Covid-19 Reflections

August 10th, 2020 Reflection

For the month of August, we have decided to suspend our worship and move back into these weekly reflections/check-ins again.  We will revisit this decision the first week of September, to see whether it is safe to begin in-person worship again.  The way the virus is exploding across the U.S., including in Okanogan County, it may be a stretch to imagine we can meet for worship next month.  Even though we have been taking precautions, we also want to be a witness of safety to our community neighbors and feel the best route to do this is to refrain from in-person gatherings.  So we’ll continue to hold one another in prayer from a distance, and connect by phone and by porch visits (with masks).  Each Monday I will deliver these reflections to those who don’t use email.  Please let me know if you think of persons who would like a delivery, and if you have news to share about people to keep in our prayers.

 Reflection  

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of God in heaven; for God makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.”   from Matthew 5

This text is part of Jesus’ sermon on the mount, and in these verses we read that God is particularly concerned about the well-being of those who are often cast aside, and I mean cast aside to the extent that we consider them our enemies.  This month marks the 75th anniversary of the United States dropping the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which ended WWII. Three years earlier and within 2 months after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt authorized the use of relocation camps for any person of Japanese descent from the West coast.  Roosevelt’s order is now considered one of the most flagrant violations of civil liberties in American history; it was a racist order that affected about 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry , those who were as little as 1/16 Japanese, even orphaned infants with perhaps “one drop of Japanese blood.”

As we remember with remorse our fear that led to internment camps, as well as the dropping of the atomic bombs and their aftermath of devastation, let us also recall a man of Japanese descent named Wally Bordeaux, who made his home in Tonasket during WWII.  Wally Bordeaux was not his real name but the name he took.  The story is that when he heard rumors about the possibility of the government rounding up Japanese Americans on the West coast, he abruptly left his life in Seattle and moved his family east of the mountains, all the way up the valley to Tonasket, because on the east side of the Cascades any place west of the Columbia River was unsafe. So if you were of Japanese descent and you lived in Wenatchee, you could be sent to an Internment Camp as Wenatchee is on the west side of the Columbia, but if you lived in East Wenatchee you didn’t have to worry because it’s on the east side of the Columbia.  Wally changed his name so there would be no suspicion, and because he looked very Mediterranean he got away with it. I’m glad he did.  He owned a very successful machine shop in Tonasket and he was a favorite business man here until he died in the 1980s.  No one I have spoken with in our town seemed to have known at the time that Wally was Japanese American, though in the present many have heard his story.  I like to think that if our parents and friends at Ellisforde and Whitestone in the 1940s had known what Wally was facing, that they would have come to his aid somehow. 

What gives me hope is for us to take this Matthew 5 passage to heart, and no matter how scared we are, no matter how worried one person or a group of persons makes us, no matter how pious we feel and no matter how diligently, how absolutely we know that our position is the right one, still, we take our concerns to God in prayer.  If someone needs a friend, we be their friend.  If they need a kind word, we offer a kind word.  If they need shelter, we give them shelter.  That our prayers bring out our true selves, our God-created selves.  It doesn’t mean we don’t stand up to hatred and violence.  It means we prepare ourselves before we respond and we keep within us Jesus’ spirit of generosity and compassion as we’re confronting the opposite around us.

May our small community always respond to fear by taking heart, praying together, and allowing our breathing to slow as we’re guided to make room for more conversation, compassion, and gratitude.

With you peacefully, simply, together,           
Debbie

Finances at Ellisforde

As we know, finances were difficult at Ellisforde during our last time apart, as we are more prone to offer financial gifts when we meet together and collect the offering, than when we are apart and have to depend on offerings coming through the mail or being left under the church office door. So we are grateful for your donations as you continue to support our ministry in whatever creative way you can during these challenging times! Please prayerfully consider what you can give. Remember that you can keep up with your giving by: 1) sending a check or money order to our treasurer, Miriam Caddy, 16 Orchard Loop S., Tonasket, WA 98855; 2) sending a check or money order to Ellisforde Church of the Brethren, 32116 Highway 97, Tonasket, WA 98855; 3) for anonymous donations, putting 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 again for your financial support!

New Book Study on Racism beginning in September

A group of us met for 6 weeks to study the book, White Fragility: Why it’s so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism, by Robin Di Angelo.  Our conversations were rich and participants included Church of the Brethren friends and others outside our tradition. We have decided to continue our conversations about race with a new book by Isabel Wilkerson, Caste: the Origins of our Discontents.We will begin in mid September. You can order the book through Amazon and other outlets.  It’s also available as an ebook and on kindle.  Please let me know if you’re interested. I will send out the zoom link as our meeting date gets closer.

Here is a brief blurb about her book:
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson says racism is an insufficient term for the systemic oppression of Black people in America. Instead, she prefers to refer to America as having a “caste” system. She describes caste an artificial hierarchy that helps determine standing and respect, assumptions of beauty and competence, and even who gets benefit of the doubt and access to resources. She states, “Caste is the term that is more precise [than race]; it is more comprehensive, and it gets at the underlying infrastructure that often we cannot see, but that is there undergirding much of the inequality and injustices and disparities that we live with in this country.”

In our Prayers
Dale Swedberg as he continues to deal with the pain accompanying his knee replacement surgery.
Miriam Caddy as she waits for more testing and procedures to help with her back pain.
Cara Johnson and her mother, Eleanor as Eleanor’s continues to decline.
Kay Sibley as she and Mike rejoice in a successful cardioversion for her last week.
Ralph and Leona Longenecker as they are grappling with some life changes.
Others?  Please let Debbie know.


Week 16 Reflection

One of the lectionary readings for yesterday was from the Hebrew book of Jeremiah, and Jeremiah’s response to one of the court prophets, named Hananiah, who assured the king that all was well when Babylonia had conquered the kingdom of Judah and those in Jerusalem were safe for the time being, but before long would be exiled from Judah and moved to Babylonia.  So really things were far from well.  Hananiah was a prophet paid by the king and so prophesied according to what the king expected.  Jeremiah, on the other hand, was not a paid prophet and his words came from what Yahweh instructed him to tell his people.    

But whom do we believe when prophets tell us different things?  That is the question that comes up for me in this reading: how do we know truth from falsehood?  We have Hananiah’s words on the one hand, and Jeremiah’s on the other. History will eventually show us what’s true and what’s false, but as we’re living in the midst of different accounts and directives, how do we know whom we should believe?  In the case of the people of Judah living in Jerusalem shortly before the fall of their city, how would they know which prophet was really speaking the truth?

Jeremiah encouraged the people to discern truth from falsehood in all that surrounded them – in the unfair labor practices of the king while the king’s prophets were assuring them everything was fine; in Judah’s national overthrow by Babylonia, even though Babylonia allowed the court system in the city of Jerusalem to continue (for the time being), while the king’s prophets were assuring them everything was fine; in the royal court’s turning a blind eye to what it took to lead with righteousness and mercy as the court’s prophets were assuring them everything was fine.

In hindsight, one of the problems we see with Judah is that they had lost their way when it came to living out discernment.  We have a similar problem presently.  We react quickly to what we hear on either side of issues that are in front of us.  We decide whose side we’re on, and then we accuse the other side of being out of sync with reality, and we also often assume God is on our side.  The same was true with the leadership of Judah.  Hananiah used the common prophetic formula, “Thus says the Lord,” as if God was speaking through him.  So when Hananiah would say, “Thus says the Lord,” and then talk about everything being fine, the people would be confused as they recognized the prophetic formula but also didn’t trust that everything was actually fine.  Jeremiah’s response to Hananiah regarding everything being fine was basically, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Two questions the people of Judah might have asked regarding whether a prophet was false or truly prophetic was: 1) Were they paid or not, by the king? and 2) Did their words mirror the policies of the ruling body?  

