As we live into the unprecedented measures taken to keep us healthy and safe during the coronavirus outbreak, many of us are lamenting the need to stay away from our congregations and Bible study groups.
Although you may not be able to meet in person with your Bible study circle, you can continue to connect with one another and Gather. Use these helpful ideas to remain rooted in Bible study and to put your faith in action during this challenging time.
Phone a friend
Even when we may need to stay “physically distant” to care for our health and that of neighbors near and far, we still need faithful support and care. Can you reach out to a member of your Bible study group and make a plan to stay in touch? Perhaps you might make a standing appointment once a week or every few days to connect. Share what you’re going through, pray, and complete a section of the Bible study by phone.
Stream your study
It is easier than you might think to lead Gather’s Bible study via the Internet. The ELCA has put together a handy resource to help you create a plan to stream your congregation’s activities with nothing more than an internet connection and a smartphone. You could use any of the tips in this guide for your Bible study.
Join us on Facebook
To help us stay connected, Gather’s editors and writers are leading sessions of Gather’s Bible study via Facebook and on video. Visit Facebook.com/gathermagazine to watch the videos and join in conversation with Gather readers all over the world. Come be a part of this great experiment! Watch Angela Khabeb lead Gather‘s May devotional, “Plenty good room.”
Invite someone new
Many people in our communities face increased stress and anxiety related to COVID-19 concerns and restrictions. All of us now are coping with unprecedented isolation and uncertainty during this global pandemic. Those who participate in regular Bible study groups know the strength, comfort, and challenge of nurturing our faith together in community, while exploring God’s word. Maybe there’s someone who couldn’t make it to your physical Bible study before. Or there is someone you know—even someone of a different generation—who may long to experience something familiar to you, but new to them: the comfort and challenge of a regular group study of God’s Word. Even if they’re not able or ready at this time, a genuine, caring invitation may be encouraging in a way that we’ll never know. You can also point them to Gather’s Facebook Bible study effort.
Perhaps the need to close schools, work remotely and otherwise change your usual routine has you overwhelmed and juggling more than you feel like you can handle. If engaging in Bible study right now feels overwhelming, we understand. Know that Gather’s editors and Women of the ELCA’s staff, board, and network of women across the country are praying for you.
You can join us in prayer Tuesdays at noon from wherever you are. Learn more about this effort here.
Sarah Carson is managing editor of Gather magazine. Subscribe to Gather for award-winning Bible studies and articles.