By Guest Blogger Helen Bhagwandin

During this most unprecedented time of our lives, I know many of us have done things we did not think we would be doing. Well, it was the second Sunday of Lent after an evening Lenten service when I found out that we might have a positive COVID-19 case in my area of the state. I made up my mind right there and then that I will go home to shelter in place. No orders were yet given by our community leaders, but I had to use my nursing knowledge and judgement. I had warned our congregants two weeks before that this was coming and advised them how to prepare.

It occurred to me that the following day was the beginning of early voting, so I had to vote. Yes, that Monday morning I went very early and there was just one person ahead of me. After voting, I went back home and here I am still 20 weeks later. The following week, March 15th, our churches closed doors. The next week I started a Zoom platform for a Time of Prayers for various groups for the pandemic; and there I began hosting the Stations of The Cross, Sunday Service, Bible Study, and other meetings in between. Our Priest had retired last year, and we were using supply Priests. The Priests were reluctant because they were unfamiliar with the new technology. However, I insisted, and that was the beginning of our virtual church life. Amid this, I send out updates on the pandemic, and forwarded meditations and prayers to the congregation.

Then came time for our Annual Blessing of Hands Ceremony, our first extended invitation event, which went very well. At this event, a COVID-19 recovering Registered Nurse participated by doing one of the readings. My last big Zoom event was a Men’s Health program with a speaker as always with our usual Men’s Health celebration. I had no idea that I would be taking on such a task.  However, in all of this I continue to keep up with my other Faith Community Nursing activities as best I can for my church and for the Diocese. I meet regularly with the Parish Nurses that I coordinate in my Diocese, and with our Pastoral Care Team that I lead in my Parish, for sharing and praying for a time as this. I continue to reinforce my teachings with every email I send out as follows: WASH… SANITIZE…DISTANCE…MASK… &…PRAY

May God keep us all healthy and safely in His care,
Helen Bhagwandin, Chair
Faith Community Nursing Society
HMA