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“I am so Lonely!”

“I am so Lonely!”

by The Reverend Dr. Roman D. Roldan on September 02, 2022

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TLDR: “You can lead a horse to the water, but…” Some of us feel lonely, but we fail to see that we are contributing to our loneliness. Join us for one of our fellowship opportunities. We are better together!

There are times when fellowship is a natural activity that occurs without planning and forethought. You bump into a friend and a brief conversation develops into dinner and drinks. You drive your kid to a birthday party and the adults invite you to stay, which results in a lovely conversation, laughter, and a great cup of tea or coffee. You go for a run at the park and find yourself engaged in deep conversation with a fellow park visitor, etc.  These are all wonderful moments that can bring light to an otherwise lonesome days. In order to capitalize on these moments, however, one must be open to the gift of the present, and be willing to take risks. In other words, we need to show up fully in every place and be open to the opportunities that every moment brings. I see some of you chatting for a few moments at the back of the church after services, and I always wish one of you would take the initiative to say, “Hey, do you want to join me for lunch at Victor’s?” The simple truth of good mental health is that life is always better when it is lived in community. We are responsible for the creation of opportunities for fellowship, and it is our willingness to accept “life in the moment” that builds communities. After saying “No” long enough, people will stop asking you. Sadly, I have met several “Always say NO” people who feel lonely and who accuse others of not including them, or not liking them. “I am not part of the in-crowd” they say, and I always want to say, “And what have you done to invite others out?” Or “When was the last time you accepted someone’s invitation to coffee?”

There is a farming saying in Colombia which loosely translated means, “You can lead your horse to the water, but you can’t make him drink.” Please know that I am not comparing us to horses, what I am trying to say is that many of our fellowship opportunities are under-represented by the folks who in my mind need the fellowship the most. My staff goes a long way to advertise all these offerings via Bits and Bytes, website, Sunday announcements, Constant Contact emails, and letters. Yet, sometimes I hear, “If I would have known about that!” Or “Do you mean to tell me that we have a support group for mothers of preschoolers? This is the first time I hear about this!” If this has ever happened to you, I highly encourage you to review our internet home page at least once a week, to join our families Facebook page if you have a little one at home, to put your name down on Foyers schedules, to call the office, and to read our frequent emails and newsletters. As a church, we are delighted to create opportunities for fellowship, and I invite you to take advantage of those opportunities and to help us create even more exciting offerings.

My wife and I just finished our first cycle of “Foyers” and we had a marvelous time. Four couples or single people host dinner for the other parties in the group at least once during the year, after which the festivities switch to another group member’s home, then another, until all four couples or people have had a chance to host their new friends. We in fact had so much fun with our new friends that the group of 8 have decided to continue the meal rotation on our own. Additionally, my wife and I just signed on for a second round of dinners and we can’t wait to see with whom we are paired. It is amazing to see how deeply we got to know each other over the space of four delicious meals. We slowly moved from Church acquaintances to friends, and I can safely say that my wife and I now have a community we can call on when life gets tough, as it is bound to happen eventually. They likewise, can look to me as much more than their priest. I am now their friend, prayer partner, advocate, and fellow foodie. If you would like to join the “Foyers” please call Elsie Deming or Marilynn Patterson soon. It is not too late to sign up, but once the groups are developed, it may be hard to find you a group to join. Please call them today.

In addition to foyers, we have a version of the famous “people who lunch” program called “Social Butterflies.” This group goes out to lunch regularly throughout the year, and all you have to do is to show up at the restaurant. If you are interesting in knowing when the next lunch will be, please contact the convener, Elsie Deming.  We have four other ministries that combine fellowship with support. One is the “Dad’s First Fridays.” This group meets at the home of members of the group on the first Friday of the Month for fellowship and support. Then, once a year, this group attends a Friday-Sunday father (grandfather, uncle) and child retreat at Camp Allen. If you are a dad, grandfather, or uncle raising kids, please contact members John Foudy, David Cooper, or Arden Renze for more information on the First Friday meetings or the parent-child retreat. The second group is MAC (Mothers of Adult Children.) This group meets twice a month on Thursday evenings for fellowship and fun. If you are an empty nester, have grown children dealing with various issues, or find yourself a bit isolated since the kids left the home, call Tracy Santoro or Chris Roldan and they will connect you. The Third Group is MOPs (Mothers of Preschool Children) which meets regularly throughout the month. A full calendar of meeting places and times can be found on our website. For more questions, please contact Mother Beth Anne Nelson. Finally, we have the “Second Time Around” group, which will start on the Third Sunday of the Month (September 18) in The Retreat at the BEC at 5:00 pm. This group consists of grandparents, grand uncles or aunts, or any adult who is raising a second generation child. If have any questions about this group, please contact Mother Beth Anne Nelson. If you would like to volunteer to help coordinate any of these ministries, to cook a meal, or to donate, please let the coordinator know.

If there are things that interest you, and you want to bring us along on your adventures, please call the office and create your own fellowship event. I would love to create various clubs at Saint Dunstan’s:  travelers, an investing club, moviegoers, runners, yoga, painting, hiking, great conversations group (folks who gather to discuss a weighty philosophical, ethical, or socially significant topic), etc. I participated in a penny-poker club for 11 years and this was one of the highlights of my time at my former parish. I have a friend who has attended an “Art and Merlot” club at a community center in Louisiana for the last 10 years and he absolutely loves it. The opportunities are endless. How about a “Saint D’s Bowling League?” I can go on forever.

We, the church folks who work at the office, can only do so much to create opportunities, the rest is up to you. Our goal is to create events that reduce isolation, build relationships, and allow us to have some fun in community. Please email me directly and give me some of your ideas,

May our Lord continue to bless you,

Fr. Roman+

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