I know many of you have been wondering how we can help others in this time of coronavirus. Together, we will be compiling ways that we can help our neighbors in the coming weeks. I’ve put together a list of very real things you can do, from your own homes, that will make a big difference.
1. Give Money To Route 1 and the Howard County Food Bank
2. Write Letters To Lutherans In Prison
3. Write Letters to Someone Whom Is Unhoused
4. Two Phone Calls a Day
5. Pray Daily
If your monthly income hasn’t dropped this month, please help those who have lost money. The need is so great, from hourly workers sent home without pay, to service workers laid off, to families whose kids aren’t getting meals at school.
There are many nonprofits who are helping, and the truth is they need your financial donations far more than your donated supplies at this time. I hope you keep supporting your favorites, but also suggest giving to Route One Day Center and the Howard County Food Bank.
You’ve probably heard that prisons are high-risk places for an outbreak of coronavirus. (Many people live very closely together, many of them parts of vulnerable populations. Alcohol based hand sanitizers are forbidden, and sometimes soap is hard to get.) Abiding Savior has a relationship with a Lutheran congregation inside our prisons: The Community of St Dysmas.
Their pastor, Pastor Susan Beck, writes:
“Now I'm asking if you can help your siblings in Christ of the Community of St Dysmas in a very old school way. All visits and activities (like our worship services) are suspended for at least two weeks, and these are a lifeline for people living behind bars. The only means we have to let our folks know we're thinking and praying for them is by letters.
If you could encourage folks in your congregations to hand write a note for an inmate and mail it to the CSD, I'll mail them to individual members on the inside. I'm hoping to get enough that each member can get at least one outside note, so I'll need at least 60 to start. Thanks for remembering your Lutheran siblings "inside."”
Notes will not be sent out to any particular facility until Pastor Beck has enough to simultaneously send to each member, so write as many as you can!
Send them to the Community of St. Dysmas Office:
CSD 905 Frederick Rd Catonsville, Md 21228
Write letters for people living on the streets. Letter writing matters, and it’s something real we can do inside our homes! So I’m including this twice. One of our Lutheran leaders, Vicar Atticus Zavaletta, is starting a ministry with the homeless population on North Avenue in Baltimore, and the people there need collection to. His instructions are here:
“Would you like to write letters to someone who is unhoused during this crisis? This is such distancing time. If you like to write, draw, create, pray, you can bless someone facing homelessness or food and housing insecurity during the pandemic and mitigate the loneliness and anxiety of quarantine.
We're creating Prayer Partners! You can write a letter, make a prayer drawing, or include a poem, uplifting scripture, anything on your heart. Email them to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) every week by Monday at noon and I will hand-deliver your prayer letters to your partner.
You can be a Prayer Partner for someone experiencing homelessness or food and housing insecurity in the community of Amazing Grace Lutheran Church in East Baltimore, or in the North Ave Mission community in Station North, Baltimore.
Vicar Zavaletta writes:
Spend a few moments asking for guidance, then pick a name and write yours in the column titled "Partner." You're welcome to choose more than one! At Amazing Grace, your partner will receive your prayer letters every Tuesday at Bread for the Journey Soup Kitchen. On North Avenue, they’ll receive your prayer letters every Thursday when the North Ave Mission community meets.
We hope with time to find ways for your Prayer Partner to communicate back with you. May we manifest the love of God for one another during this time.”
I’m challenging each of you to make at least two phone calls a day: one to a church member, and one to someone who doesn’t go to our church. Find out if that person is ok, pray with them if they need it, and let me know if there are any needs they have that you can’t help them with. Let us know how it is going in the Coffee hour chats on Sundays and Thursdays!
Pray daily for people who have the coronavirus and their loved ones, for all medical personnel (doctors, nurses, med techs, housekeeping, dietary services, everyone!) for those who have lost income, for politicians and community leaders making decisions to keep everyone safe, and for those who are lonely.
I think, dear people of Abiding Savior, that doing concrete things to help will also help us feel less powerless, and relieve our stress. And I know it’s what Jesus wants us to do!
There will be so many needs in the coming weeks. I will try to send out emails like this periodically, with new concrete ways to help.
And don’t forget to keep giving to your own congregation! You can mail a check to church, or donate online here: