Rev. Dolly Jacobs
Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care

I am still in disbelief as to how long we have been physically apart.

So much has happened in these past four months during our time of separation. I celebrate the ways all of you have leaned into being the body of Christ for one another:

… thank you notes written to FPC members who are medical professionals,
… pen pals connected to one another as volunteers have reached out to those members of our congregation who live alone,
… Session members writing celebratory cards to seniors in high school and college as well as attempting to call upon every member of our congregation.
… youth committee delivering gift baskets and yard signs to our graduating seniors.

I am amazed at how you love one another. Some of you have even developed new friendships and have shared those experiences with me! It is good to be a part of such a strong faith community.


New ways to be present

During this summer, Alexandra Mauney and Keith Dove, our Batts’ pastoral residents, are participating in an short and intensive pastoral care unit.

As a pastoral care team we will be learning about “Complicated Grief during COVID 19” through a webinar offered by Hospice of Greensboro. We will also read and discuss books such as All Our Losses, Our Grief by Kenneth Mitchell and Herbert Anderson, Ministry with Persons with Mental Illness and Their Families by Robert Albers and William Meller, and The Body Keeps Score by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk.

Our pastoral care staff continues to make calls to members, participates in online counseling with individuals and families, and explores new ways to be present with you as the pandemic restrictions eclipse our ability to sit alongside you. We also work alongside the Session’s COVID-19 task force to make decisions about how to offer closure to families through outdoor committal services in our columbarium or at graveside.


Helpful resources

Some of our staff members have offered a couple of helpful resources for you to review this summer: Find information if you are struggling with a need for food, medical resources, etc. Helpful tips on how to care for yourself as well as take this quiet time in the summer to prepare for end-of-life matters.

And Rev. Doug McLeroy shares 10 Ways to Cope with No-End Grief.

As always, our pastors are praying for you and are available to speak with you. Call the pastor on call phone, 336.908.8615.


The Blessing of Breathing

In closing, I wanted to share a beautiful poem by Jan Richardson our pastoral staff prayed together this morning:

Blessing of Breathing

That the first breath
will come without fear.

That the second breath
will come without pain.

The third breath:
that it will come without despair.

And the fourth,
without anxiety.

That the fifth breath
will come with no bitterness.

That the sixth breath
will come for joy.

Breath seven:
that it will come for love.

May the eighth breath
come for freedom.

And the ninth,
for delight.

When the tenth breath comes,
may it be for us
to breathe together,
and the next,
and the next,

until our breathing
is as one,
until our breathing
is no more.

— Jan Richardson
from The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief