Monday, January 3, 2011


from Anne Breck Peterson, Senior Associate, Leadership, Liturgy and Small Groups

An image from the past year continues to reverberate in my soul--the executive who for two weeks dressed for work and drove to a park to sit on a bench, unable to break the news to his family that he had lost his job. I could identify with a part of what he was feeling. I find such affirmation and worth in what I do. It would be devastating to be forced to leave that sense of self, and embarrassing to admit to it, even to those who are closest to me.

Even if we have not lost our job, we have all lost something in the past year. Continued polarization in our country and in our leadership, continuing diminished economic capacity, with no end in sight—all this weighs on us. We have lost our enthusiasm, our sense of hopefulness.

Arianna Huffington, at the November 28th Rector’s Forum, spoke to the challenges confronting us. In answer to the question, “What can we do?” she suggested that we strengthen what brings us together and emphasize what’s working.

In response to meeting some of the needs of All Saints’ parishioners who have been impacted by the massive unemployment in the nation, plans for a new program “Life and Livelihood” are underway. The goal is to provide tools to cope with facing unemployment. This would include pastoral support, spiritual guidance in dealing with the depression of job loss, as well as the fundamentals of resumé building, networking and job seeking. Financial planning, volunteerism, reinventing one’s career, uses of social media, and community resources would be part of this program.

Gathering together over food is also a time honored method for lifting our collective spirits. Rector’s Forum speaker Laurie David (11/21) brought news of an alarming trend. Beginning in the 1980s families no longer gathered together for dinner—or if they did, it was in front of the television. Her book, The Family Dinner, cites the benefits to children in being with adults at the table. It gives simple recipes, conversational topics, and ways for people of all ages to be part of the preparation of the meal—even if it’s only one night a week. Downloads of ideas for these dinners are offered every Friday on The Huffington Post.

If you have no family living close by, consider the All Saints Family Dinner—a series of monthly potluck suppers beginning Friday, January 28. Bring your Exploring Membership Class, your pew mates, or just yourself, and your favorite dish. Gather at round tables in Sweetland Hall for conversation and fun. For more information or to be part of the planning, please contact me or Susan Russell.

In the midst of a crisis, it is easy to feel that we are the only ones who are experiencing disorientation or pain, and that we are alone. If we are part of a community, we are not alone. If we are part of a community, we need to claim it. If you or someone you know is suffering in some way or needs a helping hand, please reach out to a member of the staff by phone or email. If you do not know whom to call, begin with our friendly receptionist Stasia Dahlstrom, 636.796.1172, who will know how to direct you. Thank you in advance for helping make All Saints a Community.

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