In our time, Jeremiah’s overall message still holds, be discerning, practice justice, see if the results of the promise pan out.  If leaders say, “Things are fine, don’t worry!” we ask ourselves, well, are they fine?  And we also ask, how is the one promising that things are fine, benefitting in saying that things are fine?  Then we take time to discern whether or not everything’s fine like they say, by doing our homework – are the least of these, that is, the ones who are suffering the most, saying everything’s fine?  We also take time to sit in the presence of the holy and listen to what God’s spirit is saying to us.  Neither of these are easy actions, but they are important actions.  They take time because to find out the perspective of the most vulnerable we have to talk to the most vulnerable and then those who are most vulnerable have to trust that we’re listening to them.  The last kings of Judah and their prophets certainly didn’t do that.  It takes time to do that, to be in someone’s presence and convince them that you are truly concerned, that their concerns have now become your concerns.  Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet; he suffered as his people suffered.  The court prophets didn’t. It also takes time to sit in God’s presence, a commitment to free ourselves of the pressures around us so we can truly hear God’s voice.  We are not very good at either of those actions – listening, nor sitting in God’s presence. Jeremiah is a good prophet to remind us to get our priorities straight, especially in our time when we often don’t know what or whom to believe.  If we follow his directives and his example, we won’t accept news that isn’t well researched, even if it is good news.  We’ll ask who’s profiting from the good news. We’ll listen to those who are most vulnerable.  And we’ll make space in our lives to listen to the voice of the Spirit within us.  These things take time, so we mustn’t just jump in, which we’re prone to do.  In these ways we’ll be walking with Jeremiah, which isn’t always the most popular path, but it is the more discerning path.  And we certainly need discernment, in our time and in every time.

In community with you peacefully, simply, together,

Debbie

Weekly Check In and news about Worship at Church

We are planning to meet for worship in person in July!  Beginning July 12, we will have our first outdoor worship on the lawn behind the church.  In order for us to be successful in containing the virus (which could well be with us for the next year!) we will all wear face masks and practice distancing from each other. There will be extra masks available for those who don’t have their own, and there will also be hand sanitizer present. The chairs will be arranged to help us, and we will not shake hands nor hug.  But we will be so happy to be together again and work to normalize what doesn’t seem normal so we can be safe while being together.  The virus is surging in our county so we must meet with the above guidelines in place, in order to keep each other safe and well.  If you can help set up and monitor safety guidelines, please let Debbie know.

In the meantime, we will continue to check in with each other weekly, some twice a week and others once a week.  Be sure and let your caller know what you would prefer. If there are immediate needs you learn about or you would like a porch visit, please call me (509-486-2192) and I’ll stop by.

Our last Reflection/Check-In on a Weekly Basis

This will be the last time I write a weekly reflection for the time being, as we will meet together for worship on July 12.  I plan to take a vacation week next week so will not offer another Reflection/Check-In before our worship outside at the church.  I will, however, offer reflections and check-ins every other month to keep the momentum of this idea going.  Each reflection will also feature someone’s story about how they are handling this time of staying apart.  If you would like to be added to my list, let me know!  The next reflection will be in August.

Finances at Ellisforde

As we know, finances have been difficult at Ellisforde during our time apart, as we are more prone to offer financial gifts when we meet together and collect the offering, than when we are apart and have to depend on offerings coming through the mail or being left under the church office door. So we are grateful for your donations as you continue to support our ministry in whatever creative way you can during these challenging times! Please prayerfully consider what you can give. Remember that you can keep up with your giving by: 1) sending a check or money order to our treasurer, Miriam Caddy, 16 Orchard Loop S., Tonasket, WA 98855; 2) sending a check or money order to Ellisforde Church of the Brethren, 32116 Highway 97, Tonasket, WA 98855; 3) for anonymous donations, putting 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 again for your financial support!

New Book Study on Racism beginning July 2

For those who are interested, join a zoom conversation each Thursday in July, from 7-8pm, about the book White Fragility: Why it’s so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism.  You can order the book through Amazon and other outlets.  It’s also available as an ebook and on kindle.  Our first session is this Thursday, July 2, at 7pm. Please let me know if you’re interested.The zoom link is https://zoom.us/j/236009838       By phone, call 1-301-715-8592, then enter 236 009 838# when prompted, then # again.

In our Prayers
Bill Peterson as he continues to live at home alone and is vulnerable to falls, etc.
Dale Swedberg as he recuperates from knee replacement surgery and deals with the pain accompanying recovery .
Wayne Verbeck as he prepares for knee replacement surgery and continues to be grateful for help in his garden.
Mike Sibley as he recovers from the loss of fingers in a table saw accident
Miriam Caddy as she waits for much needed back surgery.
Ben Hylton’s family at his passing.
Jeffrey Ward (Jennifer Ward’s brother), who continues to recover from a serious head and neck injury.  His family is working to get him into a brain injury center in Toronto when there is an opening, and they feel both emotional and hopeful.
Linda Black and siblings, as they continue to process and heal from the death of their mother, Erma.
David Silvercrow, who continues to gain strength after his hospitalization and who appreciates our prayers.
Pat Hiaght, the mother of Effie Lea’s housekeeper, suffering with multiple issues and hospitalized last week.
Others?  Let Debbie know.


Week 15 Reflection

We have arrived at our 15th week of being church away from church, and in the midst of the tensions of the virus itself, as well as living among protests and counter protests regarding whose lives matter and how much (we just passed gay pride week – honoring LGBTQ folks – as well as Juneteenth – commemorating Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation outlawing slavery), this is a good time to remind ourselves that we are an historic peace church.  Along with the Quakers and Mennonites, the Church of the Brethren has historically disagreed with the idea that the mightier we are, the safer we will be, that the bigger and tougher we look, the less anyone will want to mess with us.  When I was 18, I first learned of the Church of the Brethren as I heard the words ‘peace’ and ‘Jesus’ together in the same sentence.  I remember feeling like I had come home.

            Remember the story of God calling Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, in the Hebrew book of Genesis?  The story goes that Abraham was called to kill Isaac as a sacrifice to God, and Abraham was willing to do so.  But at the last minute a ram appeared on the scene and God told Abraham to kill the ram and use that for his sacrifice instead of offering Isaac.  The most disturbing part of the story is not that it looks like Isaac was about to die, but that it is Isaac’s own father, Abraham, who was willing to kill him.  I think many of us who read that story struggle with God’s command, and we especially struggle with Abraham’s obedience.  Why would he be willing to kill his own son?

            But there are other questions this Genesis story raises as we read it in the present.  In the history of our nation, we have often sent our young men into war, and parents have expected that their sons be willing to give their lives if necessary, in service to their country.  Why is it we are appalled that Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son, yet many feel it’s normal for their own children to be sacrificed for our nation in the name of war?  Is it the same strain of acquiescence whereby we didn’t rise up when, in 2014, like George Floyd, Eric Garner also said, “I can’t breathe” until he died, when he was arrested and put in a choke hold for allegedly selling single cigarettes from packs without tax stamps? Over the years and decades, and of course much longer, when violence has been normalized both in the way we prepare for war, as well as in the way we treat various groups of people, the response has often been sadness and acceptance at the same time.  “This is just the way things are,” goes the explanation.

Well no matter how much violence and eye-for-an-eye behavior is usual in our world, the Church of the Brethren has a long history of being unusual.  Historically we have been abnormal when it comes to our response to war, and hopefully as present events unfold and we continue learning the things that make for peace, we will be as bold when we see violence done to another (be it physical or psychological).  Historically we have not been willing to believe we can end violence by going to war against our enemies.  May we continue this belief in the present, and then add to it – by continuing to learn what it means to stand up for everyone’s worth and dignity; by being courageous when we hear or witness those around us offering judgment and derision; by being creative and compassionate as was Jesus throughout his ministry when he named evil for what it was and demanded good instead; and finally, by being clear witnesses that our denominational logo, “peacefully, simply, together,” is a lifestyle as well as a description.

In community with you in the journey of that lifestyle – peacefully, simply, together,

Debbie

Weekly Check In and news about Worship at Church

We are planning to meet for worship in person in July!  Beginning July 12, we will have our first outdoor worship on the lawn behind the church.  In order for us to be successful in containing the virus (which could well be with us for the next year!) we will all wear face masks and practice distancing from each other. There will be extra masks available for those who don’t have their own, and there will also be hand sanitizer present. The chairs will be arranged to help us, and we will not shake hands nor hug.  But we will be so happy to be together again and work to normalize what doesn’t seem normal so we can be safe while being together.  The virus is surging in our county so we must meet with the above guidelines in place, in order to keep each other safe and well.

In the meantime, we will continue to check in with each other weekly, some twice a week and others once a week.  Be sure and let your caller know what you would prefer. If there are immediate needs you learn about or you would like a porch visit, please call me (509-486-2192) and I’ll stop by.

Worship by Zoom

Our last worship service by zoom will be this coming Sunday, June 28th.  I will be leading us and offering the message.  I have passed out cards of instructions for a telephone connection to the service, for those of you who can’t access the computer link.  Let me know if you would like help with that (by responding to this this email or calling me at 509-486-2192); it’s easy to practice before the service next Sunday if you would like.  We will meet for worship by zoom at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, July 12.  Daniel will continue to offer zoom services for Whitestone if you would like to connect to those in the following weeks.

I will send you the zoom link and phone call-in number toward the end of this week.

Finances at Ellisforde

We are grateful for your donations as you continue to support our ministry in whatever creative way you can during these challenging times! Please prayerfully consider what you can give as we grapple with getting our donations to our treasurer during a time when we are not meeting together to worship at the church. Remember that you can keep up with your giving by: 1) sending a check or money order to our treasurer, Miriam Caddy, 16 Orchard Loop S., Tonasket, WA 98855; 2) sending a check or money order to Ellisforde Church of the Brethren, 32116 Highway 97, Tonasket, WA 98855; 3) for anonymous donations, putting 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 again for your financial support!

New Book Study on Racism beginning July 2

For those who are interested, join a zoom conversation each Thursday in July, from 7-8pm, about the book White Fragility: Why it’s so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism.  You can order the book through Amazon and other outlets.  It’s also available as an ebook and on kindle.  Please let me know if you’re interestedI will send the zoom link later.

In our Prayers

Bill Peterson as he continues to live at home alone and is vulnerable to falls, etc.
Dale Swedberg as he recuperates from knee replacement surgery and deals with the pain accompanying recovery .
Wayne Verbeck as he prepares for knee replacement surgery and continues to be grateful for help in his garden.
Mike Sibley as he recovers from the loss of fingers in a table saw accident Miriam Caddy as she waits for much needed back surgery.
Ben Hylton’s family at his passing.
Jeffrey Ward (Jennifer Ward’s brother), who continues to recover from a serious head and neck injury.  His family is working to get him into a brain injury center in Toronto when there is an opening, and they feel both emotional and hopeful about that.
Linda Black and siblings, as they continue to process and heal from the death of their mother, Erma.
David Silvercrow, who continues to gain strength after his hospitalization and who appreciates our prayers.
Others?  Let Debbie know.


Week 14 Reflection

When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.        Matthew 9: 36

            As many of you know, I generally do not feel comfortable with an image of the pastor as shepherd, and her congregation as sheep.  For one thing I raise goats and goats have gotten a bad rap in the gospels as they’ve been compared to sheep (i.e. sheep assigned to the right hand of God, inheriting the kingdom, while goats are assigned to the left, accursed and destined for eternal fire).  Sheep are better followers than goats, and what comes to mind is the sometimes annoying but always clever habit goats have, to find ever more creative ways of getting what they want.  Sheep, not so much (you who raise sheep might disagree!).  So when I hear well meaning guidelines for pastors to be shepherds to their flock (of sheep), my mind sometimes conjures up congregations who want a pastoral presence in the spirit of not only guiding, but thinking for them.  There are times when a shepherding presence is indeed helpful – in times of crisis, loss, and grief. But for the most part it’s not helpful to me to imagine that in the every day functions of the church, it’s the pastor who, as shepherd, leads their sheep because the sheep aren’t capable of being leaders nor of thinking for themselves.  Fortunately this passage in chapter 9 doesn’t carry that message (even though it’s the same gospel that later carries the metaphor of goats as a bad example of the faithful while the image of sheep is a good example).  Rather, this passage in chapter 9 refers to shepherding as a role each of us is called into when we see people so trampled upon they can’t get up without assistance.  In Matthew’s time the downtrodden were the blind, the lame, women, those possessed with spirits controlling them, those who were disfigured in mind or body, anyone who didn’t, or couldn’t, conform to the expectations and laws of religion and state and thus were compelled to live on the edge of society. Like in our own time, first century Palestine also ridiculed those from outside the dominant culture, those from different religious perspectives, and those whose skin tone put them in a different ethnic category than the status quo.

            For me, this chapter redeems the image of shepherd because Jesus as shepherd meant that Jesus healed when he was told by the authorities not to.  He stopped to talk when the expectation was to just keep going.  He asked questions and showed those who were ostracized that their voice was as important as anyone else’s, when the tradition said their voice meant nothing.  He stood up for those who were hurting, regardless of the consequences.  Early in the next chapter Jesus told his disciples to go to the lost sheep of Israel because there was suffering there.  In so many words he said to them, “heal them, care for them, be the shepherd they need because they are ignored and demeaned.”

            The lesson for us in this reading is that we as Jesus disciples need the same instruction his disciples needed, to actively respond to the suffering around us.  We have the golden rule, to treat others as we would want to be treated.  But that’s the beginning of the lesson, not the end of it.  Add courage to fair treatment, which means we denounce any treatment that doesn’t lift up everyone as equally deserving of honor and respect.  So if we see people treating or talking about others in ways that shame and degrade, we step in.  We might be ready to treat others as we want to be treated, but are we ready to stand against customs and attitudes that demean and belittle, even if we aren’t the ones doing it?  Can we confess that we come with assumptions we don’t know we have, we pass people by and don’t realize we’re doing it, and we have much to learn from mistakes that we aren’t aware we’ve made?  This is what Jesus instructed as he himself healed, and as he called his disciples to be shepherds in a hurting world.

In community with you, peacefully, simply, together,

Debbie

Weekly Check In

We are now in our 14th week of keeping our distance! How are we holding up? How are YOU doing in your isolated or semi-isolated space?  We will continue to check in with each other weekly, some twice a week and others once a week.  Be sure and let your caller know what you would prefer. If there are immediate needs you learn about or you would like a porch visit, please call me (509-486-2192) and I’ll stop by.

Worship by Zoom

Our worship schedule for the rest of the month of June is as follows:
June 21:  Daniel will lead worship and offer the message
June 28:  Debbie will lead worship and offer the message.

The services will begin at 9:30 am  and we will send you the zoom link and phone call-in number each week before the service.

In July, our Leadership Team will revisit possibility of meeting for outside worship.  The upsurge in the number of cases from the protests across the country (sparked by the brutal death of George Floyd and so many others), as well as people being tired of the quarantine, has begun to hit us here in the north county.  Though it’s been a long haul for everyone, may we be cautious as we go out – use masks; keep distance between yourself and others.  We all look forward to being together again in person, but until it is safe to do so, may we be patient and wise.

Finances at Ellisforde

We are grateful for your donations as you continue to support our ministry in whatever creative way you can during these challenging times! We have received very little in June so far. Please prayerfully consider what you can give as we grapple with getting our donations to our treasurer during a time when we are not meeting together to worship at the church. (If you would like to join the Sunday zoom service by computer or by phone and can’t figure out how, let me know and I will assist you.) Remember that you can keep up with your giving by: 1) sending a check or money order to our treasurer, Miriam Caddy, 16 Orchard Loop S., Tonasket, WA 98855; 2) sending a check or money order to Ellisforde Church of the Brethren, 32116 Highway 97, Tonasket, WA 98855; 3) for anonymous donations, putting 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 again for your financial support!

New Book Study on Racism beginning July 2

For those who are interested, join a zoom conversation each Thursday in July, from 7-8pm, about the book White Fragility: Why it’s so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism.  The book is back ordered from many dealers, which is why we’re waiting until July to meet so order it soon.  It is available now on Kindle, as an audio book, and as an ebook. Please let me know if you’re interested.  We will beginour discussion Thursday, July 2, at 7:00 p.m. I will send the zoom link later.

In our Prayers

Bill Peterson as he continues to live at home alone and is vulnerable to falls, etc.
Dale Swedberg as he recuperates from knee replacement surgery and deals with the pain accompanying recovery .
Wayne Verbeck as he prepares for knee replacement surgery and continues to be grateful for help in his garden.
Mike Sibley as he recovers from the loss of fingers in a table saw accident
Miriam Caddy as she waits for much needed back surgery.
Ben Hylton’s family at his passing.
Jeffrey Ward (Jennifer Ward’s brother), who continues to recover from a serious head and neck injury.  His family is working to get him into a brain injury center in Toronto when there is an opening, and they feel both emotional and hopeful about that.
Linda Black and siblings, as they continue to process and heal from the death of their mother, Erma.
David Silvercrow, who continues to gain strength after his hospitalization and who appreciates our prayers.
Others?  Let Debbie know.


