Virtual Caring Corner

Welcome to the Virtual Caring Corner! We have placed all of our resources in one convenient location for you to enjoy.

August 13, 2020

John Lewis and Hearing the Call of Love

The Rev. Dr. D. Scott Stoner writes about the legacy of John Lewis and the lasting gifts of integrity and love.  “So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.” From a final essay from Congressman John Lewis. Read more.


August 6, 2020

Reading so much information in these days can make us weary. We hope this image makes you smile.

Caring Corner Photo

Kindness Stock - Unlimited Supplies by Frankie Beckley
This image and other artwork can be downloaded free from the United Nations COVID-19 Response Creative Content Hub

July 30, 2020

Signs of Mental Strength

What does it mean to be mentally strong and how does that look in this ever changing world? The Rev. Dr. D. Scott Stoner reviews Amy Morin's book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do.

“Morin’s primary point is that we often mistake acting tough with being strong. Real strength, especially in times of extreme uncertainty, manifests in the ability to be vulnerable, flexible, and willing to change one’s mind in the face of new information and facts as they are revealed.” Read more


July 23, 2020

Zoom-In and Zoom-Out: Choices on the COVID Roller Coaster

As our world changes from day-to-day, we all need to be adapting and finding ways to manage the information overload. Michele Marsh, Council for Relationships and former Middleton Counseling Center therapist, talks about the roller coaster of COVID-19 and how we can manage self-care and the news cycle. Read more


July 16, 2020

Our Interconnected Spiritual Health

COVID-19 has emphasized the truth of humanity’s interconnectedness. No nation or community has been exempt from the virus’s spread across the globe. As we address this global pandemic, we also must pay attention to those scourges which flow through our interconnectedness of spirit. Racism and fear-based hostility, to name a few, threaten our spiritual health. In this meditation from the Center for Action and Contemplation, Brian McLaren urges us to use this opportunity to heal our spirit as well as our body. Read more


July 9, 2020

An Insomniac's Prayer Practice

Sleepless nights are an all-too-common experience for many of us. So much news, so many concerns. How do we calm the "monkey mind"? In this Christian Century article, the author describes a prayer practice that calls on God by names of several faith traditions. This brings a sense of calm in solidarity with others, helping us to know we're not alone. Read more here.


July 2, 2020

Rethinking Food During and After Quarantine

During this time of quarantine and social distancing, we all have had to think about and plan our meals and food shopping in new ways. We learned about food supply chains and packaging plant closures, adjusted to new shopping hours, and learned new ways to navigate the stores. We understood that food shortages for those in need became a daily concern. During this time, we also learned new practices and behaviors around our own eating habits. Read Five ways eating in a pandemic is improving our relationship with food.
 

June 25, 2020

Graduation, Grief and Gratitude 

To say this has been a "different time" in our lives is an understatement, especially for those who have recently graduated. Instead of experiencing proms, school trips and signing of yearbooks – all important things that signify a momentous moment in one’s life – students were left celebrating virtually. While many graduates have experienced feelings of grief for what they have lost during this time they also expressed strong feelings of gratitude. In the article, "Graduation, Grief and Gratitude," the Rev. Dr. D. Scott Stoner discusses these amazing students whom he calls "old souls." Dr. Stoner describes the significance of holding both grief and gratitude together simultaneously and how this experience may provide them a spiritual wisdom beyond their years. Read the article here.
 

June 18, 2020

How has the Pandemic Changed you?

As we begin venturing out into a post-quarantine life, are there habits or things you did during this time of "lockdown" that you want to keep in your life, post-pandemic? In the article "Quarantine has changed us – and it's not all bad," the author Sigal Samuel asked his readers at Vox this very question. He received responses from all over the world and discusses the eight habits people do not want to live without as we move into a post-pandemic world. You can read the article here.


June 11, 2020

Daily Prayer Practice

One way to care for yourself and maintain calm during turbulent times is to implement the following simple daily prayer practice. It can improve your outlook, set a spiritual intention for your day, and lift up those you love. It’s called the 4-2-1 program which can be done anywhere without any special books or equipment.

Simply list the following:
 
4: List four things you are grateful for.
 
2: List two people you would like to lift up.
 
1: List one thing you hope or pray for yourself.
 
Practicing gratitude daily for one week can lead to an increase in happiness that can persist for six months. This regular practice also has been found to increase positive emotions, reduce the risk of depression, and can increase resilience in the face of stressful situations. (Source: “Four Great Gratitude Strategies.” Greater Good Magazine-Science Based Insights for a Meaningful Life, UC Berkeley. June 30, 2015.)


