Voice of the Vestry: gaping hole or opportunity for growth?

Posted by & filed under Grace Notes, Voice of the Vestry.

by Elizabeth Black, Junior Warden

When we have change, we often have fear.  Something is missing. Something is gone.  And when it is not replaced immediately, our sense of self preservation, of self-protection kicks in;  “Oh my

Elizabeth Black

gosh!  What is going to happen?  What will we do without it?  How do we replace it? Fix it now!  FIx it before…”  Before what? All change is not created equal.  All change is not bad. And change, which most often includes the elimination of something, does not necessarily require an immediate and identical replacement.

I made a huge change in my life in the past year.  I quit my job.  I had been looking for another position for many months while still employed.  But not finding a good fit in a new position, I chose to give two weeks notice and leave my employer and only source of income. It had become an untenable situation that was affecting my physical and mental health – and I was working as a mental health counselor!  So I made a conscious decision to no longer sacrifice my well being, and took a scary leap out into the unknown.

When our body is injured, there is break, a cut, or a hole. Big or small, created by an enemy, an accident, or a random event, there is something missing.  Or when our bodies’ systems go awry, there is a gap in one of the pathways that keeps us functioning.  We are wounded and want to replace or repair the missing element with that which is as close to the original as possible.  We want to be healed, and get back to the exact way we were before, back to “normal.”

At first I thought I would just take a few weeks off.  I would rest, reflect, reassess, and get back on the proverbial horse.  Well, sleep I did, and reflected through introspection, prayer, and with professional help. Three or four weeks after leaving my job, I was desperate to feel better, to be “healed” from the burnout I was experiencing.  But the big sense of relief did not come. I could not make myself leap back onto the work horse. I had eradicated the primary source of my challenges, but I quickly knew that simply jumping into a different job was not going to exorcise all my issues. There was more healing to be done. I had to look deeper.  And that would take time.

A church is often referred to as a body.  Grace Church is a group of parts and systems that function in intricate ways to keep us going on a daily basis toward a common goal; our manner of being alive with Christ in our lives. But our church is a body of humans, not a human body.

Our church, like our life, is different than our bodies. When something changes in our parish, when something is suddenly gone, whether through accident or intention, we have options. This is the same with our lives.  When change happens we can adapt. We can adjust. We can make a change.  We do not need to automatically replace what is gone. We do not have to immediately repair something that’s missing with an identical part.  We do not need a surgeon to sew back on that which has been cut off.  We can take a moment. We can reflect and be introspective. We can even create something new. And even when we lose people who have been members of our parish, of our body, through their moving, their retirement, or even their death, we can never replace them.  Nor should we try.  Each one is unique and irreplaceable.

When we experience change there are opportunities. These are chances which are given to us by God to take a moment and reflect.  Let’s look inward during these crossroads in time and take inventory.  Let’s reassess while we have an opening in our view of our daily life. Does our routine need more of the same or something new?  Is there a different perspective which can broaden or strengthen our efforts to be Christians? Has time shifted and altered the challenges that face us? Is there someone who is new, or newly seen, in our midst that can share a different vision?

I’ve taken a year to examine my career and my life.  It has been challenging.  I have used savings, and worked temp jobs.  It has been hard work.  But it has been one of the best things I have ever done for myself.  And now I have a new vision.  It is not perfect, but is so much more clearly formed than when I began this transition.

I am challenging all of us at Grace to take such a risk during our season of change. I am encouraging everyone to take a few deep breaths and then trust that the Holy Spirit will not let us fall if we open ourselves to new ideas.  I am wishing for our beloved parish strength to let go of fear and give ourselves the space to allow change and growth to come to us. If we do, I believe we will be amazed by what we see.

Voice of the Vestry: my spiritual journey

Posted by & filed under Grace Notes, Voice of the Vestry.

by Maria DiStefano-Post

“Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”

Sir Winston Churchill

This very powerful quote has been my mantra for many years. Is it not our very calling in life to continue to grow and, like the phoenix, ever morph into improved beings throughout our lives? If we take it a step further, what does it mean to improve? Is it innate to be kind and generous or is it taught?

