Dear People’s people,

As I write this, I’ve been back at work for nearly a month after my parental leave. It’s been a good month—catching up with many of you, attending the youth service, leading the flower service and the first summer service, and generally getting back into work routines. I am so grateful for the paid parental leave that you all granted me. Having time to be home, care for baby Dorothy, let my body heal after giving birth, and help my family adjust to a new member. Paid parental leave is rare and precious in our country (about 14% of workers in this country have access to it). Thank you for all the ways you live your commitment to children, families, and justice within our church walls and beyond them.

As I look ahead to balancing ministry and parenting two children (especially two children in childcare), I have decided to switch my day off to Fridays. This will begin the week of July 8. Having my days off on Fridays will give me more flexibility during the (hopefully rare) weeks when my children or I get sick or other things upset my usual schedule. When needed, I can take a day off earlier in the week to attend to a sick child and then work on Fridays. This means that I will be working on Mondays, which has been my day off previously. Regardless of the day, if an emergency arises, please call me on my work cell phone: 269-389-9721.

July is usually a slower paced month for me at work, a month for planning for the coming program year. I’ll be sketching out the Sunday services calendar and making plans for adult religious education and other programs. The board is having their retreat in mid-July. They will likely be setting goals for the year and I will begin figuring out how we can achieve them. If you have ideas to share with me—a topic or piece of music for a Sunday service, a class or program idea you have, or anything else—please reach out to me so we can brainstorm together. Summer is also a good time to meet up to share a coffee or a walk and talk. Perhaps you’re in need of emotional or spiritual support or are sorting through a moral dilemma or would simply like us to know one another better. If you would like to have a conversation longer than what is possible on Sunday mornings, please reach out and we can set a time.

I hope you all have some spaciousness in your summer for reflection, contemplation, and planning.

See you in church,

Rev. Rachel

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