Summertime Covid Blues?

Summertime Covid Blues?

FAV Fans,

The virus has returned with a vengeance after most states relaxed restrictions, causing the case numbers and death toll to spike. We will get through this. It reminds me of dark times amidst sectarian violence in Baghdad. The hits kept coming, for servicemembers and the Iraqi people. It seemed like a never-ending spiral of death and violence. In times like this I found that the human spirit needs hope, something to cling to. We need to actively look for the silver lining. Emotionally, the bad experiences seem to weigh on us more than the positive ones boost us. Hope requires a level of activeness, many times achieved through gratitude. Expressing gratitude each day for the blessings we enjoy can lead us back to hope. For many, the losses have been shocking. Reach out to those in grief and help buoy them. Acts of gratitude and empathy will lift your own spirit in the process. Your family and colleagues will appreciate that you did too.

With gratitude,

Steve

April 2020 Newsletter: Virtual Symposium Announced!

April 2020 Newsletter: Virtual Symposium Announced!

Dear FAV members & supporters,

Covid-19 has stressed the country and continues to expose divisions within our society, where even public health issues become politicized. Elected officials should attempt to balance civic liberties while ensuring the public good with healthy practices. While health considerations should always be a top priority, the costs of an economic recession should be weighed against the future possible health consequences of over 20 million people out of work. Those consequences range from potential homelessness, depression and suicide, with the possibility of further stressing our health care system. Military strategists refer to these types of challenges as wicked problems, where there are no good options. Policymakers search for the least bad alternative. Let’s pray that our elected officials, first responders, healthcare workers, and everyone impacted by the current challenge can maintain the emotional stamina to do what it takes to beat the virus.

As a result of current virus restrictions, FAV has moved all programming to the virtual domain. This includes our National Symposium in September. We have rescheduled the National Constitution Center for the next in-person Symposium in 2021 in Philadelphia. We hosted a virtual Town Hall event last month for faith leaders to share best practices given current restrictions. We plan to continue virtual programming for coffee talks and difficult conversations workshops, hosting one for the Pacific Council on International Policy next month and another for Vale United Methodist Church. If your organization would like to explore sponsoring a program, please reach out to info@firstamendmentvoice.org and we will set you up.

Lastly, FAV earned the Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar last month. We are on our way to Gold soon, continuing our prioritization to be outstanding stewards of sponsor and donor contributions. Thank you for all of your support. Please stay safe and healthy! Feel free to reach out any time.

Steve & the FAV Team

Looking for a Silver Lining of Coronavirus

All,

We realize that our link from Saturday’s email needed fixing. Here it is if you didn’t get to read the rest of our update on postponing programing from FAV thru May 1. We the people, are in some uncharted waters with respect to public health. As a result of many people being home and more engaged, I wanted to send some inspiration from California. Here are some things you can do to “hug” your family and neighbors in far off, or maybe quarantined, locations.

Give a telephonic hug – check in on your family and elderly neighbors in particular. Think about those most susceptible to the virus, over 65, and reach out. That said, resist the urge to physically go visit them. You don’t want to accidentally transmit the virus to someone in a high risk category. For more on this, watch Max Brooks and Mel Brooks do a funny public awareness video to educate both young and old. #DontBeASpreader https://twitter.com/i/events/1239636314007293952

Practice Digital Detox with your loved ones – as part of a new coffee talk program we will release this year, we will emphasize the neurological benefits of exercising deep thinking and reflective parts of the brain. So…. while you are quarantined in your home with family, play a board game, read a real book, or do a puzzle together. Your mind will be exercised in different ways than when you have a cell phone, iPad or computer in your hands. Turn off the bells and whistles and go analog for a while each day. Exercise helps to. Leave the iPhone at home on your run or bike ride. Take a walk with your spouse and hold his or her hand. Practice gratitude by writing a thank you note or letter to someone you have been meaning to connect with.

Seek multiple sources of news – are you one of the millions of Americans who question whether you can believe what you hear in the news. A tried and true method to help dispel the fog is to vary your media sources. You will get more ideas and information. If worried about COVID-19, tune in to the CDC (@CDCgov) to get updates from the federal level, but don’t ignore local sources like your congressional office, city council or chamber of Congress. Local radio, television and print media can also be important information to tap into while determining changes to local health conditions.

At the end of the day, the crisis is going to get worse over the next couple of months. The silver lining springs from people reaching out to each other, via phone or video, to maintain connections and bases of support. The economic and emotional toll will play out. Let’s think beyond ourselves to our neighbors and extended families to bring us closer together in time of crisis.

Thank you for your compassion and leadership,

Steve

Upcoming Events

We are working on virtual programming and will put out a notice as we get events scheduled.

Social Distancing- FAV Through May 1st

Dear FAV Advocates,

In the spirit of supporting public health policy to slow the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), FAV will not host public gatherings until May 1st of this year. Prior to that date, we will reassess to determine if further cancellations are required. We have exciting programming planned for the month of May, however we will prioritize your health and support societal efforts to control the transmission of the virus and not overwhelm our healthcare system.

In the meantime, FAV will leverage our virtual capabilities for Coffee Talk programming and Delegate VTCs. Please see the schedule below and consider joining us for a virtual coffee talk on how faith communities are responding to the Coronavirus. Now is a time to reassure each other and look out for our neighbors. 

Yours in service,

Steve & The FAV Team

In the News

‘American Dirt’: Kicking up dust in the book industry. This expose explores thought policing going on in the book industry. (Christian Science Monitor)

read more

The Amish use tech differently than you think. Maybe we should emulate them. (An op-ed from the Washington Post)

read more

Upcoming Events

TBD March – Virtual Coffee Talk, “Coronavirus & Faith Communities,” Free to all members

16 April – Delegate Videoconference, Coffee Talks & Difficult Conversations

30 April – Virtual Coffee Talk, “FAV Programming Update,” Free to all members

7/8 May – coffee talks “Media Bias” in North Carolina w/ PEN America (Tentative)

11 May – coffee talk “Digital Detox” at Value UMC, Oakton, VA

12 May – Coffee Talk “Media Bias”, Freedom Museum, Manassas, VA

12 May – Dr. Cornell West at Museum of the Bible, DC

30 July – Delegate Videoconference, Symposium 2020

24 September – coffee talk “Media Bias” in Newtown, PA

25-26 September – National Symposium “First Amendment & Civic Engagement”, National Constitution Center, Philadelphia

Partner Spotlight

Apply for the 2020 Sacred Sector Fellowship! Deadline to apply: March 15th

Seminarians are increasingly entering into faith-based nonprofit leadership roles, but often need a better understanding of how public policy and cultural trends affect the faith-based sector. The Sacred Sector Fellowship offered in Summer 2020 by the Center for Public Justice is a unique learning cohort that helps you discern your vocational calling and equips you for service within the sacred sector.

As as a Sacred Sector Fellow you will:

  • Receive a $,5000 stipend
  • Experience a 1-week educational intensive with Sacred Sector staff
  • Experience 9 weeks of field experience at a faith-based organization

APPLY HERE