have healthcare and concerned for those who are limited or unable to receive care in this country.
Lisle and I had a discussion at lunch about how he was happy that someone stepped in to help the civil rights activist in Indiana and keep him from further harm by those who assaulted him. He was upset that the police didn’t arrest anyone at the time. He was bemoaning the unwillingness of society to change. I suggested he be the change he wants to see anytime he is placed in a situation to help others. One step at a time, one change at a time is more than not acting at all. Be thankful those bystanders did come to his aid.
Nancy W: I would hold up Esther Bethel for special prayers of strength & healing (for those who don’t know, Esther broke her hip) . It will be a long hard road as she recovers.
I have seen God as the giving gardens around Grinnell produce so many vegetables to be shared with many. The volunteers who water, weed and pick, especially in this hot weather, are truly angels.
Pam V: I would like to offer a prayer for our graduating high school seniors who will have celebrated their commencement Saturday and wish them all the best as they embark on the next chapter in their lives.
Josh S: I ask for a quick prayer that our governmental and institutional leaders in this state remember that the oath they took when taking office/position, whether a literal oath or implied, requires them to do their best to promote and maintain the wellness and safety of all of us. In particular, I’m concerned about the direction things are going with regards to opening the schools.
Pastor Jessica: I give thanks that my mom recently adopted a dog and it is my prayer that he will be a balm for her grieving soul and a faithful companion as she adjusts to living alone. Welcome to the family, Baxter! Also, I give thanks that on July 5 Matt and I will be celebrating 17 years of marriage, I am grateful that we’ve had nearly two decades together and that we have a lot of hope for the future. Finally, I would appreciate prayers for Matt as he had to have a fairly involved emergency eye surgery on Wednesday 7/1 to repair a detached retina. 2020 is a doozy!
Dorothy N: Grant us ability to work Zoom and learn to use new technologies.
John A: Today we were with our grandkids and neighbors riding to the park, down a steep hill in Victor, and a big rut in the road caught our granddaughter’s tire and high ended her (a motorcycle term her grandfather -60 years of motorcycle knows) big road rash, arms, back, torso, helmet tore off her helmet’s visor, helmet, helmet, helmet. She got back on and rode, teary, to the park. God bless her, brave girl.
Dan and Jo B: We have seen God at work this week through the addition of another grandchild! Mia Marie Becker joined the family on 6/18! We are thankful that she is healthy and doing well. We hope to visit her soon in Arizona.
George B: Prayers for the UCC Church in Belle Plaine.
Pasha B: Glad to be able to say that we’ve had MORE time for our morning meditations, and now almost never miss!!! I always keep the church, community, college, Mayflower in God’s light and love as well as our many kids/relations, etc.
Ann B: I found hope and joy in yesterday’s Supreme Court decision to uphold human rights for the LGBTQ members of society. The sobering realization of the work yet to do for all disadvantaged peoples. But hey, the sun is out, the breeze is refreshing and there are vegetables to pick. Kohlrabi, here I come!
Molly C: I am praying specifically for those who are struggling with health concerns during this really hard and isolating time. Those who have Covid of course! But, also those of us who have other conditions too.
Currently, I am recovering from a concussion I had at the end of March. I was walking the dog and tripped. Who knew that such a small fall could create so many issues?! I am suffering from double vision, memory issues, headaches and dizziness. I am slowly getting better and doing hard work with my rehab.
Joe is still out of state working, so the extra challenge of being a single mom right now has been rough. I’m heading up to our cabin in Ely, MN to spend hopefully the rest of the summer in “God’s Country.” I appreciate prayers specifically in regards to my memory. I hope that my working memory continues to improve and my brain can heal to 100%. I am so thankful for the wonderful friends I have who have surrounded me with support and love, including friends from our church. Thank you, my dear church friends.
Erin B: I pray for patience. My anxious tendencies have me looking ahead to try and plan for the fall, and yet I know I don’t have the information I need to make those plans, nor does anyone else. I am having trouble living one day – even one breath – at a time and I feel myself growing more and more anxious. The unknowns are overwhelming.