Week 13 Reflection

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because God has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Luke 4:18

In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. 
Matthew 7: 12

Love your neighbor as yourself.                                                                       
Mark 12: 31

We just hung our first Black Lives Matter sign on our fence in front of our house and in view of the highway. It’s not a huge, in-your-face sign, but it still makes me a little nervous that it that might trigger emotional and even angry responses.  We hope it might encourage some dialogue and hope also.  We decided to hang it up because we in the church cannot not ignore the Black Lives Matter movement, in the beginning of its third week with marches and protests across America, reminding us that in the United States we have policies and attitudes that assume white people matter more than black and brown people.  The response that is sometimes returned from a “black lives matter” chant is “all lives matter.”  Of course this is true.  Of course Jesus cared about all lives.  At the same time, there was a reason when Jesus preached in his home temple about bringing good news to the poor, proclaiming release to the captives, and letting the oppressed go free, he didn’t mentioned the rich, the prison owners, and the oppressors in his declaration of liberty.  All lives cannot matter if we aren’t willing to lift up black lives, or any life that has been trodden upon, because we know through Jesus’ life and ministry that God dwells with those who suffer most, and that we are called to take better care of ‘the least of these,’ at the very least as well as we take of ourselves.  By insisting on the intrinsic worth of all people, Jesus modeled for us how God loves justly, and how we as God’s disciples must also love justly and love publicly in a nation of inequality.

These might be difficult words to hear for some of us who long for the church to stay out of politics.  But the fact is that Jesus was as enmeshed in politics as anyone.  From the way tax collectors robbed people of their livelihood, to the stiff insistence of the pharisees that religion was a matter of law and rules more than religion was about attending to the needs of the most vulnerable, to the voice of Rome which silenced any who stood up to its ruthless domination, Jesus simply went about his work of healing and proclaiming liberty for the captives; he refused to be silent.  In our time, the way and the frequency of black lives being taken is a testament, again and again and again, to an assumption that not all are created in the image of God.  But we know better.  As we profess belief in the words of Jesus in the quotes from Matthew, and from Mark, and from Luke, we must also profess that there is a particular privilege in silence.  It is past time to stand with brothers and sisters who are black and who suffer enormously in our cities and towns and say, “In the name of God and of Christ, enough! Black lives do matter!”

Some of us have appreciated a six-week book study about Anne Frank’s family in hiding during Nazi Germany, connecting and learning from their frustrations as we deal with our own during the quarantine.  We have decided to continue with a new book study about racism and how the church might respond.  Let me know if you are interested in joining us.  The book we will read is called White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism, by Robin DiAngelo.

In community with you, peacefully, simply, together,

Debbie

Weekly Check In

We are now in our 13th week of keeping our distance! How are we holding up? How are YOU doing in your isolated or semi-isolated space?  We will continue to check in with each other weekly, some twice a week and others once a week.  Be sure and let your caller know what you would prefer. If there are immediate needs you learn about or you would like a porch visit, please call me (509-486-2192) and I’ll stop by.

Worship by Zoom

Our worship schedule for the month of June is as follows:
June 7 and 21:  Daniel will lead worship and offer the message
June 14:  Daniel with lead worship and Daniel and Debbie will offer the message
June 28:  Debbie will lead worship and offer the message.

The services will begin at 9:30 am and we will send you the zoom link and phone call-in number each week before the service.

Our denomination had an open zoom meeting last week to talk about the possibility of some churches beginning to worship outdoors.  An expert was on the call who suggested it was too soon to be thinking about getting together for worship, even outdoors.  Our Leadership Team decided to wait and revisit this issue at the beginning of July.  We expect an upsurge in the number of cases from the protests across the country (sparked by the brutal death of George Floyd and so many others), and we also note that the cases are rising in the south end of our county.  So we will continue what we’re doing for the rest of this month and possibly July.  It’s a long haul for everyone, so please let’s keep each other informed on how we can all be helpful as we continue staying apart.

Finances at Ellisforde

We are grateful for your donations as you continue to support our ministry in whatever creative way you can during these challenging times! We reached our goal for May and appreciate the last week’s donations to help us catch up!  Please prayerfully consider what you can give as we grapple with getting our donations to our treasurer during a time when we are not meeting together to worship at the church. (If you would like to join the Sunday zoom service by computer or by phone and can’t figure out how, let me know and I will assist you.) Remember that you can keep up with your giving by: 1) sending a check or money order to our treasurer, Miriam Caddy, 16 Orchard Loop S., Tonasket, WA 98855; 2) sending a check or money order to Ellisforde Church of the Brethren, 32116 Highway 97, Tonasket, WA 98855; 3) for anonymous donations, putting 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 again for your financial support!

In our Prayers

Bill Peterson as he continues to live at home alone and is vulnerable to falls, etc.
Dale Swedberg as he recuperates from knee replacement surgery and deals with the pain accompanying recovery .
Wayne Verbeck as he prepares for knee replacement surgery and continues to be grateful for help in his garden.
Mike Sibley as he recovers from the loss of fingers in a table saw accident
Miriam Caddy as she waits for much needed back surgery.
Ben Hylton’s family at his passing last week.
Jeffrey Ward (Jennifer Ward’s brother), who continues to recover from a serious accident.
Linda Black’s mother, Erma Larsen, who had a serious stroke and was not expected to live past last week (we have not heard an update yet this week).  Our prayers are especially with Linda and her siblings as they support each other and prepare for life without Erma.
Others? Please let Debbie know.


Week 12 Reflection

“Even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed.”    1 Peter 3: 14

Reflection – Excerpts from the Zoom message Sunday on “Vocation, Hebrew midwives Puah and Shiphrah, and Systemic Violence”

“Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.”   Parker Palmer, Quaker lecturer and teacher

            Most of you know I have been teaching a class for Bethany Seminary the last two weeks, and one of the topics that came up for us in the class was the idea of vocation.  The author of one of our texts, John Paul Lederach, talks about peacemakers who live in the midst of violent struggle sometimes for their whole lives, in communities in El Salvador, and Guatemala, and villages in Sudan and other areas around the world, including in our own cities and towns across the U.S; we’ve seen violence erupt this past week after the violent death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.  Sometimes when people have had enough, years and decades and centuries of harm, of systemic racism, they lash out as we’re seeing.  The guidance of our Church of the Brethren roots, is to protest injustice by peaceful means, but saying that I’m well aware that I, and most of us reading this reflection, know very little about what it feels like to be black in America, where parents never know if their children will come home – if they go out jogging, if they get stopped for a traffic violation, if they say something that offends someone in a crowd, or for any number of other reasons.  Most of us don’t live with that kind of daily fear.  The message of our denomination is to advocate for nonviolent action when it comes to protesting harm that has been done, and also to try and place ourselves in the shoes of those who face violence every single day, like George Floyd did, and like Ahmaud Arbery did, and like so, so many others have in recent months and years.  In these days following Floyd’s violent murder, we wonder what to do.  How can we as a human community be better than inflicting harm on others?  How can we as a faith community be living witnesses to something better than this?  On Saturday morning there were many, many who came together to clean up the mess that was made Friday night in Minneapolis, hundreds of people out cleaning up the debris, using kind words with each other, offering first aide, and food, and blankets.  Not adding to the chaos, but showing a different way.  Love and kindness, not hatred.  This is a start.

            In one of the texts for the Bethany course, we read about people who work for peace even in the midst of terrible violence done to them.  How do they offer a peaceful resistance to violence when they’ve seen such horror done to their loved ones right in front of them and in front of their children?  The author moved into a conversation about vocation, about the power of communities of faith viewing vocation not as a job, not as simply employment – going to work every day and receiving a paycheck every two weeks – but vocation as a matter of hearing one’s calling and staying true to that calling.  The word “vocation” is rooted in the Latin word for “voice.”  This means that long before we look for a job, earlier in our lives and all the way through our lives, we must listen to the Spirit within us telling us who we are.  That’s what it means to focus on vocation. We find our voice in the midst of the confusion, the joy, the pain, the chaos, and whatever else the world throws our way.  Sometimes we never find that perfect job.  But we can still be clear about who we are, about what our vocation is.  It’s how those communities we read about work through the violence that is their daily experience.  They know who they are.  They know what their calling is in the midst of the violence, and they follow that calling.  It is their lifeline.  The author continues that peacebuilding can be thought of as working to help people find the voice that sustains them, individually and as a community.  What if we taught our children to seek out their vocation, as much as we encourage them to think about what kind of job they want to have when they grow up.  What if we said to them all their lives, “Who are you?”  “What is the Spirit within you telling you about yourself and your life’s calling?”  If we did that, no matter what job we end up with, no matter how disappointed we might find ourselves at one time or another, still we would never lose sight of our vocation guiding us through any job and through any circumstance.  We would be able to say, “This is who I am; this is my vocation which can’t be taken from me.  This is my calling, and I offer it up as a member of this community to aid our journey together.  I offer up who I am, for me and for you.  Will you offer up who you are as well?”  This is what we could say to each other.

