From time to time EHM will be inviting people to be a guest blogger. Before Advent starts please enjoy a blog by The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner, creator of Living Compass:
I believe that one of the core components of living a holy life, a life characterized by wellness and wholeness, is learning to delay gratification. Perhaps one of the clearest ways to understand this is to consider how easy it is to compromise our wellness by seeking immediate gratification. Eating whatever we want, whenever we want, will negatively affect our physical wellness. Reacting immediately when were are flooded with anger will almost always compromise both our emotional and our relational wellness. Giving in to the urge to buy more all the time rather than learning to save will compromise our financial wellness. Seeking quick and easy answers from God to our prayers and questions rather than learning to rest and “trust in the slow work of God” (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin) will diminish our spiritual wellness.
At the heart of learning to delay gratification is learning to practice patience. In a culture that glorifies immediate gratification, learning to wait is countercultural. This makes practicing patience a perfect practice for Advent, because observing the season of Advent itself is countercultural. Our culture’s emphasis on immediate gratification increases tenfold as we rush full-speed ahead into the Christmas season. We are encouraged to give into all of our impulses to eat more, do more, drink more, and buy more this time of year. The season of Advent provides us with the space we need to make countercultural choices, choices that will help us prepare for the true meaning of Christmas.
One place to start is practicing patience is with ourselves. If we are loving and gracious with ourselves, that is likely how we will be with others. If we are critical and judgmental of ourselves, that is likely how we will be toward others. The same is true with being patient. The degree to which we are patient with ourselves is likely the degree to which we will be patient with others. It is hard to give others what we cannot give ourselves. The timeless wisdom in the calling to love our neighbors as ourselves reveals that this is exactly what we do when we treat our neighbors the same way we treat ourselves.
One of the foundational principles of our Living Compass Wellness ministry is, “Whatever we pay attention to is what will grow.” If we pay more attention to what annoys us about ourselves or someone else, then our impatience with ourselves or that other person will grow. If, instead, we pay more attention to what is good and what we appreciate about ourselves or someone else, then our patience with ourselves or that other person will grow. We invite you to practice paying attention to what delights you about yourself and others, and then see if your patience grows.
During the holiday season, when emotions tend to run high, we may find ourselves being irritable or short with those close to us. We may also have opportunities to practice patience with friends and family members who we don’t see that often. When we feel that others are trying our patience, it is wise to remember that “Whatever we pay attention is what will grow.” The choice to practice patience this Advent season (or not) is ours.
This information was passed on to me from Margaret Williams in Midland Texas. It is exciting to see what people are doing with their ministries:
Right now, St. Nicholas’ Episcopal Church occupies a lot of my time. I am one of the two parish nurses. Parish nurses consult with patients, answer questions, visit sick parishioners, conduct educational programs, and accompany patients to the hospital for procedures when requested. I also
sing in the choir almost every Sunday. The Jubilee Center also takes a lot of my time. I participate in food distribution activities twice a month, and am available as a nurse to answer questions and provide advice should anyone get sick. I serve as chairman of the board for the Jubilee Center.
See more of the article and what her community has to say about her at:
As college students are going back to school and new students are entering here is some valuable information on the Top 5 Mental Health Challenges that are affecting our youth:
Research conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness on mental health on college campuses shows that:
One in four students have a diagnosable illness
40% do not seek help
80% feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities
50% have been so anxious they struggled in school
While there are certainly growing concerns over other mental health issues affecting college students today, this article covers the prevalent issues of depression, anxiety, suicide, eating disorders and addiction. The guide is not a substitute for treatment, but it will help you find resources that lead to a happier and healthier college career.
After the Charleston Shootings at Emmanuel African Methodist-Episcopal Church on June 17, 2015, I was trying to write a response. As I was reviewing my Facebook, a post that was reposted by a friend of mine stood out to me. This is a letter to the people of St. Philips Episcopal Church in Columbus by their rector Fr. Charles Wilson:
A Response to the Charleston shootings: Prayers for Remembrance, Reconciliation, and Resolve
Dear People of St. Philip and Friends,
I was in Charleston last week.
I don't write that in the same way we mean when responding to news that the roller coaster we were on yesterday goes off the track today. Or, the road we traveled on this morning was the scene of an accident in the afternoon. Or, the beach we played on last week is now smashed by a hurricane.
What I mean when I write that I was in Charleston last week is not to say "there but for the grace of God go I...". What I mean is that having been there last week, I know something of that place. I know now the history of the church and how it started and its history. And I know how it has marched through challenges that rival the horrible obscenity that fell on them last night.
Knowing something about these types of shootings in the country's own recent history we know something, too, of this shooting. There are no firsts here, only the grinding familiarity of a grinding violence that perhaps we too know about but maybe not enough.
Or so we might tell ourselves.
I think we know enough and with that knowledge the Church has to say again, enough is enough. And say it again, and say it again, until the world knows we believe it, and will then understand we mean it.
The Church knows the way. We know enough. We know that as tempting as it might be to pray for revenge, retribution, and a righteous recourse for our rage all that will get us is more of the same.
Instead, our response must be one of remembrance for those lost last night. For reconciliation with one another and those who dream of causing us harm. And we are to pray for resolve that God's way, Jesus' way is the right way to respond.
That last one might be the most important. And we may not have enough.
The picture above is of Emmanuel African Methodist-Episcopal. I chose this picture because it stands tall where it is. It always has.
Today and tonight, St. Philip will stand with our brothers and sisters of Emmanuel. The church will be open for prayer all day today. Tonight at 7p we will offer a service of Holy Communion with prayers for remembering, reconciliation, and resolve.
I invite you to be with us as we seek to be with them from afar. I invite you to share this news with the reminder Emmanuel means "God is with us". And as God has been with us, let us be with them.
I was in Charleston last week. God is calling us to be there with Emmanuel tonight and in the days ahead.
Peace to you, in love and thanksgiving,
Charles Wilson +
Follow up: There were about 25 or so members of the parish with another few from the community outside of St. Philip. Also, the AA group, which focuses mostly on women, suspended their meeting to join us. We tolled the chimes for each of those lost, we celebrated communion and we sang hymns of lament but resolve as well.
It has been awhile since we have posted. There has been a lot of behind the scenes activity since January when EHM became a completely volunteer organization. Unfortunately, EHM was no longer able to pay Matthew Ellis and Sue Hacker. We will miss their ministry of hospitality, organization and advocacy and thank them for all of their dedication to EHM. The board members and regional representatives have continued to meet by phone discerning the course that EHM will follow. Bishop John Rabb (retired) of Maryland has continued to be our chairperson. Nancy Threadgill has volunteered to become our treasure.
The Regional Representatives: Ginny Wagenseller (Province I), Sharon Longsdon (Provice III). . Helen Bhagwanden (Province IV) Maryfran Crist (Province V), Carol Peterson (Province VI), Reverend Jos Tharakan (Province VII) and Mary Margaret Davis (Province VIII) have been meeting by telephone twice a month. Bev Bennett, one of the original founders of NEHM has volunteered to help us in any way that she is able. Linda Heitger (Province V) is continuing the twice-monthly cycle of prayers, attempting to manage the webpage and is the 2016 Conference Chairperson. Yes there will be a Fall 2016 Conference in Indianapolis!!!! Celebrating 20 years of Episcopal Health Ministries.