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Mar17TueSocial distancing does not mean that we must live in isolation. March 17, 2020 Captain Laura Van Schaick
- Filed Under:
- Women's Ministries
In a matter of days, COVID-19 has drastically changed the world as we know it. In many parts of our world, social distancing has cancelled all large gatherings and has limited our ability to meet face-to-face, especially for those who are most vulnerable. As more and more people are isolating themselves at home and have stopped going out in public places, we can still encourage one another as we take care of ourselves and look out for our neighbours.
Social distancing does not mean that we must live in isolation.
In light of The Salvation Army International Headquarters' challenge to the world to reimagine Women’s Ministries, this is the perfect time to “think outside the box.” Many are already doing so. Music artist Rend Collective hosted a “Socially Distant Worship Club” on Instagram and Facebook, while bestselling author Brené Brown hosted her own 15-minute church service on Instagram Live.
Many Salvation Army Corps are also taking proactive steps to ensure no one suffers from social disconnection in a time of social distancing. Social media was flooded with live streamed sermons this past Sunday, and many have already announced new initiatives such as online Bible studies and emailed prayer lists. Some have even distributed packages of kids’ activities to Church members’ homes. The Canada & Bermuda Territory has also announced that it will provide an online worship experience, led by territorial leadership, as an additional resource for Salvationists.
As we work together to love our neighbours during these exceptional times, here are a few suggestions that might be helpful:
- Put together telephone teams to check on the elderly or those in your community who live alone or are receptive to getting sick.
- Put together encouragement teams to send a card or text to individuals you are concerned about. Children could participate by creating cards to mail to shut-ins.
- Create small care kits to be taken to people’s homes. These can be small items such as a book or DVD you think they may enjoy, a few sweet treats, or a meal, and can be left on a doorstep if someone is in isolation.
- Organize a prayer walk. Meet in a park, maintain the recommended social distance between individuals, and enjoy some fresh air as you pray for your community.
- Organize an online Bible study or prayer meeting using video-calling. Many free programs, including Apple’s Facetime or Facebook Messenger, allow for multi-user video calling.
- Utilize a web-based ministry resource like the 21 Day Holiness Challenge created for Women’s Ministries by Captain Bhreagh Rowe.
- Invite friends to read a devotional plan with you through YouVersion. Information on how to set this up can be found at https://tinyurl.com/yxy6c3dq for iOS users and https://tinyurl.com/r3mew6m if using their website.
- If you are low-risk and know of an elderly church member or neighbour who may need extra assistance, offer to pick up prescriptions or groceries for them.
- Reinforce the message that you are still available if anyone requires assistance or someone to talk to. If you have a church sign, update it accordingly, or post a notice to your social media site outlining ways folks can access help.*
In a time when we cannot “go to church,” it’s important for us to “be the church.” The church was never intended to refer to a building, after all, and we can give thanks for the many ways we are still able to connect and to lift one another up. May we be encouraged by the words of Hebrews 10:23-25, which challenges us to, “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together (even if it must be online!) as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.” (Italics added.)
COVID-19 cannot kill kindness, nor should it be an excuse to neglect those around us. Rather, may we learn to connect in creative ways and be a good neighbour to those in the Body of Believers who reside in our communities and around the world.
*Please ensure you follow the directives provided by health professionals in your area.
If you are leading a Corps ministry unit, a sample weekly online Corps schedule can be found here, but feel free to create one that works for your community.