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News & Events Online Services Pastor's Blog

Sunday, May 30th: Registration for Service

In addition to our online service, St. John’s is now offering an in-person service.

IN-PERSON SUNDAY MORNING SERVICE 10AM

Space is limited for In-Person Service. COVID-19 health precautions are currently bein implemented (face masks, social distancing, etc.)

PLEASE REGISTER FOR IN PERSON SUNDAY SERVICE
Registration occurs for six days the week before the service for which you are registering:
Sunday (begins 5:30am) to Friday (ends 10:00am)

Go to HERE to register for Sunday, May 30th.

If anyone is unable to register online, please call the church office: 360.568.4622.

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News & Events Online Services Pastor's Blog

About Limited In-Person Services

LIMITED IN-PERSON WORSHIP
With the advice of the Vestry, I am delighted to announce that we will begin Sunday in-person worship again at St. John’s Parish Hall. Our first service will be on Pentecost Sunday, May 23, at 10:00 AM. Feel free to wear red for this celebration of the birth of the Church.

And going forward, worship will be on Sundays at 10:00 AM. We will gather for simple Morning Prayer Services composed of readings, a brief reflection, the Prayers of the People, and the sharing of the Peace. The services will be 30-40 minutes long. Like you, I am looking for the blessings of worshiping together.
All in attendance who are more than two years old must be masked for the entire time you are at the service – no exceptions because masks are for others’ safety, not primarily your own. All in attendance must wear masks throughout the time you are in our building.

Fifty people will be able to register in advance during the week previous to the event. We know that the idea of registration and limited attendance feels awkward when it comes to church events. We know this could leave some people out of participating. However, given the current conditions of the pandemic, we find ourselves having to set strict guidelines for protection. We ask that you cooperate with and respect the requirements for participation. If there’s not room at a particular Sunday’s service, please look for another opportunity to attend.

You must make a reservation to attend an in-person service as attendance at our services is limited. Our planning has followed the requirements of The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia and the Office of the Governor. Please know that we will continue to offer online worship as we have for the past year.

LIMITED IN-PERSON WORSHIP REGISTRATION:
The reservation link will be available on the church’s website, on the main page.
– You can also register during the same time-frame by phone, 360-568-4622.
– Registration includes signing a waiver and agreeing to safety protocols. All records of
attendance, releases, and questionnaires will be confidential but will be kept for some time after each event as directed by the Rector and accessed specifically for contact tracing or notices should the need arise.
– We will continue with the Sunday-to-Friday reservation period for each Sunday service.

Registration helps prevent us maintain social distancing and keeps us from exceeding capacity or needing to turn anyone away at the door for capacity reasons.You are a full participant in the life of our community if you choose to continue participating with us online.

PLEASE DO NOT ATTEND IN-PERSON IF:
– You are not feeling well
– You have been exposed to someone with COVID-19
– You have any of these symptoms: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty
breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea. Please protect yourself and others by staying home.

DURING THE SERVICE:
– There will be a hard copy of the service leaflet for you.
– You will be asked not to stray from your assigned spot to maintain six feet of safe social
distancing and to facilitate contact tracing should the need arise.
– We will share the Peace with a bow or nod – no physical contact outside your family group.
– There will not be Communion at the services for now.
At dismissal, you will be asked to leave in an orderly fashion guided by Hospitality Minister/Usher and not linger. There is no in-person fellowship time/coffee hour or any other programming after the service.
The experience of the pandemic has taught us to be flexible and adaptable. We will gather knowing that these services are not equivalent to a copy of the regular services we are used to participating in at the Nave. However, we will come together with the firm conviction that God is present in our midst, calling us to community and that the Spirit is still speaking to us. The Holy Spirit is untamable. She wildly moves in our lives.
I ask your patience, understanding, grace, and your prayers as we move into these new experiences in our congregational life. We will learn as we go and adapt accordingly.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me or the Senior Wardens, Jackie Grove, and Chris Bee Kenagy, if you have any questions or concerns about the in-person services.

In Christ,
The Rev. Eliacín Rosario-Cruz, Rector

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News & Events Pastor's Blog

Holy Week at St. John’s

The Maundy Thursday and Good Friday Services will be recorded. They will be emailed to you, or you can access them through our website.

There will be two ways to participate in Easter Sunday Service.

The online Easter Sunday Service link will be in our normal Sunday morning email, and the service will premiere on Facebook at 11am. You will be able to find it on our website as well.

The outdoor Easter Sunday Service (10AM) will be at Chinook Farms. Registration will be required for the outdoor Easter Sunday Service at Chinook Farms. It will be a simple Morning Prayer Service composed of some readings, a brief reflection, Renewal of Baptism, the Prayers of the People, and the (socially distanced) passing of the Peace. We are planning for a 30-40 minutes service. This will be a standing-only service; however, if you have trouble standing for the service’s duration, we invite you to bring a chair.

You are invited to also join the live-streaming services from St. Mark’s Cathedral for more traditional liturgical services.

OUTDOOR EASTER SERVICE PROTOCOL INFORMATION

The outdoor service will be held at Chinook Farms in Snohomish. THERE WILL BE LIMITED SPACE FOR 40 INDIVIDUALS & REGISTRATION WILL BE REQUIRED for this standing “room” only service (held in an empty greenhouse). Registration online & by phone will BEGIN Monday, March 29th at 10am and CLOSE Friday, April 2nd at Noon. 

MASKS – All in attendance who are more than two years old must be masked for the entire time you are at the farm– no exceptions, because masks are for others’ safety, not primarily your own. All in attendance must wear masks throughout.

LIMITED SPACE – Forty people will be able to register in advance during the week previous to the event. Registration and limited attendance feels awkward when it comes to church events. This may leave out some people from participating. Given the current conditions of the pandemic, we have set strict guidelines for protection. Please cooperate with and respect the requirements for participation. These are for consideration of all participants, and the safety of Chinook Farms and its tenants.

DRESS FOR OUTDOORS, UNEVEN GROUND – Be aware that the service will be at a working farm. Dress appropriately to be out in the weather. Expect to walk on uneven terrain, and for your shoes to get muddy. There will be a porta potty and hand-washing station available.

WHO – All are welcome! (Please stay home if you have a fever or any symptoms of illness to protect others and take care of yourself.) If you are a person in a high-risk group or have any misgivings about gathering at this time, please be comfortable to continue to worship from home.

REGISTRATION REQUIRED – Registration online (or by phone) will BEGIN Monday, March 29th at 10am and CLOSE Friday, April 2nd at Noon. The online registration link information will be in the Friday Email March 26. Registration is required to guarantee and maintain social distancing and other safety protocols.

You will also need to sign a waiver and agree to safety protocols. All records of attendance, waivers, and questionnaires will be confidential, but will be kept for a period of time after each event as directed by the Rector, and will be accessed specifically for contact tracing or notices should the need arise.

ARRIVE EARLY – Please come 15 minutes early. Maintain six-feet social distancing as you wait your turn to come into the meeting space. A Hospitality Minister/Usher will check your temperature with a no-touch thermometer (must not be greater than 100.4° F), will ask you health questions relating to COVID-19 symptoms and will ask you to fill out and sign the waiver and agreement. If you have any adverse health symptoms, or decide to not comply with the precaution protocols, you will be asked to return home.

You will be directed you to a hand-sanitizing station and shown to your assigned, marked, socially distanced spot for the service. Families, and those who live under the same roof, can stand together. You are asked to stay there for the duration.

SERVICE DETAILS There will be a hard copy of the service leaflet for you to pick up at the entrance of the meeting space. We recommend that you download the leaflet at home ahead of time, or have it on your phone or tablet during the service.

We will share the Peace with a bow or nod – no physical contact outside your family group. There will not be Communion at this event.

At dismissal, you will be asked to leave in an orderly fashion guided by a Hospitality Minister/Usher and to not linger. There is no in-person fellowship time or programming after the service.

