Covid-19

Week Three Reflection

            I keep telling myself it’s going to get harder before it gets easier.  As this COVID 19 virus continues to steal our time together, and as deaths rise and we become increasingly worried and unsettled, perhaps we might remember a young girl who died 75 years ago and whose words when she was in hiding continue to inspire us. As the Nazis strengthened their grip on Amsterdam, and its Jewish population in 1942, 13 year old Anne Frank, her older sister Margot, their parents, and several others went into hiding. For over two years they lived in a secret annex of a house, where Anne wrote about her experiences and innermost feelings as they struggled to survive. Their hiding was successful until Aug. 4, 1944, when the German secret state police discovered and arrested them all. Everyone except for Anne’s father died in concentration camps.  The pages of Anne’s diary were discovered later and printed after the end of WWII, a short book I remember inspiring me first in high school, The Diary of Anne Frank.  The family lived in that secluded and likely claustrophobic space for over two years, and still this young teenager found ways to keep her spirit focused on the good rather than on the evil causing their life-threatening difficulty.

            May we remember her spirit as we struggle in these days, wondering when our own seclusion will end and when we can get back to worshipping together, visiting extended family and friends, traveling safely, and participating in all the other activities we enjoy and took for granted before now.  Below are some of Anne Frank’s quotes that we might take with us this week.  Remember that she was in a forced seclusion when she wrote these words, and also that she did not know how or whether she and or family would survive.

“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news.  The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can live! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!”

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”

“I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever-approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions, and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.”

“As long as this exists, this sunshine and this cloudless sky, and as long as I can enjoy it, how can I be sad?”

“Those who have courage and faith shall never perish in misery.”

“Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.”

We don’t know how long this quarantine will last, but like young Anne Frank, may we find beauty and gratitude in the life that surrounds us, and may we be present for each other in ways that are safe during this virus. We need all of us as we get through this, staying together by staying apart!

If you would like to be put on our email list, please send your request to Debbie at droberts8487@gmail.com.   

Peacefully, Simply, Together,
Debbie

Weekly Check In

            Please let me or Daniel know if you would like to be added to our check-in list for our Ellisforde and Whitestone communities.  We will call each other every Tuesday and Friday mornings to see how things are going and what needs are in front of us.  If there are immediate needs you learn about, please call me (509-486-2192).  It is never too late to add your name!

Future Worship for Ellisforde and Whitestone

            Daniel and I have been talking about a joint Easter service for our two churches that you can link into either online through your email, or calling in by phone.  Next week I will have more details about that, as well as some ideas for a “Together Alone Love Feast” on Maundy Thursday, April 9.  Daniel also offers a Whitestone service each Sunday at 9:15 am which any of us can link into.  The link is https://zoom.us/j/236009838  (follow instructions).  The number to call is 1-253-214-8782, then enter 236 009 838# when prompted, then # again

—– back-up option: call 1-301-715-8592, then enter 236 009 838# when prompted, then # again

Finances at Ellisforde

            Because we are not meeting on Sundays we must find creative ways to meet our expense needs at Ellisforde, and we are grateful for the generous donations that came in last week!  As a reminder, here are several ideas for you to keep up your giving to the church while we are not able to meet to worship together:  1) send a check or money order to our treasurer, Miriam Caddy, 16 Orchard Loop S., Tonasket, WA 98855; 2) send a check or money order to the church and it will be delivered to Miriam. Send it to Ellisforde Church of the Brethren, 32116 Highway 97, Tonasket, WA 98855; 3) for anonymous donations put cash in a sealed envelope and take it to the church to slide under the office door where it will be picked up and delivered to Miriam.  Thank you for continuing to support our ministry in these challenging times! 

Leadership Team and Ministry Support Team meetings

            These groups have agreed to meet every two weeks during our regular worship time, for an opportunity to stay connected, to read a scripture and pray together, to update ourselves on the needs of the church, and to share creative ideas for our ongoing work and ministry while we are not able to meet.  Our next meeting is April 5, Palm Sunday, at 10:45 am, through Zoom.  Daniel will send out information a few days before the meeting, about how to connect to the meeting by computer or by phone.  All are welcome to join us for these meetings. Please email Debbie if you would like to be informed about linking in.


