From Rev. Stefanie Etzbach-Dale
Updated: Sep 22, 2022
UUSM Leadership’s awareness of and creative responsiveness to the complex needs of this community are phenomenal. As someone who has been a neighbor to and fan of UUSM for many years I’m delighted to have been invited by your Board of Trustees to collaborate with and support your Pastoral Care Team during this time of ministerial transition.
During our first meeting on June 7th we talked about some of the issues, the sorrows and challenges that are being carried these days (ex. Family issues, health issues, employment issues, deferred memorial services, overload of responsibilities, awareness of personal limitations, etc.) as well as some of the strengths and joys that coexist with those challenges (ex. Singing, the sharing of appreciations, counting blessings, getting better at boundary setting, the joy of laughter, the empowerment of activism, active listening/witnessing, reading, etc.).
As a religious community, it’s important to help one another notice and name all of these experiences and their effects, in order to not lose sight of what Howard Thurman calls the “growing edge”. Many of us are experiencing burnout and “emotional whiplash”. Offering patience and compassion to one another can make all the difference. So can checking in on one another, singing and laughing together, modeling healthy boundaries, and talking openly about the ways in which we are finding comfort and cultivating strength.
My focus at UUSM will be to work closely with the Pastoral Care Team so I can offer 1. Attention to those identified as being in crisis (ex. Hospitalization, extreme grief, etc.), 2. Support to those in roles of leadership (ex. BOT and Pastoral Care Team). Together, we will also be considering how to better serve parents/families, and how we might create opportunities to honor the lives of those who have died. So many have been lost. So much has changed.
Meanwhile, please do be gentle with yourselves and with one another, and always keep an eye out for the "growing edge"!
If you have a pastoral care need or would like to find out how to get involved with the Pastoral Care Team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Alison White.