Accompany, Listen, Help Make Meaning

SUUF Spiritual Reflection

1) SUUF Virtual Sunday 4/19/2020 Reflection from Rev. Glenn Farley

TEXT of the Virtual Sunday Service:

Good morning!
I am the Rev. Glenn Farley of Sedona UU Fellowship.

This morning I want to light the chalice and then share some updates and announcements and a brief reflection.

With the kindling of this flame,
we re-affirm our commitment
to accept Life’s gifts
with grace and gratitude
and to use them
to bless the world
in the spirit of Love.

Well, here we are, entering our sixth week of staying-at-home. The curve is nowhere near flattening in the United States. Testing is still very limited and quire slow.

Locally, at Verde Valley Medical Center there were half a dozen COVID-19 cases at the end of the week;
there were many more at Flagstaff Medical Center, over 40 COVID-19 patients, the ICU is very close to capacity; many patients are from the Navajo nation.

My heart goes out to those have lost loved ones, and those we are ill. I feel deep gratitude for the essential workers who are putting themselves at high risk to be of service. My heart goes out to all those who newly unemployed or whose work dried up or are not allowed to work.

SUUF President Chris Seeholzer sent out a detailed report this past Friday, April 17th; and I want to reiterate how thankful I am to you all for staying safe and finding ways to reach out and support each other and stay connected safely. Towards that end, SUUF member Barbara Warren has been doing some reading and reflecting on ways we can stay connected safely.

Since it is springtime; last week was Easter, this upcoming week is Earth Day, Barbara has some flowers she is expecting to fully bloom this week; and she thought perhaps we can share our blooming plants with each other! The details are in the the e-mail (below), in Barbra’s own words; but feel free to take a photo of any plants you have in your home or yard with a description/background story and email them to and I will compile and share them.

Also, in light of staying connected, we are in the midst of our pledge drive.
We realized that the FY2021 Pledge Form that was mailed out last month had an incorrect zip code on it.
This is the correct mailing address with the correct zip code.

Tracy Young, Treasurer SUUF
10640 E. Valley View Drive
Cornville, AZ 86325

As of Friday 4/17/2020, we only had about half of the expected pledges submitted. We are hoping for a vibrant fellowship year next year and we need everyone to pledge generously to accomplish that. So please do so!
contact Tracy Young for any questions/concerns < >


Spiritual Reflection

I read a New Yorker article this week April 14, 2020 that I found very enlightening and very moving and I want to reflect about it a bit.

The Plight of a Hospital Chaplain During the Coronavirus Pandemic
How do you comfort the suffering when you’re not allowed in the room?
By Elizabeth Barber April 14, 2020

For many of us, we are probably feeling stuck at home, much more so than we are used to.
Our background anxiety is probably heightened:

Am I goes to get sick? If I do, what are my chances?
Are my loved ones safe?
Is my income reliable? If so, for how long?
Where can I source a face mask?

Then there are those that work at hospitals. They are legitimately terrified. The likelihood of them getting COVID-19 is extremely high. They are working with highly contagious patients, and very distraught family members, in the midst of a lack of personal protection supplies.

A UU minister colleague, who I know personally, is a hospital chaplain in New York City. She is in a position of some prestige; she is the Director of Spiritual Care at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan; in this role she leads a team of eight chaplains and four residents chaplains. This is an eleven hundred bed hospital; last week it had six hundred COVID-19 patients.

She posted this New Yorker article this week on social media. In the article, the reporter, Elizabeth Barber, shadows one of the staff chaplains at Mount Sinai. I learned from the article that my friend is at home now, self-quarantining, suspected of having COVID-19…and her husband, an Episcopal priest, also a chaplain, has stepped in, in her absence, to serve as Acting Director of Spiritual Care at Mount Sinai hospital.

So the reporter is shadowing a 26 year old Presbyterian women, who expects to be ordained later this year. This chaplain tells the reporter that she views her job as to accompany the patients and their families. Her priority is to listen. Her goal is to help people make meaning of their circumstances.

Now, how can she accomplish this…if she can’t enter the room of the COVID-19 patients?

