Daily messages of hope: 16 local houses of worship to offer short videos in unified show of support

Daily messages of hope: 16 local houses of worship to offer short videos in unified show of support

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Two months of social distancing, canceled religious services and spending untold hours at home have left many struggling with loneliness and fear.

To help those who may be feeling stressed out, isolated and hopeless, local religious leaders plan to reach out through social media to comfort their congregations during the coronavirus pandemic.

CUSH (Congregations United to Serve Humanity) Leaders from approximately 16 houses of worship will participate in a daily short video prayer or meditation as a unified show of support and encouragement to the community throughout the month of June.

According to Rev. Susan Patterson-Sumwalt, pastor of First United Methodist Church, the idea came about after a meeting between members of the CUSH RLC (Religious Leaders Caucus).

After discussing several ideas, the leaders settled on having a different clergy person each day to share a video prayer or introspection of hope and encouragement to be posted on the CUSH Facebook page www.facebook.com/CUSHKenosha/

“Our thoughts were that in tragedies and times of perceived injustice, interfaith leaders of CUSH have come together to lead worship services and prayer services or to speak out with gatherings,” said Patterson-Sumwalt. “Here is a time when people are struggling with the loss of life as they know it and how might we not only address it, but offer support, strength and hope from our unity, our interfaith connection, our voice, our leadership.

“Out of those conversations, the time for daily prayer emerged. We hope that it will be a centering moment in people’s lives and to be reminded that we are together in this in different ways than what has been common to us.”

One of the initial ideas was to bring representatives from CUSH member congregations for a vigil or joint prayer service as was done in the past when the Kenosha area dealt with a crisis, explained Rev. Erik Carlson, CUSH Chair and pastor of Bradford Community Church Unitarian Universalist.

“Because of the safer-at-home guidelines and a commitment to the health of our community, the religious leaders quickly agreed that an in-person gathering for any purpose was not what we wanted to do at this time,” he said. “In lieu of a joint service or event, we agreed that we would like to address the community in regular messages of care and comfort.”

The CUSH RLC members will be soliciting and publishing 2-3 minute new interfaith-friendly videos on the CUSH Facebook page each day as a message of encouragement to stay safe, healthy and to always act with kindness, especially during this difficult time.

Rev. Anita Lang, pastor of Immanuel United Methodist Church said the video prayer and meditation messages will be a great means for greeting the community and an opportunity let their members know how much they care for them.

“We are right here for them and we have a word of hope, love and solidarity through this pandemic time,” she said.

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