St. James' Episcopal Church
St. James’ mission is to bring people together to be transformed by and to proclaim Christ’s love through worship, spiritual formation, and service.

 

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Rector’s Reflection During Coronavirus
Period of Social Distancing


From The Rev. Meredith T. Heffner
Monday, March 23, 2020

Contents of this Message 

Rector's Reflection
 
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As you know, here at St. James’ we have discerned a call to Mental Health Ministries. In this time of the coronavirus pandemic, life as we know it has changed, and this call is more important than ever.

In times like these, there are two questions that come to my mind: How do we care for one another? How do we care for ourselves? This is what we’ll be reflecting on this week. Parishioner Lisa Goodkind has been kind enough to share some thoughts below. In the meantime, have faith, and take heart in knowing that God walks with us, and will get us through.

Until tomorrow, be safe, take care, and wash your hands. And may God bless us and keep us, this day and always.

Rev. Meredith
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Taking Care of Our Mental Health, Part 1
By Lisa Goodkind

In some ways taking care of our mental health in a crisis situation is not so much different than any other time in our lives. However, our mental wellbeing is often dependent on structure, routines, and connection. COVID-19 is making that more difficult for many. Recently, people are expressing that they are feeling lost because their daily lives have been turned upside down. Change can be uncomfortable and anxiety-provoking. I know for myself I am having to adjust my daily life and build a new healthy routine.

It can be helpful to develop a personal mental wellness plan. This plan should include a written daily schedule. I recommend doing this with your family or with a partner or friend. Be sure to check in with each other daily and see how your plan is working and if it needs adjusting.

One thing I have added to my plan are inspirational podcasts relating to these times. Many clergy, teachers, and authors are offering daily teachings. Everyone is different, so select things that are necessary but also things that inspire you and feed your spirit! Here are some examples of what you can include in your plan.
  • Eat healthy meals and snacks
  • Drink six 8-ounce glasses of water
  • Exercise for at least a half an hour
  • Get a half an hour of exposure to outdoor light
  • Take medications and vitamins
  • Set up a phone or online appointment with your healthcare provider
  • 20 minutes of relaxation/meditation
  • Write in journal for at least 15 minutes
  • Call your mentor or spiritual advisor
  • Consult with a peer/buddy
  • Spend half hour enjoying a fun, affirming or creative activity
  • Spend time with a good friend
  • Be in touch with your family
  • Spend time with children or pets
  • Get more sleep
  • Take a bath
  • Go for a walk
Physical distancing does not have to disconnect our hearts. We can continue to reach out and help one another stay well. We can still love one another fully and deeply and for that I am filled with gratitude!

Tomorrow Lisa shares thoughts on staying connected with God.

Here are some links that might be helpful in keeping our resilience during this pandemic:  
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A Message from the St. James' Youth Group

Seven Locks Baptist Church Food Ministry Needs Our Help

The Seven Locks Baptist Church food pantry is short on canned goods and peanut butter. Donations can be dropped off at the SLBC office, located at the back of the white house on SLBC church property. The office is closed, but food can be left on or near the two white chairs near the office door. Please respect social distancing and do not knock or ring the bell. Pastor Kyle will check the porch regularly. Thanks to those who have already dropped off food, and for all who are helping the hungry in our community.


Don’t Forget to Keep Up with Your Pledge!
In order to keep up with the work of the church, pay our bills, and support our staff, we ask—if you are financially able—that you continue to support St. James’, as you have in the past, by maintaining your pledge and keeping up with your giving. Together, with God’s help, we will make it through. Thank you.
 
 
Rev. Meredith’s Survey Question of the WeekWeek 2!

If you missed it, last week I asked about your favorite songs. Suggestions keep coming in! Below is our “St. James Playlist,” which can be downloaded from Spotify.

If you don’t have Spotify, here are the songs. Thanks to everyone who participated.

  • Lord of All Hopefulness
  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow, (Israel Kamamakwiwo’ole’s version)
  • Three Wooden Crosses (Randy Travis)
  • How Can I Keep From Singing
  • You Light Up My Life
  • On Eagle’s Wings
  • He Touched Me
  • Because I’m Happy
  • Oceans
  • Psalm 139
  • Life is a Highway (Tom Cochrane)
  • Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer (Keith and Kaitlyn Getty)
  • Behold Our God
  • Perfect Day (Hoku)
  • Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah
This week, I’m curious to know what you’ve been reading. Please send me any book recommendations, and I’ll share the list at the end of the week: rector@stjamespotomac.org.
 
 
Sunday Prayer

Sunday Prayer
By Nadia Bolz-Weber, from The Corners, 3/22/2020

God who made us all,
Our healers are exhausted, God. Give rest to those who care for the sick.
Our children are bored, God. Grant extra creativity to their caregivers.
Our friends are lonely, God. Help us to reach out.
Our pastors are doing the best they can, God. Help them to know it is enough.
Our workers are jobless, God. Grant us the collective will to take care of them.
Our fellow parents are losing their minds, God. Bring unexpected play and joy and dance parties to all in need.
Our grocery workers are absorbing everyone’s anxiety, God. Protect them from us.
Our elderly are even more isolated God. Comfort them.
We haven’t don’t this before and we are scared, God.
I don’t even know what else to pray for.
Amen.
 
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