Churches address Loneliness post-COVID
From Rev. Bria Belim, COVID Grant Coordinator
This month we’re featuring stories from two different COVID ministry sites: Greater Framingham Community Church and Cathedral of The Beloved in Pittsfield.
All of the churches participating in the COVID grant program continue to use creative programming that fits their community’s needs and cultures to break the isolation that COVID brought upon us. For example, Greater Framingham Community Church hosts line-dancing classes that are well attended. And in collaboration with a local Jewish synagogue, Greater Framingham Community Church held two “community conversations” about facing loneliness.
But what works for one church may not work for another. On the other side of the state, Cathedral of the Beloved, an outdoor and ecumenical congregation of mostly unhoused community members has taken up different activities. In Pittsfield, Cathedral of the Beloved used their COVID grant support to hold a music workshop at the local public library with a mobile COVID vaccine clinic outside. The workshop allowed participants to talk about loneliness, grief and isolation. Across the Commonwealth, churches are helping people connect to God and one another in the aftermath of the isolation of COVID, and we are grateful
Distribution continues every other Friday to 120 households who need food assistance. Turkeys were distributed to families also for the Thanksgiving holiday. This was done with the assistance of private business donations. In December, we expect to receive toiletries from Hope & Comfort.
- GFCC is continuing to act as the designated distribution site to support the migrant community.
- The third vaccine clinic occurred on November 18th in conjunction with The Latino Health Insurance Program and MetroWest Pharmacy. Associates were available to help with Medicaid enrollment. Flu and Covid-19 vaccines were offered. 20 people were vaccinated. This was the most successful clinic. Utilizing the Framingham Public Schools to advertise helped drive families into the clinic.
- The second- and third-line dancing classes took place on November 4th and November 18th. All in attendance had a wonderful time. The key continues to be how to enhance participation.
- On 11/29: Hosted a gathering/workshop where participants made hats for themselves and as gifts for others in the community. A small patch with individual messages on it and heart were sewn onto each hat. Our focus was on addressing isolation through working together and writing messages of encouragement for others.
- On 12/1: we held our first music workshops focused on addressing feelings of isolation, grief, and anxiety at the public library. The mobile health van was outside the library, offering Covid vaccines.
- Our mindfulness skills workshop was postponed due to delay in the shelter’s transition from one physical location to another.