Excerpts from Rev. Karen Armina’s messages
in our weekly e-newsletter.

October’s Theme: Deep Listening – What does it mean to be a people of deep listening? Our October theme invites us to reflect on how listening helps create spaces from which we can both perceive and create our world.  In this space, you’ll find a new invitation into reflection on our monthly theme every week.

Check-in question: Who has listened to you when you most needed it? This is your chance to listen carefully.

This is your chance to listen carefully.
Your whole life might depend on what you hear.
 - Joyce Sutphen

Connecting with Rev. Karen – Rev. Karen is available via email and phone or text, and is happy to make arrangements to meet outdoors or take a walk with you at other times, within our guidelines for outdoor gatherings.  Please reach out to her if you’d like to connect one-to-one!  And, as always, please call or text her if you have a pastoral emergency.  Please note that Monday is Karen’s rest day and Thursday is her writing/study day, and she doesn’t check email on those days.

Drop-in Office Hours – Rev. Karen will open a zoom room at 4:00-6:00 pm every Tuesday, and you’re invited to join her when you can for as long as you can. Check your weekly email for the link.

Outdoor Office Hours – On days that the temperature is above 50 degrees and it’s not raining, Rev. Karen will set up a chair on the lawn in Olbrich Park, between the Children’s Kitchen Garden and the ice rink shelter along Garrison Street, on Fridays from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.  Come by if you’d like to chat! (From 9/16/2020)

When to Call the Minister

I want to take the opportunity of our coming back together in September to invite you to call on me when you need someone to journey with you through something in your life. You might think, Rev. Karen seems really busy, and I’m not sure if I should bother her with this. I wondered how to articulate all of the possibilities, and learned that the Rev. Dr. Peter Lee Scott has provided many generations of ministers with a starting point in answering this question. So I adapted his ideas.

Here’s when you should call your minister:
  • When you don’t know me, but would like to
  • When your child doesn’t know me, but would like to or you would like them to
  • When your family doesn’t know me, but would like to
  • When you’re going into the hospital or someone else in the congregation is
  • When someone close to you has died or is critically ill
  • When you have suggestions for a sermon, or about the worship service
  • When you’d just like to visit or know someone else who’d like to
  • When you’d like to share your gifts with our community
  • When you are looking for a way to deepen your spiritual life
  • When your children have questions of faith and you would like me to visit with them
  • When you have religious or spiritual questions
  • When you are celebrating one of life’s joys and want to share the good news
  • When your child has joys and accomplishments to share with their minister
  • When you or someone in your family are feeling sad or lonely or lost
  • When you have lost your job, found a new job, been promoted or demoted
  • When you or a family member is ill
  • When you would like to make plans for a memorial service; when you would like to make plans for your own memorial service
  • When you are planning to be married; when you are challenged by the demands of marriage; when you are separated or thinking of getting a divorce
  • When you are pregnant and glad you are or wish you weren’t, also if you want to be pregnant but aren’t
  • When you would like your child dedicated
  • When you feel ready to join the congregation
  • When you want to share your experience of or appreciation for our beloved community; when you have concerns about the church or our faith community.
  • When you have a good story to share
  • When you want a listening ear
  • When you’re not sure you should call me, but think you might like to talk

I look forward to hearing from you! – Rev. Karen (9/9/2020)

Our September theme:  What does it mean to be a people of renewal?

Our September theme invites us to reflect on what we need to be refreshed in order to maintain our commitments to ourselves, each other, our community, and the next generations.  In this space, you’ll find a new invitation into reflection on our monthly theme every week.   

Check-in question: What if you saw your daily living and loving as an opportunity (even a calling) to renew others’ faith in humanity? 

Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean me first, it means me too. – L.R. Knost 

May the tears I cried last year be nourishment to the soil of this new year.– Anonymous

When I have no more mass than a leaf dead on the branch, still this is enough for the earth to find me. She reaches for what little I have and says, stay… Press the soles of your feet back into the ground you sprang from. Feel the weight of your body and know that it is glorious. You are born of soil and sun, and all the heaviness of the earth is a call to you. The earth is reaching for you. Reach back. Reach back. — Jess Reynolds

September 2, 2020 – Within and Between

Dear Friends,

As we move into a new “church year,” we’re also coming back to using monthly themes.  I enjoy the practice this offers me, to dive more deeply into a reflect on a single theme and to explore various aspects of that theme, on my own and in community with you.  I think this month’s theme of renewal is particularly timely.  So many of us are being worn down by the continued inability to see each other, by the need to transform our living spaces into work (and soon school) spaces, by the anxiety around keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe and healthy, and by the prolonged polarization in our society and our politics.  We’re in deep need of renewal.

One of the questions posed to me during last week’s service was about what I did and learned during my sabbatical leave.  I was blessed to be able to spend a good deal of that time observing the beginning and progression of spring in the woods of eastern Kentucky.  This offered a great opportunity to reflect on renewal during a time in which those around me were struggling to adapt to the new realities brought on by the spread of COVID-19, and I realized, as I interacted with my loved ones during that time, that the renewal of spirit is as contagious as any virus.  We pass along a kind of renewal every time we bring a new idea into a conversation, every time we’re able to step back to bring fresh perspective to a situation, every time we allow ourselves to be changed and bring that change with us, every time we intentionally choose self-care.  May we notice all the small moments of renewal and share them. 

In faith and love, Karen