In this season of Passover/Ramadan/Easter, people of faith are stretched and challenged by the COVID 19 pandemic and this extended period of physical distancing.
Local faith leaders and congregations have had to learn new skills and new ways to connect with each other, whether it is Beth Am Synagogue’s online Shabbat services from their newly renovated sanctuary in Reservoir Hill, or Trinity Baptist’s online Bible studies with Pastor William Calhoun, or Memorial Episcopal’s ‘ZOOM Church’ which takes place in everyone’s living room, they are stretching ocreatively, practically and spiritually.
At Corpus Christi Catholic Church, in-person masses and services have given way to online programs coordinated by the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Brown Presbyterian and Memorial Episcopal are collaborating on joint “online” youth group programs, and Bolton Hill congregations have stepped up support to Samaritan Community in this time of increased need and financial stress in our community.
In order to keep Samaritan running they have had to totally invert the model of serving the community, recruiting a new pool of volunteers that can deliver food directly to clients. They’ve had to develop new protocols to ensure safe contactless delivery of both donations and drop-offs for those in need. We have had to train volunteers on how to help people apply for unemployment and set up new phone communication protocols to make it happen. And of course, there is the need to raise new funds in a time of serious economic stress to provide for critical needs for housing and medicine.
It has been incredibly challenging. The Christian tradition (like the Islamic and Jewish traditions) are hands on, tactile expressions of humankind’s relationship to the divine. They are embodied faiths and to suddenly lose that human connection is not a small thing, particularly at our respective holiest times of the year!
But I have been heartened by the incredible spirit in this neighborhood, from the neighborhood COVID support to the weekly sing-along to my neighbors who have a regular balcony dance party. You all are expressions of a God’s never-failing love for us and it is inspiring to me and I am sure to others.
While we certainly grieve not being together, we know this won’t last forever and can’t wait to celebrate with everyone when this period of quarantine ends.
– Rev. Grey Maggiano, Memorial Episcopal