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Pastor Gen - Thoughts from a Sabbatical #12


Dear Veradale Friends,

It has been another meaningful week of sabbatical. I have been able to virtually attend two very full days of the once a year conference of Adobe Max. Adobe is the company that makes PhotoShop, Lightroom, and so much more. Because of the gift of this sabbatical, I learned that they are offering a program to non-profits for free that will help us create more engaging social media announcements, posters, and advertisements. I attended two of the presentations on how to use this resource and am still learning how we might use it to better reach out beyond our doors.

I finished another article for The Fig Tree this week from my time at the World Council of Churches. The column developed out of an interview with the Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson, our Associate General Minister and Vice-President for Wider Church Ministries and Co-Executive for Global ministries of our United Church of Christ. Our national staff are exceptionally talented people and you will get to know more about the Rev. Dr. Thompson in the next Fig Tree News.

Reflections and Thoughts

Early in the week, I received and email saying that it was from a UCC pastor I know. They needed “a favor.” They needed money and gift cards for a noble cause. I knew my colleague would never write such a letter and quickly got a note from the real pastor saying that indeed it was not from them.

About three days later, I got the text from Wayne that someone was impersonating me in an email. Scotty also wrote me and forwarded the email. I then wrote to you all with words of caution.

Maybe you remember the first time this happened to us. It was during the deep times of the Covid shut down. The person had even taken images from our church website to make it look like it was from me. At the time, I was so shocked that I reported the emails and activity to the identity theft agency.

What I learned was that people can make email addresses with any name, after all, there could be other people with the same name. It crosses the line when someone pretends to be you, however, there is little that can be done to find them.

The one thing that can be done, when it is a gmail address they are using, is to report it to Google which may freeze that imposters use of the email address. If it happens to you go to https://support.google.com/mail/contact/abuse?hl=en

Sadly, the actions of thieves, even those who email us, cause us to loose trust. Sometimes we loose trust in ourselves to recognize when it is a thief (they are clever). We then withdraw, get discouraged, and feel defeated.

Sometimes the experience causes us to loose trust in others, seeing everyone as a person who might be out to do us harm. This also makes us withdraw, feel anxious, and on guard.

I think about when Jesus sent his disciples out into the world In the Gospel of Matthew 10:16. He instructed them saying, “I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

Be wise as serpents — be alert and aware. We each have strength while also being innocent as doves -- keeping our connection with one another. We are stronger in our flock.

Let us be alert and aware and find ways to build a community where we can connect and grow. We may sometimes feel like sheep among wolves but these Veradale sheep are as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves!

With blessings,

Pastor Gen

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