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CROSS + CIRCLE ISUUE 2 | MARCH 2021 REFLECTION Pandemic meditations from parishioners

RECTOR'S LETTER Much cause for gratitude amid the year's unwanted adventures


CONTENTS Welcome to Cross + Circle, St. Anne's monthly online magazine.

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Sweet sweet spirit somehow survived and thrived through a year of agita.

Trip cancelled? Time for a voyage of discovery

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The simple joys of a cuppa can make the afternoon an oasis.

Speed reading still leaves time for reflection.

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From Love in Action (flipping and serving Shrove Tuesday pancakes) to reflecting on The Way of Love.

Again this year, St. Anne's has an opportunity to support the people who will build our future.

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Pandemic diversion brings serenity

. . . but you may have to be older to really appreciate their value.

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Looking back on day-by-day thoughts put much into perspective.

It's way less complicated than you think.

pg. 22 Talent Zoom/BUDGET ZOOM

AND . . . Birthdays

NOW IT'S IT'S YOUR YOUR TURN TURN NOW We are looking for pictures of spring from around your home and where you are sensing new life/resurrection. If you would like to write an article for April's Cross + Circle on the topic of New Life, please contact Ginny via email (rector@stannes-ws.org ) Our submission deadline is March 20. Please include with your article any pictures you would like to share.

WHAT COVID TAUGHT ME Well. Here we are. We are about to mark the first anniversary of doing things a little differently at St. Anne’s because of the global pandemic. I’m almost too tired to mark this moment. I’m sure I’m not alone in that feeling of exhaustion. This past year has been one for the books, to say the least. When I think about March 1, 2020 and where I was and what I was doing, I am filled with great humility and sadness, thanksgiving, and whole heap of gratitude. Before you continue reading, take a moment and think back to the first week of March 2020 and what you were doing, or not doing. What did your daily life look like? In what ways did you fill up your daily life? Which of your friends did you last hug? If you knew then what you know now, how much longer would that last embrace have been?

In the second full week of March, Bishops Sam and Anne called all the clergy together for a meeting via Zoom. During that meeting we were prepared for what was to come should we need to move our worship and community life from inside the buildings to some kind of connection online. To be honest, I was still focused on my own health and barely had the brain power to hear, let alone comprehend, what our bishops were saying. Two days later, this was no longer a test but an actual emergency. The clergy gathered again with the leadership of our diocese and in that meeting we heard, “For the safety of our congregations and the larger community, we must now close the doors to our buildings for worship, formation, fellowship, and meetings.” This broke my heart. This was also the same week I had my first of four relapses of the infection that put me in the hospital. Thank goodness for you, dear St. Anne’s, and for our Vestry, because you all met this challenge with love, courage, and whole lot of sweet, sweet spirit.

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That first online service was a service of Morning Prayer which we held on Facebook Live. I barely remember that service. All I remember is that it felt detached and lacking the deep and wonderful connection of our community.


In that first week of March, with the dust still flaking off our foreheads from the Wednesday before, I returned to church after a period of illness, not yet fully healed, but healed enough. In a perfect world I would have been preparing to go to Israel with 23 other folks who were members of or friends of St. Anne’s members. Alas, that trip was cancelled for me by my health and for the rest of the group because of COVID-19. That was a sad day.

by The Rev. Ginny Wilder

RECTOR'S LETTER: A Year Remembered (continued) The second week we did Holy Eucharist via Zoom. The week leading up to that service was spent doing a few Zoom tutorials with members of our community and attending many meetings via Zoom with clergy, diocesan leadership, the staff of St. Anne’s, and our Vestry.

When Pentecost came, we moved our services from live worship inside the Wilder house to recorded services at St. Anne’s. By this point we had also figured out a way to include music and, through trial and error, how to make the music sound even better in our service.

God bless the vestry of St. Anne’s. What this season has taught me as the rector of this parish is that we are blessed beyond words with amazing folks who answered the call to be members of our vestry and showed up in ways they never imagined.

Pentecost Sunday happened to fall the weekend after George Floyd died while being pinned down by a police officer. The sound of many tongues crying out for mercy from all over our country and around the globe raised up higher and louder than the daily chatter, amplifying a call for justice.

