October 1, 2020

Disruption Stories: The Shut In

“I no longer feel like a second-class citizen at church.”

Yolanda is a longtime churchgoer who is now living in an elder care facility in North Carolina. Even before Covid, her attendance at church became less frequent due to health constraints. She received regular visits from her pastor, but found herself largely cut off from her larger church family. 

When Covid hit, her local church shut down and began to livestream their service. Yolanda was pleased to see familiar faces of the pastoral staff, the choir, some of the families doing kids worship, and friends doing readings. The church also set up videoconferencing calls held before and after church. 

After just a few weeks, Yolanda spoke with her pastor over the phone, and joyfully shared: “I no longer feel like a second-class citizen at church.” 

One of Yolanda’s elder care neighbors, Shirley, is also a member of that church. Although they were in the same building, Covid regulations restricted everyone to their room. Both Yolanda and Shirley looked forward to the half hour pre-church time together, where they would catch up after not seeing each other all week, and chat about grandchildren and other news. 

A handful of other church members who also attended the pre-church videoconferences enjoyed hearing the voices and seeing the faces of their long-unseen sisters. In fact, Yolanda and Shirley became minor celebrities, as word spread among the congregation at the laughter and liveliness of these connection times. 

Not only did online church bless these former “shut in” women, but they became a blessing to their larger church community during a season otherwise filled with stress and challenges.