I had a couple of good ideas for the column this week, but wouldn’t you know it, they both fell through. Best-laid plans. This led me to ramble through the internet searching for what might be going on at Island places of worship, and as I suspected, even though there’s a pandemic, they’re all still fairly busy. It’s been pretty amazing to see how all of you pivoted into virtual worship, some meeting both live and online. Maybe that idea that God is everywhere is true.
Anyway, I found a few things of interest that I thought I’d share. First off, the fantastic community program M.V. Food Baskets, out of Good Shepherd Parish, has a job opening. What could be better than helping to feed families in our community? Here’s the job description: “Help organize biweekly Saturday food distribution. Maintain contacts and coordinate food pickup with community organizations. Stock food pantry weekly. Unload the freight truck. Submit monthly food bank report. Job will start in June with training in the months of January and February. Applicants need to be able to lift 50 pounds, and to work 40 hours per month. Please contact the office, 508-693-0342.”
I kept going, and found something intriguing on the United Methodist Church website. There’s a serene outdoor photo of benches among trees, with the blue ocean in the background, and underneath it says, “Christian Mindfulness. Stay tuned.” That’s pretty exciting for me. I used to be very good about practicing centering prayer several years ago, and like all things that are good for me, I let it drop. (The best part about this new offering for me is that I can just walk into the newsroom and ask Eunki Seonwoo when this might start up, because his dad is the pastor there.) If you want to check the site out for yourself, visit umc-mv.org. Meanwhile, I’ll bug Eunki for more information.
The First Congregational Church of West Tisbury is hosting its annual meeting this coming Sunday, Feb. 6, after the morning Zoom service. This is the opportunity to find out more about all the aspects of your church, and maybe discover some things you didn’t know. Visit the church website at wtcongregationalchurch.org to find out more.
At the Chilmark Community Church, it looks like Thursday Strings is still happening, but I would call to make sure. Maybe it happens virtually as well? 508-645-3100.
The Federated Church in Edgartown has a terrific website, and I will also add that they have a very nice Instagram presence as well. Check them out at @federatedchurchmv.
Pound for pound, you might not find a more engaging website than that of the M.V. Hebrew Center. Every day on the calendar offers something to do. Rabbi Caryn Broitman leads a class on Job and Daniel, Shabbat services, education committee meetings, racial justice reading group, a poetry workshop and more fill their calendar. Give it a read, and you’ll also find some of Rabbi Broitman’s writings there (mvhc.us).
Last of all, this one was very timely for me: Liturgies to Say at Home was something I saw on the Grace Church website. They’re smaller services posted online from the Book of Common Prayer so that you can use them during these socially distant times. It includes daily devotions that can be said at the beginning and end of the day, at noon, and before going to bed. The noonday prayer helps as a fixed point in the middle of the day for prayer, and compline is a nice way to end the day. Find the info at graceepiscopalmv.org/liturgies-to-say-at-home.html.
I’ve been looking for a way to calm myself, something I can do every day that will make me slow down and breathe. Maybe 15 minutes out of the day — either I could start the day with it, end the day with it, or better yet, incorporate it into a lunchtime thing. And I think I found something that helps. I was browsing around for apps that contain prayers and reflections, and came up with a Catholic app called Laudate. I chose the Catholic app only because the scrolly old-fashioned font and the gospel reading and response format is familiar to me. I look at the readings, the responsorial psalm, the gospel, reflections, and read about the saints who have their feast day that particular day. That’s it. It takes maybe 15, 20 minutes to do. Because the information is brief, it allows me to pay close attention to the words, and I give myself a few minutes to digest what I’m reading, to think about it and in what ways it could apply to my life. I love it. I’m into day four now, and I’m trying to commit to it.
I’m just wondering if this is something that might work for you as well. Explore a variety of apps, and you might find one that works for you. It doesn’t have to be any denomination at all, as long as it helps you slow down and express your gratitude. I’m a big believer in God appreciating any time we spend with him. Think about it — we love when our own children make time for us, so it makes sense that God feels the same way. I’m a little simple in my theology, I’m afraid, but it works for me. Let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you find something interesting, and I’ll check it out too.