From our President: You are not alone

May 06, 2020

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are …

— Hebrews 4:15



Isolated. Anxious. Depressed. We’re using these words a lot lately, talking about how we feel. I’m working from home, and most of you probably are too. Sometimes, it’s all too much.

Juggling household demands with the priorities of work can seem overwhelming. School-age children are at loose ends, so we’re balancing their needs and our responsibilities. We’re making sure they’re attending online classes. Getting their homework done.

Adult children have returned home, and not just college students. My daughter and her family are living with us during the COVID-19 crisis. The extra laundry alone has been an adjustment.

And we’re worried about the older adults in our lives. Many of them are living in isolation. They’re at risk, and we want to help them. They need our care, but right now, talking to them on the phone may be the most we have to offer.

All of us are looking to stay safe. At the same time, we’re worried. About food supplies. About finances. About our work responsibilities. About the future. And we don’t know when or if normal will ever resume. This is a recipe for depression and anxiety.

The Board wants you to know: You are not alone, and there are resources to help support you. It’s really easy to access them. Visit our resources page on Maybe, you would like someone to talk to. Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is there for every one of us.

That includes those of you who dedicate your lives and yourselves to caring for others. Sometimes, you forget that you need care too.

Ministers who are serving as telephone lifelines to older seniors stuck at home and alone.

Working parents who are shepherding small children while meeting employer expectations.

Caregivers need support too.

The EAP gives you the opportunity to talk, free of charge, to a licensed clinician who can help. 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Medical Plan members and anyone in their household can use the EAP. An adult child, your father-in-law, a live-in caregiver. ANYONE!

You also have access to 10 sessions with a licensed counselor to help with coronavirus stress and anxiety. That is 10 free sessions EACH, for the member and ANYONE in the member’s household.

And it is completely confidential.

You can get help with stress — and with financial worries, mental health concerns, substance abuse, even legal issues — any curveballs life is throwing your way right now.

Cigna Behavioral Health administers our EAP. Call 866-640-2772 any day of the week, any time of day, and a Cigna advocate will be there to guide you. Or log into Cigna’s website. (If this is your first time logging in, you’ll need to register; use pcusa for the Employee’s Employer ID.)

The EAP also provides church and affiliated employers with management consultations, free of charge. This benefit could prove especially valuable now, with the work world turned upside down. Employers call 866-640-2772 and press 1 to connect with a consultant.

The EAP is here for you. Please use it, and encourage others in your household to use it also, if they need it.

Meanwhile, give yourself a little grace. Do your best. Be kind to yourself — and all those other folks under your roof.

Grace and peace,

The Reverend Frank Clark Spencer