The View from Here

Louise Halsey 
Congregational Care Program Manager 

I’m excited to share with you a change in my role here at First Church. As part of a number of strategic staff restructuring shifts we’ve made in 2019, I’m letting go of some administrative duties and shifting into the role of Congregational Care Program Manager (CCPM). What does this mean exactly? Congregational Care is all about providing support for each other as we go through life’s inevitable ups and downs. First Church has a variety of ministries in place to provide support— someone to listen, be present, and accompany you through crisis or transition. Please contact me if you are in need of care, want to help in providing support, or for questions or more information. In addition, as CCPM, I’ll be helping us live more fully into the beautiful values expressed in our Vision Statement (—more specifically “to grow in intimacy as the weird and wonderful body of Christ.” This value meets my longing to do more face to face, people-focused work in our beloved community as we “grow in love for one another.” 

I’ll continue to support existing programs and groups like the Pastoral Care and Visitation teams, First Friends, our dedicated Sunday Ushers, and Summer Small Groups. And I’ll have more time to focus on expanding opportunities for us to connect more deeply with one another through more small groups offerings and more intentional volunteer engagement. My hope is that with your involvement and input (look for an invitation to participate in an online survey about small groups coming soon) we can co-create some of these opportunities together. 

I’ve also just wrapped up another 8-month training program in nonviolent communication (NVC) (my second round), and I look forward to sharing more about this experience in an upcoming Learning Hour (along with my husband Jim Coates) on Sun. Dec. 8. Please join us. The concept of empathy, which literally means “feeling with” or “feeling into,” is one of the focal points of NVC, and a practice I’ve found deepens connections with oneself and others. I’m imagining ways we as a faith community could engage in this practice, and Jim and I will be offering Empathy Training Sessions for those who want to learn and practice two Tuesday evenings a month beginning December and running through March. Our December gatherings will take place on Dec. 10, 6:30–8:30 pm in Durant Room and Dec. 17, 6:30 to 8:30 pm in Loper Chapel (please check our community calendar for 2020 dates: https:// These will be concentrated trainings to develop empathy skills, and we’d like folks to attend at least three of the eight sessions. For more information and to sign up, email me at [email protected]

I look forward to deepening my connection with you in this new role and welcome your support. Thanks be to God.