I have been thinking about and praying for you. This week, we formed 12 small groups of 8-10 people that will be checking on one another once a week during the pandemic via Zoom, phone, email, or text. If you, family members, or friends (whether near or far) would like to be part of a group, please let me know. No one should feel alone or isolated. All are welcome to be part of our family, and now is the perfect time. A very special thanks to each group leader who has enthusiastically responded to the call when you are needed most.

I also spent time this week trying to develop a manageable routine for myself; a new normal. I’m sure I’m not alone in this because all of what seemed “normal” just a few weeks ago is now “other.” I always do better when I have some sense of order and self-care. Here is what has been crystalized:

I need time unplugged – away from telephone, iPad, computer, and television

I need to read something that strengthens my mind and inspires my soul as well as reading for pure fun. Here’s what’s on the list right now:

    • Daily Lenten Reflections by PAUMC members
    • Psalms 23, 27, 46, and 91
    • The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within by Christine Valters Paintner
    • The Water Dancer: A Novel by Ta-Nehisi Coates

I need to pray, meditate, and reflect.

I need music (dancing too if the beat is right) – Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Marvin Gaye, Richard Smallwood, James Cleveland, the Mississippi Mass Choir, and Brian Courtney Wilson.

And I need a fair amount of sleep.

What about you? What practices do you need to embrace in order to get through these days and be spiritually and emotionally fit? If you have not done so already, I encourage you to develop a sustainable plan of care. It may change from day to day as that seems to be our constant, but it will likely be time well spent. Isaiah and I are also here to listen, pray, and care for you as much as we can.

My gift today is this beautiful ballad first sung at PAUMC by our gifted and talented choir featuring Marcus Gladney as lead soloist on December 8th. It was during Advent, and I was so moved that I requested it be sung again the following Sunday. There was no way to have imagined at that time how meaningful the song would still be for me amid our current situation. At times, we may feel like those magi wondering around in the dark through a desert land, not knowing where to go. We may only have a little faith to guide our way; but it is amazing, truly amazing, what that little faith can do. Click here to listen.

Take good care of yourself. Be encouraged. You are loved.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Cathy

P.S. – The millennials on our staff are stretching me beyond my wildest imaginings. I am doing my best to keep up and have never been more grateful for each of them! 😊