And how are you really? - A Pastoral Note from Jenny

Dear friends,

How are you? It’s a question that forms a natural part of greeting one another: “Hi, how are you?” rolls off our tongues readily, and often it seems there is little (if any) pause to listen to an answer. Mostly the reply is, “Hi, I’m fine. How are you?” Even when we are anything but fine. On occasions, when I’ve been aware that a person I’m greeting is actually not doing ok, I have sometimes repeated the question as “And how are you really?” This has been intended to invite a deeper, more meaningful response if the person would like to engage. The intent is to say, “I am here for you. I am listening. I care about you.”

And so I ask the question, in a very unsatisfactory way because this is a pastoral letter rather than a pastoral conversation: How are you really?

At its meeting this week, Sydney Presbytery’s PRC gathered on Zoom. One of our discussion points was around offering support and care to those in ministry. In coming days, our Ministry Leaders will be invited to respond to a couple of questions around being involved in check-in groups or similar support groups. There were a few other suggestions also, and so, on behalf of PRC, I am able to offer you these incredible opportunities.

Liuanga Palu, CALD Mission Officer with Sydney Presbytery and Mission Shaped Ministry Project Officer with UME, connects with young leaders each week (on Saturday mornings) for sharing, exercise, stretching, and prayer. If you would like to be part of this, or have young leaders (and potential young leaders) who might like to be part of this, I encourage you to reach out to Liu. She can be contacted via email: [email protected]

Vanessa Williams-Henke and James Aaron have expertise in well-being. Ness is offering to connect with people who would like to join in with stretching exercises (definitely something I am finding necessary in the seemingly unending journey through Zoom meetings at the moment). Please contact Jenny to get connected with Ness: [email protected]. James is also offering to connect with people who would like to explore setting health and fitness goals. Contact James via email: [email protected].

And finally, Radhika Sukumar-White is offering to hold singing sessions with those who would like to “scream at the wind!” Sounds rather therapeutic, I think! Radhika can be contacted via email: [email protected].

These four people are members of PRC. A group of wonderful, dedicated, compassionate, gifted people. I am fully aware that they are not the only wonderful, dedicated, compassionate and gifted people in our midst. You may have something that has been really helpful to you that you’d like to offer to others. If so, please share your idea with me (contact me via email: [email protected]). “We’re in this together” may be very clichéd and overused through this pandemic, however it is still true. And I firmly believe that our best way through the pandemic is to support each other and share our gifts and skills in ways that build greater sustainability. As ministry leaders, our calling and ministry centres around those amongst whom serve. We will do that best when we work together, sharing our gifts and abilities in the ways offered here and many more. I am sure this is a great expression of the Body of Christ.

How are you? Are you ready to scream at the wind, or stretch away the ‘screen fatigue,’ or find support amongst others in ministry settings? I pray that we will each do whatever we can to support one another, and allow others to support us, through this season.

Blessings and peace,