These questions speak to the underlying principles that guide us. If we dive deeply into our lives and examine what is currently moving us and making us so busy, perhaps we will discover some distractions that are taking us away from finding our journey. Distractions limit us from growing, improving, and identifying the path or journey we are supposed to take.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that my experience on Vestry these last three years would have taken me where I am today. It has been a slow and sneaky internal transformation that has taken me by pleasant surprise.  I first noticed the transformation about one year in to my term, when the Vestry was faced with some very difficult decisions. I am confident that the Holy Spirit was there in that moment, reassuring me that God was with us, and I felt a sense of peace and solace. From that moment on, I let the Spirit guide me, I relinquished control, and I had faith that I could trust in the path that was slowly being paved for us.

If I am being honest, this journey began long before Vestry. I did not know it at the time, but God was already paving my spiritual journey. A beautiful, strong, and innately kind woman,  Maxcie Latimer, encouraged me to participate at Grace in any way that I could by asking me to help out in the kitchen, at a funeral, or you name it. At first, I was hesitant, not sure HOW to help, but she was gracious, welcoming, and from the beginning showed me what to do. Her legacy will live on through all of our efforts to reach out to those unsure about how to contribute and to assist them in finding their own paths.

It has been one of my greatest joys to know that I have taken a leap of faith into the unknown and have come out of it stronger and more faithful. We all have a spiritual journey to take. As for my journey, I no longer care if I get to the top of the mountain, because the path there is one of trust, bewilderment, and surprise – with God as my companion.

Voice of the Vestry: Seasons of darkness and light

Posted by & filed under Grace Notes, Voice of the Vestry.

by Bill Smith

Bill Smith

For many years, one of the activities my wife, Mary, and I like to do is to celebrate Summer Solstice on a high bluff near Empire overlooking Lake Michigan.  From that vantage point, the light lasts beyond 10 PM, and we feel that summer and its warmth and light will stretch on forever.  Sadly, it does not.  Now, Winter Solstice joins us  December 21 at 5:23 PM, the shortest day of the year and the day with the most darkness.  Over time, all civilizations have pondered the conflict between light and dark with many writings looking at both phenomena.  Ancient cultures viewed the winter solstice as a time of death and rebirth.  The seeming death of the light and very real threat of starvation over the winter months would have weighed heavily on early societies, who held varied solstice celebrations and rites meant to herald the return of the sun and hope for new life.  Scandinavians and Germanic pagan tribes lit fires and may have burned Yule logs as a symbolic means of welcoming back the light.  Cattle and other animals were slaughtered around midwinter, followed by feasting on what was the last fresh meat for several months.  A couple of little known facts about the Winter Solstice.  The Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth on December 21, 1620 to start a society that would allow freedom of worship.  It also appears that Stonehenge is aligned perfectly to the sunset of the Winter Solstice.

As December 21st passes, the amount of light very slowly increases, initially by a few minutes a week.  By May, large increments of light are added each day.

The Bible is replete with references to light and goodness, many of which we are very familiar reading.  The Book of John, in particular, has many references to Jesus and light.  John 8:12 says “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying “I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of light.”  And John 1:4 simply states “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

I think that most of us appreciate the conflict between light and darkness allegorically over time and the biblical references to the same.  But how does this apply to us now in our daily lives and our relationship to Grace Church?  With the beginning of Advent, what does this tell us about our time of anticipation and the light of Christmas?

At our Vestry meeting last month, Reverend Kathryn gave us all a little booklet entitled Living Well Through Advent 2018.  Although I have not read the booklet completely yet, it does describe using the light of Advent to practice generosity – generosity to ourselves, others and God.  Perhaps this is the foundation we can use to conduct our lives  for the remainder of the year.

Also at our recent vestry meeting, each committee report included a plea for more volunteer help.  Whether solving our roof problems, working on the stewardship committee or any of the Jubilee ministries, new ideas and energy are always needed!  Like most churches, Grace is blessed with an incredible core of volunteers who step forward whenever an “opportunity” presents itself.  But this Advent season as we contemplate our many blessings and gifts, perhaps we can reflect on the generosity needed to keep Grace Church a vibrant downtown church.  I believe that is our calling and asks us to shed a little light on our time, talent and treasures as we look forward to Christmas and beyond.

