October 7, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

October 7, 2020


Well, first let me tell you that sometimes having a name that begins with “A” is not a good thing. I guess ZOOM tends to put people in alphabetic order which means my block, with my name and live picture, was RIGHT NEXT TO THE SPEAKER’S or at the top of the page all day long! Nothing like feeling you are being watched by a hundred pairs of eyes while you sit listening to a presentation. I finally had to shut down my video so I could relax , drink my coffee and concentrate better. Hats off to you teachers and students who have to do this day in and day out.

A nugget from this morning’s final session — Those who study the brain tell us that the brain cannot hold fear and gratitude at the same time. Think about that. Gratitude is a “super power” that can be calming. Gratitude is a tool we can use to learn greater resiliency.







Washington County Interfaith Coalition

Interfaith Prayers for our times

October 6, 2020


Gaelic Christianity

Deep peace of the running wave to you,

Deep peace of the flowing air to you,

Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,

Deep peace of the shining stars to you,

Deep peace of the Son of peace to you.


Ancient Indigenous people (Aztec)

It wounds his heart, It troubles him.

Master, Lord

Ever Present, Ever near

Take it from him: heal the pain of this common man.

May we each feel the flowing air of good health in our bodies, the shining stars of hope in our hearts and the compassion of Your presence in the difficult moments we each face.  Be with us in all of our living we pray.  Amen.

Reverend Valerie Wills, Coordinator

Washington County Interfaith Coalition










What a cutie!












Read: Philippians 4:1-9

2I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.


I have spent the last two days learning about resiliency — having the capacity to make it through difficult, traumatic, painful times. Persons like Brene Brown have made studies of persons who have endured terrible things and been able to find joy and meaningful living once again. Some of the things they found common among such folks are: faith, humor, self-awareness, meaning & purpose, supportive relationships, having a role model, altruism, moral compass, facing fear, optimism, mindfulness, self care & gratitude.

So, today, when I read this passage from Philippians, I see St. Paul giving his own advice about resiliency. How do you keep the faith, persevere amid conflict and difficult times?  In that second paragraph, he advises gratitude — look around and notice what gifts of God around you that lead you to rejoice.  Some days it might be very hard to switch our gears to find blessings, but they ARE there! (Remember, your brain can’t hold fear and gratitude at the same time.)  St. Paul advises us to be honest about our feelings, like worry, and share them with God in prayer. Lay it out and know “that Lord is near.”

Put the two together —- lifting prayers of thanksgiving and entrusting our feelings and needs to God, we can come to know a peace that passes all understanding. No, the problem may not be solved. No, COVID and all its problems did not go away overnight.  Still, leaning into a trust of God with grateful hearts will allow us to have the peace, the resilience to breathe, loosen anxiety’s hold, remember that “this” will NOT last forever and chose hope.

This seems so timely. As we move into the seventh month of COVID with yet no definitive end… as nerves are frazzled and spirits are weary… as we count down to a volatile election, we may questions “how we can ever get through?” Remember, by the grace of God, you  and our church and nation have made it through other difficult times. Remember not to bury or shut down your feelings, but name them and lift them to God in earnest prayer. And, remember to offer thanks to our Lord throughout the day, for small and large blessings. “And the God of peace will be with you.”

Help me see your goodness in my every day. Give me a heart that will rejoice when I do. Loosen my grasp so I can name my fears and feelings and ask you to carry them with me.
Help me to receive the resilience and peace you freely offer, that I might be freed to joyfully live in hope, serving you and my neighbors. Amen


“Peace” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uW6xcmqfiY4

“May the Peace of God”   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQlFHIRFGGU

“Perfect Peace” (Laura Story) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kj8pzDLcc8

“I’m Trading My Sorrows” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KsfwvpcQhY&list=PLgcuqNMw1MEdjvKpt1u7yhchUHWTVdCoA

“Rejoice” (Sinach)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUDORD6GS1M

“Peace in the Storm” (Sinach)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxeYf0w2Xlo