The story at the beginning of the book of Exodus, about Shiphra and Puah (Exodus 1: 8-17), relays the tale of two midwives who lived during a violent time for many people in Egypt, especially for Israelite Hebrews in Egypt.  Shiphra and Puah were lucky in their jobs, because it appears their employment was also their vocation.  That doesn’t happen for all of us. Their work was as midwives, helping women bring new life into the world.  And their vocation was also as midwives, helping to bring new life into the world, in fact refusing not to bring new life into the world.  We know midwifery was more than a job for them, it was their vocation, because they couldn’t help but bring new life into the world, no matter that the king instructed them not to. Quaker Parker Palmer once wrote, “Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.” – the  Spirit within inviting our lives to tell us who we are.  Shiphrah and Puah paid attention to this inner voice.

Exploring these women’s commitment to their vocation as midwives can help us as we consider who we are, as we learn to know and stay true to the deep voice within us, and in that spirit, respond to the violence that is part of our own system.  Our calling, our vocation, is not an emotional, angry response – though there are times when we understand that kind of response.  But our vocation is the deepest part of us, the heart and spirit in us calling for us to pay attention and to live out who we are.  Sometimes who we are calls for courage, like it did for Shiphra and Puah; always it calls for wisdom.  And what a different world it would be if we understood the sacredness of vocation in every single person.  It would be a new level of understanding how we need each other.

Puah and Shiphrah allowed their vocation of midwifery to guide them to see beyond categories and labels, to see human beings, made in the image of God and called by God just as they were called in their vocation to help bring life, no matter how different they were from the pregnant women they were helping, no matter how emphatically they were taught to hate the Hebrew women they were serving.  They not only refused to extinguish human life, they also refused to extinguish a people’s culture and religion that was not their own. 

In the spirit of vocation, we are called from the depths of our being.  And if we’re willing to hear that call, the spirit of God within us, we cannot harm someone else, not matter how different from us they are, no matter even how different their ideology or religion is from ours, because they too are called from the depths of their being, and each calling deserves respect and honor. And that’s one of the lessons of Shiphra and Puah. May we take this lesson with us as we continue to see violence surrounding us, but also as we hope that together we might listen for our own vocations, and might help others listen for theirs, for the benefit of all of us.

In community with you, Peacefully, Simply, Together,

Debbie

Weekly Check In

We are now in our 12th week of keeping our distance. How are we holding up? How are YOU doing in your isolated space?  We are changing our calls to each other to once a week, every Tuesday, to see how things are going and what needs are in front of us. If there are immediate needs you learn about or you would like a porch visit, please call me (509-486-2192).

Worship by Zoom

Our worship schedule for the month of June is as follows:
June 7 and 21:  Daniel will lead worship and offer the message
June 14:  Daniel with lead worship and Daniel and Debbie will offer the message
June 28:  Debbie will lead worship and offer the message.

The services will begin at 9:30 am  and we will send you the zoom link and phone call-in number each week before the service.

The Leadership Team, with everyone’s input, will be discussing the possibility of worshiping outside together in a couple of weeks, depending on if the governor’s directive continues that churches are able to worship together outside, keeping to distancing standards.  I will keep you posted!  If you would like to weigh in on this decision please do so by responding to this email or by or calling me (509-486-2192).

Finances at Ellisforde

We are grateful for your donations as you continue to support our ministry in whatever creative way you can during these challenging times! We reached our goal for May and appreciate the last week’s donations to help us catch up!  Please prayerfully consider what you can give as we continue to stay apart.  Remember that you can: 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 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 again for your financial support!

In our Prayers

Bill Peterson as he continues to live at home alone and is vulnerable to falls, etc.
Dale Swedberg as he recuperates from knee replacement surgery
Wayne Verbeck as he prepares for knee replacement surgery. Wayne has received some offers of help in his garden. Thank you!
Mike Sibley as he recovers from the loss of fingers in a table saw accident
Miriam Caddy as she waits for much needed back surgery.
Jeffrey Ward (Jennifer Ward’s brother), who is recovering from a serious accident where he had a complete airway obstruction and was put on a ventilator.  He is improving and has recently been taken off the ventilator and his trach has been removed also.  The family is overjoyed and very grateful.  Our prayers continue for his further recovery.
Linda Black’s mother, Erma Larsen, who had a serious stroke and is not expected to last more than the next several days.  Our prayers are especially with Linda and her siblings as they are together with their mom and prepare for her passing.
Names mentioned during worship:  Gail Anderson’s and Kathy Range’s families at their passing
Betty Roberts, for back pain
Marlene for continued treatment and pain
Others? Please let Debbie know.


Week 10 Reflection

“Even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed.”    1 Peter 3: 14

            One of the lectionary readings for this week is from 1 Peter, who writes from Rome to converts to Christianity in a culture that was very suspicious of foreign religions because of the fear they would try to undermine Roman imperial authority.  In this selection the writer talks about how, at times, one must reject instructions that are harmful to ourselves and others and that go against our own religious teachings, even if those instructions come from our rulers.  When we do reject them, we must also expect we will suffer for our actions.  Suffering is simply a part of life.  Christ suffered; we will suffer.  This passage doesn’t dwell on personal sin being the cause of our suffering, that Christ died because of something we did wrong.  Rather Peter writes that the cause of suffering for converts to Christianity in Rome, stems from choosing good over evil.  He warns his audience to be prepared to suffer because if one follows this new religion that touts love, compassion, and treating every other person as one’s brother or sister, one is going to suffer.  He continues with a warning to not let our fears get out of hand, because while we suffer, we also must have hope that God is with us and that the future is on the side of good, not evil.  If we allow our fear to carry us, we end up suffering even more as the calm we need to get through the difficult time is pushed aside when fear takes over.

            I can’t help linking Peter’s words to Anne Frank’s situation while her extended family was in hiding. In her Diary of a Young Girl, her words show  Peter’s kind of wisdom, that one must look toward a better future rather than relying on the woes and fears of the present.  In her future she imagined continued education, published writing, living trees and blue sky, and a world where people would discuss their differences with feeling but unafraid of hateful consequences.

            As this Corona Virus marches on, with case numbers rising daily in our county, I hope wisdom will carry us, that as we look to the future we trust we did all we could to stay apart in order to stay safe.  In Anne’s household they were cautious most of the time, giving in to their frustrations occasionally all-the-while knowing that hope included acting wisely in the midst of a very real threat of arrest, imprisonment, and death. The threat to us is that if we don’t take the virus seriously enough, we will give it space to grow and keep us apart even longer. We are all suffering – some longing to see loved ones again, some worrying about getting ill or not having the capacity to take care of those who are, some concerned about our economic stability and frustrated that our shops and services are still closed.  May we try not to allow our fear and frustration to override our wisdom, which at this point comes from our scientists and public health experts.  May we continue to listen to them.  Like Peter, in the midst of any burden we feel through this virus, may our focus be on the love we share, hope for the future, and the comfort we’re promised through the Spirit of God in and among us. Though the future will be different, it will also surely challenge us to think more broadly and creatively for the good of all, including the earth, a just economy, and offering our citizens better equality and thus affirmation that we really are all in this together.

In community with you, Peacefully, Simply, Together,

Debbie

Weekly Check In

We are now in our 10th week of keeping our distance. How are we holding up? How are YOU doing in your isolated space? 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 continue to 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! Also, if you would like a porch visit, please let me know by email or phone call, and I will schedule a time with you.

Worship by Zoom

Ellisforde will coordinate a worship experience by zoom (or by phone) in two weeks, on Sunday, May 31. I will lead worship and offer the message, and the House Band will hopefully supply the hymns and benediction. The service will begin at 9:30 am (rather than our usual 10:30 at Ellisforde).

