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Your Mind, Heart and Hands Matter

Dear Friends,

The last month has brought a number of dramatic, and frankly traumatic, events to our local, national and global community. The recent wildfires that spread across the Southeast, especially the deadly fire that hit Gatlinburg last week, have been very upsetting for most of us. Add to this tornadoes, the effects of the 2016 drought, and political upheaval, and we find ourselves entering this holiday season with frayed nerves and tender emotions.

Though the healing and recovery process from all of these things will take a great deal of time—homes to be rebuilt, lives to be remembered and honored, national trust and cooperation to be restored—we can all contribute in important and meaningful ways.

I invite you to ask yourself this question: what am I passionate about? Is it the environment? Women’s issues? The local economy? Helping fire victims recover? Whatever it is, knowing what matters to you is the best place to start in discerning how you can contribute. None of us can work on every area that matters, or that needs attention right now. None of us can figure it all out, or work in all the areas that we care about. So we have to choose. And the best place to put our energies, is the place where we feel the most energy and passion.

And ask yourself this: what do I love to do? Is it write letters? Or go to rallies? Or take food to folks in need? Is it working one-to-one, with individuals and families locally? Or

doing something more global? Finding a place to contribute that matches your own unique personality and your personal needs will allow you to give in a way that is sustainable.

Theologian Frederick Beuchner put it this way: The place {life} calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” So focus on your deep gladness; focus on what will restore your hope and your joy. Put your attention where you want to see more life, more affirmation, and more love, and put your time, energy and attention there. One of the things I love, and frequently advocate for, is the rights and lives of First Nations communities. Today, as I write this, I am crying tears of joy because the peaceful protests at Standing Rock in North Dakota have resulted in the Army Corps of Engineers denying an easement to run a pipeline under the Missouri River, a pipeline that threatened not only tribal land and water, but the health of that whole waterway. The peaceful protestors, letter writers, funders, and committed voices—all the religious leaders, lay people, veterans, native and non-native peoples, peoples from all over the world, from a huge variety of countries and cultures—simply standing together for something they loved made a huge difference.

We can do that. We have the power to create change for the better, and to do it with love rather than hate, with hope rather than fear.

Here is a link to a collected list of organizations you may want to consider contributing your energy too.

It’s just a start. I hope you can find a way to express your passion for life in a way that expresses your inherent gifts and generosity, and affirms the inherent value of all life.

In faith and fellowship,

Rev. Carol

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