Stewardship as prayer

Posted by & filed under Grace Notes, Interim Rector, Stewardship, Voice of the Clergy.

by The Rev. Kathryn Costas

Stewardship as prayer is something I have been thinking about.  As we enter this new church season we are doing something different by having our ingathering of 2019 pledges on the third week of Advent, December 15 & 16.  Much prayer has gone into preparing our pledge forms for this year and they say much about who Grace Church is.  We send them to you so you have the time to pray about how you will fill them out.

Your response is a prayer.  Our Book of Common Prayer defines prayer “as responding to God, by thought and by deeds, with or without words.” So the whole action of praying about your financial commitment in 2019 to Grace Church, and putting that on the pledge card, is a prayer, a response to God in thought and deed.

Why do we ask people to pledge?  Knowing what our committed financial resources will be for the coming year allows the Finance Committee and the Vestry to prepare a budget.  Like any household, we have our set expenses.  Mortgage, utilities, insurance, general upkeep, not to mention setting aside for major expenses; then we add salaries, office expenses and supplies, IT expenses, program expenses, outreach, and our diocesan assessment.  All of this adds up and as each of us knows, the cost of everything goes up each year.  If we didn’t ask folks to pledge, we would have no set plan for paying our expenses.  Grace Church tries to live as good stewards of what is given, hoping that we are living out our stewardship as God intends.

Sometimes in churches, we realize that there are projects that we want to do to make life easier for folks or that must be done, but for which we have not budgeted.  These are usually large projects such as a new roof, or an elevator, or building expansion.  After much prayer, the Vestry will decide to have a Capital campaign, which does just that, raises monies to use toward major enhancements and repairs.  We are not doing that at this time, yet the time will come when we do.

Some people may ask, how do we pledge?  That answer is varied.  Some people choose to give weekly by writing a check and placing it in the offering plate, others do this monthly or yearly.  May I prepay my pledge this year for next? The answer is yes.  Some people have their banks send out checks weekly, monthly or yearly, others may give the church stock.  Some people have the distribution from their IRA’s sent directly to the church, thus avoiding paying tax on the income.  Others pay via bankcards or thru Paypal on our website. There are many ways to give to the yearly stewardship of Grace church.  Some even choose to put cash in the offering plate!

The how to do it is easy, if you have questions, please speak to me, your rector; our treasurer, Bill Pierce; or bring your questions to the office and we can assist.  More time though, should be allocated to prayer.  Reflecting and listening, then responding to God by thoughts and deeds, with or without words.  If we take these words of the prayer book to heart, our whole life becomes a prayer if we choose to honor it as such.

Blessings,

Kathryn+

Grace hosts Safe Harbor Jan. 5-12; training this Sunday Dec. 2

Posted by & filed under Events, Grace Notes, Jubilee Ministries.

by Donna Olendorf, coordinator for Grace Safe Harbor volunteers

Fifteen years ago, one small church decided that no more homeless people would freeze to death in Traverse City. They opened their doors, nightly, to provide a warm, dry place for the homeless to sleep.

Since then, Grace Church and 22 other churches have joined this mission.  More than 1700 community volunteers have now provided a warm dinner, a light breakfast, and a night’s rest to “those with the least among us.”  

This January, the coldest month of the year, Grace will be hosting Safe Harbor again, and even though the homeless no longer sleep at our church, Grace will provide the staffing and supplies for the week of January 5 – 12.  New this year is the presence of a Goodwill staff person during the whole time that the shelter is open.  While this is tremendously helpful, it doesn’t diminish the need for volunteers. Grace needs to fill approximately 150 shifts for its hosting week.

You can sign up to help right now. Grace coordinator Donna Olendorf will be on site Sunday, Dec. 2, after the 10 am service. Join her to reserve your shift and receive handouts and training on procedures. If you are unable to attend the training, you can still help. There is now a sign-up sheet in the narthex and the online signup is open as well: click here

Grace Church’s Jubilee Ministries – comprised of Jubilee House, the Spedding Food Pantry, and Friday Community Meal – provide critical services year round to Traverse City’s homeless population. Safe Harbor, however,  is the cornerstone for shelter during the winter months. Won’t you please mark your calendar to help during these important dates? And if you are unable to assist in person, monetary donations are also needed. There is a sign-up sheet for snacks that you can provide as well.

302 different people slept in the shelter last winter. The average length of stay was 34 nights. In the first year of central shelter operation, an average of 57 guests nightly were served a total of 14,000 evening meals and we provided nearly 10,000 bed nights. 1300 loads of laundry were washed and 2400 showers were facilitated. Volunteers have now given more than 18,000 hours to this mission.

