Greetings on a sunny, winter day to you, Church!
How are you holding up with the cold this month? The other day I heard someone say, “We’re having a real, old fashioned winter this year!”
This is definitely the coldest it’s been in a few years. If you’re struggling right now, is there anything your church family can do to help?
Here’s the news for this week:
Headed to Beth-El Synagogue
Six of us are going to worship with the Beth-El congregation to offer our awareness, compassion, and care of our Jewish neighbors and friends in the wake of the latest anti-semitism in America.
Rev. Rich Hinkle to Preach
This Sunday Pastor Rich will be leading worship and preaching. He will be joined by our regular cantors.
February 6 (a week from this Sunday), I invite you to join in as we celebrate communion from home. Bring your toast and coffee, bread and wine, or chips and soda to worship with you and we will remember Jesus together.
Annual Congregational Meeting
Right after worship on Feb. 6, we will all be hopping on a zoom meeting together to hold our annual congregational meeting. In the next few days I’ll send out an email with the annual report and a zoom link for you to be able to participate.
Yesterday, for the first time since I’ve been pastor, I crossed the Community Center room and ventured through the door to experience Trillium Wellness Center for myself. Did you realize we have massage therapists, mental health therapists, a physical therapist, yoga classes, and tai chi classes happening in our church on a weekly basis? I knew all of this in my mind, but I’d never before experienced what that means in my body. Yesterday I had a massage with one of the massage therapists at Trillium, and I left not only feeling like a million bucks in my body, but with a sense of amazement and gratitude that all of this happens in our church building! We may not run any of these wellness opportunities, but creating access to them is a major gift we offer to the greater Potsdam community. Jesus was all about fostering wellness in both the lives of individuals and the greater community itself, and I am proud that we are part of this “Jesus mission.”
If you ever wanted to take a yoga class, have a massage, or learn more about the mental health therapists and the PT who work in our building, you can check out Trillium’s website.
Red Cross Blood Drives
This last Thursday our church also hosted space for a monthly blood drive, run by the Red Cross. Every time we host one I get a warm feeling in my heart and I find a special smile crossing my face. Here’s why:
Do you remember at the beginning of the pandemic, the Stauffer kids and I cracked open the history closet to see if we could learn anything about the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-1919 from our church records? Well, we not only learned that the flu epidemic shut down our church and the whole town of Potsdam for a while, but we learned that as a result of major cases of the flu sweeping through the military barracks at Clarkson, the minister of our church and a few session members took action to create a chapter of the Red Cross in the North Country.
After getting the chapter established, some of our church folks then petitioned national Red Cross doctors to travel to Potsdam to convince Army captains and school administrators to start quarantining sick soldiers and students. And it was through the Red Cross that folks in our church were able to help set up two field hospitals in town to care for sick people!
Fast forward 100 years, and our church is still part of the wellness efforts of the Red Cross in our county. This last Thursday, 33 units of blood were donated at the blood drive set up at our church. During the pandemic, the country is experiencing emergency blood shortages, and so, just like in 1918, our church is again (and still) helping to create healing and wellness for people in our local community.
How cool is that?!
Dear Hearts, thank you for being a church that cares about the wellbeing of people’s bodies and minds as much as their spirits. Today I am overflowing with gratitude, joy, and pride at being part of our church.
In its ancient language, Proverbs reminds us that our mental health is important to both our physical health and overall well-being. It says:
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”~Proverbs 17:22
Friends, right now is hard on everyone’s mental health. Whether you’re taking a yoga class, going to therapy, playing games around your dining room table, chatting with a friend on the phone, or going out on a ski in the woods, I pray that you’re making room to care for your mental health. However you create a “joyful heart” in your life… it’s good medicine for the mind, body, and soul.
May you know the wellness of God’s great shalom today,