Jeananne S: Sandy Evans had emergency surgery yesterday in Grinnell and is now out of ICU and recovering (impacted hernia, I think). Sandy now lives in Tama to be near her daughter. As you may remember she attended our church for a while, helping especially with fellowship. Please consider sending her a card: Sandy Evans, Mid-Iowa Housing, 202 East 13th Street, Apt. 4B, Tama, IA 52339
Karen W: We are thankful that our daughter, Michelle, is back working at Pathways as a clinical director. Karen W.
Erin B: I truly think God is at work in the awakening that is happening across the US and the world. People who have denied the existence of racism are waking up with a new, more profound understanding and a desire to change. With every heart and mind that opens, even just a sliver, God is at work.
I pray for peace of body and of mind for the protesters and their families, that they return home safely and find the rest, restoration, and support needed to wake up again and continue this mission towards a more just world.
I am grateful for all of the beautiful contributions to our own memorial and vigil right here in Grinnell and the community outpouring of support, love, grief, and hope. I really do believe God is at work in each of these offerings.
I am especially grateful for the leadership and mentorship of Kesho Scott who has challenged Grinnell to take a stand in this global movement.
On a personal note, Kesho has challenged me to be a better listener, to be more impactful in my activism, to stand firm in my convictions even (and especially!) when I feel scared of the social ramifications of this work. I can’t adequately express how thankful I am for her mentorship.
Robin E: I thank God for the safe trip we had to celebrate our granddaughter’s H.S. graduation. Also, we watched the movie Green Book as our three-generation testimony for racial justice on Sunday. I would pray for patience — for all.
Laura N.L.: Where have I seen God at work? In the grassroots demonstrations and protests happening in our church yard and all over the world. I have seen God at work in myself, recognizing my own complicity in injustice and systemic racism. I have seen God at work showing me that I am a good person, but I definitely have work to do. I have seen God at work pushing me to continue to learn and unlearn, read, discern, and listen.
Lisle D and Ann B: Concerns for healing and justice for those so long disadvantaged. Keep the decision makers open to new avenues of justice.
Elizabeth H: Gratitude for community members coming together to create a beautiful memorial for victims of racial violence.
Robin E: I see God at work this week in the mediators during impending violence. I need prayers of discernment concerning going to visit family this weekend.
Pasha B: Nearly every day the news includes a story of a person, and often a child, starting a food pickup, or giving tooth fairy money to charity, or something like that. It’s an upper!!! But we are really not down at this time; getting lots done, taking time each day to meditate, and that includes praying for a lot of people!
Katelyn P.T: Please add my brother to your prayers. He has been in downtown Denver as a police officer for the riots nearly all day and all night. In recent days three officers have been hit by cars.
John & Dorothy N: Son-in-law Chuck Peart passed away Thursday, May 28,, less than an hour after being taken off of machines. The hospital allowed Linda, Liz and his father to be present in the room. Linda’s daughter Dottie and Chuck’s siblings joined in via Zoom to say farewell. We will probably travel to Missouri for a celebration of life ceremony. Arrangements are not finalized yet. We give thanks that Chuck is now free from illness and pain.
Ann B: Giving thanks for fresh produce to eat that we grew.
Barbara A: John and I celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary on May 24.
While walking at Ahrens Park, we crossed paths and had delightful conversations with Jean L, Russ L and John S. Prayers for healing of the deep pain across Minneapolis and friend Katherine who lives there. Saving my life – dirt therapy! I’ve planted 62 perennials, including a native pollinator garden recommended by Elizabeth H.
Terese G: Today I went for a bike ride and saw two good friends who were outside their homes and we had a short visit. I am a people person and need to see or talk to friends or family on a daily basis. Zoom meetings are OK, but lack that “personal” touch. I love the photos, videos and Snap Chats that I receive from my son and his wife showing me pictures of my grandkids. We FaceTime a lot and I Skype with my son in Cambodia. I also love reading to my twin grandsons twice a week. I need that human interaction. But, I also enjoy Netflix and Hulu and watching a variety of shows. That is how I spend most evenings – it’s a great escape!
Elizabeth H: Prayers of gratitude for a fun-loving dog who makes me laugh. Prayers of concern for peaceful protests that bring about real change.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 the Weaver family. Karen passed away on July 8.
- for the Ramstad family. Lucille passed away on July 15.
- for families everywhere, who are losing loved ones to coronavirus.