Being the ‘church’ during a pandemic

FCC volunteers collecting homemade dishes for the Pot Luck For Pivot.

FCC volunteers collecting homemade dishes for the Pot Luck For Pivot.

Contributed / First Congregational Church of Ridgefield

The sanctuary may be closed, and the church house shuttered, but First Congregational Church of Ridgefield (FCC) continues to “be the church” during the pandemic. Worship continues online, in-person and via livestream.

Our ministries and pastoral care are more engaged than ever using Zoom calls, email chains and telephone calls to stay connected. Our music ministry is literally rolling out the piano to our front patio every Wednesday evening for socially distanced concerts for anyone and everyone who needs a lift that music so beautifully offers.

When quarantine began, the Mission Ministry immediately checked in with our partners to see how they were doing. We found out that the food supply for our longtime mission partner, Pivot Ministry, had stopped. This meant 30 hungry men were running very low on food supplies. We placed several orders of groceries to be sent to help restock Pivot’s pantry and freezer. We also got creative with a “Potluck for Pivot,” in which generous church members filled two SUVs to the brim with homemade delicious meals for our friends at Pivot.

Then we rotated to another mission partner, Jericho Partnership, in Danbury. Normally, Jericho’s food pantry feeds 30 families each month, but the pandemic escalated that need to 130 families. Jericho needed perishable items like meat, milk, vegetables, and fruit. An email blast went out to the FCC congregation and an emergency Fresh Food drive filled up the back of a pick-up truck plus an SUV with fresh food. This was repeated several weeks later when Jericho’s food supply got low again.

Another mission partner, Dorothy Day House in Danbury, asked for help making bagged meals for their homeless clientele. Since March, several FCC volunteers have each made 25 bagged meals that include sandwiches, fruit, water, and dessert. We have also partnered with Wooster Hollow Café in Ridgefield so we can serve hot meals to Dorothy Day House clients every few weeks.

We asked Ridgefield’s Social Services office if we could help and were happy to join the Feed Our Tigers Program. We eagerly adopted a family to feed during the summer with many members stepping up to fill the grocery order every week. Meanwhile, donations to our church’s food pantry come in regularly and we distribute what we have to other pantries, such as ARC in Danbury.

Our congregation has worked together in spirit and love to help people who have been so hard hit by this pandemic. Jesus laid out a mandate to love one another and our congregation is working hard to do that. That’s what it means to be the church.

By Denise O’Hara

FCC Missions Team Member