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Abiding in Exile - Discombobulation 09/16/21

Abiding in Exile - Discombobulation 09/16/21

9/16/2021
By: Nan Smith Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. John 14: 27 NRSV So, I am now the proud owner of a three-month-old golden retriever puppy.  He is filled with energy and a fascination with the newness of the world that is around him.  Because of him, I am once again becoming acquainted with the wonders of seeing the day break. He carries such a sense of anticipation and ...

Abiding in Exile - 09/09/2021 - Moments of Encounter

Abiding in Exile - 09/09/2021 - Moments of Encounter

9/9/2021
Moments of Encounter By: Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon For the spiritual pilgrim, particularly as the journey unfolds, there are presented and taken more and more moments of encounter that move us into liminal space. These snapshots of time may be brief, or, if one is removing themselves for retreat, even longer. The liminal, or that in-between space of what is and what is becoming, often captures the domain of spiritual exile in a unique way. It evokes the sense of being apart or separated for a ...

Abiding in Exile - Mining the Negative Space 09/02/2021

Abiding in Exile - Mining the Negative Space 09/02/2021

9/2/2021
By: Rev. Lee Roorda Schott I’m just back from a much-needed vacation that included four days on the road between here and southwest Colorado. Playing the alphabet game to pass the time, I was helped by the many FedEx trucks. And while logging the sometimes elusive “F,” I found myself marveling again at the arrow in their logo. You know about that, right? It’s been there all along, but I didn’t see it until someone pointed it out. You have to look at the white space between the E and the X. See ...

Abiding in Exile - Beloved Space 08/26/2021

Abiding in Exile - Beloved Space 08/26/2021

8/26/2021
By: Pastor Nate Mason I am a proud Dork Dad, and one of my favorite Dork Dad activities is reading Ms. Marvel comics to my four-year-old daughter, Lily.  For those of you who are more productive with your reading time, there is a new Ms. Marvel character.  Kamala Khan is a sixteen-year-old daughter of Pakistani immigrants who gets shape changing superpowers. The comics teach inspiring lessons about life and the experience of the modern American Muslim. Lily loves it almost as much as I do.   One...

Abiding in Exile - 08/20/2021 - First Love

Abiding in Exile - 08/20/2021 - First Love

8/20/2021
First Love By: Nan Smith “But I have this against you: you have let go of the love you had at first. 5 So remember the high point from which you have fallen. Change your hearts and lives and do the things you did at first. If you don’t, I’m coming to you. I will move your lampstand from its place if you don’t change your hearts and lives.”  — Revelation 2:4-5 (Common English Bible)   This fall, our church will be celebrating 50 years of being Hope United Methodist Church. The beauty of ...

Abiding in Exile - Noah and God  08/12/2021

Abiding in Exile - Noah and God 08/12/2021

8/10/2021
By: Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon Perhaps no one did exile in quite the same way as Noah: first, as the laughing stock of his community or thought simply crazy as he built his boat; and then on the seas, hidden within the ark with his family and the community of animals as it rained and rained and rained. Finally, he stood alone with his family in a new land. In the poem below, I attempt to capture Noah’s conversation with God and himself as he rides the long, persistent storm and finds dry land. I ...

Abiding in Exile - The Fickle Weight of “Exile” 08/05/2021

Abiding in Exile - The Fickle Weight of “Exile” 08/05/2021

8/5/2021
By: Rev. Lee Roorda Schott I remember Bishop Julius Trimble standing before a room of incarcerated women some years ago, speaking of the 23rd Psalm. He came to those words, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” and he paused there.   Looking out at those women, whose lives he knew contained so much of pain and death and distance, he said these words I’ll never forget. “Trouble is, it’s not just ‘through,’ is it? As if that valley is an easy walk.”    He held his left ...

Abiding in Exile - Bad Bread 07/29/2021

Abiding in Exile - Bad Bread 07/29/2021

7/26/2021
  With today’s post, we welcome Nathaniel Mason to our Exile Project writers’ team! Nate is an LLP serving Booneville and Maple Grove United Methodist Churches on the west edge of the Des Moines metro. You might remember Nate from his time as the Leadership Development Minister for Young Adult and Generational Ministries (2013-2015) for the Iowa Annual Conference. When not engaged in ministry, Nate is busy pursuing his other callings of cooking and being a fun dad to his two young children. ...