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News & Events Pastor's Blog

Holy Week 2021 at St. John’s

Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday on March 28th. We will provide Holy Week Service information in the Friday Email next week, March 26th, for these services:

  • 10am Palm Sunday Zoom
  • Maundy Thursday Online Service
  • Good Friday Online Service
  • 10am Easter Morning Outdoor Service**
  • Easter Morning Online Service

**The outdoor service will be held at Chinook Farms in Snohomish. THERE WILL BE LIMITED SPACE & REGISTRATION WILL BE REQUIRED for this standing “room” only service (held in an empty greenhouse). Registration online & by phone will BEGIN Monday, March 29th at 10amand CLOSE Friday, April 2nd at Noon. Registration information will be in next week’s Friday Email.

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News & Events Pastor's Blog

Annual Meeting Sun. 1-31-21, 11AM

Dear People of St. John’s,

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
– Philippians 4:4-8

It is that time of the year when we gather to celebrate our Parochial Annual Meeting. I hope you join our Annual Meeting this year, on Sunday, January 31, 2021, at 11:00 AM via Zoom. At this meeting, we will be electing Vestry members, delegates, and alternates to Diocesan Convention, presenting the 2021Parish Operational Budget, and hearing remarks from the Rector and Senior Warden. Log in to Zoom at 10:45 AM, which would give enough time for people to join and for the meeting to start on time at 11:00 AM.

Friends, this will be a meeting like no other, like many other things during the pandemic. We are doing our best to adapt and accommodate through the difficulties of this time to allow for a proper meeting. The leadership of St. John’s understands that this is not the optimal way to gather. We all want to be in person; however, this is the best we can do at this time. I ask that you approach this meeting with grace and patience. Even after months of participating in many gatherings and meetings, we continue to learn the best ways to use technology for communication, far from perfect. All that to say, let us all be gentle with each other and with the technology during the meeting.

Click on the link below to find a link to the document that includes all the information you need to participate in the annual meeting. The document is not an exhaustive collection of reports. It includes those pertinent for this moment, allowing for future opportunities to hear from other ministries, committees, and groups in our

congregation.

Annual Meeting Informational Document.
Contact the church office for the Zoom log in information.
If you are using Zoom for the first time, I encourage you to watch this video – https://bit.ly/3iN2wYx . It is an 8 minute video that guides you to the easy steps to participate in Zoom meetings. While Zoom’s layout changes depending on the device you will be using, the steps are basically the same.

If you are a Zoom expert, I invite you to reach out to those you know might need some help.

See you on Sunday, and remember log in to Zoom at 10:45 AM, which will give enough time for people to join and for the meeting to start on time at 11:00 AM.

Blessings,
Fr. Eliacín
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Pastor's Blog

What are you grateful for in these strange days in the wilderness?

A Prayer of Thanksgiving 
by Walter Rauschenbusch, 1861–1918

For the wide sky and the blessed sun,
For the salt sea and the running water,
For the everlasting hills
And the never-resting winds,
For trees and the common grass underfoot.
We thank you for our senses.
By which we hear the songs of birds,
And see the splendor of the summer fields,
And taste of the autumn fruits,
And rejoice in the feel of the snow,
And smell the breath of the spring.
Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty;
And save our souls from being so blind
That we pass unseeing
When even the common thornbush
Is aflame with your glory,
O God our creator,
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Amen.
Dear Ones,

For the last month, I have been looking for alternatives to the questions “how are you?” That simple question that we would ask people when we see them has become a very complicated one to ask and answer. If we are honest, we would say that most of us are not doing well these days. The compound heaviness of many months of the Pandemic, a stressful Election season, and the changes for many of family plans for the Holidays are leaving us sore, tired, sad, and exhausted. All very valid feelings.

A question that I am trying with some people as an alternative to “How are you?” is “what expectation of normal are you letting go of?” Letting go is not easy, yet it is necessary for new things to come. Letting go allows us to be open to what God might be bringing about, for the holy unexpected. My family and I are letting go of the traditional Thanksgiving Dinner with extended family. It will be a small household celebration. The decision brought up tears and grief. My children were mad at this decision, not as us discerning its need and making it, but at the fact that yet, one more thing was taken away from them by the Pandemic.

