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Dear Church,


I will be taking some time off to regroup, rest, get off of Zoom and social media, mourn and get my bearings in this remarkable moment we are living through. We have all scrambled to respond to the crisis of COVID-19. We have learned new skills, come to terms as best we can with myriad losses, disruptions, fears and a barrage of crucial information on how to survive the pandemic.


I am proud of you, of this community. I am incredibly proud. I see you abiding in grace with each other. I see you pushing yourselves to reach out and to reach in. I see you responding with encouragement and kindness to me, the staff and each other, and being grateful for the continued ministry of the church through online offerings. I experience you as forgiving me for not operating with my usual energy level, understanding how debilitating grief is, and telling me that you care.


This means more than I can say.


I see you continuing to care about the issues of justice in our world and engaging in anti-racist learning and action in the streets and in on-line community.


I am proud of you and honored to be associated with you.


While I am taking a break from meetings and worship, I want you to know that I am available to you for emotional and spiritual support. It is important that Claire Wilson get a break from her responsibilities as Pastoral Care Ministry Team Chair, and important that the members of that team also take a breather.


I think of deep sea divers who sometimes have to share one oxygen tank, passing the demand valve between themselves in a system called "buddy breathing." Let's practice buddy breathing so everyone gets the air they need.


I may be in touch occasionally through Facebook videos or posts, but for the most part I will be off between July 7-August 7. Before that date, I will be finalizing our new website, working with the Social Justice Ministry Team leaders to schedule Anti-Racism Initiative book conversations ("So You Want To Talk About Race" by Ijeoma Olua and "How To Be An Anti-Racist" by Ibram X. Kendi), meeting with faith development leaders and staff to plan family and children ministry activities, meeting with the Rev. Elizabeth Ide of First Parish Salem to discuss occasional shared online worship services, and continuing to facilitate ECCO's "Dismantling Racism" workshop.


I hope that wherever you are, you are well and careful, practicing good "Maskitarian" safety. Oh, and a word about masks: I am unhappy with the filters for the silicone masks I ordered and am trying to get in touch with customer service to exchange them for the company's new design. They, too, are learning. If I dropped off those masks to you, I will deliver the new filters when they come in. Fingers crossed it won't take months.


So much love to all of you,

Rev. Vicki

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