Abiding in Exile - Unfamiliar Terrain 07/22/2021

Abiding in Exile - Unfamiliar Terrain 07/22/2021

7/21/2021
By: Nan Smith Unfamiliar Terrain I can still remember the reply I was given, when I first pitched my wilderness trip idea to the pastor of the church.  I said “how about you and I take a canoe trip with high school girls into the wilderness lakes and woods of northern Minnesota?”  She quipped back that maybe she better bring the Book of Worship just in case some of us didn’t make it back out and we needed a service. Heading into the wilderness isn’t for the faint of heart, but intentionally ...

Abiding in Exile - 07/15/21 - The Mystery of God

Abiding in Exile - 07/15/21 - The Mystery of God

7/15/2021
Rev. Dr. Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon   The Mystery of God Rev. Dr. Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon Something you probably do not know about me is that I love murder mysteries. While my daughter Laurel and son in law Kenny were staying with me before they moved to California in June, we watched Knives Out on Amazon Prime. It’s a great who-dun-it that takes place in a big mansion and Detective Benoit Blanc (played by Daniel Craig with a Kentucky accent) must sort out all the family members and staff while ...

Abiding in Exile - Post-Pandemic Perceived Rejection 07/08/2021

Abiding in Exile - Post-Pandemic Perceived Rejection 07/08/2021

7/7/2021
By: Rev. Lee Roorda Schott   I wonder if your body is as confused as mine has been, of late, about what to do with itself around other human beings.    Some of you are probably avoiding the confusion by maintaining a pretty rigid “no-touch” zone, even now. And some of you are thinking, “What? Those worries are so 2020!”    For the rest of us, confusion reigns.    Take, for instance, the question of handshakes. Do you or don’t you take that other person’s offered hand, or extend your own? After ...

Abiding in Exile - 07/01/2021 - That Still Point

Abiding in Exile - 07/01/2021 - That Still Point

7/1/2021
That Still Point By: Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon With today’s post, we welcome Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon to the writing team for Abiding in Exile. Many of you know Mary from her twenty years of service through the Office of Pastoral Care and Counseling. She now serves as senior pastor at Collegiate UMC and Wesley Foundation in Ames. A more complete bio and photo is available at our writer page. When I lived in California, many years ago now, a friend of mine took several people out on a sailboat. We...

Abiding in Exile - 06/23/2021 - Florida in July

Abiding in Exile - 06/23/2021 - Florida in July

6/23/2021
Florida in July By: Nan Smith I am taking a little time away this summer. I have been asked to join my daughter and her family for a week of vacation. Our destination is a beach, specifically a beach in Florida, in southern Florida, in July. At this point, I’m guessing that all of you are wishing you were taking this very same trip!  Actually, every person I have mentioned this vacation to has responded in a similar manner. Something like - “Really? Florida? July? You know it’s going to be hot!”...

Abiding in Exile - The Bittersweet Dream of an Immigrant Family in America  06/17/2021

Abiding in Exile - The Bittersweet Dream of an Immigrant Family in America 06/17/2021

6/16/2021
This week’s reflection is a guest post from Rev. Dr. Heecheon Jeon, Conference Superintendent for the Central/Riverview Park District since 2016. We are grateful for his reflections, especially in light of recent violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders—the news of which can seem to erase the details of individual experience. The Bittersweet Dream of an Immigrant Family in America By: Rev. Dr. Heecheon Jeon I grew up in South Korea. My wife, Anne, and I, as students, came to San ...

Abiding in Exile - On Not Getting What You Deserve 06/10/2021

Abiding in Exile - On Not Getting What You Deserve 06/10/2021

6/10/2021
By Katie Kennedy On Not Getting What You Deserve? This may come as a shock to you, but I’m not always right. It’s certainly always a shock to me. It reminds me of when Abraham Lincoln disagreed with Ulysses S. Grant’s tactics for taking Vicksburg, the fortress on the Mississippi that would be key to a Union victory in the Civil War. Grant took full responsibility for whatever happened but said he was going forward with his plan. After he took Vicksburg, Lincoln wrote him a short letter that has ...

Abiding in Exile - No More Helping 06/03/2021

Abiding in Exile - No More Helping 06/03/2021

6/3/2021
By Lee Roorda Schott  No More Helpin I’ve about had it with people trying to help me through this “unprecedented time.”   I first felt this way in March and April of 2020, when it seemed like every other e-mail was trying to describe the heavy impact of the pandemic, or to help me through its ravages. I was invited to sign up for webinars that would offer mental health support, and others designed for clergy like me who were trying to adapt to the new online world, and to every other changed ...

