This week I will meet with a local congregation as we wrap up a successful capital campaign. During the campaign, we had good success enlisting the help of 30 volunteers who picked up the phone and engaged their fellow members. The phone calls were not solicitation calls, but rather, calls to connect with one another, answer questions, and offer encouragement. Not thwarted by the fact that over half the phone calls resulted in voice mails… the same volunteers sent hand written notes to the same people. What undergirded this volunteer effort was the importance of staying connected.
I am reminded of a conversation I saw on PBS in January between Judy Woodruff and the Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the U.S. Here is the excerpt that caught my attention…
- Judy Woodruff:“I’m also thinking, as we start this new year, of people who, frankly, feel isolated. They’re at home, whether they have lost a job or can’t be with their family right now. What is the message for them, when they are physically separated from the people they love?”
- Bishop Michael Curry: “You’re absolutely right. It is hard. But you know what? We have got to figure out — one of the things I have learned is that love very often must be embodied in community. When my mother died and was sick and in a coma for over a year, there were a community of folk gathered around us. That community was a context in which love was able to lift us up. I think we have got to figure out ways to be connected to each other. I mean, I have jokingly said, if you’re high-tech, Zoom, if you’re low-tech, text, if you’re no-tech, call, send a note, stay in touch, socially distanced, following what the public health folk tell us, but stay in touch. Don’t get disconnected. Don’t get cut off. The psychologists tell us, cutoff is unhealthy. We actually need each other. So, if we can’t touch each other physically, we can touch each other on the phone by writing, across the fence, but find a way to stay connected to other people, and to intentionally, if you’re able, connect with other people.”
No doubt, isolation will persist even after the pandemic has passed. No doubt, staying connected will be as important as ever… no matter if we are high-tech, low-tech, or no-tech.
p.s. If you wish to see the entire interview with Bishop Michael Curry, here is the link…. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/following-the-way-of-love-through-divisions-upheaval-and-uncertainty
Fred Stoltz, Sr. Program Director
The James Company