Finances at Ellisforde

We are grateful for your donations as you continue to support our ministry in whatever creative way you can during these challenging times! This month we have reached about half of our need of $4000 per month. Remember that you can: 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 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 again for your financial support!

Book Study: The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank

This Thursday at 7pm we continue week 5 of our book study, reflecting on the incredible spirit and courage of teenaged Anne Frank, and drawing some similarities to the isolation some of us feel during this quarantine. If you would like to join us, we welcome you! Let me know and I’ll send you the link.

Debbie’s teaching responsibilities for Bethany Seminary

This week and next I will be teaching a course for Bethany Seminary through Zoom.  Thus I will be occupied all day with teaching, meeting with students, evaluating assignments, and planning for the next day. So you might pretend that I am away in IN throughout the weekdays as I won’t be available for conversations nor porch visits.

With this in mind we are still looking for someone to write our Monday reflection next week on May 25. Thank you to those who have volunteered to deliver the reflection/check-in to the porches of those who don’t have email (Effie Lea Wilson, Cara Johnson, Pat Pyper, Bill Peterson, Wayne Verbeck)!

In our Prayers

Bill Peterson as he continues to live at home alone and is vulnerable to falls, etc.
Dale Swedberg as he recuperates from knee replacement surgery
Wayne Verbeck as he prepares for knee replacement surgery. Wayne has received some offers of help in his garden. Thank you!
Mike Sibley as he recovers from the loss of fingers in a table saw accident
Miriam Caddy as she waits for much needed back surgery.
David Silvercrow (Burns) as he recovers from a serious surgery.
Jeffrey Ward (Jennifer Ward’s brother), who is recovering from a serious accident where he had a complete airway obstruction and was put on a ventilator.  He is improving and has recently been taken off the ventilator and his trach has been removed also.  The family is overjoyed and very grateful.  Our prayers continue for his further recovery.

Others? Please let Debbie know.


Week 8 Reflection

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because God has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. “
-Luke 4

            On the sidewalk in downtown Tonasket, outside the entrance to the flower shop, there is a sign that says, “Thanks for all you do,”  and to the side there is a long list – police, firefighters, teachers, doctors, nurses, farmers, mechanics, and on and on.  There is a lot for which to be thankful during this quarantine, especially when we think of the ones who put their lives on the line, or who go out of their way to be supportive to those who need assistance in one way or another. “Thanks for all you do.”

            After Jesus had spent forty days of spiritual examination, cleansing, and preparation in the wilderness, he returned to Galilee and preached in the synagogue in Nazareth where he had been brought up.  In front of his hometown neighbors, he read the words from Isaiah about bringing good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and letting the oppressed go free.  And his countrymen and women ate it up.  Here was their Jesus, a boy raised in their own community whom they loved and of whom they were so proud. Word had spread about his ministry and all that he was doing.  So at the beginning of this passage we hear those townspeople saying, “Thanks for all you do, Jesus.”  But then Jesus went beyond himself in proclaiming his ministry wasn’t just for them, it was for everyone.  They would have preferred to keep his gifts among themselves, where they belonged.  Why did he have to get so uppity and not allow them to put him on their shoulders and claim him for their own?  Who did he think he was claiming that he belonged not just to them, but to the whole world! Thus, as his message continued and they heard some rebuke to themselves in it, they became angry and eventually he had to escape their wrath by leaving town in a clandestine way.  They were actually so furious they were ready to throw him off a cliff!  So they were grateful for all he did, until they weren’t.

            Some of us are reading Anne Frank’s, Diary of a Young Girl, finding comfort and insight in her wisdom about living in hiding as we live in quarantine.  Anne’s father, Otto, had been a successful businessman who managed a pectin and spice manufacturing company in Germany, and then in The Netherlands.  His business acumen was much appreciated, until it wasn’t.  When Jews could no longer own companies, first in Germany and later in The Netherlands, he had to hand it over to his Dutch colleagues so the company wouldn’t be confiscated by the Nazis.  So his fellow citizens lauded his skills and were grateful for the manufacturing and distribution of substances used in jam making, until his Jewish identity turned them against him and his family.  Like Jesus’ friends, they were grateful, until they weren’t.

            As for us, we are also guilty of a kind of fickleness when it comes to gratitude.  We’re grateful for all that those first responders and leaders do to help us safely through this virus, until we aren’t.  As we become increasingly agitated in this quarantine, feeling hemmed in, wanting and needing to get back to work, not feeling the effects of the virus because it hasn’t hit us nor those to whom we’re close, and as we talk to others who feel as we do, and then as the pressure mounts to sign the petitions that demand our liberty, regardless of our governor’s official stay-at-home directives, our gratitude starts slipping as our frustration takes over.

            But there is a reason for the directive.  Hospital associations, the Center for Disease Control, World Health Organization, doctors, nurses and other first responders continue to warn us that we need to be cautious, that those directives come through thorough research from officials who are trained to look after our health, and that if we don’t comply the second wave of the virus could be worse than this first wave.  It might be that certain towns or counties can begin partially lifting their bans soon, by petitioning the governor’s office to see if they safely qualify to do so.   But until then, until we here qualify to have our stay-at-home directive lifted, I urge us to continue to hold in gratitude all that keeps us safe during this very uncertain time, and to find creative ways to support each other as we wait together, alone. One of these days we’ll even get back to church! 

Peacefully, Simply, Together,
Debbie 

Weekly Check In

            We are now in our 8th week of keeping our distance.  How are we doing with checking in with each other?  How are YOU doing in your isolated space?  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 are calling 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!  Also, if you would like a porch visit, please respond to this email and I will schedule a time with you.

Worship by Zoom

            Daniel and I are planning another Ellisforde/Whitestone joint worship experience by zoom (or by phone) on May 17.  Daniel and I will share both the leading of worship and the message, as we did at our Easter service.  Mark your calendars with the date, and time. The service will begin at 9:30 am (rather than our usual 10:30 at Ellisforde).  The House Band has been practicing at a distance in the church sanctuary and hopefully will be ready to bring some music to our worship.

Finances at Ellisforde

            We are at the beginning of a new month and grateful that our church has been able to pay salaries and upkeep with smaller than usual donations.  Thank you for continuing to support our ministry in whatever creative way you can during these challenging times!  Remember that you can:  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. 

Book Study:  The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank

We continue week 3 of our book study, reflecting on the incredible spirit and courage of teenaged Anne Frank. If you would like to join us, we welcome you.

Debbie’s teaching responsibilities for Bethany Seminary

Each May I travel to Bethany to teach a two-week intensive course.  This year that course will be taught on Zoom, which means I don’t need to travel.  But I will be occupied all day every week day May 18-22 and 25-29, with teaching, meeting with students, evaluating assignments, and planning for the next day.  So you might pretend that I am away in IN throughout the days as I won’t be available for conversations nor porch visits. 

Would someone be willing to write our Monday reflection on May 25?   We also need one or two people, on May 18 and 25, willing to deliver the reflection/check-in to the porches of those who don’t have email (Effie Lea Wilson, Cara Johnson, Pat Pyper, Bill Peterson, Wayne Verbeck).

In our Prayers

Bill Peterson as he recovers from his recent ER visit because of his fall.  He is at home and recovering.
Dale Swedberg as he recuperates from knee replacement surgery.
Wayne Verbeck as he decides when, not if, to have knee replacement surgery.  Wayne could use some help setting up his garden as movement is difficult for him.  Call him if you’re interested in talking about how to go about this while keeping distance.
Mike Sibley as he recovers from the loss of fingers in a table saw accident.
Miriam Caddy as she continues to wait to hear from her doctors in Spokane about much needed back surgery./


Week 7 Reflection

“Peace be to you and peace to your house…”      from Samuel 25

            As we begin our 7th week of catching up through phone calls and from-porch-through-the-screen-door visits, we will revisit one of  my favorite poets, Wendell Berry, who lives in Kentucky near where I went to college, and who used to come around to the campus occasionally to teach a course on writing, and/or to read his poetry to us.  In an age of specialization, he combined three vocations into one – farming, writing, and teaching. One of his repeated themes was to encourage those of us just beginning to find our way, to consider living simply as we went out on our own, rather than relying solely on new technology and the idea that bigger is better.  I often remember his words about taking time for contemplation and gratitude on our journeys, wherever they took us once we left college. 

