By Peggy Ann Griffin
Invisible, indivisible, making miserable
All classes and masses.
Unseen, unclean, mean; Covid 19.
Flexed, perplexed, vexed.
Relieved--- perceived--- achieved
The end of this undesirous virus.
Prayer for Healing
Oh God please consider the plight of this world’s population. We are the subjects of your divine creation.
Relieve us of our fears and help us to walk in truth and in your favor.
Equip us with knowledge to care for each other and to care for the earth.
Remove from us selfishness, unkindness, and greed.
Inscribe upon our memory that you are Lord and that you provide our daily need.
Give us the minds to share knowledge, resources, and great ideas.
Grant that our religious leaders be filled with wisdom to guide your flock in these times when the physical church is being tested.
Help us to know that you are God inside and outside of bricks and mortar. Through your love we can be connected from our homes, cyberspace, or wherever we may be.
Guide leaders of nations, states, and cities to be justly responsible to citizens and to distribute the resources of the earth in an equitable manner. Give them wisdom as they make crucial life and death decisions.
Bless educators, students, and parents in the communication of knowledge in their absence from the physical classroom. Inspire the new curriculum with information that will be useful in problem solving and caring for people of the earth.
Undergird physicians, nurses, and all health professionals with stamina as they perform their duties. Enable them to find the equipment and medical supplies that are needed. May your healing power circulate around sick beds in hospitals, care facilities, and homes.
Powerful God, let the visitation of your good spirit be in the scientific laboratories as a cure for this devastating disease is sought. Guide the eyes and hands of scientists as they explore the phenomena of the matter that you created.
Bless artists, musicians, writers and communicators in presenting truth to the world in creative ways. Provide more means for their gifts to inspire humanity.
Bless all laborers in the field of service: technicians, office workers, police officers, firemen, truck drivers, factory workers, bus drivers, store clerks, delivery drivers, sanitation workers, and personnel in all professions. Protect them as they perform their daily duties. Bless all who have been temporarily displaced from work in finding sustenance and new opportunities.
Thank you creator for all of your blessings. Help us to be patient as our planet is being cleansed and rearranged. We claim victory over disease and celebrate the coming of a new era.
All of Illinois has been given a “Stay at Home Order” or asked to “Shelter In Place.” This means that through April 7 or until otherwise updated, we need to severely restrict our movements outside of our home. Here are frequently asked questions about what this means: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/sites/covid-19/home/stay-at-home-order-faq.html
We need to restrict non-essential travel to…
This type of restriction is an inconvenience, yet is extremely important in order to stop the unintentional spread of this virus. Regardless of how healthy you may be, this is crucial to protect those who are more at risk, some that you might not even be aware of their health difficulties.
During this pandemic, mental health will be an issue for many people. Boredom, stress, fear, irritability are especially likely when people are forced to stay at home and restrict movement. Pay attention to your moods and your behavior. If you are showing the basic signs of stress, do not minimize its impact. Call your mental health provider if your mood or stress impacts your daily activities for several days in a row.
Pay close attention to hidden symptoms like…
Here are some guidelines to help cope:
Remember, we are social creatures. As much as we may not acknowledge it, we do need people. Just because we are being asked to keep a distance from others, it doesn’t mean we need to be lonely. It is important to reach out, give assistance, check-in with loved ones, ask for support. Don’t suffer alone!
Dave Howser, M.Div., LCPC is a psychotherapist and pastoral counselor at North Shore Baptist Church. To inquire about services, please call Dave at (773)450-3395.
-A Message from Pastor Kathryn on behalf of the NSBC Pastoral Team
My beloved community,
We have entered a difficult and unprecedented time. In just one week, we have seen the COVID-19 Coronavirus labelled a pandemic, with restaurants and schools in the state of Illinois being ordered to close. On Monday, March 16, the federal government issued a recommendation against social gatherings over 10 people for the next 15 days. At NSBC, we will abide by this recommendation by suspending all in-person programming, including all of our traditional, in-person worship, through the end of March. As these two weeks continue, we will continue to monitor recommendations coming from the CDC and local officials, and we will keep you updated about programming.
As I preached on Sunday, physical distancing (staying home when possible, maintaining six feet of distance when away from home) is right now one of the best ways we can love our neighbor as we love ourselves. This includes neighbors we may never see or meet, but whose lives and wellbeing are dear to God.
While some limited office business will be conducted during the week, the church building will be completely closed on Fridays. If you have a pastoral care need at any time, please reach out to your congregational pastor or fill out this contact form.
While we will not be gathering in person, we will continue to connect virtually, even as we are connected in the Holy Spirit. Please continue to check Facebook for regular updates. We plan to make videos of English and Spanish worship available via YouTube on Sundays. The Karen Congregation will be posting videos and blogs, and the Japanese congregation is also discussing virtual gatherings. For questions about any of these services, please contact the pastor of that congregation (e-mail in full bio) or fill out this contact form. We also have two Facebook groups available to remain in communication: NSBC Members and Friends and Congregación Hispana de la Iglesia Bautista de North Shore.
