A Note from Pastor Eric
Beloveds of God:
I, like many of you, have days when I like scrolling through my social media newsfeed and days when I question why I am still on social media at all. We've all seen the dark side of social media and been taken aback by venomous posts and weird conspiracy theories at some point. However, in recent weeks, as I've indulged in the habit of checking social media, I've seen many refreshing posts and images as people share their vacations or other idle activities. It's good to see folks taking time for themselves, whether it's a photo taken after running into another member on an airplane, a legendary rock band concert or a California beach, or even a photo of the most amazing breakfast ever tasted.
It's encouraging to see people taking care of themselves. Self-care includes a wide variety of activities. Setting aside time for a nice bath or engaging in an activity that provides you joy could suffice. Exercise, meditation, or therapy are examples of more structured activities. The trick is to find what works for you and incorporate it into your daily routine.
Self-care allows us to function at our best and be more present in our own lives and with God. We are better equipped to deal with stress, sustain healthy relationships, and improve our general well-being when we emphasize self-care. Taking care of yourself is not selfish; in fact, it is necessary. God established a day of rest on the seventh day (the Sabbath) in the creation story, a day set apart to honor God and care for oneself. In comparison to other societies throughout the world, we frequently overwork ourselves to exhaustion. This is not to say that we can't have fun at work! I certainly like my work as your pastor, and I'm sure many of you enjoy your work as well.
Here are a few self-care routines to include in your everyday routine:
1. Make sleep a priority: Get adequate sleep each night. A well-rested body and mind are more capable of dealing with daily stresses.
2. Practice mindfulness: Set aside some time each day to be fully present in the moment. Deep breathing, meditation, or simply focusing on one job at a time are all options.
3. Move your body: Participate in an enjoyable physical activity. Exercise has several benefits for both your physical and mental health, whether you go for a stroll, dance, or play a sport.
4. Take regular pauses: Don't forget to take breaks throughout the day. Step away from your computer, go outside, or do a little relaxation exercise. These pauses can help you relax and focus better.
5. Connect with others: Because humans are social beings, connecting with others is critical to our well-being. Reach out to friends and relatives, or join a community group that shares your interests.
Remember that self-care is a lifelong discipline, not a one-time event. It is about nourishing yourself and setting boundaries in order to prioritize your well-being. Taking care of oneself allows you to better care for others and enjoy a more fulfilling life.
Beginning August 3 and running through August 19, I will devote some time to self-care. I'll be visiting family in Sweden and spending time in Stockholm. During my time away, Deacon Deb Haynes of the Lamb Center in Fairfax, VA, and Rev. Ray Ranker of Lutheran Campus Ministries-University of Maryland College Park will fill in on Sundays, and plans will be made for a clergy person to be available for any pastoral care needs.
May you find moments of rest and relaxation this summer and the season ahead.
Beginning July 10, Pastor Eric will be attending "It's all About Love: A Festival for the Jesus Movement" in Baltimore.
“It’s All About Love” is organized around three Jesus Movement festival “tents”: Evangelism, Racial Reconciliation, and Creation Care. Get ready for evening revival worship and daytime speakers, workshops, panels, and practice opportunities around the big tent themes. Stick with one tent or explore across the tents, following the themes of: worship and liturgy, formation, justice and advocacy, leadership, preaching, stewardship, and youth and children.
Featured speakers, preachers, and artists to include Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, President of the House of Deputies Julia Ayala Harris, Brian McLaren, the Rev. Mariama White-Hammon, Dr. Kwok Pui-lan, Sarah Augustine, Lilly Lewin, Dr. Catherine Meeks, the Very Rev. Canon Kelly Brown Douglas, the Rev. Winnie Varghese, and more.
Save the Date: Upcoming Events and Activities
Back to School Backpack and School Supply Drive
Beginning Sunday, July 9 through August 27, Peace Lutheran Church will be accepting donations of backpacks and school supplies to donate to Dr. Mudd Elementary School. There will be an area in the narthex designated for dropping off donations.
Supply Items Needed:
Dry Erase Markers (multicolor packs), No. 2 Pencils, highlighter markers, wide-rule loose leaf notebook paper, composition notebooks (wide-rule, black and white), Crayons (16 or 24 colors), glue sticks, solid color pocket folders with prongs, 0.5inch 3 ring binders.
Regular size backpacks (no wheels) in gender neutral colors and patterns.
July 30 | Pride Picnic (5:00pm)
LGBTQIA+ Families, friends, neighbors, and allies are invited to the July Pride picnic at Peace Lutheran Church, which includes the congregations of Peace Lutheran Church, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, and Christ Church La Plata. Come out for some fellowship, games, and delicious food! Everyone is welcome. Please complete the online RSVP form by clicking on the button below.
August 27 | Blessing of the Students and Teachers (10:00am)
Students of all ages and grades, as well as instructors, are invited to attend worship on Sunday, August 27, for a special rite of blessing as the new school year begins. Students are encouraged to bring their bags because they will get a special gift from the congregation.
August 27 | Adult Study: Together By Grace
To learn more about Lutheranism, join Pastor Eric for a new adult study beginning this Sunday, August 27 at 12 p.m., titled "Together by Grace." This six-week study on Lutheran history and theology is open to anybody, whether they were born and raised Lutherans or are newcomers to Peace Lutheran Church from another religious tradition.
Throughout the study, Pastor Eric will talk more about the mission and ministry of Peace Lutheran Church and expound upon the Lutheran Confessions (the formal statements of faith of the Lutheran Church).
Please register in advance so that we can provide sufficient resources and allocatesufficient space. The church will have copies of the book "Together by Grace" on hand.The suggested contribution to cover the price of the book is $13.
The study will meet for six-weeks on Sundays beginning August 27 from 12:00-1:15pm.
God’s passion—to bring all things together by grace, to make us alive together withChrist—makes possible a life of living, daring confidence in God’s grace. Together.
October 8 | Southern Maryland Pride
On Sunday, October 8, Southern Maryland Pride begins at 11:00 a.m. in Lexington Park. Peace Lutheran Church will have a booth and volunteers will be needed to meet our neighbors. If you are interested in volunteering or assisting with event preparation, please contact Pastor Eric. More information here.
October 14 | Community Yard Sale Fundraiser
Peace Lutheran Church will hold its next yard sale fundraiser on Saturday, October 14. Start setting aside your donations now and see Sharon Altman for more details.
October 22 | Monthly Intergenerational Sunday School Kicks Off
For many faith communities, the format of Sunday School that divided into age groups and met every Sunday before or after service has been retired. This is not to suggest that the traditional paradigm that many of us grew up with is no longer applicable; in fact, it can be when the setting has a sufficient student and volunteer population. While we have seen an increase in the last 11 months, we remain a modest congregation with attainable goals.
Beginning this fall, we will launch a new Sunday School program that will take an intergenerational approach, which means that all age groups, adult and young, will join for a time of spiritual educating and exploration. Intergenerational learning brings the community together to act out our baptismal promises of supporting one another in faith, so at the heart of this approach is relationship building. The new Sunday School program will be held once a month from 9:00 to 9:40 a.m. and will center on an activity tied to a Scripture topic.