Virginia Churches Offer Appreciation to Hospital Amid COVID-19 Crisis
By Carl Stagner
Early on Wednesday morning, March 18, a team of volunteers from Riverside Church of God in Fredericksburg, Virginia, came together for a cause. In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, these believers would not be deterred as the doors of opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus had swung wide open. They decided to partner with other local churches in an attempt to cover their local hospital’s nursing staff of 2,500 with thank-you notes—and a five-dollar gift card in each.
Riverside’s portion: 400 thank-you notes and five-dollar Chick-fil-A cards. While acts of appreciation and generosity are tremendously valuable in such a crisis, Pastor Brian Harrell takes it all in stride, believing that this is simply what the body of Christ should look like. “We are an outreach-minded church and we want to remind our community that God’s people don’t just take care of their own, but recognize what others are doing,” he reflects. “My personal theology in outreach is that every contact we have with an individual, no matter where they may stand in relationship to God, is an opportunity to move them closer to Jesus. Irrational generosity and outrageous kindness coming from the church is fulfilling Jesus’ mandate to let our light shine before the world and do good in a way that points back to our heavenly father.”
On Thursday, Brian plans to deliver their cards to Mary Washington Hospital. He’s worked it all out with the hospital chaplain in advance to distribute as deems best across a couple floors of the hospital. The other partnering churches have been assigned other floors of the hospital.
“God’s church should never insulate or isolate from what is going on around them,” Brian concludes. “Even back to the plagues of the Roman Empire, it was always the people of God that cared for others who were abandoned by those who only cared for themselves. We are also going to try to find other ways to reach out and meet needs in our community during this time.”
Learn more about response of Church of God Ministries to the coronavirus (COVID-19) at www.jesusisthesubject.org/corona-virus-statement.