We were well underway in developing this issue when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Suddenly our staff found ourselves working from home and learning new ways to work together. It certainly has not been business as usual. As I write, we do not expect things to be back to normal when you read this.
Pictured with this column is one of the covers we were considering during the development of this issue. We realized that, at a time when people needed to be continually reminded of the need for social distancing, this cover might convey the wrong message. So, we substituted a photo with parish nurse Christine Ramseyer visiting by telephone rather than in person.
Some articles in this issue, like this one, were developed with the pandemic in mind. However most remain as they were submitted. It’s our hope that you find inspiration and some normalcy from all of them.
When I first learned that May 12 would mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale and that she had a Lutheran connection, I decided that we should note that. At the same time, it wouldalso provide an opportunity to remind readers of a ministry in our church of which many members are not aware—parish nursing.
I didn’t realize how timely this article would be. We are now aware of the vital role filled by all nurses and so many others we had tended to take for granted.
Florence Nightingale used the events of her times to change the way people were cared for, particularly in overwhelming situations. Many of us hope that similar lessons will be learned from the things we learn during this pandemic and applied.
The three parish nurses in the feature have been finding ways to continue to serve those they care for. Phone calls, email and texting have become vital tools.
“I called a member who had just returned from Florida,” says Diane Jackson. “She told me her daughter had filled their fridge before they got home. I asked if she liked to do a jigsaw puzzle. She said she would like to but didn’t have one. I said I had one and so left it on her doorstep, rang her bell, walked back to my car and waved to her when she opened the door.”
Carol Kostiuk says, “Many are getting tired of the constant barrage of information on TV and just want a straight answer—what exactly is happening? As I am a trusted person in this church community, I am glad they feel safe to call me as a resource to clarify confusing or conflicting information.”
Christine Ramseyer reports, “For many people, I have found that the reminder that we are in this together under God’s care and that help is a phone call away has been very reassuring.”
While Bishop Pryse couldn’t have anticipated the context in which we would read his words about reaching out and grasping the hands of others, his underlying message remains timely (p.30).
Opportunities for church camping will be seriously altered this summer. It is good to be reminded how our camps transform lives (p. 9).
Of course, climate change remains on the world’s agenda and there are still ways you can make a difference
Kenn Ward, Editor