Impact of COVID-19 and vaccinations on Communities of Faith
Pastor is gratified to see God working in COVID
Don Short, pastor at Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Othello, said one church group COVID had impact on was the women who met to make 300 quilts a year.
They would donate quilts to the local fire fighters for their annual Christmas basket program.
"We have done things differently," he said. "Instead, the fire fighters asked for donations."
"Members prepared personal care kits in response to a plea from Lutheran World Relief (LWR). They collected care kits in the past, but never to this scale. The congregation has been extremely generous," he said. "We also collected a special offering for LWR's work to mitigate effects of COVID-19 overseas.
"God didn't take time off for COVID. It has been gratifying to see how God has been working through the pandemic," he said. "Our people and the whole community have been coming together to provide what they need.
The church took advantage of technology and put their services on YouTube and Facebook.
They had just launched a new dinner at the church, "when COVID shut us down," Don said. "The Holy Spirit said, 'Not right now.'
He estimates 60 to 70 percent of the congregation is vaccinated, more than in the community.
"Generally, people in Othello are favorable about getting vaccinated," he said.
Two church members on the Othello Community Hospital board have been strongly encouraging people to get vaccinated.
"We've been following state guidelines, keeping track of what it allows for service attendance and fellowship, reintroducing fellowship and in-person worship. Those attending worship are not getting COVID, but we have less worry. We are still wearing masks in worship," Don said.
Food security issues have been important. The church ran a food drive in January to gather food for the local food pantry.
"It was successful because people knew staples were in short supply in the grocery store," Don said. "Not everyone in Othello has access to government assistance. There have been gaps so people need extra assistance."
The ministerial group keeps track of who needs what and provides people what they need.
"We weren't using electronic media before COVID. Now we've spent money to ensure technology is adequate, upgrading when necessary so livestreaming is available every week," he said.
In Northwest Intermountain Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Mary Morrow, director of evangelical mission, asked "what resources we needed and shared resources with us." Don said: "With God's help, we have all we need."
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Copyright@ The Fig Tree, June, 2021