While the pandemic may be (mostly) in the rear-view mirror, its effects are still reverberating, both communally and personally. Many people are still grieving (or have not begun to grieve) the multitude of losses COVID visited upon us, and many may be suffering from the impact of our collective trauma. At the same time, churches are emerging from quarantine, and parishioners are excited to return to worshipping in person. So great is the desire to get back to “normal” that I fear many will fail to attend to their grief and trauma, nor will they acknowledge the important lessons that can be gleaned from this experience of worldwide shut-down. In this time of challenge, clergy are experiencing anxiety about how to open safely and how best to serve their congregations during this transition. They may have also recognized the gifts of gratitude, compassion, and new ways of creating community that the pandemic taught us. These lessons could, if we allow it, help us to wipe the slate clean of old ways of thinking and doing and begin anew. The challenge now is how to translate those lessons into a vision of what it means to be church and then to lead congregations in making that vision become reality. This workshop will address these issues—exploring helpful information about grief, post-traumatic stress, and how to sort the wheat from the chaff of our COVID experience so we might move forward into new life. Presented by Sue Magrath of Sacred Mountain Ministries.
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