Staying Connected during the COVID-19 pandemic
Conversation | | 17th March 2020
The Coronavirus has many running scared. Panic buying is bringing fear to out into the public space and turning shopping into a blood sport. We’re being told to practice social distancing, and you might even be self-isolating right now.
How do we as the community of Christ respond and maintain relationships in these increasingly confusing and scary times?
At the outset it’s important to remember not to get sucked into the barrage of false information being shared on social media. No, gargling salt and vinegar will NOT protect you from the coronavirus. Also, yuck.
If you’re concerned about what information is correct and what you should be doing, make sure you gather your information from trusted sources like official updates from the Chief Medical Officer, Prime Minister, Premier, or Health Minister in your state. You will also find authoritative information on https://www.health.gov.au/.
The advised public response from the Government means we may not be able to gather as we usually do at the moment, so it’s important to stay connected with each other and extend that care into our remote and digital communications. Try some of these suggestions on for size:
- Stuck at home, or don’t want to go out? Lots of local Uniting Churches like Turramurra, New Beginnings and North Ryde (just a sample – there are heaps!) are live-streaming their services on Facebook and YouTube so you can join in and worship with them.
- Do you want to make your services available for those unable to attend? It can be as simple as using your iPhone and going live, getting a dedicated camera, or you can invest in a much more complicated set-up utilising multiple cameras and a vision switcher.
- Can’t get out to your bible study this week? Look to use tools like Skype or Zoom so that you can all participate and see each other at the same time. You can do this from your phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.
- Want to stay connected with friends, family members and others within your church community? Use applications like Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, or WhatsApp to make one-on-one video calls from your phone or tablet. While it isn’t the same as actually sitting in the same room as the other you do get most of the benefits of face-to-face interactions while maintaining a (very) safe distance.
- Of course you can always use your phone like a phone and call someone… just be prepared that most people under 30 might not answer. Send them an encouraging text instead.
- KEEP PRAYING FOR EACH OTHER. Send messages asking how you can pray for people, and spread some hope within your friendship and community groups (Perhaps ask what groceries those who are shut in might need and if you can go out purchase them and deliver them to their front door).
It may be difficult to physically meet and be in community with others at the moment. It’s important to try and include some of these digital solutions in our daily and weekly lives to help us remain grounded in the truth, courage and centrality of our faith.
While fear and worry surrounds us, for some compounding their already-piqued anxiety, as the people of God we are all in this together – for each other, and for Him. Be gentle, and stay connected.
The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd.Psalm 23:1-4 (The Passion Translation)
I always have more than enough.
He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love.
His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.
That’s where he restores and revives my life.
He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure
and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness
so that I can bring honor to his name.
Lord, even when your path takes me through
the valley of deepest darkness,
fear will never conquer me, for you already have!
You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way.
Your authority is my strength and my peace.
The comfort of your love takes away my fear.
I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.
Molk is the Senior Field Officer (North), and responsible for young adult ministry as a part of the PULSE team.