Whether your Spring Break has been extended, classes have gone online already, your school is still determining what to do, or students have just been told they need to move out of the residence halls or come home from study abroad, it has been a week where changes have come at lightning speed, and all of us are trying to figure out how to continue to minister to our communities. First and foremost, the UKirk national board and I want you to know that you are all in our prayers.
Spiritually, some campus ministers have shared that understanding this chaotic time as “wilderness” has actually been helpful as they journey through this dual season of Lent and expanding pandemic. The more I have thought about this, the more I think that this being a time of vulnerability, trust, and growth like the 40 years in the wilderness “between” freedom and the Promised Land rings true. If those things are true, then the other truth is this – as God led the Israelites through the wilderness by a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, God will lead you, and me, and our world through this time as well. “But how?” you ask. (Have you seen the letter to a congregation on social media saying, “I’ve never pastored through a pandemic before, so cut me a little slack?”) I think the way God often leads us through difficult times: through prayer, being centered in God’s calm even as the chaos swirls, and through the support and wisdom of the larger community.
Below are quite a few ways wise ones in our larger community have shared that they are “navigating the new” through online communities, live streaming, careful pastoral care, and creative intentionality. We at UKirk National hope you will find suggestions that are helpful as you seek to be faithful in your context. As things unfold and change over the next couple of weeks, we will also be offering a time to “gather” virtually with one another to brainstorm, support and pray via Zoom on Tuesdays at 2pm EST, and Thursdays at 11am EST. Finally, we have also been in contact with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance who has indicated they, like the rest of us, have a steep learning curve but want to hear if and how they can be helpful to your college communities.
To share particular prayer requests (confidential or public) for the larger UKirk network to pray for and with you, please email me.
We are with you in spirit, and holding you all in prayer,
Rev. Gini Norris-Lane