So, she stands at the patient’s door.
Call a family member on her cell phone, puts the phone on speaker, holds it up so the family member can speak comforting words to the intubated Catholic woman patient who doesn’t speak English. Then the chaplain gives a rosary in a plastic bag to the nurse so she can place it with the patient, at the family’s request.

Next up she speaks on the phone with a Pentecostal Christian patient with COVID-19. She essentially hears his confession, his belief that God is punishing him for his sinful behavior, for which he cannot forgive himself.

Later, a nurse asks her where God is in all of this?

Then, a group of doctors calls her upset; they have a COVID-19 patient who is close to death, but no family members have been located yet. They ask her to go to his door and say a prayer for him.

All this before lunch break on a Friday!

(I am just sharing the encounters she has. The article describes how she navigates each of them).

She is in the thick of it. Life, Death, Sickness, Health, Guilt/Shame, Fear, Heaven/Hell. I have shared before that I did my required chaplaincy in Hawaii; and I really, really was profoundly shaped by that experience.

So reading this article was familiar to me, but never that level of intensity. In my chaplaincy it was well spaced out. What New York has gone through the past month plus is full-on intensity of pandemic contagious sickness and death. Some are predicting our entire health care providers, doctors, nurses, CNAs, respiratory therapists, chaplains, are going to have post traumatic stress disorder. Is that an extreme prediction? I don’t know. I don’t know how long a healthy human can stay with that level of intensity. Especially if one isn’t feeling supported by their administrators and political leaders.

I was quite impressed with the deep spiritual maturity of this young chaplain and how she really did accompany, listen, and help make meaning in each of her encounters with patients, patients families, and hospital staff. All while practicing appropriate physical distancing.

I included a link to the article and I encourage you to read it, to see what it like in a one thousand one hundred bed hospital in Manhattan as we speak. We need to support those who are supporting all of us.

Stay home and Stay safe. May you be blessed.

2) This is the correct mailing address for the pledge form with the correct zip code.

Tracy Young, Treasurer SUUF
10640 E. Valley View Drive
Cornville, AZ 86325

3) A message from SUUF Member Barbara Warren on STAYING CONNECTED and FOSTER WELL-BEING

“Find the extraordinary within the ordinary.” – Dr. Amit Sood, M.D.
(Retired, former chair Mayo Mind Body Institute, Integrative Medicine and Health,
and author of several books on resilience, living deeper with intentionality, happiness, and a peaceful life.)

Rev. Glenn, President Chris and I, Barbara Warren, as well as others, have exchanged ideas for ways to experience well-being and keep us “in touch” virtually with one another during this time. One source of ideas has been the Greater Good Science Center at UC-Berkeley. Another is the work of Dr. Amit Sood of Mayo. Here are some ways to stay upbeat, engaged and connected when we cannot gather to do things face-to-face.
Many love to frequent galleries, museums and libraries in our area or larger metro areas. No longer possible! In place of these opportunities, take some time to notice again and appreciate the works of art, collections, visual items, gardens and landscape or your personal library. Think of your “staycation” as a visit to a favorite place, take a new look and enjoy your environment. Give a quiet “thank you” for the beauty in our near environment that we often simply take for granted.

If you love gardens, outdoor landscapes, the desert starting to bloom and you can safely be outdoors, take it in with new eyes. What is growing and blooming this time of year? Some of our friends and members are avid gardeners and landscapers. Take some photos from your garden/landscape or walks and send to SUUF at Flowers or flowering shrubs from your landscape or walks? Wild desert marigolds, penstemon, globe mallow and some prickly pear starting to bloom? You may have blooms special to you appearing in your gardens, landscape or even indoors. What are you seeing as signs of cheer, celebration, new life? Seeing in new ways opens us to a changed perspective. Include a brief bit of information about your photos. Rev. Glenn will include these with updates or Sunday reflections.

We would love to be able to find or share books and readings at this time but that is more difficult with libraries closed. You can still suggest readings that you have found inspiring or important to your well-being—fun or funny, serious, spiritual, philosophical, great stories and more. Hopefully we can find safe ways to share these with members and friends. Send ideas to

On another note, we know that SUUF members and friends are finding ways to stay connected with and provide help to others when needed. We encourage you to ask for help if needed—we will find ways to provide for one another during these times.

For our community and the well-being of all,
Barbara Warren