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Conference joins together to make ‘Masks for Minnesota’


April 13, 2020

By: Christa Meland

As we celebrate Christ’s resurrection during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reminded that we are a people of hope and new life, knowing that sin and death and despair do not get the final word. And as we hear daily reports of people who are sick and dying amid this global health crisis, we are reminded of our call to heal a hurting and broken world.
 
Caring for our neighbors is taking on many forms right now, but one thing that every person and every community have in common is a need to be vigilant in slowing the spread of coronavirus. Many hospital systems are short on masks and calling for donations. At the same time, as the illness continues to spread and given that many who have the illness lack symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is now recommending that everyone wears a cloth face mask when out in public. For those who don’t sew or have the necessary materials to make one, this directive can be difficult to follow.
 
So what would it look like to meet this vital need for people in our churches, our neighborhoods, our hospitals, our nursing homes? As we embrace the 2020 Annual Conference theme “Be the Light: Live Hope!” we invite you to join us in making masks for all who need them in our communities.
 
Minnesota United Methodists have come together many times in recent years to engage in acts of generosity and compassion for our neighbors near and far. First, we saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in sub-Saharan Africa by raising upwards of $2.3 million for Imagine No Malaria. Then we rose to the occasion when Bishop Ough issued a Cleaning Bucket Challenge for disaster relief, donating nearly 2,000 buckets. We also packed more than 2 million meals for the world’s hungry children through our “Million Meals Marathon.” And just this past year, as a Dakotas-Minnesota Area, we made more than 13,000 purple scarves for attendees at the next General Conference.
 
This conference-wide “Masks for Minnesota” initiative is a continuation of our commitment to heal a broken world and a tangible way to share God’s love by keeping people in our mission fields healthy and safe. How many masks can your church make and distribute to people in your community? A variety of graphics are available in a Dropbox folder to help you promote this opportunity to your congregation.
 
We urge you to encourage and challenge your congregation to participate in this mask-making effort. Keep track of the masks you collectively make and give out, and report your final number to us through this simple form by May 22. As we enter the season of Pentecost—filled with the Holy Spirit and called to be the presence of Christ to others—we will lift up and celebrate how we as the Minnesota Annual Conference made masks so that all could stay healthy and safe.
 
“Healing a broken world means shining a light wherever and whenever the shadow falls,” said Rev. Lyndy Zabel, director of missional impact and community engagement, who is leading this initiative. “As hopeful people, we look forward to the day when the darkness of the virus has subsided. Until then, let’s help ourselves and our communities. My mask protects you; your mask protects me. We are truly all in this together.”
 
Instructions and resources
 
Use two 9-inch by 6-inch rectangles for adult masks; 7.5-inch by 5-inch typically works well for children’s masks. Sew Good Goods in St. Paul is offering free kits to make masks for Minnesota health care workers and has created a CDC-compliant pattern. Here are some resources to get you started:


Masks for health care workers
 
Be sure to use this approved pattern for any masks you make for health care workers.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and Allina Health recently launched a statewide volunteer effort, calling for people to sew and donate masks for doctors, nurses, and other medical staff. They can be donated at the following locations: Hennepin Healthcare also needs masks. They can be mailed or dropped off. Learn more here

Other ideas for distributing masks
 
  • Mask donations are being sought for indigenous elders and American Indian Community Development Corporation programs. If you’d like to participate, contact Mimi Goodwin at mimigoodwinst@gmail.com or 651-245-6902.
  • Call your local hospitals and health care facilities to see if they are accepting donations.
  • Call your local homeless shelters and food shelves to see if they need masks.
  • Call your local grocery stores to see if they need masks for workers.
  • Give masks to church members who don’t have them.
  • Invite church members to offer masks to their friends and neighbors.
  • Put masks in individual bags in a basket outside of your church, and have members help spread the word that they are there and available to for anyone who needs them. 

“The coronavirus is the problem,” said Zabel. “By making as many masks as we can, we are part of the solution, joining many others who are on the frontline every day. We can each shine the light in our own God-given way.”
 
We can do this, Minnesota! This is our time to shine.

Christa Meland is director of communications for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
 


Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

info@minnesotaumc.org

(612) 870-0058