Dear People’s people,

‘Tis the season for gifts, wishes, and rest.

The gift of body donation: After the service on Sunday October 30 about end of life planning, a few People’s people reached out to me for more information about the body donation program at WMed, the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker School of medicine. If you donate your body to WMed after you die, it will be used in medical education and medical research. The idea of one’s body helping others learn is appealing to many People’s people. If this is something you would like to do, please visit to learn more. As you consider this possibility, there are a few important things to remember. First, if this is something you would like to do, you need to complete the paperwork in advance and have plans in place before you die. Second, if you make this choice, it is good to have a backup plan. There are a few reasons why your body might not be accepted at the time of your death (including your cause of death or weight when you die) or the circumstances of your death could make body donation very complicated (if you die a significant distance from Kalamazoo).

Wishes for church programs and activities: Have you ever wanted something to happen at People’s Church? We’re introducing a new tool called the ‘I wish somebody would…’ board. This is a place to share your ideas for the church and share if you have the capacity to help make something happen. People will share their ideas. Once three people have said they are willing to help make it happen, I will connect them and help them get started. To make this project as accessible as possible, we will have this board both as a physical object in the church foyer and online here: I am excited to see your ideas and to have a central place to store them. Several times in the last year multiple people have said they are interested in the same project, but by the second time someone told me, I had forgotten who the first person was. I hope this will allow your good ideas to flourish and help connect people with the capacities to make it happen.

Rest for our director of religious education: On January 1, Diane Melvin, our religious education director, will begin a six-month sabbatical. She; Laura Bultman, our religious education assistant; and our excellent religious education committee have made plans to make sure the most vital parts of our religious education program are carried forward in her absence. As they work to work to fill the Diane-shaped hole in our church life, I invite everyone to pitch in. Maybe you have a special talent or skill you can share with our children during a specialty class? Maybe you could help prepare a meal or do the dishes or prepare materials for classes? Maybe you have an idea for a fun event for all ages? If you want to volunteer to help, please reach out to Laura Bultman, who will be the administrative head of the religious education program during Diane’s absence at

I am excited for this sabbatical both for Diane and for our church. After years of pandemic-era pivoting, Diane is near burn out. A time of deep rest and relaxation will allow her to replenish her spirit. I am also excited for the gifts that a replenished Diane will bring to us all upon her return. During her last sabbatical, Diane expanded her mindfulness and meditation practice. Upon her return, she created the mindfulness and meditation group that has met regularly for years. She also brought these practices to congregational worship, especially during the pandemic. Her encouragement to slow my pace, connect with my deepest values, and lead with curiosity and compassion, has made me a better human. I know that is true for others. Diane plans to continue some of this learning and practices during her upcoming sabbatical. I trust that it will be good for her and all of us.

Take good care,





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