When we closed the doors for that first homebound service on March 15th, we were hoping to be back in the building by March 29th. Then we were hoping for April 5th. Then for sure by Easter Sunday, April 12th. Perhaps by Pentecost. The sheer hope and heartache as each projected date came and went began to wear on me and I am sure on you as well.

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By mid-May the pandemic taught me to let go of concrete plans regarding specific dates and just work on what is right in front of me. The two things right in front of me were to continue getting well and healing and doing my very best to be present to you, St. Anne’s, and improving our worship experience. I know nothing will ever take the place of worshiping together in the building, but in those first two months we had made tremendous strides. And I can tell you that God was with us the whole time.

This cry also caused a conundrum for folks who wanted to march and protest but felt the risk of COVID-19 was too much to join in the journey taking place in the streets of our town. During this particular time of the pandemic, I learned that knowing my limits is good knowledge and that I can still be active in many ways beyond marching in the streets. I prayed for the marchers daily. We held a service at St. Anne’s specifically for those who wanted to come together and pray for our country. I attended clergy development classes and groups focused on dealing with our own white privilege, and we held a formation series on Racism through the Lens of Film. While all of this was going on, the diocese encouraged all of the parishes to begin to work on a regathering plan. A ray of hope shined through the prism—maybe this time the leadership of our country will hear our cries for mercy and maybe we would be back in our buildings in time to celebrate our high school seniors. .

RECTOR'S LETTER: A Year Remembered (continued) The leadership of our country met these cries with flash bang grenades, tear gas, and showed its true colors. Our high school seniors graduated, and we celebrated them individually and prayed for them collectively —from our homes over Zoom. What the pandemic taught me in this season is that change is more like evolution and not revolution, but the big bang can help get the process of change started. The next couple of months were filled with more meetings with the diocesan leadership, meetings with the staff of St. Anne’s, meetings with the vestry, and meetings with my spiritual director, who was helping me tend to my own heart throughout this pandemic. If you ever find yourself stuck spiritually and you are growing confused or disheartened, perhaps a spiritual director can help you become unstuck. If you would like to talk more about what a spiritual director does, please give me a call.

When we closed the doors in March of 2020, I couldn’t even comprehend that we would

What these last couple of months of the pandemic have taught me is that having perfect worship is not the goal; having faithful worship is always the goal. My hope is that by Easter we will be able to gather outside for faithful worship (while still offering a service on Zoom) and be reminded that darkness does not overcome the light, and death has not won. My prayer for today is that each of us will continue to be open to the lessons this pandemic is teaching us and we will use what we have learned to better our lives and the lives of our neighbors for many generations to come. Amen. .

Looking Ahead to Easter Sunday If our county positive case rate is down to 6.0%, then we will be holding an outdoor Easter Sunday service, as well as our 10 AM Sunday Zoom service. More details to come about Holy Week and Easter Sunday.


What this season of the pandemic taught me is that help comes all the time, but perhaps we don’t see it until we ask for help. I pray this lesson is one that I have finally learned. It took until early January 2021, but I heard the words I was longing to hear from my doctor, “We are done with this chapter, Ginny. Your body has recovered, and you are free from the infection.” Glory. My spirit had recovered, too.

celebrate Christmas on Zoom. Alas, we did, and it was beautiful, and the Holy Spirit was there, in our worship space and in your homes and we were all connected through that holy presence.

WHAT THE PANDEMIC HAS TAUGHT ME LEARNING AND INWARDLY DIGESTING by The Rev. Mary Kroohs Last March, I hoped to join several others for an Israel pilgrimage. We carefully planned air transportation, packing lists, appropriate clothing, etc. The day before our scheduled departure, our trip was cancelled due to the pandemic. This became the first of many losses. In-person worship at St. Anne’s shifted to a platform I had never heard of—Zoom. The Laundry Love Ministry was put on an indefinite hold. I was no longer able to serve as a volunteer hospital chaplain. My list of losses grew longer as the pandemic continued. As the weeks went on, we all wondered how long we would have to practice the three Ws. Another month? Another season? Another year? That uncertainty added to the sense of loss. At some point, moments of grace began to slip through the hovering cloud of the pandemic. What glimpses of grace have you noticed? What life-giving situations that might not have been likely or possible BC (before COVID) have happened in your life since March 2020? During pandemic time, what has fed your soul in new ways? What experiences or practices have helped deepen your faith?