Lives have been saved and suffering has been alleviated. All of this has been achieved through the love and dedication of people like you.  Can you find it in your heart to help again this year?

Advent begins this weekend

Posted by & filed under Grace Notes, Interim Rector, Voice of the Clergy.

by The Rev. Kathryn Costas

Advent begins this weekend.  What is Advent?  It is the first season of the Church Year.  A time to begin, to start anew.  A time to reflect on the past year at Grace and to offer gratitude for all that has been and a time to look forward and prepare for this new year. We move from using green as the color for vestments and church hangings to advent blue.

You will see the Advent Wreath up front which we will light at every service, a new candle being lit with each new Sunday.  The center candle, the Christ Candle, is lit on Christmas Eve and burns through the Christmas season.

Advent is a time of preparing ourselves for Christmas.  Not by shopping and decorating and singing Christmas songs, though I admit that has become part of Advent.  I wonder though, if there is a way to focus less on those things that need to be done and a bit more time reflecting on this season of Advent?  It might mean carving out an extra twenty minutes a day to sit in centering prayer, or time to read a short Advent meditation and reflect upon that reading.  Consider attending a Contemplative Eucharist on Wednesday evenings at 6:30pm, or join us for a conversation on spirituality following that service.  The third Wednesday of Advent we will again offer a Service of Shadow and Light, a time set apart to acknowledge that this is not a joyous time for everyone, a time to respect the grieving that many people carry with them during this time of year.  Even if you are not grieving or sad, your presence may be a support for those who are.

Another way to make this Advent a time set apart from usual activities might be to volunteer with our Jubilee Ministries, they would welcome your presence.  Speak to Glenda Andrews about Jubilee House, Nancy Johnson about the Food Pantry, or Kate Wood about Friday Meals, and Erin House, who coordinates a couple of the Sunday lunches, would welcome families helping out.

We  prepare our hearts to receive the Christ Child.  In order to receive, we first have to open ourselves.  What does it mean to open our hearts to God?  How do we live the love that we profess to in our Baptismal Covenant?  How can we share God’s love knowingly and freely?  And how do we build connections here at Grace Church?  All good questions to reflect upon this holy season. Enter this season with expectation and preparation.

Blessings,

Kathryn+

Voice of the Vestry – Moving Deeper

Posted by & filed under Grace Notes, Voice of the Vestry.

by Elizabeth Blondia

The 144th Diocesan Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan convened on November 2 and 3, 2018 in Lansing. In attendance from Grace Church were George Prewitt, Tony Nelson, Elizabeth Blondia, and The Reverend Kathryn Costas. We were joined by around 300 clergy and laypeople from all around our diocese who came to Lansing ready to address the business of our diocese but also to worship and pray together in order to “move deeper” into our relationship with each other and with God.

Convention Delegates

Bishop Whayne Hougland and the Keynote Speaker, The Rt. Rev. Robert C. Wright, Bishop of Atlanta, both addressed the Convention theme of Moving Deeper. Bishop Hoagland reminded us that moments of crisis – in our lives, in our church, in our world – are times of decision. A video clip from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry asked us if we want to give in to the chaos or do we want to intentionally and prayerfully create the community/relationships/lives we want? Seeing things how they are instead of how we want them to be is how we move deeper in our relationships with each other and with God. Bishop Wright encouraged us to find the courage to say yes, to move out of our comfort zone, to ask hard questions in order to find deep-down answers, and to “let Jesus write some graffiti on our souls.” When we remain with what feels comfortable, we don’t grow and we don’t get to experience anything fully. When we take risks and trust that God will be with us, we can grow in faith and in relationship with each other.

As usual, there was business to attend to as well. We approved the diocesan budget for 2019, elected laypeople and clergy to the Diocesan Standing Committee, passed five resolutions, and heard reports from various ministries around the diocese. The specifics of each of these can be found on the Diocesan website (edwm.org/diocesan-convention). It was during these business sessions that we as Christians were really able to “walk the walk” instead of just talking the talk. People got angry but still listened to each other with love and patience. People said things they regretted and then asked for forgiveness. People cried out of frustration or sadness and were supported and heard. There was conflict but it was resolved peacefully.