Abiding in Exile - Imagine 05/27/2021

Abiding in Exile - Imagine 05/27/2021

5/27/2021
By Nan Smith Imagine Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.  1 Corinthians 16: 13-14 (NRSV)   I remember it was a chilly November day, the clouds hanging heavy in the sky, looking like they would break into rain or snow at a moment’s notice. We were picking our way through a harvested cornfield filled with stubble and clods of soil.  It was tough walking. We stopped on the crest of a hill, gazing down at the land below - harvested ...

Abiding in Exile - The Forgiveness Process 05/20/2021

Abiding in Exile - The Forgiveness Process 05/20/2021

5/20/2021
By Eric Rucker The Forgiveness Process I was commuting to work the other day, listening to worship music, and to my surprise I started to cry. I’m not a frequent crier, so you can imagine how surprised I was that my crying continued through the whole drive; and then continued during my therapy session that afternoon; and then continued on my commute home that evening!    Tears are sometimes a mysterious thing, and it’s often hard for me to reduce the explanation of my tears to one feeling or ...

Abiding in Exile - The Extra Mile 05/13/2021

Abiding in Exile - The Extra Mile 05/13/2021

5/11/2021
By Priscilla Joel The Extra Mile If you happen to talk to anyone who knows me well, they would tell you that patience is not a virtue I have. It is not uncommon for me to deliver birthday and Christmas presents to my loved ones a day or two early because I am just that excited and not patient enough to wait for the right time. You may have heard the saying, “The last mile is the longest.” Whether it’s the physical metric of a mile at the end of a marathon, or the metaphorical end of a ...

Abiding in Exile - Muscle Memory 05/06/2021

Abiding in Exile - Muscle Memory 05/06/2021

5/5/2021
By Rev Lee Roorda Schott Muscle Memory This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. --John 15.12-13 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. --1 John 4.7                                     I sat down at my piano this week for the first time in a while. A few pieces of old music were sitting there, with Debussy’s Golliwog’s ...

Abiding in Exile - Baby Steps 04/22/2021

Abiding in Exile - Baby Steps 04/22/2021

4/21/2021
By: Eric Rucker Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side.” - John 20:27   Jesus was dead for three days - exiled from life. And his disciples were likewise exiled during that time - their teacher and Lord was dead, and the movement for which they had given everything appeared finished. They hid in a locked room together, afraid.   The nature of Jesus’ return from exile - and the disciples’ subsequent return to faith - are notable. The...

Abiding in Exile - The Key to Humanity’s Survival 04/15/2021

Abiding in Exile - The Key to Humanity’s Survival 04/15/2021

4/13/2021
By: Priscilla Joel We have wandered through many unknowns the past several months, and as the title of this devotional series would inform you, it has often felt like we’ve been exiled. Exiled from each other, exiled from the outside world and maybe even exiled from freedoms we used to enjoy. As more and more people are receiving their vaccine each day, I have been reflecting on all the rules we have had to follow (and continue to) to keep ourselves and each other safe throughout this pandemic. ...

Abiding in Exile - The Cool Earth Beneath Your Feet 04/08/2021

Abiding in Exile - The Cool Earth Beneath Your Feet 04/08/2021

4/6/2021
By Rev. Jonathan Heifner This week we are sharing a guest post from Rev. Jonathan Heifner. A member of our writing team remembered Jonathan preaching about how we abide with creation. You’ll be blessed by his good words at just the time when nature itself is inviting us out of our closed-in spaces with warmth, new growth, and green shoots.  [God to Job]: Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?     Can you establish their rule on the earth? “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,  so that a...

Abiding in Exile - ReMemberIng 04/01/2021

Abiding in Exile - ReMemberIng 04/01/2021

3/30/2021
By Rev. Lee Roorda Schott Over the weekend, in the tedium of working on taxes, I had gone online for details from my bank records from last year. I scrolled through the months and came to last March and was astonished at the tears that came out of nowhere. It wasn’t about the numbers! It was grief I didn’t expect to be waiting for me in that particular spot. Bumping into those last weeks that were “normal” brought up a flood of memories, of so much that happened then, and since.   That ...