Week Two Reflection

I have a favorite writer, by the name of Wendell Berry, who writes essays, novels, short stories, and poetry.  He’s also an environmental activist and especially I think he sees himself as a farmer in Kentucky. He stands for local culture, for small family farms, and for an economic and political order that is modest and which should take its sense of right and wrong from the ground beneath our feet and from our connectedness rather than from our divisions . 

As most of us reading this live in a rural setting as he does, we know something about the comfort of trees and rivers and quiet spaces. Today we need those places that calm us, where we can allow hope in, rather than confusion, fear and hopelessness.  So breathe in Berry’s words and take heart as we continue to focus on community in these challenging times.

“I Go Among Trees.” 

I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
where I left them, asleep like cattle.
Then what is afraid of me comes
and lives a while in my sight.
What it fears in me leaves me,
and the fear of me leaves it.
It sings, and I hear its song.

Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
and the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.
After days of labor,
mute in my consternations,
I hear my song at last,
and I sing it. As we sing,
the day turns, the trees move.

As we wait during this Lenten season and also during this season of illness and our unknown future, and as we consider the roughage we need to get past so that our waiting is wise and hopeful waiting, I encourage you to read this poem and consider the things that bring you hope.  Then, as we move through Lent and as we get through this virus together, staying apart physically but staying close in spirit through prayer and through our telephones and computers, we will hear our song and sing it.  And as we sing, the days keep turning, the trees keep moving.  And we find there are spaces in which to rejoice.

Weekly Check In

            Please let me know if you would like to be added to our check-in list for our Ellisforde and Whitestone communities.  We will call each other every Tuesday and Friday mornings to see how things are going and what needs are in front of us.  If there are immediate needs you learn about, please call me (509-486-2192).  The first calls begin tomorrow and it is never too late to add your name!

Finances at Ellisforde

Because we are not meeting on Sundays we need to find creative ways to meet our expense needs at Ellisforde.  Here are several ideas for you to keep up your giving to the church in these challenging times:  
1) send a check or money order to our treasurer, Miriam Caddy, 16 Orchard Loop S., Tonasket, WA 98855;
2) send a check or money order to the church and it will be delivered to Miriam. Send it to Ellisforde Church of the Brethren, 32116 Highway 97, Tonasket, WA 98855;
3) for anonymous donations put cash in a sealed envelope and take it to the church to slide under the office door where it will be picked up and delivered to Miriam.  

Thank you for continuing to support our ministry while we are not meeting in person.  The Leadership Team has asked that we put out a weekly update of incoming offerings and expenses.

Leadership Team and Ministry Support Team meetings

            These groups have agreed to meet every two weeks during our regular worship time, for an opportunity to stay connected, to read a scripture and pray together, to update ourselves on the needs of the church, and to share creative ideas for our ongoing work and ministry while we are not able to meet.  Our next meeting is April 5, Palm Sunday, at 10:45 am, through Zoom.  Daniel will send out information a few days before the meeting, about how to connect to the meeting by computer or by phone.

May we all stay well, and stay apart!
Peacefully, simply, together,

Debbie


Week 1 Reflection

This Sunday is the fourth Sunday in Lent and the scripture passages speak in dichotomies – either/or – yet in Jesus’ case, he often rejects the two choices and offers another of his own (John 9: 1-41).

As we move deeper into this pandemic, we find our choices seem to change daily and we often don’t know who to trust for advice.  My suggestion is that we keep WHO (world health organization) and CDC (center for disease control) advice in view as we also trust that God is with us in these difficult times.

Since our worship service will be on hold for the foreseeable future, you might want to plug into the Church of the Brethren online congregational worship service, Living Stream, each Sunday at 5:00pm.  Up until recently Daniel Klayton was part of the ministry team for Living Stream.  You can find the service online at www.LivingStreamCOB.org.

Another idea to keep us connected is to begin a twice-weekly phone check-in.  If you would like to be included in this, please let me know by responding to this email and I will put you on the list.  This group will include both Whitestone and Ellisforde folks and will consist of a phone call two days each week to let each other know we are fine (or not) and to share greetings as well as any needs that might come up.  If you know someone who doesn’t use email whom you think would like to be included, please let me know their contact information.

My prayer for all of us is that we stay well and follow the instructions that our state and our community agencies encourage, which at this point is to maintain distance from each other, whether or not we show symptoms of COVID-19.  As health professionals are urging, this practice is the only way to stop the spread of this virus.

Each week I will email with news and reflections, as I pray for the health and safety of us all.

In community with you, Peacefully, Simply, Together,

Debbie