It takes a village…

The Rev. Dr. Colleen Kristula, chaplain at a Diakon senior living community, has written a number of blog posts with reflections on the past year. This is one of those reflections, important as we note the one-year anniversary of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I am thankful for the community that surrounds our campus, and the ways they have supported us through this long, oh-so-long journey.  

From the hand-made signs thanking our staff to the flamingos (we were “flocked”) to gifts of food and “Happy cards” and musicians standing in cornfields to sing and play.  

And oh, the pop-up parade that, with the help of area churches and organizations and school district, brought more than 60 cars, fire trucks and other emergency vehicles to our campus, decorated, with honking and hooting and smiles, to cheer our residents.  Too many kindnesses to name them all, but so appreciated.

I am thankful, too, to my colleague pastors whose contributions to the spiritual life of our residents has been amazing. Although I missed leading worship in person, I was freed to do other more pressing tasks because various congregations and leaders provided recorded worship services to play weekly on residents’ TVs. Our local Lutheran congregation continued to broadcast audio worship on Sunday mornings, and recordings later in the week. 

I also am so grateful to church leaders for emergency coverage when needed, for the offer of sacramental ministry as needed and for the local monsignor for his faithful willingness to “gown up” in PPE to provide last rites to dying residents. 

I am thankful for individuals in our independent living community here on campus who stayed in touch through a phone buddy program. Senior living residents stepped up to provide outdoor campus photos and music for our weekly “Update Show.” Others accepted responsibility for small-group spiritual activities; one person writing an entire Advent devotional series to replace our usual in-person programming. Wow!

We often say “it takes a village to raise a child,” but it also takes a village to support one other in a crisis.  

We are all grateful for a community that pulled together even when we could not be together.