DisAbility Ministries Committee would like to be a resource to clergy

DisAbility Ministries Committee would like to be a resource to clergy

3/12/2021
Submitted by Deaconess Sharon McCart, chair, and the UMC Mental Health Task Force Greetings to Clergy from the United Methodist Mental Health Task Force! We are a new team, part of the DisAbility Ministries Committee of The United Methodist Church, which is a ministry partner of the General Commission on Religion and Race. We would like to be a resource to you! John Wesley’s ministry was grounded in the redemptive ministry of Christ with its focus on healing that involved spiritual, mental, ...

Abiding in Exile - Leaving Our Arks 03/11/2021

Abiding in Exile - Leaving Our Arks 03/11/2021

3/11/2021
By Lee Roorda Schott 6At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made 7and sent out the raven; and it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. 8Then he sent out the dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground; 9but the dove found no place to set its foot, and it returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took it and brought it into the ark with ...

Abiding in Exile - Lament 03/04/2021

Abiding in Exile - Lament 03/04/2021

3/4/2021
By: Nan Smith Psalm 57: 1 (NRSV) “Be merciful to me, O God, be       merciful to me,    for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I       will take refuge,    until the destroying storms       pass by.”   It was my first year of seminary and it was the year my marriage was crumbling to pieces. It was also the year my clergy mentor for ministry became very ill and ended up leaving the church. It was a tough year.     And within that year, there was the week when multiple ...

Abiding in Exile - Suffering 02/25/2021

Abiding in Exile - Suffering 02/25/2021

2/25/2021
By: Eric Rucker Then Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering…and after three days rise again. He said this all quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.” – Mark 8:31-32   I’m an amateur gardener. A few years back my wife and I started a compost pile in our backyard. We intended to grow the pile of our food scraps for several months and then to use the composted soil for our new garden.    Spring arrived and we went out to begin the garden....

Abiding in Exile - A Doubting-Thomas Sympathizer 02/18/2021

Abiding in Exile - A Doubting-Thomas Sympathizer 02/18/2021

2/16/2021
By: Priscilla Joel I can often be a bit of a skeptic at times. I like things I can see, touch, and prove—be it an equation from propulsions class or the weather. I have a habit of wearing many layers of warm clothing well into the spring season, even when the weather forecast claims that the temperature is, in fact, warmer. But the prediction isn’t good enough. I need to see the ice turning to slush with my own eyes and I need to feel the sun with my own skin. For a while now, my skepticism has ...

Clergy resource: DMPCC Virtual Clergy Pods

Clergy resource: DMPCC Virtual Clergy Pods

2/10/2021
Submitted by DMPCC This is a challenging time to be a religious leader.  Clergy and congregations have been pressed to adapt and create new ways of caring and staying connected. At the same time, the level of anxiety of nearly everyone around them has been amped up to eleven!  Yes, this is a difficult time. However, there is no need to keep pushing ahead alone. The concept of the “pod” has emerged as a way of safely connecting with others during the pandemic.  The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling ...

Abiding in Exile - Adapting to New Circumstances 02/04/2021

Abiding in Exile - Adapting to New Circumstances 02/04/2021

2/4/2021
by Rev. Nan Smith February 4, 2021 Scripture “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”   ~Psalm 27: 14 (NRSV)   When I worked as a naturalist, I attended a wonderful conference for interpretive naturalists in Tucson, Arizona. Now as a group, naturalists tend to lean towards the “wild” side of life, so it was really no surprise that a group of us decided to rise early and hike in the desert landscape.  Now part of our motivation was to get some exercise ...

Abiding in Exile - Differentiated 01/28/2021

Abiding in Exile - Differentiated 01/28/2021

1/28/2021
By: Eric Rucker “When the new Temple was laid… some wept with a loud voice… though many shouted for joy.” (Ezra 3:11) I’ve spent the last two weeks creating a flow chart for my ministry for the spring and summer. It is comprised of three contingency plans (in-person, hybrid, and virtual ministry) that could be executed by my team, based on how the public health situation progresses in the next six months. Then, last week, I listened as a news report told of a new – more contagious – variant of ...