When I included his poem, “I Go Among Trees” in this reflection space in mid-March, I mentioned his commitment to local culture, to small family farms, and to 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.  I think Wendell Berry would feel at home in our beloved Okanogan Valley.

I came across another of his poems, “Stay Home,” a few weeks ago, and as I shared it with Steve and was contemplating how to include Berry’s poetry once again in a weekly reflection, Steve got busy setting it to music.  So along with the words, I will include in the attachments Steve’s music version, including our friend Jeff Powell’s accompaniment on ukulele and lap steel (which Jeff added on his own recorded track at a distance!).

In this poem, Berry continues his oft discussed thread about appreciating one’s rootedness to the land – learning to know it; feeling a part of it; allowing one’s own setting to offer up its wisdom and teach us lessons we won’t learn if we’re not willing to stay and see those lessons through.

            In these times, when we might long to get away from the familiar, or to find the familiar outside of our own homesteads in order to be released from feeling shut in, Berry reminds us that home is a gift. Right now as we long to do something new, he invites us to stay right where we are and find the new there.  How apt to find this poem during this stay-at-home time!

Stay Home

I will wait here in the fields
to see how well the rain
brings on the grass.
In the labor of the fields
longer than a man’s life

I am at home. Don’t come with me.
You stay home too.
I will be standing in the woods where the old trees
move only with the wind
and then with gravity.

In the stillness of the trees
I am at home. Don’t come with me.
You stay home too.

Steve Kinzie on fretless banjo, accompanied by Jeff Powell

           

May we continue to find our way close to home as long as our scientists tell us Covide 19’s spread is a threat, and while staying in place, may we be grateful for the bonds we share and the love we offer each other as we continue to keep our distance.

Peacefully, Simply, Together,

Debbie 

Weekly Check In

            We are now in our 7th week of keeping our distance.  How are we doing with checking in with each other?  How are YOU doing in your isolated space?  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 are calling 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!  Also, if you would like a porch visit, please respond to this email and I will schedule a time with you.

Finances at Ellisforde

            We are at the end of April and mostly caught up with expenses.  We are waiting for the utility bill but otherwise are up to date.   You can continue sending your checks to one of the following addresses below.  Because we also rely on cash donations each Sunday, we are finding that the absence of those is making a difference in our financial health.  So we thank you for continuing to support our ministry is whatever creative way you can during these challenging times!  There are a few ways 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 again for your financial support!

Book Study:  The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank

We started our book study last Thursday by zoom, seeing faces and hearing voices by phone from 4 towns, 2 states and 2 countries!.  As we learn about the incredible spirit and courage of teenaged Anne, we are also finding places where our own isolation connects with hers during her two plus years living with her family and 4 others in a secret annex. If you would like to join us, it’s not too late, and you can either join on the computer screen, or by phone.  If you haven’t yet ordered a copy of the book and would like to do so but can’t figure out the mechanics of ordering, let Debbie or Daniel know by responding to this email.  You are also welcome to sit in on the study without reading the book.

Instructions for joining in:

1) with a telephone (cell phone or landline both work)

—– quick instructions: call 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

—– second back-up option: call my personal phone at 703-618-4948

2) with a computer or smart device (computer, tablet, smartphone, etc)

—– quick instructions: click https://zoom.us/j/236009838 and follow on-screen instructions

Thank you to John Verbeck and Rob Thompson for replacing some of the ceiling tiles in the Narthex last week.  The next project is to replace the railing at our entrance that was ripped out in January.  John Verbeck will again be in charge of that task, and could use some help putting it in place once he has the welding done.

In our Prayers

Bill Peterson as he recovers from his recent ER visit because of his fall.  He is at home and recovering.
Dale Swedberg as he recuperates from knee replacement surgery
Wayne Verbeck as he decides when, not if, to have knee replacement surgery.  Wayne could use some help setting up his garden as movement is difficult for him.  Call him if you’re interested in talking about how to go about this while keeping distance
Mike Sibley as he recovers from the loss of fingers in a table saw accident
Miriam Caddy as she continues to wait to hear from her doctors in Spokane about much needed back surgery.

Please let me know if there are others to add to this weekly prayer list.

Sing Me Home Festival

A Church of the Brethren musician Chris Good, had planned a three-day gathering of music for October.  Since that is now unlikely to occur, he has put together a weekly program featuring the musicians who would have contributed at that festival.  For week 3 of this now online festival, Steve Kinzie is featured this Thursday at 4pm PDT.  Check it out at at this link.


Week 6 Reflection

The Earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love…     
from Psalm 119

But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
from Job 12

            This week marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, where we take time to focus on the gift of nature and of our earth, and what we might do to help them (at best, to prosper, and at the least, to survive) in our current state of climate crisis.  Perhaps one of the benefits, if there are any, of this COVID 19 virus has been to offer the earth some much needed space to recover.  We hear that some of the most polluted cities in the world – New Delhi in India, Bangkok in Thailand, Bogota in Colombia, Bejiing in China – now have views of the sun and stars for the first time in 30 years.  In New Delhi, where the average daily Air Quality Index can be measured at over 900 and is usually at least 200 (over 25 is considered unhealthy), is now seeing AQI levels at 20 and below.  Imagine seeing blue sky for the first time in your life!  Imagine the birds and other creatures delighting in clear air.  This stay-at-home time in our rural community here in northcentral Washington, as isolating and worrisome as it can be for us, is also an invitation to make some connections with our planet.  May we take a moment to rejoice in the nature that surrounds us – our rivers, the trees and mountains, the blooming flowers and returning insects, the baby calves and sheep and goats we see on the hillsides, and other more wild animal babies we don’t see, the green on the hills as we drive along the highway.

            I read this week that profound catastrophes are often also moments of unique opportunity.  We are wounded and our world is wounded.  But through our woundedness we also see signs of resurrection and transformation. So as we care for the wounded among us – those who are most at risk, those who have contracted this virus, our health care professionals (some in our cities and towns working around the clock with sometimes insufficient protective gear, and some who are anticipating the depths to which this virus might overextend their hospitals), those who worry that they or their loved ones might contact this virus, those who argue about whether and/or when it is safe to lift the restrictions – and as we find creative ways to support each other as we keep our distance, may we also find spaces for gratitude, not for the virus but for life itself, including the natural world, and all life continues to bring our way. 

            In the spirit of caring for each other and for the Earth, may we work on innovative ideas that help us connect to each other in a stay-apart way during the weeks to come.  God’s ongoing call for us, in times of plenty and in times of crisis, is to “Choose life so that you and your descendants may live…” (Deuteronomy 30: 19) .  As we consider how our current slow-down of fossil fuel use is allowing the Earth to breathe a little easier, how might we care for our natural world once the restrictions are lifted?  What might we do differently in order for all of us, humans and the natural world, to thrive?

In the meantime, may we continue to love each other by staying apart, until our scientists tell us it is safe to be together again.

Peacefully, Simply, Together,

Debbie 

Weekly Check In

            We are now in our 6th week of keeping our distance.  How are we doing with checking in with each other?  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 are calling 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!  Also, if you would like a porch visit please respond to this email and I will schedule a time with you.

Finances at Ellisforde

            Finances are getting a bit tight at Ellisforde, as we expected they would.  Thank you for sending your checks to one of the following addresses below.  Because we also rely on cash donations each Sunday, we are finding that the absence of those is making a difference in our financial health.  So we thank you for continuing to support our ministry is whatever creative way you can during these challenging times!  There are a few ways 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. 

Book Study: The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank

We will be starting our book study this Thursday by zoom, if you would like to join us from 7-8 pm.  You can either join us on the computer screen, or join by phone.  If you haven’t yet ordered a copy of the book and would like to do so but can’t figure out the mechanics of ordering, let Debbie or Daniel know by responding to this email.  You can also sit in on the study without reading the book if you want.

Instructions for joining in:

1) with a telephone (cell phone or landline both work)

—– quick instructions: call 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

—– second back-up option: call my personal phone at 703-618-4948

2) with a computer or smart device (computer, tablet, smartphone, etc)

—– quick instructions: click https://zoom.us/j/236009838 and follow on-screen instructions

Thank you to Kathy Swedberg and Martha Lynch for cleaning and painting the bathrooms at Ellisforde!  They look great!  Our next work project is to replace some of the ceiling tiles in the Narthex.  We plan to work by twos, to maintain distance.  If you would be willing to help, please reply to this email or contact John Verbeck (509-486-4359) so we can put together a schedule.