I believe our hearts are big enough to hold sadness and gratitude at once.

What expectation of normal at you letting go? Keep awake because the holy unexpected might surprise you as you let go of what is normal.

My family has adopted a little ritual of thanksgiving before dinner in which each one of us goes around saying one thing we are grateful for from the day. It is the simple things that we have come to cherish and be grateful for the most these days, things like: the yard fire pit, Minecraft (video game), the British Baking Show, warm socks, a phone call from a friend, a recently found new book series, the people at Thursday Bible Study, work at McDonald’s, a tickle fight, a working dishwasher, dark chocolate, a good belly laugh, the health of family members, the gift of strong leaders in our church, the support of the Bishop, carry out pizza on hectic nights, for hope, faith, and love.

What are you grateful for in these strange days in the wilderness?

About Community Kitchen: I was informed that some rumors are going around about St. John’s ending its collaboration with Community Kitchen (CK). That is an unfounded rumor, and it is absolutely false. St. John’s continues in relationship with Community Kitchen.

Early in March, we stopped all activities happening in our building as a way to discern appropriate measures to protect people using our building from the COVID-19 outbreak in our area. In April, I began conversations with the President of Community Kitchen and St. John’s representative, Jackie Grove, with a request and a share of best practices to have CK serving from our building while having a protocol of precaution and prevention. The outcome of that conversation was that a CK protocol was to be developed by May. However, the CK board put those plans on a pause during the Summer, with some people related to Community Kitchen still serving from the street.

Not long after that, the building work began full force preventing the building’s use for any groups.

Our Junior Warden, Dawn Wheatley, has been in communications with all external groups, including CK, with building updates.

At no point has the Vestry, nor our faithful SJ representatives in the CK board (Jackie and Tom Schelfhout), nor I as Rector, made any decisions to terminate our partnership with Community Kitchen. Be assured of that.

See additional note below from Jackie Grove.

Advent is coming: November 29 will be the First Sunday in Advent. Included in this email is information about Advent Evening Gatherings activities for the Four Sundays in Advent. The gatherings are an opportunity to be together as a community. At the same time, we make way for the Messiah and prepare ourselves for the arrival of the Holy One who is to come. I encourage you to join the gatherings. As you can see, we will meet via Zoom, which is the best way for us to come together around a flat screen, that can also be a gathering table and a thin space for spiritual formation and community building. I invite you to reach out to others and to invite. Maybe even consider doing helping someone teach someone to use Zoom so they can participate.

I have two books to recommend to those who like to read a special book during advent.

A Weary World: Reflections of a Blue Christmas, by Kathy Escobar.
“During the holidays, so many of us can suffer for all kinds of reasons. The magnitude of our weary world weighs on our hearts and minds. We wrestle with chronic pain, broken relationships, shattered dreams, fragile faith, and unexpected losses. Our grief and sorrow feel particularly acute when compared to the festivity and joy everyone else seems to be feeling. More and more churches are acknowledging this fact with “Blue Christmas” services (also called Longest Night services) and offering resources to give particular support and comfort to those struggling during the most wonderful time of the year.

Kathy Escobar has been leading Blue Christmas experiences at her church for nearly a decade and just experienced her bluest season of all following the sudden death of her son. In A Weary World, Escobar provides twenty-eight daily reflections paired with prayers and practices to honor our struggles during the holidays.”

Honest Advent: Awakening to the Wonder of God-with-us Then, Here and Now, by Scott Erickson
“From celebrated artist-storyteller Scott Erickson: 25 days of heart-stirring images and thought-provoking meditations to rekindle the wonder of God-with-Us in this season. Honest Advent creates a space for you to encounter the Incarnate Christ in unexpected places: like a pregnancy announcement in an era of political unrest and empirical bloodshed, the morning sickness of a Middle Eastern teenager, and the shocking biology of birth that goes far beyond the sanitized brand of Christmas as we know it.

