Self Care Suggestions For Changing Times

Some general suggestions from Westhope:

  1. It’s ok to take a break from the news, especially at night before bed.  Best to not check for one more email or Facebook update and discover something that may be upsetting.
  2. Watch stress or comfort eating.  It may help in the short run but will not bring you the comfort you may genuinely need.
  3. Watch for isolation especially with friends and family that may have differing opinions.  One can graciously change the subject or excuse oneself from a difficult conversation.  Step outside for fresh air, offer to do the dishes, go to the bathroom.  Whatever you choose take 3 deep breaths – a slow inhale with 4 counts and breathing out through the mouth for a four count.  
  4. The more familiar you are with your trigger opinions or people the safer you are for avoiding a useless conflict.  If your heart starts to beat rapidly or cheeks flush or your chest is tight it indicates a stress response and your ability to listen and respond, rather than react, diminishes greatly.

Reading and education:  

If you want to do some reading on current subjects, here are some suggestions.

Wallace, Jim – America’s Original Sin, Racism, White Privilege and the Bridge to a New America

Collins Pratt, Lonni with Father Daniel Homan – Radical Hospitality, Benedict’s Way of Love.

Burton, Susan and Cari Lynn – Becoming Ms. Burton, From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women

Some upcoming offerings at church:

  1. Attend the adult education classes in the Fall that will include a book study and healthy discussions.
  2. Be sure and check the Bulletin Board in Fellowship Hall for upcoming activities occurring in the larger community.
  3. We will be offering some labyrinth walks for those that find that practice helpful.

Internet suggestions:

There are many, and one called JustFaith is offering some suggestions on how to respond to Charlottesville specifically.  These are also helpful for the ongoing call for witness.

  1. Try to recognize our own very privileged viewpoint of being well-off, and for the most part not living in fear.
  2. Speak up and say something to raise awareness of racism and white supremacy whenever we hear it – with coworkers, family, neighbors. Only in naming it honestly can we address it.
  3. Support organizations that work for the mutual liberation of all people.  (could be local Community Services organizations)
  4. Participate in peaceful demonstrations.
  5. Listen to the voices of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color).  
  6. Be aware of structures and institutions that privilege me over others.  Work for change.

Summary:  

But again, please don’t isolate.  If you are struggling please check in with Erik or one of the Deacons or Elders.  We are working on helping each one of us wherever we find ourselves in this changing season.

Where we stand

From our Session:

In light of the recent events in Charlottesville, VA, Westhope is committed to
standing for, and working to embody, the values which the Christian church holds
at its core: love, justice, peace, respect, and inclusion. We commit to working
towards social justice for all people. We commit to working towards inclusion,
non-judgment and peace. We also stand in opposition to violence, racism, white
supremacy and its ideology and pledge to work to demonstrate paths away from
them. As our national Presbyterian Church (USA) has affirmed, “White supremacy
and racism stand in stark, irreconcilable contradiction to God’s intention for
humanity. They reject part of the human family and are utterly contrary to God’s
Word made incarnate in Jesus. They are idolatries that elevate human-created
hierarchies over God’s freely given grace and love. They are lies about the human
family, for they seek to say that some people are less than other people. They are
lies about God because they falsely claim that God favors some people over the
entirety of creation”. We encourage all people to work to build racial equity and
peaceful and thoughtful conversation as we work to embody a vision of a
peaceful and just society and community where God’s love may be known by all.