We are in the middle of historic times and asked to be “socially distant” from one another. Yet we need to be more connected than ever before. After this storm passes and we get to the other side, we want to be able to say we showed up for our neighbors, caring for them in multiple ways and sharing generously with them. In a time of fear, we United Methodists want to act with care, concern, and compassion. While others hoard, we believe in the power of abundance over scarcity, sharing what we have with those in need in our communities. Our normal lives have been suspended in myriad ways. Here are 10 ways we can make something meaningful out of this significant disruption:
Take care of yourself. Follow the rules. Wash your hands. Stay physically apart from others as much as possible. We might be tempted to ignore this, but we need to stay focused on it in order to protect people who are vulnerable and otherwise more susceptible to this pandemic. Social distancing is a work of social justice.
Pray for those who are affected by this virus—those who are sick, our medical professionals and first responders, scientists working on vaccines, the mentally ill, the lonely and isolated, our leaders making critical tough decisions.
Contact your local food shelf, school, or anyone else distributing food, and make a donation. As always, a financial donation can be the best, because it enables them to replenish whatever is needed at the time.
Call someone you know who might be lonely feeling or isolated. Contact them through social media or write them a letter.
Consider ways you can bless the medical professionals who are on the front line. Many of them are putting in long hours. Commit random acts of kindness and send them notes of appreciation.
Buy gift cards from restaurants and coffee shops you frequent. Whether you eventually use them or not, they will benefit.
If you have tickets to a show at a non-profit theater that gets canceled, consider donating the money.
If you have to cancel an appointment with someone who relies on in-person services (a house cleaner, a nanny, etc.) and you’ve already budgeted the money, pay them anyway.
Consider donating online to your favorite charity. Like all of us, nonprofits everywhere (including your church) are grappling with how to continue to be in mission with fewer volunteers, the possibility of quarantined staff, and decreased donations.
In times like these, people can start to feel hopeless. But as a Christian community, we can continue to bring hope and healing to the world. Thanks for all you do to make it happen!
Lyndy Zabel is director of community engagement and missional impact for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.