What You Don’t Know Won’t Hurt You

“What you don’t know won’t hurt you” is an old idiom that many of us have heard over the years. It essentially means that if you do not know about a problem or a misdeed, you do not have to worry about it, feel responsible for it, or get upset about it. In essence, if we can’t see it, can’t feel it, can’t hear it, or can’t touch it, then it won’t hurt us. The unknown becomes our safe haven as we choose not to engage that which is powerfully present.

And yet, at the dawning of this new decade, who would have thought that we would be faced with this unknown force called COVID-19? This invisible force is something that we cannot make tangible with our senses but it is changing the way we do life. It is changing people. Continue reading

Mother’s Day

I am a mother of two. One bright, creative, full of life five year old and her sister who lives in heaven. Mother’s Day has always been tricky for me. Don’t get me wrong. I love recognizing my mom, both of my grandmothers and the many other important “mothering” people in my life. My living child has an amazing godmother and many positive female role models but Mother’s Day is a challenge.

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Youth Ministry in a Pandemic

No one knows how to do ministry in a pandemic. This is all so difficult. My Presbyterian Youth Workers Association (PYWA) colleagues and I worked with the Office of Faith Formation to help provide some support to youth workers through some Quicksheets. The Quicksheet, “Stay Home, Stay Connected” gives youth workers some ideas about how to use our gifts of support and connection virtually as we do ministry in the midst of a pandemic. We are all doing our best and trying new things.

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A VIRTUAL BIBLE BRIDGE

Let’s seize upon social distancing to build a virtual bridge (via Zoom) between our children/families and church staff, along with congregants known to have a special skill or hobby, or just a love for children. Beyond your church resources, many curriculum partners now offer FREE online “pandemic” materials (see attached). The Zoom platform is user-friendly and we all know techie folks. Our work is to coordinate these virtual partners.

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Words of Hope

According to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article and the Department of Homeland Security, there are estimated to be 480,000 immigrants of all ages and genders living without legal status in Georgia in 2010. Georgia is also home to three operating detention facilities housing those apprehended without proper documentation and/or other offenses.

The circumstances of many of the detainees involve weeks awaiting a fate that usually ends in deportation. In some cases, deportation to a country that is unfamiliar, dangerous, without family and without hope of ever seeing U.S. born children again.

The summer of 2013, I was asked by Lutheran Services of Georgia (LSG) to compile a Bible study for female detainees that would compliment their visitation program called Friends in Hope (FIH) Continue reading

Journey from Isolation to Community

Evelyn McMullen shares some thoughts about embracing families where one or more children have special needs. This is a reblog from Columbia Connections

Columbia Connections

By Dr. Evelyn Worth McMullen, Director of Bright Threads Ministries

Over the past few months I’ve had the privilege of hearing the stories of a number of parents whose children have special needs. Stories of pain and stories of joy; stories of brokenness and stories of hope. One recurring theme is isolation. Participation in social settings, even with extended family, is made difficult by the effort of continual caregiving. Parents advocate for their children as they navigate healthcare systems, education options, and even family birthday parties. It’s no wonder they find community among others whose lives have similar challenges. Parents get to know one another at Special Olympics events, in the waiting rooms of clinics and emergency rooms, and at meetings to explain changes in the “med waiver” requirements.So how can we, as the body of Christ, offer community to families who may feel as if they don’t belong?

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Grief to Bear

I am about to attend the second of two memorial services this week –people of strong faith who I’m sure are with God and who are no longer in pain. While knowing that they have moved from life into life, it is still difficult to bear their loss. Our beloved former president of Columbia Theological Seminary, Steve Hayner, will soon be lifted up in communal remembrance. He and his wife, Sharol Hayner have let us walk with them in this journey through pancreatic cancer by means of the CaringBridge website. In tribute to their incredible witness of faith, I lift up here a portion of one of Sharol’s posts from October 8, 2014 on discipleship during difficult times: Continue reading