I believe we all left Convention on Saturday afternoon feeling that our individual parishes, our diocese and the greater church are all in good health. As Bishop Hoagland said in his address, “We are well on the way to taking more intentional control of our ministries instead of waiting for things to break. We are now more proactive than reactive, all pointing to greater health within the diocese.” More importantly than that, however, was the reminder that love has the power to change lives and the world. Bishops Curry, Hoagland, and Wright all reminded us that we have the responsibility as Christians to practice the way of love in every aspect of our lives. Bishop Hoagland ended his message by saying “If we don’t make this move, who will?” By moving deeper, we can create real change in our lives, in our church, and in our world.

Voice of the Vestry – Fall Reflection

Posted by & filed under Grace Notes.

by Kathryn Holl

Grief.  It is part of daily life.  Sometimes, like waves on water it ripples through our soul, then subsides, hardly noticeable within our being.  At other times, it is tumultuous, a full on body-slam with intense physical, spiritual and emotion discomfort or pain.   Grief is not linear and there is no time frame. It is constantly moving, ever- changing and truly unpredictable.

Grief arises out of loss.  Loss of a loved one, loss due to illness, a move, loss of job, loss of friends, changes in life situations, pet death and other life altering experiences.  Individuals experience grief on a personal level and on a societal level due to suffering of humanity.

Any transitional experience can be the spark for stress and strain in our normal lives.  We cannot ignore it or pretend it doesn’t exist, though our society hardly provides understanding for the grieving process.  We need to tend to our grief, to be gentle with ourselves and each other and to reach out to a community of supportive and understanding family and friends.  We need to find those who “get it”.

It is in acceptance that we begin to find a gentler, kinder experience with grief.  Acceptance is demonstrated in models used in the Grief field today. Alan Wolfelt’s “Companioning” model uses The 6 Tasks of Mourning . You can read more at www.Centerforloss.com.    A second model is found in the book Finding My Way by John M.Schneider, PhD.  There he counsels us to be with our grief through three questions:

  1. What is Lost?
  2. What Remains?
  3. What is possible?

Education is valuable in understanding what is occurring through the grief process. Importantly being educated on the subject connects us with the universality of grief.  It is good to learn that “feeling like you are losing your mind” is a normal reaction to grief as are physical manifestations that beset many.  Individuals learn that feeling joy is part of grief as well as sadness. We learn all reactions to a loss are unique depending on our individual natures and relationships to the loss.

We do not get over grief, we go through it.  It changes us forever. This change can be a time when individuals have the greatest opportunity for transformation.  As mourners we walk through pain, remember our loss, honor our relationships, honestly address the difficulties of grief and find courage to turn our pain into a meaningful life, making it possible for transformation to occur.  I know that resilience comes from the acknowledgement of the loss, from a supportive community, a strong faith and the trust that change can be meaningful. If ever there is the feeling God has abandoned, we will again feel the presence of His peace in a renewed relationship to faith, community and family.

I do marvel at the resilience and determination for those facing a health crisis or experiencing the loss of a spouse, partner, child, friend. We can turn to one another to understand, to listen and to be a community of Grace.  Take time to be gentle with yourself and with others, listening, praying and staying present to the moment.

The Well of Grief      by David Whyte

Those who will not slip beneath

the still surface on the well of grief

turning down through its black water

to a place we cannot breathe,

will never know the source from which we drink,

the secret water cold and clear,

nor find in the darkness glimmering,

the small round coins,

thrown by those who wished for something else.

 

Pastoral Letter from The Right Rev. Whayne M. Hougland, Jr., IX Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan

Posted by & filed under Grace Notes.

to be read at all services, Oct. 27 & 28, 2018

 

To the People of the Diocese of Western Michigan,

As we make final preparations for the 144th Diocesan Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan, I request your fervent prayers for our diocese, for the communities we serve, and for our nation.  We need God’s help – and your support – to expand and energize our work of healing and reconciliation to address the growing divisions in our American life.

A little less than 3 days after the gavel closes on our 144th Diocesan Convention, America’s polls will open for the 2018 midterm election. When the polls finally close, Americans could end up more bitterly divided than we are already. No matter who “wins” all of us might end up losing.

