If you decided to join the fast from plastic this Lenten season, how is your journey going? You may be interested in this New York Times article:
Sue Koeppen also has a National Geographic special issue on the impact plastic is having on our environment ask her for a peek if you want some motivation! My own less plastic journey has made me more aware of how much plastic is integrated into everything we do. Here at Zion, we have made some strides – using cane sugar, paper or china bowls at our soup suppers and getting the old china coffee cups back in a cupboard where they are an easy alternative to the Styrofoam coffee cups at coffee hours. And Burt Horner is reminding us all to use our recycling cans more thoughtfully putting in those items that can and should be recycled, and taking care to leave out the items that our recycler will not accept. But even when trying to avoid plastic, up it pops! I wanted to serve bagels and cream cheese at the council retreat. The bagels came in a paper sack, but the tubs of cream cheese were plastic, of course. I am trying to remember the canvas bags (which I have in my car) for the groceries – sometimes I do and sometimes at check out I realize they are still in the back of the car! I have been asking for refills in my own travel mug instead of getting a disposable cup for a beverage when I am out and about (I only had one venue say they could not refill my cup – everyone else has been happy to do so). But however imperfect the attempt, trying to avoid some of the plastic we use each day does have an impact. Keep up your fast and let me know what challenges you have overcome.
When Tim and I left our home in Riverton, NJ and moved into the parsonage, we had imagined returning to Riverton regularly and eventually retiring to that house. However, this congregation has been so welcoming and the parsonage renewal committee did such a fantastic job that we immediately felt very at-home here! Returning to Riverton became a burden, especially for Tim, whose library is located there because it cannot fit into the parsonage. He needs access to his large English, Latin, & German library for current & future writing and editing projects. Even though Tim was going back to Riverton more often than I, for me, getting to know a congregation keeps a new pastor busy, so I did not return until February. In addition, we learned from our CPA that the tax-advantage we thought we had in connection with the house actually no longer exists. After much reflection, we decided to put the Riverton house up for sale and did so on March 27. In addition, we plan long term to purchase a home in Long Valley when we find the right one. I have communicated this to Council at several meetings while the decision process was unfolding in order to be very transparent. One decision that Council made was to put the parsonage powder room project on permanent hold, since the driving force for it was our desire for another bathroom. I also assured Council that Tim and I would never wish to become a financial burden to the congregation. When I accepted Zion‘s call, we fully expected to live in the parsonage and not to receive a housing allowance. You should know that a housing allowance is not a legal requirement, but a recommended guideline for congregations, and it is necessary for most clergy to be able to afford a house and build equity for retirement. Tim and I are in a unique position, as his church pension may continue to function as a housing allowance for our primary residence. We have no doubt, therefore, that we will find a way to accommodate all of these concerns and do what we most desire: put down roots in this community for the foreseeable future.
Pastor Ingrid Wengert
Please join us for Easter Breakfast between church services. Breakfast will begin at 9:00 am. Breakfast will feature pancakes, eggs, ham and potatoes and more! Free will donation to benefit the 2021 Youth gathering. Bring your friends and family!