Impact of COVID-19 and vaccinations on Communities of Faith
Marijke Fakasiieiki, The Fig Tree's development director, surveyed rural congregations in the region and gathered stories for this summer issue on the impact of COVID and vaccinations on their ministries.
Northwood Presbyterian Church gradually returning to in-person
COVID limited what members of Northwood Presbyterian in Spokane could do together, but the pastor Sue Keim notices that now they are slowly opening everything up more feel they can hug each other again.
"That's good and okay for vaccinated people," she said.
The congregation had to do studies and small groups online, and mailed or emailed announcements and newsletters instead of being together.
Attendance is down, but worship meetings resumed in person started Father's Day in 2020.
They added more of a Facebook and video presence, which they had previously been meaning to do anyway, Sue said.
With a message and music every Sunday, choir on Facebook, worship music and other elements of the service have been emailed to everyone.
Many members are older so they still stay home, but are slowly returning.
They had small groups gather to work in the missions arena, such as with the food bank and continuing to do Meals on Wheels for seniors.
Sue said most people have been immunized, except children and teens.
"If we have to stay masked, we have to stay masked," she said of protecting people.
Because their members are mostly over 60 years old, they haven't sent volunteers to the food bank, which has had an age limit of volunteers being under 60.
Early on and again recently, Northwood, which supports Westminster Presbyterian's food bank in West Central, received a lot of food for its folks and neighbors. Members were dropping off food once a week for those who needed milk, staples and canned food, she said.
"With our popular grief classes this spring, people are finding more relief and spiritual help from things like depression. This past year, we lost some pillars in our church. They died in the past year, but not of COVID. That has been hard, because we couldn't do memorials," said Sue, noting that they recently did one once again following the limits that have been set.
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Copyright@ The Fig Tree, June, 2021