Love in the face of COVID-19 (**important info about Well gatherings**)

by susan on March 13, 2020

Friends & fellow Wellians, when I pondered our wilderness theme for Lent this year, I had no idea how fitting it would be. Many of us have faced & have chosen to enter all types of “wildernesses”, but as far as I know, none of us have walked through a pandemic (I’ve read that the 1918 flu was the last truly global pandemic).

So, we are facing a very real & very unfamiliar kind of wilderness. We are in unchartered territory. There is no map. 

Yet, we do know something important. We know social distancing gives us the best chance to “flatten the curve” and buy time & space for medical facilities to treat the number of patients expected to need their care. We know this will slow the spread of this highly contagious virus, and reduce the risk of our most vulnerable neighbors being impacted by it. We know this will decrease the number of deaths related to COVID-19.

In other words, we know that one very real & practical way we can love our neighbors is to keep our physical distance from them for now.

This is hard to accept, especially for faith communities like ours who teach & practice proximity, particularly in times of anxiety & suffering. Yet, what I’ve been realizing over the past few days is that just because something is hard & counter-intuitive doesn’t mean it isn’t the best way we can practice the life-giving, love-centered way of Jesus together. In fact, it just might be the wisest, most compassionate path.

After consulting our vision team & relying most on the expertise of those with medical backgrounds, we will not host any group gatherings in public/shared spaces for now. We simply cannot encourage people to gather in large groups or in close proximity to one another, nor can we encourage gathering in places where we cannot predict or control the environment. This is one way we can do our part to slow the spread of this virus.

Instead of gathering in person, we will host a weekly online gathering on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. via GoToMeeting. It will be interactive and feel as “well-ish” as possible. As soon as the link is available for this Sunday’s gathering, I will share it on our website and via Facebook (some of you who have been begging for this option for a while now are jumping for joy – sorry it took a pandemic). This Sunday, expect space for us to share our concerns & anxieties, as well as space for us to conspire together about other ways we can be love & light with those who need it most as we walk this wilderness together.

This is also an opportunity for us to be intentional & creative in a couple of other ways, too. It is an opportunity to be intentional about reaching out to those in & around our community who are the most socially isolated & the most vulnerable & susceptible to getting sick. It is an opportunity to be creative in initiating alternative ways to gather (outdoor walks, bring-a-chair porch meetups & community clean-ups seem safe & timely!). If you want to host or plan any of these kinds of alternative gatherings, get the ball rolling via our Facebook page or private Facebook group.

I know that’s a lot. If it seems like we are being overly cautious, well yeah. That’s the idea. We are taking this seriously & taking extreme measures to love our neighbor as ourselves & that’s really the main thing, isn’t it?

Know you are loved, this is temporary & you are not alone. Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns.

Peace, love & prayer,

Susan

 

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