by John Mills
We’ve all been in some form of lockdown for several weeks now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The mildest way to describe our current situation is that it’s a very weird time. It feels like the answer to an impossible hypothetical. “What would you do if there was a viral outbreak that forced you, your family, and everybody else to stay at home for several months or longer?” My response 6 months ago would have been “Couldn’t happen.” And I definitely wouldn’t have thought of all the much worse causes and effects of this time we’re living. My heart breaks for everyone that has been truly impacted by this pandemic.
When this all started, I wasn’t sure how we were going to handle gatherings, let alone Sunday School and Adult Groups. But through a lot of work and coordination from the IFFP staff and volunteers, we’ve successfully transitioned to online. I’m so grateful we were able to pull it off. Kudos to everyone that made it happen. This entire post could be a long list of Thank You’s to everyone behind the scenes. Thank you all for the effort you put into every Gathering and enabling a vital component of keeping our community together and making the best out of this odd time we’re in.
The Zoomified Sunday Gatherings, “Sunday” School, and Adult Groups retained a feeling of community that I think we’re all craving more than usual due to the isolation and heightened anxiety that are part of our current new-normal. And we’ve been able to release some pressure by continuing to share our concerns and joys with one another. The Gatherings have been a welcome anchor to help with remembering one week from another. Sunday school and Adult Groups as well. There are some aspects of the online version of IFFP that are definite plusses. On the lighter side, at least one of my kids appreciates that “If you woke up late and your hair is messy, you can just turn off your video.” So there’s that. For me, the Zoom gallery layout has the benefit of seeing all the faces of families. It’s a different perspective and, in a sense, a more connected view than at an in-person gathering. And a very welcome side effect of going online is having people attend virtually that wouldn’t have been able to join us physically. We’ve had new visitors from out of state and also IFFPers we haven’t seen in a while. Online IFFP also affords us the ability to have gatherings over the summer. Looking forward, I’m eager to see what other opportunities we can create by removing the requirement of having a physical location.
True to the ‘Project’ part of the Interfaith Families Project, IFFP has adapted to the online platform successfully and very positively, and I’m looking forward to remaining connected to, and growing our community through the rest of this pandemic. And I’m very much looking forward to being a part of whatever kind of hybrid IFFP we’ll be when we’re through to the other side.