Dear People’s people,

As fall approaches, we continue to face the challenges of life amid pandemic. While our individual struggles are not the same, so many of us are living lives marked by too much. Too much isolation. Too much distance between us and the people we love. Too much time with our partner, housemates, or young children. Too much empty time to fill. Too much to do. Too much uncertainty. Too much worry. Too much fear. Too much grief. Whatever particular too much you are managing right now, know you are not alone in spirit, even if you are physically alone. Please reach out to me if a conversation about managing your too much would be helpful or if there are other ways the church can support you.

The particular too much facing my family is that my eldest child is starting kindergarten. (I can hardly believe he is big enough!) Kalamazoo Public Schools are only offering remote learning this fall. A corner of my dining room is now set up for DeForest’s schooling. My spouse Brian and I have decided that, for the first month of school, we will shift our work schedules to ensure that DeForest has an adult with him who is not trying to work. We’re hopeful that after a month, he’ll be confident working independently for part of his school day and we’ll have more clarity about what sort of support he will need to be successful. (And, if you’re curious, we’re keeping our youngest enrolled at the daycare she has attended since infancy.)

How are we doing this? I will be taking a vacation day every week during September. Brian will be working half as much at the brewpub. We are really grateful to have flexible and generous employers who are letting us prioritize our family right now.

What does this mean for People’s Church? I will be switching my days off in September. I will not be working on Mondays and Tuesdays during the day (except for the week of the 14th, when I’ll be off on Thursday and Friday). I will be available for evening meetings. I will be less responsive to emails and in other ways this month. If you need to reach me urgently, please call or text me on any day. I’ve already reached out to the committees, teams, and groups that I usually meet with on Mondays and Tuesday about rescheduling our September meetings or carrying on without me.

Thank you for being a generous employer that provides the vacation time and flexibility I need to help my child.

See you in (virtual) church,
Rev. Rachel

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