I enrolled in an 8-week course “Race and American Christianity” TWICE! It was that great a course. I couldn’t take notes fast enough. The readings and class content pushed me to explore more fully many aspects of racism. The course was extremely relevant and timely because our country was witnessing overt racial injustice in the daily news. Subsequently, St. Anne’s, diocesan, and National Church offerings on the subject of racial equity offered me even more opportunities to increase my knowledge and deepen my reckoning of personal and communal accountability.

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Hmmm … For sure, my list would include the many enriching webinars and online classes I’ve attended in the past several months. This past summer, a 10-week course on the many impacts of COVID raised my awareness of the struggles that those at the margins of society experience at this time. A preaching class entitled “The Gospel People Don’t Want to Hear” offered participants the time and space to examine the ways that their preaching voices reflect “Gospel Justice.”

During our breakout room sessions, I shared that preaching at St. Anne’s is such a gift. The congregation permits and accepts the challenging truth-telling during sermons.

A Time of Learning (continued) “Rethinking Evangelicalization” was one of my favorite online courses. The negative facets of evangelicalism exposed in the daily news made this subject matter timely. Many class members described themselves as evangelical. Each week, I heard them share the incredible tension they felt as the history and the current trends of evangelicals (including Christian nationalism) were discussed. Without this pandemic season, I doubt that I would have had the time and energy to pursue courses like these. I probably wouldn’t have been as motivated to do all the heavy reading assignments. Writing this has been an exercise in gazing back at this troubling (on many fronts) year with new lenses… with the lenses of gratitude, hopefulness, and transformation. I invite you to share some of the grace-filled moments/learnings you’ve experienced during this unprecedented time.



THE JOYS OF TEATIME By Addison Ore For as long as I can remember, I have subscribed to a dangling carrot approach to life. I’m always looking forward to the next special thing, whatever it might be—a vacation, a birthday party, a visit to a winery. This never-ending pandemic that we find ourselves in has made me question the sustainability of such an outlook. In short, the carrots these days are in short supply.

I’ve observed that tea pairs well with a pandemic. There’s something inherently comforting about putting the kettle on and waiting to hear the familiar whistle. And after you drop your tea bag into the cup, the one you pulled out of the cabinet because it’s just right for tea, you must wait a bit. Tea requires more patience than coffee—a helpful quality during these trying times.

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I should have been on to the magic powers of tea long before now. My dear wife and I watch a lot of British television, and we’ve noticed that the Brits' first response to any dramatic or emotional incident, ranging from the confession of an affair to a grisly murder, is to put the kettle on. This has become a running joke for us, and we often call the phrase out loud when some poor bloke gets knocked off on one of our shows.

We’ve noticed that the standard American response to the same news is to offer a glass of water. I’ll take me cuppa, thank you.


Lately, I’ve been thinking that maybe this is a silver lining to my life in lockdown. I’ve had to search for smaller carrots—like the perfect cup of tea on a gray winter afternoon. English Breakfast with a touch of cream. Making tea has become a bit of a meditation for me this past year. It’s a quiet ritual—just me and the kettle. I should say that I’m a lifelong coffee drinker, but in the pandemic, tea has become the thing I look forward to a couple of times during the day and always in the evening. I guess you could say that my tea has become a daily cup of tiny carrots and that’s probably enough of that analogy.

In British films and television, no grave news can be processed without a cup of tea.

Teatime (continued) Tea feels more intentional—more like a journey—coffee feels like a destination. You never really hear anyone say, “I’m going to grab a quick cup of tea.” No, tea is a stroll and coffee is a run. Coffee would text if it could, and tea would send a handwritten note. Okay, you might be worrying that I’ve run out of things to entertain myself with in this pandemic—just because I’m analyzing the personalities of hot beverages. Not true at all. In fact, I’ve found that the art of tea drinking has made me more present to things around me—small things, like the soothing shade of butterscotch that my tea turns when I put the cream in. And I often look out the kitchen window as I wait for the tea bag to steep. I may see a neighbor walking by and wonder how they’re navigating this bizarre time. When I drink my tea in the evening, I’m usually sitting beside my sweet wife and I am as aware of my gratitude for her as I am the warmth of the cup in my hand.