Above all, if you know members of the community who do not have Internet access and cannot check Facebook or e-mail, please take extra care to reach out to them, see how they are doing, and make sure your pastor knows who they are and how to contact them.
Beloved, we are together in this. We are one in the Spirit, even as we pray that our physical unity may soon be restored. Please do not hesitate to reach out for anything you may need.
Grief is a difficult process that everyone experiences at different points in their lives. It is important, when experiencing grief, to know that we are not alone.
During the month of April, Helen Ablan Vocales will facilitate a weekly grief group. It will be an experiential, discussion-based process that will give you resources to take home with you. The group will meet on the five Wednesdays of April (the 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29) at 7:00 pm in the Wilbur Warner Welcome Center.
Helen Ablan Vocales has a Master’s degree in Pastoral Counseling fromLoyola University and a Diploma in Nursing from the University of the Philippines. Coming from a Jungian persuasion, Helen brings to the group more than 60 years of experience in nursing, with 35 years of experience in psychiatric nursing
By Dr. Peggy Griffin
The newly formed Social Justice Task Force members squared their shoulders with a sense of accomplishment at the conclusion of the six- week workshop series, “Towards Justice and Human Rights” in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. The final workshop on February 23rd drew record attendance for a presentation by WBEZ’s South Side Reporter, Natalie Moore. Ms. Moore sat without notes and intrigued the audience with a synopsis of her book, “A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation”. She spoke of the segregated pattern in housing and the cost of goods and services. Besides the standard statistics, she gave examples of her own home sale and her own comparison shopping for personal items. Discussions emerged as to how housing is related to schools, businesses, jobs, and politics; during the exchange of questions and answers with Natalie Moore.
Smiles remained from the previous session of merriment but yet inflaming thought in the “Economic Justice Simulation Game. The game was facilitated by Jay Larson and Sean Shell of NSBC. Participants planned budgets around small allotments, but they were interrupted by unforeseen incidents dramatized by Madison McClendon and Courtney Feiler. The elements of surprise, hilarity, and brain-teasing produced some gems of wisdom, useful in balancing household budgets and maybe even church budgets.
The Task Force broke the weekly sequence of workshops on February 9th for the Agape Feast, which followed our quarterly unity service. The word, ”Agape” means love in Greek. It is related to the fellowship meals in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. One scripture that sums up the meaning of the Agape Feast is Deuteronomy 12:7 “ And you shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your households together, rejoicing in all the undertakings in which the Lord your God has blessed you.” Love was put in action when Pastor Michael Ware explained that there was no order in how the food would be served. He asked everyone to create their own order. Everyone did, including small children and babies. One two-year-old showed the spirit of it all when he sat alone at a table as his family members gathered food. Differing from his usual vocal style, he smiled and waved his arms, entertaining himself peacefully until his seat mates returned.
Continuing the retrospective tour of the workshops, on February 2nd , we gathered information that will enable us to use greater wisdom in the voting process. Anna Gaebler of ONE Northside explained the Progressive Income Tax to us. We learned how the proposed tax will be income based, rather than tax with the same percentage for all. The progressive tax will increase budgets for schools and social services as well as decrease taxes for the working poor. After the workshop, many expressed interest in following up on this concept, and made oral commitments to inform others and prepare for the coming elections.
Martin Luther King Jr. was in Puerto Rico. Most of us were astounded to learn of the travels of the civil rights leader to this U.S. Territory. On January 26th, Pastor Juan Angel Gutierrez Rodriguez unveiled the little- known facts to us in his discourse on “Martin Luther King, Jr., Puerto Rico, and Colonialism”. He contends that King’s first public announcement about his position on the Viet Nam war was in Puerto Rico. We are grateful that he shared this valuable research with us and look forward to his soon to be published book on the topic.
In Steeple Stories Volume 22, Issue 1, there is a reflection on the first of our workshop series. On January 19th, Pastor Michael Ware gave a first- hand account of his civil rights pilgrimage. From this first workshop to the last on Feb. 23rd, the enthusiasm has remained high. The Social Justice Task Force is contemplating future actions.
By Rev. Kathryn Ray
He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31-32)
The familiarity of the images in this well-known piece of Scripture perhaps obscure the fact that this parable is odd. Mustard seeds do not grow into trees. Mustard seeds grow into small herb bushes. “The greatest of shrubs” (or perhaps a better translation, “the greatest of vegetables”) is perhaps closer to what one might expect could grow out of a mustard seed, but it is still a rather bizarre distinction to achieve. So what is going on here?