Let’s Talk: About the Long Haul

By Conference Minister Diane Weible God has not given us a spirit of fear, but the spirit of power, of courage and resolution, to meet difficulties and dangers; the spirit of love which will carry us through opposition.” 2 Timothy 1:7 I don’t usually have a hard time starting to write. Today I can’t seem to do it. I’m feeling the exhaustion of this moment. I’m feeling the grief and the stress that so many have told me they too have experienced at various moments in these months. And that’s just the pandemic. The repeated murder of and violence toward…
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Let’s Talk: 8 Minutes and 46 Seconds

By Conference Minister Diane Weible Every morning I spend 8 minutes and 46 seconds thinking about my privilege and the work that needs to be done in our communities and in our country in the area of racial justice and dismantling white supremacy. I have decided to start blogging about my reflections during these moments. Under the title “8 Minutes and 46 Seconds,” I will periodically share one of those reflections with you as part of my weekly newsletter article. You can read all the blog posts HERE. I have a bee in my bonnet this morning. Last night I…
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Let’s Talk: About 8 Minutes and 46 Seconds

By Conference Minister Diane Weible Each morning I spend 8 minutes and 46 seconds in silence. My thoughts go in many directions and over the next many weeks I hope to share some of those reflections here. Today I want to share two things that came up for me and one leads into the other. I want to ask our churches in this Conference to seriously consider waiting until 2021 to return to their sanctuaries for worship. I am not making this ask just because I believe that the unknowns of COVID-19 makes it unsafe to consider returning too early.…
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Lets Talk: About the Lessons of This Time

By Conference Minister Diane Weible I want to begin with a few of the statements I heard this week that hit me to the core: -“I’m not o.k.” (Every panelist on Sunday’s “Requiem for Ahmaud Arbery” event) -“He was not killed because he was black; He was killed because you are white. #GeorgeFloyd” (Marvin K. White, posted on his Facebook page) -“The virus we are addressing is not just COVID 19; we are still dealing with COVID 1619.” (Rev. Otis Moss, Jr., referring to the virus of slavery that came to this country 400 years ago and that still exists…
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Lets Talk: About Wait With Me

By Curran Reichert Pastor of First Congregational Church Sonoma “Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead, let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?” ― Rumi In the Judeo-Christian tradition, there is a deep spiritually grounded concept of a Jubilee year. Every 50 years, communities are invited to take one year to change the patterns of life. All debts are forgiven and the calendar is suspended. The idea is to…
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Let’s Talk: About Reopening

By Conference Minister Diane Weible Where do we start? How do we have the conversation? What is the right thing to do? I wish I had all the answers and could say definitively THIS is the who, what, where, and when, and how moving forward. I can’t. Nine weeks ago, when churches were asking if they should close their doors, we asked them to follow the guidelines of their county’s health department and any state orders. Not everyone closed immediately but, eventually, all of our churches did. In the weeks since, we learned how to worship online, how to connect…
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Let’s Talk: About Mental Health Awareness Sunday, May 17, 2020

by Grant F. Sontag I don’t think there’s any question that, for most of us, the structures put into place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 are as annoying as they are necessary. We want to protect ourselves and those in our communities from contracting—or spreading—the Coronavirus. We have been well informed that those most at risk are persons in senior residences or nursing homes, and those with pre-existing conditions that can jeopardize health. Missing from public discussion until now has been the added stress that sheltering in place and the need to maintain “physical distance” ( the term preferred…
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Let’s Talk: About Co-Creating a New Way of Being

Conference Minister Diane Weible I was in a webinar the other day and the presenter brought up the problem with the term “the new normal”. She said that what happens when we say “the new normal” is that people tend only to focus on the word “normal”. We all know that getting “back to normal” is not an option after eight weeks of sheltering in place and physical distancing. And the new normal still lends itself to a belief that we want to go back to the way things were, with maybe a few tweaks here or there. I may…
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Let’s Talk: About Standing Together While Apart

Conference Minister Diane Weible If I did my math right, we are in our seventh week of Shelter in Place. And, many of us have just received notice that the Order has been extended through the end of May. We are anxious for this order to end even as we know that staying home and following the order is crucial to the health and well-being of everyone. I have said that I believe every person experiences this pandemic in a different way. There may be common emotions of grief, anxiety, fear, concern, exhaustion. We experience these emotions within our particular…
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Let’s Talk: About Helping Free Our Neighbors from Medical Debt

By Conference Minister Diane Weible On Ash Wednesday, 31 East Bay churches, serving in the Contra Costa and Alameda Counties, joined together with a lofty goal—to raise $44,000 in order erase a combined $4.7 million in medical debt for their neighbors. They partnered with RIP Medical Debt in this effort. RIP Medical Debt purchases medical debt that has been in the collection system for years and, therefore, can be purchased at the cost of $1 for $100 of debt. Relieving people of the burden of this kind of debt that has been weighing on them for years, even decades, is…
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