Abiding in Exile - Expectations 01/21/2021

Abiding in Exile - Expectations 01/21/2021

1/21/2021
By: Priscilla Joel When I was a kid, there were many things that I thought would be a very big deal when I became an adult. Activities and actions that I thought I would have to deal with on a regular basis. Here are a few of those things: Quicksand Tongue twisters Pirates Identifying types of rocks Haunted houses I am not exactly sure where all of these ideas originated from. Some were from school, while others were probably conceived through books I read and movies I watched. But I still ...

Abiding in Exile - We Contain Multitudes 01/14/2021

Abiding in Exile - We Contain Multitudes 01/14/2021

1/14/2021
By Lee Roorda Schott I just noticed that I haven’t been napping on Sunday afternoons.  This is surprising because I’ve always been a dedicated observer of S.A.I.N.T.: Sunday Afternoon Is Nap Time. I’d get home from worship and whatever else was part of the morning, and I’d be out. But I’m not, now. Now I find myself changing my clothes and then pondering options. A walk with my husband, or the “crafternoon” we shared recently. Folding the laundry. Some reading, or some Netflix.  I’m not certain ...

Abiding in Exile - Tempered 01/07/2021

Abiding in Exile - Tempered 01/07/2021

1/5/2021
By Nan Smith “Isaiah 43:2 (CEB) 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;     when through the rivers, they won’t sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you won’t be scorched and flame won’t burn you.   When the shot was fired, the wolf pups scattered in all directions and the mother wolf fell to the ground. For Aldo Leopold, a conservation officer in the 1950s, it was business as usual. He was just doing his job – systematically removing the top predators in the White ...

Abiding in Exile - The Ritual of Grief 12/31/2020

Abiding in Exile - The Ritual of Grief 12/31/2020

12/29/2020
By Eric Rucker “How can we sing the songs of the Lord in a foreign land?” – Psalm 137    “My tears have become my food, day and night!” – Psalm 42   I haven't been doing well.    And I don't mean that in the causal sense, like I experienced five minutes of indigestion or an hour of moodiness. I mean it's been several weeks of heaviness in my heart. I’ve found myself unable to muster a compassionate response to those whom I love. Challenges that in another season I could navigate with nimbleness ...

Abiding in Exile - What Do We Do with Hope? 12/24/2020

Abiding in Exile - What Do We Do with Hope? 12/24/2020

12/23/2020
By Priscilla Joel December 24, 2020 We all finally received some encouraging news a couple of weeks ago. A COVID-19 vaccine had approved by the FDA. Finally, a glimmer of hope after a long, seemingly endless stretch of darkness. This does not necessarily mean our fears and anxieties disappear, nor does it mean we should stop practicing vigilance to keep ourselves and our communities safe. There is still much to be done before we can live in a mask-less, social world once again. So, what do we do...

Abiding in Exile - The Timely Discipline of Showing Up 12/17/2020

Abiding in Exile - The Timely Discipline of Showing Up 12/17/2020

12/17/2020
By Lee Roorda Schott   December 17, 2020 5Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.                                      --Jeremiah 29.5-7 ...

Abiding in Exile - Ashes 12/10/2020

Abiding in Exile - Ashes 12/10/2020

12/9/2020
By Nan Smith December 10, 2020 Scripture: Isaiah 61: 1-3a “1The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,    because the Lord has anointed me; God has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,    to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives,    and release to the prisoners; 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour,    and the day of vengeance of our God;    to comfort all who mourn; 3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion—    to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil...

Abiding in Exile - Running with Horses 12/3/2020

Abiding in Exile - Running with Horses 12/3/2020

11/30/2020
By Eric Rucker December 3, 2020 “Jeremiah, if you have raced with foot-runners and they have wearied you, how will you run with horses?” (Jeremiah 12:5)   As the catastrophe of the Babylonian exile approached, Jeremiah lamented to God – about the people’s self-centeredness, about Israel’s disregard for vulnerable people and the land. Jeremiah was fed up with it all. And then God spoke to Jeremiah this question:    “If you have raced with foot-runners and they have wearied you, how will you run ...

Abiding in Exile - An Unprecedented Way of Life 11/26/2020

Abiding in Exile - An Unprecedented Way of Life 11/26/2020

11/24/2020
By Priscilla Joel November 26, 2020 When you think of the word “Wilderness,” what comes to mind? I tend to associate the word with my personal adventures outside. Someplace secluded, uninhabited and vast. Someplace that makes my boots muddy and my brow glisten with sweat. That type of wilderness I enjoy. It feels good to escape from the confines of my apartment, and spend some time running or hiking in places where the Wi-Fi is weak.   But there is another side, another purpose, to wilderness ...

