Getting through it together
Sewing masks, shopping for others, or creating online learning resources—many people are looking for ways to help others and keep in touch during the coronavirus crisis. Members of the New Apostolic Church are also organising all kinds of campaigns and activities to help others stay positive despite social distancing. Here is a look at some of the projects.
What can you do when the life you have known to date suddenly ceases to exist as such? Four New Apostolic congregations have found their very own answer to this question. They have come up with ways to demonstrate friendship, solidarity, and a strong public spirit in difficult times, and thereby prove just how important the aspect of pastoral care is for them. People are proving to be very supportive of each other by helping one another. And they are doing exactly what the term “solidarity” means.
This is important in times such as the coronavirus crisis. Many people are stuck at home and cannot leave the house because they belong to an at-risk group. They need help, which is something their fellows can give them. If this does not happen, however, they are left to their own devices and are pretty well abandoned. Showing solidarity and being there for others is immensely important during this crisis.
Help in times of need
Experts have long since found that masks worn over the mouth and the nose reduce the spread of infection. Especially doctors and nurses need them because they come into contact with infected people every day. “To reduce virus spread, scientists even recommend homemade fabric masks under certain conditions.” They need to be boil-proof so that they can be washed and reused. District Apostle Rüdiger Krause from Hamburg (Germany) has recommended to his brothers and sisters in northern Germany that they make their own masks. When he sent his circular to the congregations on 31 March 2020 he even included sewing instructions.
Also in Africa and Asia a lot of helping hands are producing protective masks. An Evangelist in Nepal, for example is making masks and distributing them to the members of his congregation and their families. And then there is the small dressmaking shop run by Dédé Abalo in Lomé in Togo, who normally makes traditional clothing from colourful African fabric. Now she is busy sewing masks. The charity UGUS (“un geste – un sourire”) makes sure that the masks are distributed in the area. The foundation Un Geste, Un Sourir is a non-profit organisation. Both ministers and young people are committed to its cause and support people who are in difficulties.
A strong sense of community
Shopping for older citizens—is that really necessary? A definite yes, is what many of the affected say. Several communities and congregations have recognised the need for this and have organised shopping services for at-risk citizens. Younger members in the congregations have also created a network and are doing the grocery shopping for the elderly in their congregation, those who are most at risk in the pandemic, or for those who simply have issues with mobility.
Telephone lists are also very popular in this crisis. They help the members stay in touch with each other.
And then there are the worries of confirmation teachers. Many have asked themselves: how can we review the remaining lessons in the curriculum with the students? Patrick Makarowski in Frankfurt in Germany has come up with an idea. The young Christians receive their weekly lessons by video conferencing. Everyone who participates in such online lessons enjoys them, Lara Krömer from the district of Ruhr-Emscher confirms.
How do children cope with the coronavirus crisis? Being holed up at home and not being able to go out and meet with friends in kindergarten or at school is frustrating. Several members in the district of Frankfurt have therefore launched a project to help keep the children occupied. They have supplied craft instructions for the children to make a rainbow. The craft idea is to help the children express their hope for better times, because it takes both sunshine and rain to make a rainbow. The colourful picture also demonstrates that the children are not alone and that the sun is shining in spite of the pandemic.