I am concerned about thisgrowing chasm of distrust and fear amongst us and the increasing hostility being expressed towards entire segments of our varied communities.  This distrust and fear is the opposite of the spirit of reconciliation embodied in the work of the Episcopal Church. As Episcopalians, our mission is, “to restore all people to unity with God and each other, as we pray and worship, proclaim the Gospel, and promote justice, peace and love.” (BCP p. 855)

The challenges facing the Jesus Movement in Western Michigan are enormous and among the most urgentis the need for racial reconciliation.

This is also an area where we are well positioned to take important new steps toward effective action.In 2017, our Diocesan Convention passed a resolution calling for the development of a policy and procedure requiring that, “persons running for any elected diocesan position must have completed an approved course of study on racial reconciliation.” Our Diocesan Commission on Dismantling Racism has done great work. Working in conjunction with your bishop, they have developed a policy and procedure that was passed unanimously by your diocesan council at its September 2018 meeting.

Regardless of who you are – your background or your beliefs – we are all shaped by systems, including within the Church, in which attitudes, social practices, and power dynamics intentionally and unintentionally create unfair advantages or disadvantages for groups of people based on race.

Simply put, racism is prejudice coupled with power. Racism in all its varietiesexists to help those holding power and control to maintain power and control.

It is only when we see and recognize the overarching role of racism as a systemthat we can begin to examine its consequences and seek ways to change. Our sincere engagement in dismantling racism is a necessary step toward making visible God’s likeness and goodness in every person.

As your Bishop, I now call upon us to take up our mission – to seek restoration and unity by fully giving ourselves to the work of dismantling racism in our lives.

The new policy and procedure for Dismantling Racism in the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan outlines a course of study on racism awareness and reconciliation.

·     Phase One – Understanding the history of racism: US origins of racism, institutional racism, awareness of personal bias.

·     Phase Two – Committing to intentional personal and public change.

·     Phase Three – Creating a parish plan and determining outcomes to be measured and follow-up activities to maintain momentum.

This will not be easy work. It will require humility, vulnerability, honesty and courage. It will take graceful listening with gentle responses. It will require patience and prayer, lots of prayer, as we seek to shift our awareness and our actions, so we might become agents of healing and reconciliation in our communities and in our time.

I look forward to taking up this work with you and moving deeper into our relationship with God as we move deeper intorelationship with one another.

I am honored to be your bishop.

May the blessing of God Almighty be with us now and always,

 

The Rt. Rev. Whayne M. Hougland, Jr.

IX Bishop,

The Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan

Click here to download this letter as a PDF.

Click here to download the new Policy and Proceedure for Dismantling Racism Training.

 

Statement from Grand Traverse Area Clergy on Recent Acts of Violence

Posted by & filed under Grace Notes, Voice of the Clergy.

October 30, 2018

Contact: Rev. Jody Betten (616) 706-3549

We join together as an interfaith community of leaders to share in the profound grief provoked by the attack on Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh that took the lives of eleven Jews gathered for Sabbath worship and wounded several others, including first responders.

Together, we cry out with the voice of the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted, because they were not.” (31:14) And, we take comfort in the prophet’s words of reassurance: “The Lord has appeared to me, far away, saying, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have remained true to you.’” (31:2)

Together, we are also profoundly affected by the recent spate of bomb material sent to leaders across the United States and we mourn the lives of Maurice Stallard and Vickie Jones, murdered in Kentucky by a white supremacist.

Together, we grieve all instances of daily violence and discrimination faced by members of the wider American community.

Together, we offer our heartfelt condolences to the families, friends, and wider communities of the departed and offer prayers for quick and complete healing for the wounded.

Together, we exhort ourselves and all who share a vision of a peaceful, diverse, just, and compassionate American society, to redouble our efforts at reconciliation and recommit ourselves to upholding our country’s highest ideals and aspirations.

Signed in love and solidarity (alphabetically) –

Rabbi Chava Bahle

Rev. Jody Betten

Rev. Paul Busekist

Rev. Kathryn Costas

Rev. Phil Garrison

Rev. Patricia Haas

Rev. Chris Lane

Rev. Jane Lippert

Rev. Robin Long Carden

Rev. Jose Lopez

Rev. Melissa Lopez

Rev. William Myers

Rev. Dale Ostema

Rev. MaryBeth Robertson

Rev. Kathy Snedeker

Rev. Eileen Stulak

Rev. Jeremy Wicks

Rev. Jared Yaple