Sharing talents while sheltering in place
For awhile now, photographer Bryan Moss of Corydon, Indiana has been posting some of his archives under the heading "Warm Human Moment of the Day," Leading us to remember the goodness of being human, Moss began these posts amid all the online bickering centered around the election cycle. Now with the worry of the COVID-19 virus, he has continues with his posts.
Moss is a retired photojournalist who now runs a website, http://www.lifeincorydon.com/ ,dedicated to showcasing the events and moments that make up life in his small town, and focusing on the goodness of life.
We all could use some "warm happy moments" in our day.
Moss isn’t alone in his efforts to spread some good vibes around. Artists, photographers, singers, thespians and more are sharing their talents online to connect with others in meaningful ways as we practice social distancing.
Gallery owner Jennifer Gillooly Cahoon posts drawing tutorials and other items to share her love of the arts. Her HeARTspot Art Center in East Providence, Rhode Island is usually buzzing with activity as she conducts classes and hosts events. This virus has the kibosh on that leaving her trying to reach her students and others via social media. The stress that some are feeling with social distancing has compelled her to take that step.
"I love the fact that creating art puts people into a meditative state that can really help calm the nerves. It’s a valuable skill to have right now and to be able to pass on to others." she said.
More locally, Venango Countians have been missing their local theater, the Barrow-Civic, which announced it will remain closed until April 30. In the meantime, theater leadership decided give performers a platform to share their gifts with others. The theater started posting videos provided by local thespians. In a statement on their website they ask local people to record their favorite monologues or songs.
Local theater enthusiasts might recognize the name Ian Best, who has been a regular on local stages for years. He recently teamed up with another well known local performer Ashliegh Bennett to share a song on Facebook. Though they both miss performing live they are happy that they got to share a little something with their friends and families.
Local school teacher and clay artist Angela Bowersox Wyant at OC Earthworks says her efforts to do short clay tutorials has expanded her reach to South Carolina and Texas. She has recently posted Facebook live sessions showing anyone who tuned in how to make a gargoyle and a fantasy bear creature. "It makes me feel like I’m doing something “normal” under abnormal circumstances," she said
Well-known regional blues guitarist Max Schang wasn't new to posting his playing songs to social media, but since the stay-at-home edict, he has been using his time to post a little more often. "I posted two just a little while ago," Schang said Saturday.
Creative people are known to be able to stay busy and keep their minds occupied during slow times. And many are out their trying to help out by sharing their talents with everyone. What talents do you have to share?
Schools feeding the community
The program is serving its purpose. On its first day they distributed around 240 meals. By the end of the week it reached over 400.
The program, which is run from the Sugarcreek Elementary and the Rocky Grove High schools in Venango County, runs from 10:30 a.m. to noon each weekday. The distribution includes breakfast and lunch for anyone under age 18, whether they are a VGSD student or not. Children must be present in the car to receive the meals. VGSD students who are over 18 are also eligible. They also will deliver if families cannot pick up.
Many other schools in the area are also distributing meals to ensure young ones are getting something to eat..
Narrowing the distance: Little's Corners Pastor uses technology to reach parishioners and beyond
Pastor Jeff Bobin oversees three United Methodist churches in Crawford County; Little's Corners, in Hayfield Township, Hamlin Chapel on Moisertown Road and Bethany in Meadille's fifth ward.
He starts his sermons with this simple greeting each week. He explains that the church is the people and not the building. The building is just where they usually meet to worship. But the last few weeks have been anything but routine for religious leaders like Bobin.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak in Pennsylvania and Gov. Tom Wolf’s daily pleading that residents to stay home and avoid crowds, Bobin's description of the word church has never been more apropos.
Last Sunday Bobin brought his message to his flock using technology. He pre-taped his sermon and uploaded to YouTube and shared it via social media so he and his parishioners could uphold the social distancing the governor is mandating.
Bobin, who is blessed to be tech savvy, set up his camera on a tripod at the front of the chapel Saturday and spoke to his church as if the people were in the pews. For Sunday, he downloaded the video to YouTube and made it available through Facebook.
He admits not all of his parishioners are as tech friendly as he is and some don't have internet, but he is focused on reaching out to as many as he can with his weekly messages. He also said prayer chains and call networking are being implemented on a greater scale to keep a sense of church community alive during this rough time.
And an interesting development might be coming out of this.
"Last week’s video had 156 views," Bobin said. The members of his three churches combined reach only around the 100 mark.
Bobin’s efforts with technology have shined a light on his notion of the true meaning of church being about its people, in some ways he actually is bringing more people together by expanding the walls into the internet. During this time social distancing - in some ways the distances are even narrowing as a result.