As the coronavirus pandemic spreads throughout the country and social opportunities continue to be restricted, one local church has formed a special task force to make sure the most vulnerable in its congregation are well taken care of.
Rev. Michelle Harris of St. Charles United Methodist Church said the newly formed Isolation Care Team at her church is offering care, both emotional and physical, to church members in need.
“We have a congregational care team that usually cooks and delivers ‘happys’ to those experiencing difficulty or a special occasion,” she said. “But this is a special care team for this particular season.”
The new team, which consists of approximately 20 members, is focused on phone calls and running errands as needed. Each member has an individual call list, and the call list currently includes congregation members considered the most at risk for contracting coronavirus.
“We chose 56 years and older,” Harris said. “We hope to expand to be able to check on everyone of all ages as more people get involved.”
Each member calls everyone on their list twice a week to check in on them and offer them a listening ear.
“If the person needs prayer, we let our church family know to be praying,” she said. “If they need something from the store, we ask an errand runner to pick it up and drop it off to them.”
Harris said she hopes the creation of the team will give people a sense of purpose and work to lessen any feelings of loneliness.
“We all want to help, yet every way we are used to helping in times of crisis is limited by social distancing, quarantining, and isolation,” she said. “This is a way people can get involved and do something helpful and meaningful with their time that offers love, encouragement, prayer, and support.”
One team member, Michelle Klein, said by stepping out of her comfort zone to serve on the team she has discovered new things about herself.
“I saw this as an opportunity to reach out and do my small part to help serve others,” she said. “I started phoning the folks on my assigned list, and I am quickly realizing that this ministry has touched me in some surprising ways already … I’ve even made a new friend, though we’ve never met.”
Harris said she hopes people being contacted by the team will leave the telephone interactions knowing they are loved.
“I hope they will know that they are cared for in spirit, even though we can’t see them and care for them in more physical ways,” she said. “I hope they feel comforted and connected to the Body of Christ.”