In our Prayers

Bill Peterson as he recovers from his recent hospital stay and continues to live alone
Dale Swedberg as he recuperates from knee replacement surgery
Wayne Verbeck as he decides when, not if, to have knee replacement surgery.  Wayne could use some help setting up his garden as movement is difficult for him.  Call him if you’re interested in talking about how to go about this while keeping distance
Mike Sibley as he recovers from the loss of fingers in a table saw accident
Cara Johnson as she is trying to cope with and heal from the Shingles virus.

Please let me know if there are others to add to this weekly prayer list.


Week 5 – Reflection from Easter Sunday

This is a reflection on our Easter gospel reading from John 20: 1-18

Easter was different for us this year from any Easter before this, and I hope from any after it.  And in the weeks leading up to it, I have found myself looking for vulnerability and pain in most of what I read, scriptures and otherwise, because there is vulnerability and worry all around us.  Each Easter, I think of the women who loved and followed Jesus.  I always notice them in the Easter empty tomb stories – so worried and alone without Jesus who supported them in ways that other leaders in their religious community never did.  They were women after all, living in first century Palestine, ignored or frequently judged but always first to the tomb, first to want to clean up the mess, often the first to believe. So this Easter, the same as other Easters, I looked for the women, and I found Mary Magdalene.  But not only her, for Simon Peter and the beloved disciple of Jesus are also present.  And what I particularly noticed this year from the author of the gospel of John, is the different ways the characters in this scripture came to believe.  The ones who loved Jesus, in this case Mary, Simon Peter, and ”the other disciple,” the disciple whom Jesus loved. 

We read that when Mary Magdalene discovered the stone had been removed and went to tell the disciples, she found Simon Peter first and he and the other disciple ran to see what she was talking about.  They both looked in, noticed the linen cloths were lying there without a body under them, and Simon Peter walked into the tomb, looked around, and then he left.  The beloved disciple also walked into the tomb and after he noticed the cloths and the missing body of Jesus, we’re told he believed. Then he left also and they both went back to their homes.  Mary stood at the tomb weeping, and while she was weeping she talked to angels and then to Jesus, whom she thought was the gardener.  And she didn’t believe until Jesus called her by name. So three characters, one who went in, saw that Jesus wasn’t there, and left.  One who went in, saw that Jesus wasn’t there, and believed.  And one who went in, saw that Jesus wasn’t there, and wept, expressing her distress, and then was called by name, by Jesus, and believed.

At first I tried to imagine who I am in this story.  Am I a believer right off, like the beloved disciple, or am I like Simon Peter, where maybe it’s just too much for me to take in at first and I walk away, to ponder it later.  Or am I Mary, needing to be called by name in order to believe?  I found myself initially wanting to be like the beloved disciple, to be the one who believes immediately.  “Isn’t that what faith is,” I think?  We sometimes hear the admonition not to give way to our questions, but simply to believe.   But as I consider this, I think at times I respond in each of those ways, all of them having merit.  Sometimes I do believe right away.  I have an epiphany moment and it carries me.  At other times I need some space to reflect, or maybe it’s too much and I do walk away for a while.  And then there are those times when I need to hear my name being called in order to know I am in a significant moment.  That this is the moment to pay attention, and be elated by what was there all along, but what I have just discovered. 

Is there a way to embrace all of these ways of believing during this Covid 19 time of waiting and wondering, at the same time as we are rejoicing in the risen Christ?  I hope so.  I hope we can be gracious with ourselves as we ponder all kinds of things in these days, and right now in this time immediately following Easter, as we ponder the way we come to believe.  Sometimes it’s like this; sometimes it’s like that.  And may we not only be gracious with ourselves, may we also be gracious with those who respond differently that we do, whose timing is different than ours, whose very belief system is expressed differently that ours.  We need all of us together, alone, during this difficult time – waiting in our own spaces but knowing we are a community who needs each other just the same, who not only needs each other, but who needs the voices and opinions and gifts of everyone, in order to get through this time with wisdom, grace, and new vision.  Happy Easter everyone.  Hosanna in the highest!

Weekly Check In

            How are we doing with checking in with each other?  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 are calling 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!

Finances at Ellisforde

            As a weekly reminder for meeting our expense needs, 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! 


Week 4 – Ellisforde & Whitestone Lovefeast, Alone

An Outline for Love Feast this Thursday, Together Alone.

Read the following aloud by yourself or with your family members.

Introduction:

Love Feast is the part of our tradition where we re-enact the event of Jesus’ final week with the disciples, in a meal, in washing each other’s feet, and in sharing communion together. Jesus strongly stressed to his disciples, who were arguing who might be the greatest, that he was among them as one who serves.  And throughout our history we have taught our children that the way to be great is to serve. And so we do that through this service of eating together, washing each others feet, and breaking bread and sharing the cup together. Each year we remind ourselves that whenever the community gathers around the love feast table we are reminded of the relationship of all disciples to one another.

This year in the midst of COVID 19, it is difficult to be separated from those we love, some of whom we might be worried about.  But just as Jesus is present with us in Spirit, so too are we present with each other in Spirit.  If it helps to call out the names of those we wish were here next to us, let us do that now.

We will have a chance to participate in Love Feast together once it is deemed safe for us to gather again.  In the meantime, we can participate together, alone, in this service as a reminder that Jesus was alone in his spirit through much of the last week of his life, but that he also trusted that God was with him and that his beloved friends, though flawed, loved him and were loved by him.  This is a chance for us to feel some of the distance Jesus may have felt, and to be comforted that this present distance is not the end of our story, nor was it the end of his.

Prayer:

God, who brings us together in sickness and in health, bring us together now.  God, who calls us to serve in creative and imaginative ways where there is need, call us into imaginative ways of serving now.  God who is always with us, as close to us as our very breath, may we feel your presence now, as we participate in this Love Feast service together, alone.  Bring us wisdom and grace during this isolated time, that following the directive to stay in our separate spaces will not only offer our communities, our nation, and the world earlier recovery, but will give us a sense of those who also feel isolated and sometimes divided.  May we be strong.  May we be courageous.  May this Love Feast inspire us to continue the work of Jesus in our church, in our community, and in our world, together, alone, until it is safe to be otherwise.

In the name of Christ we pray,

Amen.

The love feast begins with a period of examination. In the Church of the Brethren we cite Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:23-24, calling for reconciliation before offering gifts to God, and Paul’s warning in 1 Corinthians 11:27-30 about the dangers of participating in the love feast in a thoughtless fashion.

Take a moment to read these passages aloud.

Footwashing or Handwashing:

Remember a time when you were moved by being given something you did not expect.  Remember another time when you gave to someone else that which they did not expect.

Read John 13: 3-17

Wash the feet or hands of those who are with you.  If you are alone, wash your own hands in the spirit of offering your body to receive cleansing, forgiveness, and comfort.

Love Feast Meal / Agape Meal:

The love feast meal recalls the meal Jesus shared with his disciples, symbolizing the sharing of life.

Remember a time when you realized the profound gift of being in relationship with others, whether through an action or simply by being together in the love you share with each other.

Read John 15: 9-17

Have a simple meal prepared that you now will eat (bread and soup, a simple one-dish meal, etc.), in gratitude for your relationships and what you mean to each other.

The Bread and Cup:

Prayer: Our God, as we prepare to share the bread and the cup, may we remember that Jesus did not turn anyone away from his table, and tonight, in our hearts neither do we turn anyone away from our table.  Remind us that regardless of our judgments of ourselves, we are welcome; and regardless of our judgments of others, they are welcome.  When we break the bread and drink from the cup, may we become the holy community who manifests your love in the world.  Amen.

Remember a time when your actions or those of others symbolized the holy community called to offer love to a sometimes unloving world.

Have some bread available to eat in one bite, and some juice or wine available to drink.

The Bread

Read  I Corinthians 11: 23-24

After reading take the bread and share it with your loved ones, or eat it by yourself.

The Cup

Read I Corinthians 11: 25-26

After reading, take a small cup of juice or wine and drink it.

Prayer to Go Forth:

Through this Love Feast service, may we be ready to serve others in your name, O God, to share your depth of love for us in ways that are creative and courageous in this unpredictable and challenging time.  May our spirits be filled with loving kindness, and may we live and work in such a way that all will be well.

Bless us as we end this time, together, alone,

Amen.


Week 3 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 2 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