a resource for this time of COVID-19 social distancing
By the Rev. Bruce W. Gray
Holy Family, Fishers, has been worshiping together exclusively on the internet, via Facebook and YouTube, since March 15. One of the major concerns has been keeping the large number of parishioners under 18 connected and nurtured by Holy Family even though physical gatherings are not possible. The teens are adapting to Zoom get togethers well, playing games, praying, and just talking with each other.
The youngers were a bigger worry, since communicating through a screen only goes so far with them. Fortunately, Holy Family has a long history of children being in church and active in as many roles as possible, so the worship via the internet was filled with familiar patterns and words. One of the mothers in the parish sent me these encouraging words, which I am sharing with her permission...
We became licensed as transitional foster parents for migrant children from the border earlier this year and accepted our first placement in March, a three year old boy from Guatemala. This also coincided with social distancing and staying at home due to the coronavirus. He arrived on a Saturday, and the first few days were understandably quite challenging. I remember thinking after our first breakfast that Sunday morning that church probably wouldn’t be happening, or that we would need to watch it after the kids were in bed. He had been begging to do play dough since he woke up, so after breakfast, we got out the play dough and all of the supplies to go with it. He and our four year old daughter Nina were calm, quiet, and content playing at the kitchen table for the first time since his arrival, so we decided to stream the church service. They were both intrigued and often looked up at the screen while continuing with their creations. Nina got excited about seeing people she knew and hearing familiar phrases and prayers. They sat there playing through the whole service, and a new routine was formed.
Since then, every Sunday we break out the play dough (or more recently, homemade slime) and have church together at the kitchen table. Our little boy’s English has exploded, and he is constantly asking me about words, so during church, he now asks multiple times what “alleluia” is and gets very excited when he hears “Jesus.” Both kids have both been belting out “Glory to God in the highest and peace to God’s people on earth” and have loved seeing people do their readings out in nature (or from a tree). While we really miss being with the church community in person, we have come to enjoy and appreciate these calm moments together at the table in the midst of weeks that often have a lot of chaos. We are so grateful to everyone who is making the online services possible and wanted to let you know the impact it is having, even on the little ones.