Then, through powerful benedictions, prayers, and questions for honest reflection, you will discover how the wonder of God-with-Us is still happening today: in your unexpected change of plans, your unaccomplished dreams, your overcrowded lodging, your humble stories of new beginnings. In a world that’s difficult to make sense of, and a season that’s so often overtaken by consumerism, find here fresh eyes to see this powerfully sacred story.”

Black Jesus: Some of you have noticed on the Morning Prayers Videos, a very colorful painting of a Black Jesus hanging in my office. The painting is done on a canvas and will be moved to the Narthex once we are back using our building. All the iconography at St. John’s at this moment (icons, stain glass windows, crucifixes) expressed a white Eurocentric aesthetic. While beautiful, these representations are limited and when unquestioned can be damaging to our faith. We need more diverse images and representations of God’s people in our iconography. The painting of a Black Jesus invites us to imagine the incarnate God in the body of People of Color.

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Pastor's Blog

Slow Down

This week, you may consider slowing down. Becoming present to Divine Presence all around you. Becoming present to your loved ones. Becoming present to your self, as God’s beloved.
 
Yes, these are anxious days. And yet, these are days full of beauty, and full of dreams of a just society where equality and wellness are possible.
 
Slow down.
Enumerate at least 5 things you are grateful for everyday.
Contact at least 1 person a day who bring you joy, or to whom you are the bringer of joy.
Breathe 3 intentional deep breaths when you feel anxious, one in the name of the Creator, one in the name of the Redeemer, one in the name of the Holy Sustainer.
Practice loving-kindness to self and others.
Unplugged from social media for a break from the ever-looming scrolling of doom
Fix something
clean that drawer that you have been meaning to clean for a long time
Play some music, in vinyl if you have them
Take a prayer walk in the morning, or bundled up and take prayer walk in the evening. Ground yourself to the eternal now with each step you take.
You have the power to turn off the TV and radio. Use that power.
Rest if you are tired.
Cook warm, nourishing, comforting meals.
Slow down.
Be present.
God is. God will be.
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Pastor's Blog

Mid-Week Video Series on Gratitude.

Dear Ones,

As we enter into the Fall, with its harvest season, it is my pastoral invitation to you to make room and space for gratitude in your life. Much has happened so far this year. We are very aware of the heaviness and uncertainty of it all, and yet as the mystics would say, even our suffering and tribulations belong in God. Nothing is wasted or dismissed in the ever-enfolding love of God. And even in the muck of it all, we have experience glimpses of beauty and goodness; for that, we give thanks to God.

It is my hope and prayer that we all find moments of gratitude in each of our days. Thanksgiving for a warm cup of tea, a finished puzzle, a call from a friend, the laughter of a grandchild, an opportunity to help others, a good book, completing some house chores, for having a house and chores to do, for the good stewardship of our church building by the Vestry and Building Committee, for stable internet connection during Zoom meetings, for medical teams and essential workers, for God’s eternal love for us… there so many reasons to be generous with our gratitude.

For the next 6 Wednesdays, I will be sending a Mid-Week Email Message focused on the transformative power of giving thanks. Contact me via email if you are interested in joining this series.

In these videos, we will hear Dr. Diana Butler Bass explore why gratitude is missing as a modern spiritual practice, offers practical suggestions for reclaiming it, and illuminates how the shared practice of gratitude can lead to greater connection with God, our world, and our own souls. The course towards changing the way we see and act in the world, according to Butler-Bass, is remembering the truth about God’s abundance and welcoming one another to a communal table where every need is met. Inspired by her book, this film series is a continued dialogue about what we’ve done with/how we misuse power, how to find an abundance within, what it looks like to be a cooperative culture rather than a competitive sharing, connecting.

GRATEFUL
The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks
This series includes six sessions:

Session One // Where Is God?
Session Two // A Table of Gifts
Session Three // Table Ethics
Session Four // Grace, Gratitude, and Gifts
Session Five // Gratitude and Abundance
Session Six // Table Memory

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Pastor's Blog

from the frying pan into the fire

“Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…”
– Philippians 1:27, St. Paul to the church in Philippi, and the church in Snohomish County.

