I’m so grateful to be returning to church feeling refreshed and renewed after my six-month sabbatical.

My time was spent doing much deep grief work, resting and healing, meditating, reading and studying, lifting weights and working out, hiking in the woods, swimming, running and biking, traveling a little bit, and having precious time with family.

The richest part of my sabbatical was the one to two hours I spent each day studying and practicing Lojong. This is an ancient Buddhist mind-training program designed to cultivate a compassionate heart and more wisdom.  I feel transformed by the effects of this invaluable way of perceiving and living in the world.

I was feeling so energized this spring that I decided to train for a sprint triathlon which I will be doing on August 12th at Prairieview Park in Vicksburg. That has provided opportunities for much stretching and growth in new ways that I’ve really enjoyed.

I gained two new family members this spring.  My new grandson, Valen Melvin was born in June (I love being a grandma). And I adopted a new dog from the animal shelter.  Griffyn is probably a 1.5 year old Retriever Shepard mix.  He is a big, happy, friendly puppy who loves everyone.

I want to offer enormous gratitude to everyone who helped to cover for my absence. I tried to make the best use of the precious gift of time I was given.  I am thankful for this much needed chance to rest and heal.  I’m especially grateful to those who made it possible.

Thank you to Rev. Rachel and the sabbatical team: Mary Kate Webster, Kelly Henderson, Jeff Kirkwood and Connie Ferguson.  And special thanks goes to Nicky Gates who carried more than she should have while I was gone!

With gratitude,
Diane Melvin, Director of Religious Education

RE Classroom Clean up Dates

August 29, 30 and September 1st
5:00-7:30 pm

Everyone is invited and needed to help clean up and organize the RE classrooms and get everything ready for the new year. Pizza will be provided for everyone who RSVPs to Diane at

Summer Sunday Religious Education Activities
Room 9

Our Summer Sunday Religious Education Program continues throughout the summer with activities for kids entering kindergarten to those entering eighth grade, 10:45 am. (Our nursery will be available for younger children.)  Led by Mary Kate Webster and Cary Betz-Williams, we are reading The Kids’ Book of Awesome Stuff, about the interdependent web of life and how we are all from “star stuff.” We play games, enjoy crafts, take nature walks and make new friends. Visiting grandchildren are welcome.

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