Excerpts for the Journey

By Hilary Allen

Green Pine leave

Here I was thinking everything had already been said. That there were no other words to say (again) what we all already know: here we are, still in pandemic life. And yet, a shift has arrived and there are ideas being shared that can bring comfort, illumination, and insight. So, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve been reading - and listening to - in hopes they might bring some clarity or compassion to you as well:

Trauma-Informed Workplaces by Susan Beaumont of the Congregational Consulting Group

Describes five trauma-informed practices for supervisors or leaders to use in this time.

“In a season when so much is beyond our control, we can control how we respond to the trauma of others. We can balance compassion with accountability and build a resilient workforce.”

They're Not Coming Back by the Rev. Rob Dyer (Presbyterian) at Ministry Architects

Highlights how the return to church has not unfolded as some expected and names the duty for today’s congregations to attend to trauma response.

“...Everyone is recovering from a shared trauma...We need to figure out what it means to be a spiritual trauma center for our communities. We need to reintroduce ourselves as a place that can tend to the wounds this pandemic has opened.”

How to Keep Your Minister: A Guide for the Thoughtful Layperson by Sharon Wylie at Ministry in Steel Toe Shoes (personal blog)

Lists specific tips for “thoughtful laypeople” about how to provide ministerial support to avoid unnecessary transitions

“If there is a wave of high ministerial turnover in 2021 and 2022, so be it. But I fear that congregations are too often surprised when a minister decides to leave, and that many lay people have no idea how to support their minister to help ensure they are inclined to stay put rather than move on.”

Amy Cuddy on Pandemic Flux Syndrome on the Brené Brown podcast “Dare to Lead”

“Pandemic Flux Syndrome” recognizes the dual desires of escape — either anxiety that prompts strong urges to make major life changes or depression, compelling us to withdraw and shut down.

“Remember that people need the restoration of their sense of power and agency, so as much as possible, give people some flexibility about how they return to work. This has been a time of self-reflection. We’ve learned about ourselves. We’ve learned what does and doesn’t work for us...So, we are going to have to find a way [to come back] that is accommodating to what people have learned about themselves through this experience.”

Friends, there is so much. Too much.

If you want the condensed version of the above, this is my summary:

  • You are not alone.
  • There’s nothing wrong with you if you are suffering (or if you’re in bliss.)
  • Slow down.
  • Stay together (PDF) .

Please let us know what you are reading, listening to, and sharing. Supporting and being informed by each other is one gift we can be giving each other right now.