Look at the lilies! They don’t toil and spin. If God provides clothing for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, don’t you suppose he will provide for you? Luke 12:27-28
Welcome to the inaugural post of Genesis Spiritual Life & Conference Center’s blog: Lilies of the Field which will showcase beauty through an array of voices which comprise Genesis. Each month you will hear once from me and once from another staff person, volunteer or guest, sharing perspectives on Genesis’ mission of hope and healing.
Since COVID-19 forced the closure of Genesis in March, the Genesis community has weathered the storms of family-members contracting the virus; the loss of a beloved, former Genesis Board Trustee; staff layoffs alongside increased stress for those retained during the layoff; shifting job tasks coupled with new distancing protocols when staff were called back to work; a learning curve and pliable timeline in planning for re-opening; and a sharp pivot to and uptick in offering on-line programs and retreats.
Believing in the Providential love of God doesn’t mean that our lives will be easy, it means that we are not alone in our struggles and grief; we are held by a love that knows no bounds.
These past months, spiritual direction sessions continued by phone, Zoom, or outdoors. Recently, 12-Step support groups resumed meeting in person, outside on Genesis’ grounds, observing physical distancing – we are so glad to have you back! Sunday, we will welcome a small handful of overnight guests to participate in Diarmuid O’Murchu’s When the Disciple Comes of Age retreat alongside more than 20 virtual retreatants. And next week, Genesis will begin offering two free Grief and Loss groups, on-line, related to the opioid crisis or addiction; this initiative is a collaboration with Westfield CORE (Coalition for Outreach, Recovery and Education), funded by a grant from Baystate Noble Hospital.
Last week, we emailed a survey to you, our on-line community. As we hear from you about your readiness to return, and what programs and retreats you would find supportive to your spiritual journey, we will respond as we also discern what these times are calling us to: our evolution and the transformation of individual, communal and systemic consciousness. How does the love of God in Christ help us co-create healing and justice, and surrender to God’s work of transfiguration and resurrection in the face of the climate crisis, Black Lives Matter, Me Too, and the continuing spread of COVID-19?
Genesis’ fall catalog will be published in September, slimmer, as a cost-cutting measure. GenesisSpiritualCenter.org is the best resource for up-to-date Genesis news, COVID-19 protocols, and program information.
Through this all, we have been sustained the unwavering support of the Sisters of Providence of Holyoke. With the support of the Sisters of Providence Ministry Corporation, Genesis was awarded a PPP grant which is helping defray salary and wage costs. The generous financial contributions of many Genesis community-members quite took us by surprise these past months, made more precious as they occurred unbidden in this uncertain time.
We now know it will take time for Genesis Hosted groups and program and retreat participants to return in sufficient numbers to meet our expenses, even with the support of the Sisters of Providence. At this time, I humbly, explicitly ask: If you are able, would you consider making a financial contribution to support Genesis’ ministry? We will gratefully accept a gift in any amount to offset the significant financial losses we are incurring this year. Prayers are always welcome!
We follow the example of our foundresses, placing our trust in Providence and knowing that at least in part, it flows through you, our community. We are optimistic as we look ahead – not because we know the road will be smooth, but because we know the glory of the One who beckons to us from the future.
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