Beloveds in Christ,

I’ve been thinking about my mother this past week. Two things I learned the most from my mother, gratitude, and resilience. She had all sorts of sayings and saying to communicate deep wisdom. Some of those sayings were rooted in the courage that poor people developed to face a life of hardship, and still see beauty, express love, and celebrate being alive.

These days it seems that we are jolted continuously, getting out of the frying pan into the fire. We are living amid a global pandemic that changed our habits and patterns of human interaction, a severe economic crisis that is impacting the livelihood and well-being of many, the gloom of collective trauma that alters our focus and our capacity for empathy, the blunt exposure of the wickedness of racism in our country and towns, the feelings of guilt and powerlessness at dealing with our complicity in racism, the increase politicization and polarization on issues like wearing masks, showing support for Black Lives Matter movement or appreciation for the work of the Police, hurricanes, fires, and now our skies covered in smoke. Yes… from the frying pan into the fire indeed. So much have happened, or have been unveiled, in a matter of months.

No wonder we feel tired, I know I am tired. And I get anxious, and I get snappy and cranky and long for the good old days of late 2019.

Nothing, or very little, in our lifetime, prepared us for figuring out life and meaning during this time. At the same time, we are not passive participants or merely waiting for this to happen. As Christians, we are summoned to be awake, clothe ourselves in Christ, and follow the Way. We might be tempted at this moment in history to say, Come Lord Jesus! But know that plea comes with a response that we might not want to hear. Our Lord Jesus is here, present among us, in solidarity with us in our struggles and hardship. While at the same time, it is us, the Church who now enfleshes the Good News of Christ’s Gospel in our neighborhoods. The Apostle Paul instructs and encourages the church in Philippi, and us the church in Snohomish County, to live our life as a church in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.

Let us continue to be honest with God about our feelings of disheartening and sorrow during this time. While also continue to look for opportunities to live in the manner of the Gospel of Christ by not waiting for the time to resume our church services but seeking to be the church in the world. If you are tempted to ask what is St. John’s or the church doing about this or that, remember that you are the church, so the question also is what “I am doing about this or that” or “how am I helping, assisting, or leading on this or that.” We are all ministers of the church. We are all bearers of Good News, even, and perhaps more importantly, when we are all feeling that we are moving out of the frying pan into the fire.

From the Book of Common Prayer, pg. 855

Q. Who are the ministers of the Church?
A. The ministers of the Church are lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons.

Q. What is the ministry of the laity?
A. The ministry of lay persons is to represent Christ and his Church; to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and, according to the gifts given them, to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world; and to take their place in the life, worship, and governance of the
Church.

Re-gathering Protocol: Please join me in thanking the Protocol Team, Leann Torgerson, Dave Baldwin, Kim Eichner, Jackie Grove, and Dawn Wheatley, for all their work in developing a substantial safety protocol for when our time to re-gather comes. The document was finalized on our end this week and sent to the Office of the Bishop for feedback and approval.

 

 

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Seek Holy Wisdom and Divine Grace

Dear Ones,

The date of September 11 carries the dreadful memories of pain and violence. On September 11, 1973, General Augusto Pinochet, supported by the CIA, lead a coup d’ état against President Salvador Allende in Chile, leading to many years of violence and oppression.

On September 11, 2001, we heard the horrific news of the terrorist attack on New York City and the Pentagon. Many of us can tell with exact details where we were and what we were doing when we heard about it. The shock left us confused, broken, bereaved, and enraged. Our hearts and spirits were crushed.

On 9/11/2001, we, in the United States, experienced a fragility and vulnerability never known before. Such desolation moved many of us to drink from the deep wells of our spiritual traditions. There were silent vigils and prayer services. In our pain and confusion, we opened ourselves to Divine wisdom.

Today, in our COVID-19 pandemic time, the prophetic call for Racial justice, the lack of courage from our nations’ leaders to the well-being of people over profit – it edifies us to seek Holy Wisdom and Divine Grace.