News for the Church, 4/22/22

Happy Earth Day to you, Church! 

Have you been outside yet today? Felt the breeze on your skin? Smelled the spring air? Listened for birds returning to our area? Looked for blooming flowers? It’s a great day to appreciate the beauty of the world we live in! 

Here’s the news for today: 

Rev. Shaun Whitehead will be preaching and leading worship this Sunday, April 24th. 

Men’s and Women’s Lunches

Next week, the men’s lunch will be taking place at Jake’s on Wednesday, April 27th at 11:30am and the women will meet on Thursday, April 28th at 11:30. Please let the Pickards’ know if you will be attending so they can make the reservation. 

A “Difficult Conversations Lab” 

Do you get frustrated trying to communicate with people, especially when it comes to sensitive or “hot button” topics? Today I am thrilled to let you know that we have an exciting opportunity to learn how to become better communicators– with our spouses, friends, “enemies,” neighbors, and family. 

Raamitha Pillay, a professor at SUNY Canton, has put together what she calls “a conversation lab” to help people practice skills to help navigate conversations that seem thorny, end up emotionally charged, or seem to have insurmountable barriers. And Dr. Pillay has offered to teach her lab to folks at our church, if we’re willing and interested! 

In this 6-8 week lab we will learn how to: 

• build courageous conversational space and develop trust
• listen and speak with empathy
• foster the art of patience and critical thinking before responding
• synthesize what we experience from the outside environment
• reflect before articulating or rephrasing our thoughts and feelings

Dr. Pillay is available to teach us beginning in mid-May to early June, and suggests that an 8-week class will be most effective, but if our summer schedules will not allow us to meet for 8 weeks, she can squeeze the content into 6 weeks. If you’re interested in signing up, these labs will meet IN-PERSON at church and require weekly participation (if you miss a week because of vacation, that is understandable.) 

The cost will be $10/session– so either $60 or $80 depending on how long the course runs. (For those who cannot afford the class, sliding scale pricing and/or full scholarships will be available.) 

If you’re interested, I’m requesting that you fill out the survey at this link to help us to figure out scheduling. Given everyone’s summer schedules, we need to decide when to begin the class, how long to run it, and when during the week to hold class. Here’s the link to the survey:

Also, if you would reply to my email here and let me know that you’re interested, I’d greatly appreciate it! (If you’re interested in the class but can’t meet this summer, I’d like to know that too.) 

Learning to Communicate

Dealing with conflict is never easy, is it? As followers of Jesus, our most important job in life is to lead our lives in love, and it’s quite possible that the most critical moments for doing this are when we are faced with relational struggle– when we can’t figure out how to agree, how to get along, or how to stay in relationship. 

Oftentimes, when we get caught in these troubling waters, we do what humans have been doing for thousands of years: we try to ignore the problem. We sweep things under the rug. But doing this doesn’t make whatever the problem might be go away. It just moves the trouble into the dark shadows, where the troubles have space to fester and multiply. 

But what if we learned how to manage conflict better? The love that Jesus asks us to live into is not just a warm, fuzzy feeling, friends. Learning to love is a skill that we can practice getting better at. Love, dear Hearts, is a muscle we can strengthen! 

Ephesians says:

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

~ Ephesians 4:31-32

Kindness, tenderness, forgiveness, gentleness, patience, love– all of these descriptions of Jesus’ Way of living are muscles that grow with training. And just like physical muscles need training, so do our spiritual muscles. I truly hope that you will consider joining us in strengthening our love muscles with Dr. Pillay’s conversation lab. 

Excited to begin spring training,
Pastor Katrina