location

[Image Description: A young black child wearing a blue top holds a tin can, attached to a string, and is speaking into one end of the can. The white text on a brown background reads: “We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond. —Gwendolyn Brooks”]  

Friends in faith,  

As the world moves into deeper phases of the global coronavirus pandemic, we are noticing more than ever the power of our connections and how deeply they sustain us.  Gwendolyn Brooks, as noted above, is calling us to the sacred work of attending to the humanness of other human beings. Meadville Lombard’s Fahs Collaborative is noticing how our circumstances point us toward new, evolving ways of thinking, feeling, and being. We want to reach out to you as educators doing the work and share insights from what we’re learning.    

Stop. Grieve. Breathe.

Even though some states are relaxing the shelter-in-place orders, authorities are still rightly encouraging us to physically “distance” ourselves from each other in order to ensure better health during this crisis. For many of us, avoiding behaviors that promote human connection can be physically uncomfortable, socially isolating, and spiritually disempowering. It’s important to take time to grieve the loss of physical connection and disruption to our normal routine. And we can also then take the time to notice what we are learning about the new KINDS of connections we are making and the sense of closeness we can create and experience, even as we practice physical distancing.    

Act.

To support the work of your congregation and other communities, social circles, book clubs, etc., as we all strive to stay connected AND deepen our connections with each other, we’ve provided an outline people can use to talk about what’s important to your community. You might think of this as a framework for an online discussion group. The topics you can choose are endless—how the coronavirus is impacting people individually, how young adults with families are exploring their experience of parenting/schooling/working, and perhaps people of color in your congregation would like to have a virtual meet-up. You’re encouraged to share this protocol widely!   

Blessings for the work of keeping each other as our business, as we continue our journey toward the Beloved Community we are working to build, together.  

In Faith,

The Fahs Collaborative Team 

Mark, Joy, and Kierstin