Dear Friends and Family:
Separation, is not a healthy place emotionally, but it is needed to protect us from the virus.
For those in elderly communities, especially widows, lockdown has become a lonely, boring and often depressing; seemingly endless time. People say that eating meals alone is when it really hurts.
The community I work for as Chaplain, is well provided for. Meals are delivered to their apartment doors in large brown bags. The bags are taken in, food eaten and then placed back outside, without any human interaction. Most of the many activities, which once made the 650 resident campus feel like a university, have stopped. The hallways are empty, the restaurants, pool, hair salon, wood working shop, gym, are all closed. Even the 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles take for ever to finish.
I started to lead a bible study again, under very strictly controlled separation conditions, but that is likely to stop as the pandemic spikes in Florida and the cautious ‘opening up’, is likely to be reversed.
One of the more exciting developments has been the possibility of running an Alpha course in the community. Alpha, changed my life when it first came over from Holy Trinity Brompton, in London [https://www.htb.org], to New York City. Christine and I, attended the three day course and that was the first time I was introduced to the Holy Spirits’ presence, when Nicky Gumbel, prayed over the whole gathering at St Bartholomew’s Church, to receive the Holy Spirit. That prayer changed my life because the Holy Spirit did flood into me.
There are now a small group of people who are excited to help get an Alpha going in the community, but we are waiting for a better understanding of how the lockdown with develop.
So my main job has been preparing Sunday Vespers which gets Televised on the internal TV station every Sunday. It has been a great experience because it has pulled together my photography with my ministry, which has been a long wish of mine. I am including a couple of You Tube links so you can see what I have been creating.
Christine is doing wonderful work on two angel icons for a commission. She is also preparing to launch into online teaching of Iconography, running a course in August, which is very exciting and getting a great response.
I think we all are beginning to understand that this time of ‘separation’ or lockdown, is going to be with us for a very long time to come. That in itself is part of the anxiety, not knowing when or if there really is a long term resolution or a ‘normal life’ at the end of the tunnel. The long term emotional consequences are going to be enormous. As major upsets always do, this is going to hit the most vulnerable in our society the most; those who cannot find employment, families living with no school functioning, racial vulnerability will rise as racist tendencies are politically exploited; and the list could go on, so it is not surprising that the elderly person sitting alone in a room is going to be forgotten. After all they are not a squeaky wheel and they are easy to forget.
But, thanks be to God, He never forgets any of us.
So please, take a moment and lift up the elderly housebound in your prayers.
1 Timothy 5:15b
Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows.
Stay safe and be Blessed with the Holy Spirit in all you do and say.
Love and prayers,
Michael and Christine