The joy of tea drinking has been one of the rare, pleasant surprises of the pandemic for me. It has provided me with a daily peaceful respite from the anxiety of the past 11 years—er, months. It makes everything around me feel quieter and more centered, and I’m happy to have been lured by the kettle’s whistle. The Brits are famous for another bevvy that my dear late father was fond of—the gin and tonic. And I’m so fortunate that I married a woman who can mix a G and T that would make Winston Churchill weep. Bloody hell, summer can’t be that far away. Things are looking up, mates. Cheers!


Tea is thoughtful. I must admit that tea feels fancier to me than coffee and I’m here for it. Years ago, a lovely young woman in Stoke-on-Trent introduced me to the splendors of a full English tea. She had me at clotted cream. You see, the Brits have snacks with their afternoon tea— proving once again that they are a more civilized nation.

Tea is usually served on a two-tiered tray with both savory and sweet snacks. And, of course, at a proper tea, the tea is made from loose leaf tea and not a tea bag. I’m much too lazy for that and besides, I enjoy the dunking of the bag. In a pandemic we take our pleasures where we find them.

REFLECTIONS: 90 DAY BIBLE CHALLENGE by Roddy Roberts Day 35 of 90: This weekend of the February 20-21, I am walking with Ezra and Nehemiah, who have journeyed from Babylon to the ruins of Old Jerusalem, the center of a once-great nation. The journey began with stories of creation, and continued with the accounts of ancestors who heard the voice of God and followed that voice. Sometimes these ancestors have been heroes, and sometimes scoundrels, but there has always been some lesson to be learned, both from their great deeds and from their mistakes and misdeeds. The misdeeds brought ruin, though greatness sometimes forestalled an inevitable day of reckoning. They were humbled, and grew through the humbling. And now the City of Peace lies in ruin, the temple of God defaced, and a remnant of the children of Abraham are attempting to rebuild what was lost. Different factions are frequently at odds with one another as they seek the Way just right, balancing purity and empathy, survival and daring chances, seeking what is faithful to the teachings of a just and loving God. It’s the story of Jesus’ family. These are the stories that Jesus grew up with. This is the heritage that he would embrace, but also transform. From here, I will journey back, re-living the same events, but more subtly, through the art of psalmists and the challenging proclamations of prophets. Each “pass” through the story of Jesus’ family better prepares me to walk with him when we reach the New Testament. I am gaining a more comprehensive appreciation of what he did, what he taught, what he dared and endured, and what happened to him on Easter Sunday. What a coincidence that during this Lenten season, he has invited me to see him more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly. It’s a challenging journey, but it has rich rewards.

S EG E | P1A0G E 4 C R O S S + C I R C L E R EPI A

by Marshall Gravely Read the Bible for pleasure? Like many Episcopalians, I have not read much of the Bible, especially not in order, beginning to end. I have studied it for classes and teaching, but not just to read, as literature or poetry. It's a different process here from Sunday School. When this class was advertised, I decided to give it a try. I felt I could learn something new. As I started reading, I saw how the text expressed the fears and hopes of the writers, and how the themes of God leading them toward him/herself were repeated often. The only hard parts were the generations and the place names, but after some time it wasn't a big deal. The Israelites were a lot like us, struggling to do right and making the same mistakes over and over again. Hearing how the other class members experienced the same texts was interesting and often different from mine. It seems most members were starting from different places in their lives. There isn't a right way in this project. Just do it and keep on going. I'm now almost finished with the Old Testament and it's still interesting. I would commend it to others who might enjoy this learning process. I hope we keep reading something like this when we're done with this.

UPDATE YOUTH MINISTRY by Katarina Holmgren, Youth Ministry Director Shrove Tuesday Drive-by Pancakes Our Shrove Tuesday felt quite a bit different this year, but we still had the opportunity to feast and celebrate together in community. Together with the Outreach Committee, the youth and parents cooked delicious pancakes and bacon, boxed them up, and made them available for the congregation to pick up. We followed all COVID safety and food preparation guidelines, and the event was a joy for everyone involved. After picking up pancakes, the congregation joined via Zoom to celebrate the many wonderful talents of our St. Anne’s community. We laughed, feasted, and embraced Shrove Tuesday 2021 to the fullest before we entered into a Holy Lent. Thank you for all the donations from the Shrove Tuesday drive-by pancakes, which benefit the St. Anne’s youth.


