May 15th, SEC UCC Conference Connection
It's OK... But
by Rev. Char Burch, Transitional Conference Minister
"It's okay!" Are you tired? It's okay! Are you depressed, exhausted, angry? It's okay! Many of us are experiencing various feelings these days as things seem to drag-on. In addition to those already mentioned, I have heard people talk about feeling sad, depressed, confused, displaced, fearful, grateful, overwhelmed, hopeful, unsure, distrustful, anxious. amazed, helpless, guilty, weary. Do any of these resonate with you? You might be able to add some others. And of course, there are those combinations of several feelings at once. It's okay to have the feelings! It is a human response to a challenging situation.
This Sunday is Mental Health Sunday in the UCC which seems to have a different twist this year. We are all more aware of the challenge of maintaining good mental health, but hopefully more sensitive to those who cope with its difficulties.
For many of us who are facing the various feelings above, we can stay mentally healthy by acknowledging the feelings and then making some changes to restore our well-being. Things like getting outside if possible, exercise, reading novels, meditating, baking, listening to music, avoiding the news, making lists of things for which we are grateful, writing letters, connecting with family/friends, finding personal space, and spending time in conversation with God, etc.
But sometimes, the feelings can overwhelm us to the point that we cannot function well. When that happens, we need to contact those who are mental health professionals who can provide professional advice!
Feelings are okay! But one concern about feelings is that they are not a good basis for making complicated decisions. Feelings come from one part of our brains. But when we need to make decisions (other than things like responding to danger), we want to use what my mother always called the "thinking cap." This part of the brain allows more information to be considered in making complex decisions - like re-opening churches.
Therefore, as important decisions are made - whether about re-opening churches, assessing church finances or other personal issues, it is important not to base decisions on feelings, but to obtain information - facts, implications of actions, options, etc. Then good decisions can be made. The value of working with Committees or groups is the ability to help each other not be over-reactive but make informed decisions.
Meanwhile, we need to show each other a little kindness and graciousness as we experience and move through these strange times. I continue to be amazed at the creativity and resilience of our clergy and churches. The God's Spirit is very much alive! You all continue in my prayers!
Special Event: Conference Unity Worship
Save the Dates for a special Conference-wide worship event on Saturday, June 20, 2020 at 11:00 am Eastern / 10:00 am Central.
The Southeast Conference's Annual Meeting has been postponed, but on June 20th we will still gather online for a Conference Unity Worship Event: Being the Church in a Pandemic World. There will be opportunities to hear from one another both through word and song as we share how we are being the Church in our communities during these difficult times. Details to on how to join will be in the next Conference Connection. Hope to see you there!
SEC UCC Annual Meeting has been RESCHEDULED!
Our June Annual Meeting has been rescheduled for Saturday, September 26thfrom 10:30 am Eastern / 9:30 am Central. It will be a shorter meeting this year. although we hope to can gather in person. We will not be gathering in one location, but will have multiple locations throughout the conference, all connected through Zoom. If it is not safe to meet in person, we will still meet on September 26 by Zoom and phone only. We hope you can join us!
From the Generosity Coordinator
by Min. Carrole Moss, Generosity Coordinator
My prayer is that you are well, staying in, staying safe, and staying healthy. It is so important that we continue to feed our minds, body, and spirit at such a time as this. We are living in a time of change. Most of us would agree that humanity and the planet Earth are evolving at a quickened pace, therefore it is natural for people to react with fear because these changes will bring some level of difficulty and loss to many of us. As we find ways to serve, our fears dissipate. We can serve best by remaining calm with our friends and families even when the situation seems dark. We can serve by going out into the world and help to rebuild lives, by showing more love and compassion to those in need.
As we speak of things ESSENTIAL, the essential element is LOVE.
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our thoughts that we find ourselves going round and round in circles, finding it difficult to concentrate because we are so distracted, not really accomplishing much. This can be a signal that we should slow down and relax. Giving ourselves respite from our daily concerns is like giving gifts to ourselves. We lessen the weight of our troubles and become more receptive the wisdom and answers that the universe has to offer us.
Psalm 46 reads: God is our Refuge and our Strength (mighty and impenetrable to temptation), a very present and well-proved help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains be shaken into the midst of the seas. Though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling and tumult. Selah. There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God will help her right early (at the dawn of the morning). The nations raged, the kingdoms tottered and were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our Fortress and High Tower). Selah. Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has wrought desolations and wonders in the earth. He makes war to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow into pieces and snaps the spear into two; He burns the chariots in the fire. LET BE AND BE STILL, and know (recognize and understand) that I AM GOD. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of host is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge. Selah (pause and calmly think of that)!
The word of God reminds us of who God is and calls us to worship God. This word also reminds us to not get weary in well doing. Please stay safe and follow the recommendations of the CDC. WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!!!
A huge note of thanks to all of you for all the ways that you continue to support this conference. We are grateful.
Looking forward to worshipping with all of you again, real soon. Blessings as we continue on this journey, together,
More details can be read online via the SEC UCC Website... www.secucc.org