March 16th, 2021
PART I - CHOOSING TO HELP OTHERS
I hope many of you are aware of a group of women in Bryn Athyn who, on their own, recognized that they could be a huge help to many people. The task of signing up for COVID vaccinations has largely taken place by computer. There have been relatively short windows in which a limited number of appointments have been available on a first-come, first-serve basis. This group of women realized that they could help with this problem. Those involved are Ingrid Herder, Rachel (Keith) Layden, Holly Adams, Gretchen Keith, Catie Jungé and Lianne (Adams) Reese.
Gaining familiarity with the appointment process, the various vaccination sources and being willing to log in when new appointments get released (at a time many of us would have been asleep for a while), these women were able to get appointments for a substantial number of us over age 65 or with pre-existing conditions. The peace of mind gained by these vaccinations can be significant. I’m so grateful for all the people this group of volunteers have served. We will never know whose life might have been compromised or even ended by a COVID infection that now has been prevented.
I see the work of this group of women and volunteer drivers helping as magnificent acts of generosity. The insight that they could help and the hours they have put into this effort is a gift to us all.
PART II - SCHOOL LEADERSHIP IN COVID TIMES
I have now been involved in leadership in New Church schools for 42 years. I’ve made decisions in tough situations that have generated phone calls or letters expressing disagreement, even anger. The world of school leadership has gotten more daunting in the years since social media has become a common means of communication. A person in an irritated state of mind can fire off a harsh email, perhaps with little recognition of the human being who is the focus of the complaint and then it can happen that others, sometimes dozens pile on either agreeing or adding their negative thoughts and feelings about related issues. A school administrator, who is trying to juggle conflicting sets of uses and make decisions as best as possible to serve the school community of students, parents and faculty can feel seriously beaten up and it doesn’t always work well to defend one’s self in social media.
I could not be more grateful for the patient, strong and wise leadership that I’ve seen Greg Henderson display over the last year. One observer who has known Bryn Athyn Church School leadership for more than 30 years is confident than none of the past leadership could have handled the challenge of COVID-era decisions as well as Greg and his team has. I am hugely grateful for how this team has served the school.