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Creativity in the time of COVID-19

Creativity shared on her front door.

Each person copes in his or her own way in these risky times. Sonya Luna finds creativity works for her.

SONYA LUNA
Missionary for Hispanic/Latino Ministry

My New Year’s resolution at the beginning of 2020 (which seems like ages ago), was to be creative every day. I did not put parameters around the resolution. I left it simple. My goal was just to do something creative, be it a five-minute art journal page or 60 minutes of quilting.

This resolution has helped me during this difficult time. It has been a coping strategy for me. I have been praying in color, art journaling, quilting, taking pictures, and making masks. I have also been participating in the Making It At Home Challenge that NBC’s show, Making It, has been doing on social media. The last several challenges have been the junk drawer challenge, the lone sock challenge, and the cardboard challenge.

I bring this up because all the ways have inspired me that Michigan’s pastors and congregations have been creative in ministry. I have seen lots of creativity in the ways that churches and leaders are pivoting and adapting to our current situation. Churches and leaders have been creative in their worship services, in reaching out to the community, and in ministries with children and youth.   

Creativity makes a quilt
~ One of Sonya’s quilt projects encourages healthy practices during the pandemic. ~ photo courtesy Sonya Luna

I have been inspired by all the ways that you have been creative in your virtual worship services. I want to highlight a few examples. First United Methodist Church of Dearborn celebrated Camping Sunday by taking us to the lakeshore. The pastor, the Rev. David Nellist, filmed his sermon from the lakeshore, and we could hear and see the gentle waves. The church also included a fun clip of a camp song sung by Christie Brewster, a lay member, and her sons. The bell choir of First United Methodist Church in South Lyon did not have access to their bells. So the bell director thought of a creative idea to use everyday objects — glasses, cups, and bowls — to have the bell choir play the song, “It Is Well With My Soul,” together, while each from their separate homes. It is neat to see how the Rev. Sari Brown has been incorporating exercising from Revelation Wellness into the worship services that she leads for Harbor Beach UMC and Port Hope UMC. Churches are even coming together and doing collaborative worship services, and pastors are doing conversational sermons. 

Churches have been doing creative devotionals. Nardin Park UMC has been encouraging people to make prayer walls and rock gardens. Coloring pages are being done, and youth groups are meeting via Zoom and are playing scavengers hunts and games. Storytimes have been set up for children’s ministry, and care packages are being disbursed. Members are sending cards in the mail and calling people on the phone.         

Churches are being creative in the ways that they are reaching out to their community. St. Matthew’s UMC in Ypsilanti set up a 24-hour non-perishable goods pantry outside of their church. The Neighbors Program out of Elsie UMC is helping to hand out laptops for children learning at home. La Nueva Esperanza UMC is contacting to the women that were in their jewelry making classes via online media. Members from many churches are making masks. Some are putting these face coverings outside their churches for people to take.

Now, I realize that in these difficult times, it is hard to be creative. Maybe we have not been as creative as we have wanted to be. I say being creative during this time is like learning a new language. It takes a lot of work, and it is tiring. Reminder, we are all being creative and doing new things during a PANDEMIC. Yes, it is going to be hard. But we can still celebrate all the little creative things that we have done every day, and we can celebrate the creative things that we have seen around us.

As I write this, I am watching two robins build a nest above our back porchlight. I am watching the robins fly past my office window. I hope that as we continue in this challenging time, we do not forget about being creative. I hope that we continue to stretch ourselves and be courageous in our creativity and that we continue to celebrate our creativity.  

Maya Angelou said, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” Let us continue to be creative.  

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