We are experiencing the beginning of a season of collective mourning — not only for lives lost and livelihoods disrupted, but also for the loss of normalcy. Even those of us who are relatively privileged and healthy during this global pandemic are grieving postponed plans. Some of the plans I’m grieving included The Border Is Here immigration workshop led by UVA students, the dedication of the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, an opportunity to care for the earth around us through a joint cleanup day with student environmental groups, and our ministry of hospitality with students during Open Study Hours at Common Grounds.
While these plans have been postponed, we can still practice compassion now. In addition to observing physical distancing policies to slow the spread of the virus and help “flatten the curve,” we at Westminster have been asking how we can be in solidarity with the most vulnerable people in our community during this global health crisis — how we can help “flatten the curve” of economic and other suffering.
The Benevolence committee has continued meeting remotely so that Westminster can continue our vital support for nonprofit organizations during a challenging time. We will share updates on our community partners in the coming weeks. In this edition of the e-newsletter, you’ll find a list of local resources and ways to (give and receive) help during the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to supporting the church, several members of the Westminster community have decided to contribute part or all of our anticipated government stimulus checks to relief efforts. I invite you to consider what safe way(s) you might practice social solidarity with our neighbors during this time. Let’s “flatten the curve” together in whatever ways we can.
Finally, please pray for the university students among us who have experienced dislocation and disruption. I have been reaching out personally and through group messages on behalf of Westminster to offer pastoral support and will continue to do so. UVA’s administration is aware of our community’s presence and will share with us through United Ministries at UVA any opportunities to be of service that may arise. In addition, 20/30 CreW has made our Wednesday Wind-Down event weekly so that graduate students and young professionals have the opportunity to provide mutual support more frequently through Zoom conversations.
I trust that better days are ahead and that God is at work in the meantime, inviting us into partnership in healing.