Abiding in Exile - A pocket full of hope 11/19/2020

Abiding in Exile - A pocket full of hope 11/19/2020

11/20/2020
By Nan Smith November 19, 2020 Scripture: Romans 15: 13  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,     so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”   Reflection: It was my first year, in my first appointment, when I visited a married couple: retired farmers still living on their farmstead.  The day was one of those arctic blasts from Canada and the winds were bitterly cold with temperatures well below zero.  So, there we were, sipping tea at their ...

Abiding in Exile - Unspeakable History 11/12/2020

Abiding in Exile - Unspeakable History 11/12/2020

11/10/2020
By Lee Roorda Schott November 12, 2020 In September, as we approached the six-month mark since the arrival of the Coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. I was certain my Facebook news feed would be full of people’s reflections on all that had happened during that time. It had been half a year. So many things disrupted—still—and a challenging flu season and colder months upon us. I was curious to see what my friends would say, and I toyed with what I might add.   But that didn’t happen. Crickets.   A ...

Abiding in Exile - God Has left the Temple 11/6/2020

Abiding in Exile - God Has left the Temple 11/6/2020

11/6/2020
By Eric Rucker November 6, 2020 Ezekiel 10:18: “Then the glory of the LORD went out from the threshold of the Temple.”    This is perhaps the most shocking statement in all of the Hebrew Scriptures. The prophet Ezekiel is telling the exiled Israelites: God has left the Temple! The Temple in Jerusalem was synonymous with God’s presence. Basically, “Temple = God.” Subsequently, “Destroyed Temple = Destroyed God.” We cannot imagine the disorientation these people faced, seeing their worship place ...

Abiding in Exile - More Than I Can Handle 10/22/2020

Abiding in Exile - More Than I Can Handle 10/22/2020

10/20/2020
by Priscilla Joel October 22, 2020 You might have heard the phrase, “God will never give you more than you can handle.” I certainly have. I’ve read it in devotionals, seen it on posters, and heard it from my friends. But since the COVID-19 pandemic uprooted our lives, I’m not so sure if any of us believe that phrase anymore. Sometimes, it is nice to be able to do my work from the comfort of my home, but sometimes, I feel like I’ve got more to juggle now than ever.    One of the most difficult ...

Abiding in Exile - Accept the Anxiety of Feeling In Suspense 10/15/2020

Abiding in Exile - Accept the Anxiety of Feeling In Suspense 10/15/2020

10/15/2020
by Eric Rucker October 15, 2020 Last week I found myself driving straight into oncoming traffic, having turned the wrong way down a one-way street. Don’t worry, I’m ok, just embarrassed. There is no geographical explanation for this error. I’ve driven that neighborhood on my way to work hundreds of times. But it’s like my auto-pilot function stopped working. The directions for my life that were once intuitive are so no longer.   This feeling of dislocation is not limited to my morning commutes. ...

An introduction to Abiding in Exile

An introduction to Abiding in Exile

10/9/2020
A NEW weekly e-newsletter to support the mental health and wellness of lay and clergy leaders living through the pandemic.

Abiding in Exile - The “Pandemic Era

Abiding in Exile - The “Pandemic Era" 10/8/2020

10/8/2020
by Rev. Lee Roorda Schott October 8, 2020 Read: Jeremiah 29.4-14 I had been referring to the pandemic like it wasn’t going to last long. I’d say, “We just have to persevere through this strange time of Coronavirus.” I’d close an e-mail with words like, “I hope you’re managing OK through this COVID-19 season.” I didn’t let myself think of all this as more than a blip. An interruption. An anomaly that we’d look back at and say, “Wow, that was weird, wasn’t it?” Then maybe a month ago—when all this...

5K helps 'end the stigma' of mental health

5K helps 'end the stigma' of mental health

9/26/2018
Photos from the End the Stigma Mental Health Awareness 5K and Forum on Sept. 15, 2018 in Carlisle. When Linda Benton went to Annual Conference in 2018 as a lay delegate, she didn’t expect to walk away with a mission from God.   “I attended one of the workshops about mental health, and God put a bug in my ear,” she said. “I just thought, ‘Linda, you’ve got to do something with this.’”   She came back to her church in Carlisle intending to host a forum about the stigma surrounding ...