NCPC at Work through COVID-19

How is the church helping our community?
Many of you know that we have hired Claudia Schauffler to be our Community Advocate, to help neighbors shelter in place by assisting with whatever tasks they may need. Sure, sure, Ned folks are tough and independent, but if you are, or if you know someone who is, at a higher risk of infection, please get in contact with Claudia, and let her volunteers deliver your groceries or medications, bring you firewood, shovel your snow, or help in whatever other way they can. (nedadvocate@gmail.com, 303-258-3387)

See the article in the Mountain Ear about Claudia!

Elder for Mission Jim Reis is also in regular contact with our mountain resource partners. We have always had a close relationship with the Food Pantry, EFAA, Area Agency on Aging, Ned Area Seniors, Canyon Cares, Center for People with Disabilities, Boulder County Public Health, BoCo Housing and Human Services, Boulder homeless services, and others. That continues in this crisis, so that we can be part of whatever response and healing is needed.
When can we get back to worship?
We are far from gathering back in our 105 year old sanctuary. But these walls have never defined this church! The turnout was great for our first online worship on Palm Sunday. We’ll be there again for Easter (12 Apr), with the video coming live at 10 am. We’ll also be there for Maundy Thursday (9 Apr) and Good Friday (10 Apr), both at 6 pm. Daniel Herman is playing piano and editing our videos. Will Ford and Emily Haynes are on music and liturgy. Sara Sandstrom-Kobi is doing children’s messages, tied in with lessons that Aimee Tomlinson emails to families. And if you have no access to get online, John Records is offering to snail mail ‘transcripts’ of worship.

Finding us is easy: www.youtube.com/hansenwendlandt, or www.facebook.com/nederlandcpc, or www.nederlandcpcp.org. Videos are recorded, but Hansen will be online along with you, welcoming prayer requests over text or in the comments of any of those sites.

 

How is the church doing financially?

Just about every small business, just about every family, just about every non-profit, is struggling during this time. However, I’ve been really impressed with how many check-shaped envelopes have arrived in our mailbox! And some folks are donating online at www.nederlandcpc.org/give-now! We really thank you for that continued support!

Also, Marylou Harrison has been hard at work on our CARES grant. Cindy Hauser has been a godsend to help me apply for other grants from the state and our denomination. We’ve won one small grant so far, but more will come, and we’ll get through this together!

 

What else is the church leadership doing?

The Deacons (Jaydene, Al, Kathleen, Kaitlin) have organized an old school phone tree, to check on all of our members and friends. The Session has been meeting on Zoom, thanks to Tara Schroeter, so we can make plans ahead with a common spiritual purpose. Mark Stringfellow has taken this time to make some improvements to the facility, and Hilliary Martin is making sure the building is sanitized for whenever we return. And Pastor Hansen Wendlandt is back from sabbatical, through this initial wave of crazy busy work, and now able to steal away for a jog between writing emails like this and planning Easter worship.

 

What is the summer going to look like?

No one knows yet, for NCPC or any organization. But we are moving forward with hope that life can return, not just back to normal, but better. So, we are preparing to be able to do some kind of homeless outreach, with Claudia and Brigitte probably focusing more this year on health care for our neighbors in the woods. We are preparing for Jim and Bailey to run at least four weeks of Rocky Mountain Mission, and teach kids how to serve their neighbors in times of panic and calm. Highlands Camp is still planning to lead Vacation Bible School. And we are hopeful that our summer congregation will be able to travel from all over the country to their favorite cabins.

 

What can we do, as people of faith?

We are a church, so an important response is always prayer. Partly that means finding peace in our situations and asking for peace for the world. It also means listening, paying attention, and responding to God’s Word in our lives.

So, maybe a prayerful response means you need to take another step toward the common good by making a more radical quarantine.

Or, if you are already doing errands, consider giving blood or platelets. See www.vitalant.org, in Boulder.

Perhaps you can help make face masks, or donate fabric for those who can. Talk to Claudia or Emily about that.

This is an unusual crisis, but there may be opportunities to volunteer with the Ned Food Pantry, or with Claudia’s brigade, or maybe with a hotline for people dealing with addiction or domestic abuse.

There are several organizations where you can make small and meaningful financial contributions, maybe to send food to the hospital workers, or hygiene supplies to the homeless shelter.

One item in short supply right now is kindness. (You thought I was going to say toilet paper!) Share kindness with your neighbors, workers at the grocery, folks at call centers… Send a note of gratitude to the people who are still working hard to keep our world going, like teachers and artists, public works and delivery truck drivers. Notice when you start to get angry, and find the inner calm to stop negativity from echoing out from your heart to others.

Make sure to have fun! Talk a walk in nature. Appreciate beauty around. Laugh with your friends and family. It’s ok to binge watch Tiger King; maybe even better if you can use these great online tools to make that a watch party or to play Scrabble. Try a new recipe. (Cocktails count!) Wherever the darkness comes in, embrace the light.

Lastly for now, notice the cracks in our society. None of what we are seeing is new, even if some of it is being unveiled in a most drastic fashion. (‘unveil’ is what the word ‘apocalypse’ means; it’s the same word as the title of the last book of the Bible, ‘Revelation’, although that sermon is a few weeks away.) I refuse to return to a normal that wasn’t working for so many people, and I invite you to learn about a more just vision of community – a more just system of health care, of income inequality and opportunity, of racial and gender dynamics, of environmental stewardship… Pick up your Bible and read about Jesus, who clarifies and embodies a spiritual path that includes inner healing and grace, direct compassion for neighbor, and organized justice for all. So often he stood for justice by challenging powerful leaders who run over the public out of their own callousness or greed. When we get out of this pandemic, I encourage you, from a place of spiritual and Biblical grounding, to advocate for a better world, one that lines up more with God’s dream for a Kin’dom of love, one that moves us closer on earth as it is in Heaven.

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