Churches and the Vulnerable in the Time of COVID-19

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Churches may be re-opening for some, but they remain inaccessible to our most at-risk.

When COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic in the U.S., many cities and states declared emergency stay-at-home orders. Toilet paper because a scarce commodity, masks became common place, schools switched to e-learning, all but the most essential businesses went remote, and churches closed their doors, making a fast pivot to online. It seemed as if one week everything was normal and the next pastoral teams were scrambling to make church virtual. It was heroic how churches big and small made the transition and shifted to new ways to keep communities together. Pastoral teams, you did a seriously good job!

Like so many, we hunkered down in our house, gathering around a computer each Sunday morning, grateful for the connection that the streamed worship service gave us. We logged into Zoom each week for Bible study and had more regular contact through Facebook messenger groups with people in the church, sharing requests and offering encouragement. In those early weeks, this online presence was a spiritual lifeline that kept us centered and moving forward.

As time wore on, Zoom fatigue set in and the daily messenger chats waned. We were left with just online church and like so many, it wasn’t enough. Online church got us through the early stay-at-home orders, but it didn’t erase our need for in-person community. We have longed for the day when things would “return to normal” so we could be with our church family again.

But as churches open, I am beginning to wonder if we have a place anymore in the church. You see, my son was born with Down syndrome. Over the course of his short two year life, we’ve become regulars with the audiologist, ENT, ophthalmologist, neurologist, neurosurgeon, endocrinologist, …

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