During October and November, 16 members of St. John’s volunteered to take on a big task — to reach out to everyone in the St. John’s community to check in with them, ask how they are doing, and to get a sense of what they need from St. John’s during these challenging times.

The people of St. John’s were generous with their time and their willingness to share how they are doing. Many of our callers reported meaningful connections and conversations during this in-reach, and were reminded what a gracious and loving community we have. On these calls, people named a wide range of emotions and experiences. Many people, particularly those who live alone, named how hard it is to feel isolated and lonely. Other people are missing people who live far away, and many people are missing coming to church. There are also many members of St. John’s who named how blessed they feel compared to other people in the midst of the pandemic, who expressed an interest in helping others in any way they can, and who are finding ways to “turn inward” and learn more about themselves, their family, or to reconnect with God right now.

We especially appreciate the honesty of people who shared their struggles. We will continue to work to reach out to those of you who are struggling right now, and we also want you to know that you can always reach out to us for help or support.

We will also use what we heard in these calls to continue to improve and add to the offerings we’re providing. We will continue to seek out ways to gather safely in-person when we can, to create smaller groups where people can connect more deeply, and to try to vary our offerings so that those of you suffering from “Zoom fatigue” can connect in other ways. We know many of the offerings can’t replace the sense of community that comes from being together in person, but we also hope we can look for opportunities in this moment to get to know each other in new ways.

Thank you to everyone who made calls and to all of you who took the time to check-in with us. If you have any questions or thoughts about any of this, or if you didn’t receive a call and would like to have an in-reach conversation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our seminary intern Elizabeth Lienesch. We’d love to hear from you.