By The Corinthian Plan team: Ingrid Friesen Moser, Joe Christophel, James Miller, Teresa Pickens and Duncan Smith
COVID-19 has rapidly changed many things in our families, churches and communities. Here are some ways The Corinthian Plan staff are responding to and noticing people coming together to get through this difficult time.
We invite you to add your ideas and experiences in the comment section below.
Ideas for some structure to your (quarantined) days:
- Ensure each family member has a designated workspace for work or school.
- Begin your day with exercise, even if it is just 5 to 15 minutes. Doing it first thing usually means you are more likely to get it done, and it can set a positive tone for your whole day.
- Set aside a few minutes each day to release things you no longer need. One way you might do this is by going about cleaning and sorting the drawers, closets and cupboards in your house.
- Make space for personal/family devotional time in the morning and evening. It can be reassuring to begin and end the day with a different perspective than the news brings.
- Do regular check-in calls, texts and/or video calls with parents, grandparents, elderly and immune-compromised friends who are isolated at home.
- Keep a pandemic journal, and especially encourage young people to document these days as a piece of history in the making. A youth might even write a letter their future family telling them what it was like to live through the 2020 pandemic.
- Take time for daily gratitude. As a part of this, you may choose to write notes to the people working to keep your community going: postal workers, grocery store employees, car mechanics, teachers, and medical staff – nurses, doctors, therapists, chaplains – just to name a few.
- Consult with two or three reputable news sources to stay informed. However, set healthy boundaries as to how much news you take in.
- Establish healthy protocols for everyone in your household with cleaning, sanitation, and hand washing. Follow all CDC guidelines.
- Shop for enough food and supplies to last one to two weeks without giving into the fear that leads to overstocking and creates shortages for others in need.
Share positive stories you hear coming out of this time. The future we are facing is uncertain and will likely get worse before it gets better. We need stories of hope to keep us going.
Keep doing positive activities, as you’re able:
- “Host” a family and/or friends popcorn night over Zoom.
- Download and play virtual versions of traditional board games or try playing an easily adaptable and universally owned game like Uno with friends over Zoom.
- Consider using Zoom to schedule a gathering of friends spread far and wide, like old college friends you rarely see. Or gather a group virtually that usually meets locally but can’t in this time, like a book club.
- Organize a neighborhood “Bear Hunt” using social media to get the word out. The Bear Hunt takes place by neighbors placing a teddy bear in a window of their house for people to spy when they are out walking. Children especially take delight in this.
- Take advantage of the many ways music is being creatively made and shared over social media, and possibly even out in public spaces (six feet apart) in your town or neighborhood.
- Get out in nature. The coming of new life in the form of spring can’t be stopped. Nature still calls and soothes. Just be sure to keep safe distance from others.
- Feed the birds and other backyard animals. Paying attention to the wildlife going about their day without a thought to the virus or quarantine can create a sense of connection and entertain.
- Don’t feel like you have to do all of the activities that you can. Let yourself take breaks and rest when you feel overwhelmed.
Do something helpful, as you’re able:
- Sew masks and gowns for medical workers in your community that may be needed in the event of shortages.
- Consider ways your family or congregation might donate food/household supplies to those in your community hit hard financially.
- When possible, buy what you can at places that support local businesses.
- If young and healthy, remember to check in with older neighbors, friends and family. Offer to help with grocery shopping or pharmacy needs, as able.
- Teenagers with more time and energy on their hands may find it rewarding to help neighbors with spring yard work.
- Make a special point of reaching out to young people for whom the loss of social gatherings, sports and musical activities — especially those in their senior year of high school or college — means a significant change to the milestones and memories they would otherwise be making.
Opportunities for churches:
- There are a variety of ways virtual church is being invented and shared from Facebook Live, radio/TV and Zoom. These virtual services actually create an easy way to be a “visitor” in a congregation you know and love, but physical distance keeps you from attending. Perhaps some of these creative worship experiences will continue long after the virus is contained.
- Congregations are finding ways for children and teens to connect virtually as well. For example, you could host a “Kids Connect” time over Zoom with music, storytelling, and sharing. Mentor-Mentee gatherings can also find their way to the virtual world.
- We’ve heard from one congregation trying a virtual game night. Some games, including table games, can be found online.
- Virtual small group gatherings are happening over Zoom.
- Churches are inventing new ways to have meetings in the virtual world that may change how the work of church is carried out in the future.
- Pastoral care is still happening, with attention to safety using WhatsApp, FaceTime, and Zoom.
- The daily practice of spiritual disciplines, such as evening prayers, is being re-examined, and this may take on new significance in this time of heightened stress and anxiety.
- Despite the financial hard times people are still giving financially to their congregations, and — in some cases — giving more, so church budgets may still be met.
- The variety of online giving options that are now widely available are being explored by congregations not yet familiar with these ways of doing offering.