The Rev. Thomas Ni and Aaron Scott discuss the affect of COVID-19 in their communities
On March 13, 2020, we invited some friends to talk about how COVID-19 was affecting the communities they minister to. Aaron Scott, Chaplain and Organizer for Chaplains on the Harbor in the Grays Harbor, WA area and the Rev. Dr. Thomas Ni, Associate for Chinese Ministry for The Church of Our Savior in the Los Angeles, CA area provided us with a wealth of information and tips. Listen below.
Now, more than ever, the people in your community need the Church to show up. Many in ministry may be used to gathering in common areas for prayer, meals or conversation. But, do not despair, you have a great opportunity to use the gifts of your parishioners to meet the needs of those in high risk groups. For the people you are connected with already, such as older adults, immigrants or those who experience mental illness, addictions, frequent incarceration or homelessness, here are some tips from our speakers:
- Connect people to local health, psychological and spiritual resources.
- If you have questions about what is advisable in your area, please reach out to your local public health department.
- For feeding and outreach ministries, prepare food and deliver food and goods wearing gloves. You likely want to shift from congregate feeding to to-go service, drive up distribution or delivery.
- Mobilize parishioners with different language skills to help people who don’t know English gain access to services and understand their rights as employees or tenants, among other legalities.
- If activities have been suspended at your local church, figure out ways to continue them via social media, email or phone. This is especially important for those with limited social connections. You may even be able to visit through a door or window, on the phone or simply by sending cards and letters.
- When speaking with parishioners, collect contact information for their relatives and people in their support system. You may be asked to help them with spiritual care support.