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Youth Ministry Update (continued) The Way of Love For the past several months, the youth have been exploring “The Way of Love: Practices for a Jesus-Centered Life.” This offering, with resources created by the Episcopal Church, helps guide small groups to pattern their lives with practices that deepen their love for Jesus and embrace his life-giving way of living in the world. Each time we met, we focused on one of the practices: Turn – Learn – Pray – Worship – Bless – Go – Rest. Through watching short videos on each practice, lively discussion, and prayer together, we explored how these practices could be further integrated into our lives. Here are some youth reflections about the experience: Alexandria describes the impact of our time together: “I enjoyed the way of love sessions. It was a good time, and I felt more relaxed and more connected to God and others around me.” Grace writes about one of the practices that stands out for her: “One of the themes that stuck with me most from the Way of Love was the term, Go. When we were studying the Way of Love, I’ve found that in my life I have been using Go the most. What has been important to me is my relationship with God and reminding myself to follow His example. That includes reminding myself to apply Go to life situations and being able to move forward in love.” If you’re interested in learning more about these Jesus-centered practices, here is a link with resources:https://www.episcopalchurch.org/way-of-love/invitation/



Give light and people will find the way.”

~ Ella Baker

During a weeklong Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom School virtual training this past January, a participant from Wilmington, NC commented, “ Freedom Schools in Wilmington are helping to heal the wounds that still linger from the 1898 Wilmington Massacre against the town’s Black people.” Wounds that still linger—wounds that still linger from over 100 years ago. That comment served to reinforce a major learning of mine during this pandemic: how America’s horrific history of racism continues to play out in 2021. It also provided a foundation for the transformative power that I intuitively knew Freedom Schools held. That power is very possibly a healing power for the children who still experience the effects of racism today.

The Freedom School Way is lit with the lanterns of mentors known as Servant Leader Interns (SLIs). These highly energetic and positive young adults serve as affirming role models who teach and reinforce the main message: “I can make a difference in myself, my family, my community, my country, and my world.” Think Bishop Curry clones.


How does this happen? How does a CDF Freedom School work to repair the wounds of racism? What makes this six-week summer literacy and enrichment program for children from underserved areas different from other summer programs? During this pandemic, with its significant spotlight on racial injustice, the answers to these questions have become clearer to me.

out of the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Movement, is a way of interacting with, lifting up, and valuing the dignity of children who have been marginalized in American society. It is more than a program, it’s the Freedom School Way.


Part of the answer is that a CDF Freedom School is not merely a “program.” The summer Freedom School experience, born

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Freedom School (continued) Positive affirmations and chants fill the air throughout the day. The motivational song, “Something Inside So Strong,” is sung daily by all, with motions and in full volume. Everyone in attendance, especially the children, can feel that the SLIs are glad to be with them and truly believe in them. Students are called “scholars” in the Freedom School Way. The scholars read and discuss books in small groups with their trusted mentors, the SLIs. The books have characters who look like the scholars, and some have similar life experiences. A week’s reading goal for K2 scholars might be to promote a positive self-image using books that encourage the celebration of self.

Being valued, affirmed, lifted up, being told you can make a difference, you belong anywhere, your life matters—the power of these messages for children who still experience racist systems has the power to be transformative, very possibly in a healing way. In the words of Ella Baker, one of the founders of the first Freedom Schools, “Give light, and people will find the way.” During the pandemic, I gained a clearer picture on how the CDF Freedom School Way provides its scholars with a positive, transformative path lit for finding one’s way in response to the egregious racial injustices that the pandemic has shown still to play out today. Note: In the summer of 2021, eight CDF Freedom Schools in the Winston-Salem area are scheduled to operate. Over the weekend of April 16-18, St. Anne’s 3rd annual CDF Freedom School Fundraiser, “Help Light the Way,” will be held (virtually, of course!). Be on the lookout for additional information.

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The Freedom School Way is providing enrichment opportunities so the scholars interact with people who look like them, in spaces otherwise unknown. The scholars see and begin to believe that they belong anywhere … on concert and theater stages, in science laboratories, in executive offices, in art studios, and beyond.

The impact? Even during the pandemic, when many CDF Freedom Schools operated virtually, a positive impact still endured, as evidenced via the charts and link on the next page.


Discussions might include times they may have been teased about how they look, and the importance of selfaffirmations and what that means. Scholars in grades 6-8 might read about historical figures representative of their heritage and discuss how these figures changed the country through social action. From self-affirmations to social action and beyond, the scholars’ lives matter.

