Hope Presbyterian Church with a 425-member congregation in north Austin, is among churches throughout the Synod of the Sun that is finding creative ways to make connections with their members and the people they serve during COVID-19, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.
A community need recently called for members to drop off diaper donations at the church weekly. Each Monday, around 25 cars drive through and pick up the diapers without anyone having to get out of the vehicles. As weekly worship is held online, church volunteers and members missed seeing each other on Sundays but are finding joy in being together on Mondays even if it's from a six-foot distance and behind masks.
Rev. Josh Robinson, Hope's pastor for more than six years, said: "For servants looking for a way to serve, the stay-at-home order has been difficult."
Initially, the church leaders considered food donations to help their partner, Hill Country Community Ministries, throughout southwest Williamson and northwest Travis counties.
However, due to COVID-19 restriction orders, the agency was unable to operate as the headquarters are too small to keep social distancing. HCCM asked Hope church if they would be willing to be a diaper distribution point for the pantry's clients instead.
Teresa Hollaway, executive director of HCCM said: "People wanted to know where they could get diapers." Hope church quickly shifted its community service focus from collecting food to gathering diaper supplies for babies and adults.
Rev. Robinson said "My father was a United States Marine. When I was younger and would face a challenge, Dad would say to me, 'Son, you have to improvise, adapt, and overcome.' Truly that is the call of the Christian church in this day."
HCCM director, Hollaway said, "It's a great partnership, and it works very well. If it wasn't for our churches, we would have had to shut our doors. Our clients are very grateful."
Robinson added, "Our natural orientation is to give, and when we're pointed in the right direction, the Holy Spirit unleashes a transforming power that is amazing to behold."