What can continue at the parish? In short, most events and meetings on a parish calendar can continue this autumn. We just need to continue to be creative in how we go about these. Here are a few ideas if you’re feeling tapped out:
- Families can still invite Father to dinner: They just maybe need to drop off or order food to the rectory, then give Father a call or videoconference with him so he can “have a seat” at their dining room table. Will it feel silly the first time? Sure. Can it be done? Yes!
- Retreats can still take place: Through the miracle of streaming, retreat leaders can still give reflections and individuals can still set aside time for deep prayer. (See here for an example.)
- Small groups can continue to meet: By using free conference calling setups, everyone can phone into a men’s or women’s group or Bible study.
- Even community meals can happen: By partnering with a local restaurant, you can set up call-ahead meal pickup and delivery. Have your pastor or parish staff near the door to greet and chat with people from a safe distance.
Of course, none of these can take the place of sustained, in-person human contact. But if that’s not possible, we can keep parish life going. Our parishioners will remember how hard we worked in this time. And we can all take strength by reflecting on the joy we will feel when the church sanctuary is full once again and we are all together as a community. What can continue at the parish? Almost everything! These are just temporary disruptions.