The Freedom School Way is learning the ways of social action with a designated Day of Social Action each summer. The importance of voting was last summer’s social action theme.





One thing that I have learned in the pandemic is the importance of the back windows in my house with regard to my quality of life and my wellbeing. Since my house faces north, the windows in the back of the house look toward the south. On a cold, clear, winter day the sun warms the rooms across the back of the house. On any day, I can see across the Arbor Acres campus to the pasture at the Crossnore Children’s Home. Looking up to the sky, I can watch the changing clouds and revel in the brilliance of a sunrise. Lacking human company in the house during the pandemic, I began to spend more and more time checking the patio and the backyard for squirrels and chipmunks. I noticed that the birds are beginning their season of courting. They are making their appearance more attractive to the ladies. The increased intensity of the shade of blue on Mr. Bluebird caught my eye. On the day when the trees and shrubs became crystallized with ice, I spotted a brilliant red cardinal in the middle of all that white glitter. On a regular basis the house finches and purple finches swoop down in a flock of a dozen or so. They rush the bird feeder and jostle one another on the perches. The downy woodpecker comes and hammers on the suet. With the help of binoculars and my bird book, I identified a frequent suet-feeder with a descriptive name: the yellow-rumped warbler. I find it calming to watch the peaceful doves walk up and down under the feeder and peck around on the ground for spilled sunflower seeds. The largest bird that has showed up in the backyard was a juvenile sharp-shinned hawk that startled me when I saw it perched on the bird feeder post. One of my favorite birds is the Carolina Wren. I can recognize its silhouette—the small bird with the stubby tail cocked up. I don’t see the towhee in person a lot but I hear it call: “Towhee” or “Joree” or, occasionally, “Drink your tea-hee.” I have watched the wild creatures all my life but, in a house made vacant by the pandemic, I have come to treasure the companionship of squirrels, chipmunks, and especially birds. They helped dispel loneliness and lifted up my heart to praise God for abundant gifts.


Yellow Rumped Warbler


Carolina Wren




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When Ginny issued the call for articles about the pandemic’s lessons, my first thought was, “Reminds me of the inevitable first assignment in English class: “What I did during my summer vacation” essays. My next thought: the lessons I learned are ones I should have learned from sage elders or in grade school or perhaps lessons I learned but forgot or thought I had outgrown. So, in no particular order, here are my lessons learned: 1. Wait your turn. Akin to waiting one’s turn at the slide or in the cafeteria, don’t cut in line for the vaccine. Wait at the grocery, observing the somehow magical 6-foot social distancing measure. (Wonderment: why 6 feet? Why not 10 feet or 12 feet’? Answer: don’t doubt Fauci, just follow and live.) Yes, flashback to my harried mother of five, frustrated by my perpetual “why?” questions. (“Because I told you so!”) 2. Wait. Period. Before kindergarten and during the summer through second grade, every day, my mother’s strong hands encircled and restrained me and my younger sister in my parents’ bed for naps. As I melted in the sweltering second story of our unairconditioned house in SC, my sister dutifully slept; I waited for my mother’s measured breath and tried to sneak out of bed—only to feel the hand clamp down on my wrist, followed by the whisper, “Wait; you will be asleep soon.” I fought until I surrendered to a restorative rest. Having to lie still awaiting sleep was torture, and so can be waiting, but accepting that “time takes time” is sublime—and awful!!! Waiting is what we and our world must do now. Wait for the Zoom room to open. Wait for the adults to start adulting again. Wait for this long, long, long season to end. Wait. Wait. 3. Patience creates contentment and peace. Patience has never been one of my strengths; a friend once told me my patience is the size of a gnat. I have learned that impatience in a pandemic is at best a waste of energy and at worst a source of deep frustration. Here’s why: this pandemic is bigger than anything I have ever experienced, and I am completely powerless over it. So, to spend energy being impatient is futile. I want to see and hug my 89-year-old parents; I haven’t hugged them since Dec.17, 2019, right before my cancer surgery. I want to snuggle my chin against my dad’s stubble and go inside my childhood home. But, I can’t risk getting them sick. So, I must be patient and be grateful for family Zoom on Monday nights. I have learned that on the days I am at peace and content, I am practicing patience. On days when I am irritable and discontent, I have NOT been patient. Coincidence? Maybe, but I don’t think so. 4. "Be still and know that I am God.” Everyone has spent a year in a bewildering nowhere land. My calendar is largely empty and we haven’t been out of town in FOREVER. But, I can use this as an opportunity to pause and to deepen my prayer life and my relationship with God. I can grow in the pause button COVID has pushed in my life. 5. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, looking ahead, and persevering. When a COVID downsizing eliminated my wife Mindy’s career as an engineer last summer, we tightened belts. At her age in a pandemic, finding another position in her field proved impossible. She began focusing on her creative side, making beautiful, unique jewelry. Mindy hated being a civil engineer, but loves being creative in this manner. In June we didn’t foresee this retooling, but she now has a fulfilling cottage industry.