June 5, 2020

Matter Matters

In an episode of "Wisdom in the Pandemic," John Philip Newell, former Middleton Center Spring Symposium Speaker and Advent Sermon Series Preacher, speaks of the Celtic prophet George MacLeod, who challenges us to consider, “How shall we live after the pandemic?” From his garden in Edinburgh, his words on how to care for vulnerable matters is very relevant to life in the United States right now. We hope the video speaks to you during this time. Watch it here.


May 28, 2020

Living with Uncertainty

As a community and congregation we have been living with and balancing uncertainty since early March. As our local communities prepare to transition from the red phase to the yellow phase, we will continue to live with uncertainty. To manage our feelings of uncertainty, we must pay attention to two things: ourselves and others.

Attention to Self: How do we care for ourselves, manage our anxiety, and feel safe during times of uncertainty? You will find suggestions for each of these items in past Caring Corner posts, which included everything from breath prayers and finger labyrinths, to ways to understand our emotional reactions. Additionally, here is an excellent resource from NPR on dealing with uncertainty.

Attention to Others: In the yellow phase we will still practice social distancing, which is a misnomer: We don’t want to be socially isolated, but we remain physically distant for the safety of others. Please continue to maintain six feet of distance between you and others, but even as you do, reach out, re-engage, and find new ways to be present to others.

As we move into the yellow phase some things will change and other things will remain the same. We encourage you to continue to walk with faith through these uncertain times. You can do so with confidence, knowing that you are not alone on the journey. Caring Ministries, and all of BMPC, is here to walk with you.


May 21, 2020

Give Yourself a Break! 

Perhaps like many (including the Caring Ministries Team), your brain is weary of negotiating life in a pandemic. We invite you to check out four ways to be easier on yourself. Read more...

May 14, 2020

In this article from Christian Century, M. Craig Barnes, president of Princeton Theological Seminary, helps us to see that this is not the first time in human history we have faced widespread disease that leads us to prayer. The God who was so clearly faithful in our past is going to be faithful today, tomorrow, and through eternity. Read more here.


May 7, 2020

Deep Peace from Iona

Remembering the BMPC trip to Scotland one year ago this week, we offer this “movement as prayer” filmed on the island of Iona. In Celtic spirituality, Iona is considered a “thin place,” sacred because heaven and earth seem especially near to one another and God is known in the beauty of nature.

Deep peace of the rolling waves to you.
Deep peace of the silent stars.
Deep peace of the blowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth.
Let peace, let peace, let peace fill your soul.
May peace, may peace, may peace keep you whole.

For more on the artist Betsey Beckman, see The Dancing Word, Resources for Embodied Prayer, Liturgical Dance and the Arts in Spiritual Direction, in collaboration with Abbey of the Arts.


April 30, 2020

People have stated that these are 'unprecedented' times.  Yet, the world has had other pandemics, and people have suffered life-changing events that have impacted their families, world views and futures. Let us remember that we have lived through times of dramatic change. The resilience that is taught can make us stronger.  
 
Domenica Rafferty, bereavement specialist at the Middleton Center, has shared some helpful insights during this time of isolation and rapid change. Read here...

April 23, 2020

In recognition of Earth Day celebrated this week, we join with M. Courtenay Willcox, Chair of the Environmental Justice Committee, in considering how care of the environment and the earth's most vulnerable are intertwined. May we be inspired by nature and act to protect it and all inhabitants. Read here...


April 16, 2020

This past month has been a time of focusing on physical safety, physical wellness and physical distancing. We recognize that social isolation can be difficult emotionally as well as psychologically. Dr. Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap, recently wrote an article using the acronym FACE COVID for some wellness tools and techniques. We hope you find it useful.

The Middleton Center continues to offer counseling and support virtually during this time. If you would like to speak with someone, do not hesitate to call the Middleton Center (610-525-0766) or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. All conversations are confidential.


April 9, 2020

During this time of compassionate retreat during Holy Week, walking a finger labyrinth provides another way to spend time seeking closeness with God. Using a finger on your non-dominant hand, trace the path of the labyrinth while connecting with your breath, praying, listening or simply leaning into the rhythm. The Labyrinth Society has many suggestions on how to create your own finger labyrinth, provides templates for printable finger labyrinths and offers a virtual walk. Also, there is a wonderful app called Labyrinth Journey that allows one to walk virtually.
 
Blessings on your pilgrimage, 
Anne Montgomery Schmid, Certified Labyrinth Facilitator


April 2, 2020

During this time of self-isolation it is vital to take care of ourselves holistically. The article “How to Practice Breath Prayer” from the website “A Sacred Journey,” discusses how the daily practice of breath prayers can help calm our minds and bodies while deepening our connection with God.


March 26, 2020

Each week, the Caring Ministries team will share an offering to support you in mind, body and spirit. You are in our prayers as we journey this new path together. Two practices that can move us toward healing in these virus-weary days is to name our feelings and look for meaning in our daily lives. To learn more about these practices, we encourage you to read: "That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief.”