Don't Let Out of Sight = Out of Mind
This is a unique time in the history of the world. Instead of a World War, we have a World Pandemic that we still haven’t figured out how to successfully fight. It has changed the way we relate to each other – closing businesses, schools and churches to the way we normally do things. Locking down personal care facilities and nursing homes – No visitors for people who very much need human contact.
Big questions: How do we prioritize what is important? How do we serve the Christ – individually and through the church? How can we “think outside the box and do effective ministry and outreach?
People living in nursing homes or personal care facilities are suffering right now. They are “locked down” because of the pandemic, and loved ones cannot visit them. Volunteers who spent time with them (reading, playing cards, performing, conducting worship services) are not allowed in. How can you make a difference in the life of someone who is not permitted to have visitors? Call. Write. Drop off little gifts. Yes, you can drop off a CARE package for someone. Be creative. Call ahead and ask the receptionist how to best do this.
The local church is important! I read about online worship services and small group meetings for those savvy enough to be connected. After many years of being both a member and leader of United Methodist Women I have observed what happens when you require folks to “be connected electronically” in order to participate – whether it’s a survey asking for your opinion or an inspirational event wanting you to “attend.” I have heard the anger and frustration of women who have felt left out – like their situation (not being connected) has been ignored and they have been discounted.
It is time to not only be connected electronically, but to embrace the old-fashioned way of connecting. The phone call! When was the last time you called a loved one, or an acquaintance and asked, “How are you?” You may get a very different answer if you ask the question again and add a word. “How are you, really?” That gives people an invitation to expand their answer and a sense that you really want to know. Lay people can organize this. Connect with others willing to reach out in this way; brainstorm names of those who would benefit from a phone call; split up the list; and call each person on the list – daily or weekly.
I have a friend who calls a shut-in every morning at 9:00. Together they chat, learn new things about each other, and do devotions together. When my friend found out the woman liked to read, but her sister no longer brought her books because the library had closed, she began delivering books from her personal library to the woman’s back porch– exchanging a book when the delivered book had been read.
Don’t forget those who are more than ever in need of a little of your time!
-- By Diane Miller, Ruth M. Smith Center board member and former WPA UMW President
The residents of the Ruth M Smith Center,
a personal care facility in Sheffield PA and a national mission of United Methodist Women, are also on lockdown. The residents and staff need your support and the Center now has a way for individuals and churches to donate online. Check out the new “donation button” at www.ruthmsmithcenter.org/support
. Your gift will help the Center to continue to provide a safe home and personal care for 28 vulnerable adults – none of whom can pay their full way. Try the button now with an online donation. Then, on May 20, make a donation through the “Warren Gives” link on the same page to multiply whatever you donate.