6. Notice the Malichi Moments: Malachi 3:10 speaks of blessings pouring down so big that we can’t contain them. (I think of it as drinking from the fire hose.) Malachi moments abound if I will just open my eyes to them. We didn’t lose power. We sold Mindy’s house in Salisbury. We are healthy. We are blessed with a fantastic dawg. We have food, clothing, and shelter. We have (mostly) sound minds. The above is just the beginning of a long list of blessings pouring down on the Risher & Maddin household. Recognizing, appreciating, and giving thanks for the Malachi moments help me cultivate a grateful, praising heart and spirit. If we look closely, we can see at least one ordinary miracle each day. 7. We can’t go back, but we can go through. I catch myself thinking “when we get back to how it was ….” But, here’s the truth of the matter: we can’t go back. We can’t resurrect the 500,000 dead Americans. We can’t undo the stress our healthcare workers have endured. We can’t un-COVID-19 the earth. Life isn’t a cassette tape deck with a rewind button. We can, however, go through to this dark time and emerge stronger, gentler, more compassionate, and more forgiving. We can focus on finding our common ground rather than focusing on differences. We can choose peace over conflict. 8. Live life. As Ginny says, “life is short.” A childhood friend died of COVID. He was my best dance date in high school. Dead at 59—my age. THAT is sobering. My age. Say that slowly three times, Risher, and it hits home. I’m not proud that I squandered some hours and days this past year when I just couldn’t COVID anymore. I try not to do that. I try to live each day fully. Sometimes I fail, but each day offers opportunities to live fully and to serve God and my fellow humans. If you have read this far, I have good news for you: you are near the end. I will close with one of my favorite passages, a Sanskrit proverb by Kalidasa, a 5th century A.D. Indian poet and playwright.

For yesterday is but a dream, And tomorrow is only a vision, But today, well lived, Makes every yesterday a dream of happiness And every tomorrow a vision of hope.


Look well, therefore, to this day.


Look to this day, For it is life, The very life of life. In its brief course lie all The realities and verities of existence, The bliss of growth, The splendor of action, The glory of power—



When a person takes time to do some thoughtful introspection, the results can be both frightening and helpful. When the pandemic began, I kept an almost daily journal of what was happening and how I felt. Here are some revelations I made about what the pandemic taught me: • Life is more peaceful when it is not filled with meetings, appointments, friends and activities. • Creativity is a result of a more peaceful life, which allowed me to spend more time with my pottery and gave me time to explore watercolor painting, which I have wanted to do for some time. • Daily phone calls to family and friends increased those relationships even though we couldn’t visit face-to-face. • Reading is an escape from the news and daily reports about the virus. I read a book almost every week, along with articles and short stories. • Depression can be the result of missing family, especially during the holiday season. • Watching too much news can only heighten anxiety and sadness. Prayer can reduce some of the daily stress.

• Zoom is not always satisfying, especially when it comes to church, since interaction with my church family was especially important to me.


• I can still stay fit without frequenting the gym using YouTube and on-line Zoom classes and taking walks in nature.



"When my daughter and I became members of St. Anne's back in 2019, there were several areas of interest I wanted to share my time and talents. Pastoral Care was NOT at the top of that list. At the time I felt it was not my calling. It required too much of my time and I had too little talent to serve this ministry well. Fast forward to the late summer/early fall of 2019, when Beverly Gosnell approached me about joining the Pastoral Care Committee. I declined, because I was just getting involved with activities for the Outreach Committee. The meetings of the committees conflicted, and I didn't want to stretch myself too thin. I have known Beverly for about a decade. We met during worship services between St. Stephen's and St. Anne's. We really got to know each other through the now-disbanded Joint Outreach Committee, a joint venture started by St. Anne's to collaborate on community outreach projects among St. Stephen's, St. Paul's, and St. Timothy's.

God works in mysterious ways.

Most of all, we check in via prayers through a chain of bowed heads, bended knees, open hearts, and loving souls. We check in. March 11, 2020, our mission went into overdrive. The doors of St. Anne's closed, which meant: No more worship services. No more Lenten Suppers. No more Sunday School. No more coffee hours. No more at home communions. No more hugs. No more high fives. Life as we knew it just stopped. Not really. For the members of the Pastoral Care Committee, our work continued. Just like the Energizer bunny, we've kept going and going and going. The Pastoral Care Committee was there when the hugs stopped, the visitations came to a halt, the sips of tea and coffee in the Parish Hall were cancelled. Now we work diligently, silently and prayerfully in the background to boost the heart and soul of St Anne's.

continued on next page. . .


All of my misconceptions were quickly placed aside at my very first meeting. They were thrown over the mountain when I first volunteered to be the Pastoral Care (PC ) contact person for the month. Within the span of two to four phone calls, my heart was overwhelmed with joy and peace. My day was brightened beyond measure. The troubles of my world just seemed to fade away.

Well to put it plainly, we “check in.” That's right, we check in. We check in via a phone call. We check in via an email. We check in via a text message. We even check in via cards and letters in the mail. (Yes, Virginia, stamps do exist.)


Before the end of 2019, I found myself as a member of the Outreach Committee, Sunday School teacher, and a member of the Pastoral Care Committee.

"What is a PC contact you ask? What services does the Pastoral Care Committee provide to the members of St Anne's?

Pastoral Care (continued) "We don't wear capes, drive fancy cars, or live in glass houses. We simply check in on our neighbors, family and friends. I am a firm believer that when prayers go up, blessings rain down. Ask anybody at St. Anne's and they will confirm and testify that there is a "sweet, sweet spirit in this place."

Each month a member of the Pastoral Care Committee takes it upon themselves to be a PC contact. Our name is printed in the bulletin for all to see. We are the voices of kindness, the hearts of love, the spirits of courage, the mountains of faith, the virtual hugs when none can be given.

As a PC contact person, we take it upon ourselves to check in on those members who need a call, text, email or card during the months of the year. Each month the list of members "standing in the need of prayer" changes. Our mission never falters. Each member of the Pastoral Care Committee works together; we lean on one another to face the months ahead.

God knew I had the talent and the time. I just needed a purpose in which to utilize it. Making others happy is how I check in with myself. A phone call brings me joy when my world is filled with sorrow. Sending a card, mailing a note or letter fills my soul with gladness.

The pandemic has changed us all in many forms and fashion. Although we are apart, the members of the Pastoral Care Committee are here to help keep us together.

I guess all of my time in the hospitality business has come full circle … I'm still checking in.


SHOW-STARTING ST. ANNE’S ZOOM TALENT SHOW On Shrove Tuesday, St. Anne’s came together after feasting on Pancakes to Go provided by our Outreach Ministry and Youth Group to watch the first-ever St. Anne’s Zoom Talent Show. You can watch that video here. We concluded the show with a service of Compline. https://youtu.be/SCviP_ay4hQ https://youtu.be/RTfePS7C8Ys

Budget Update via Zoom


You can see that video here: https://youtu.be/RTfePS7C8Ys


On Sunday, February. 21, as part of our worship that morning, the parish came together for a conversation about where we are and where we are heading as a faith community. Included in that conversation was information about our 2021 budget, where we are falling short, and how we might overcome the financial gap. Leading into this conversation, we shared a video that the Stewardship Committee put together, produced by Grace Phillips, a member of the St. Anne’s Vestry.



March Birthdays Robert Spottswood March 6 Kit Reddeck March 17 Ronald Noel March 20 Tom Albritton March 21 Teri Beadle March 23 Chance Hoglund March 27 Luella Rundell March 29

Are we missing your birthday? If so, please contact our parish administrator and let us know when you were born. Email Mark parishoffice@stannes-ws.org


and serve the Lord.


Go in peace to love

Profile for St. Anne's Episcopal Church, Winston Salem

Cross + Circle March Issue  

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