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Portrait of a Pandemic Clergy Study

Looking around the messy space in my home that is now office, study, film soundstage, editing room, meeting room, and lunch counter, I realized that it is one snapshot of ministerial life in the time of covid-19. A photographic relic.

So here's mine, (panoramic shot), messy as it is, annotated for future generations. What's yours? Not just ministers. Those who are newly working from home. Put a link in comments.


1) Bag of items from minister's study at the church, brought home once it became apparent this was going to last a while. Some additional theology books, anything edible from my cabinets. Still not cleaned out, after a month.

2) Application for Texas mail-in ballot in case the courts uphold expanded mail-in voting because of coronavirus.

3) Pile of books to put laptop computer on, so people aren't forced to look up my nose in meetings.

4) Lifeline to the church I serve - my laptop. When I bumped it last week, I suddenly realized that's it's everything. It's sanctuary, meeting rooms, all of it. Yikes.

5) Small chalice for lighting and extinguishing in online meetings, and in Sunday's worship service.

6) Photography umbrella for lighting service videos.

7) Wayne Arnason's words, taped to umbrella, that I'm ending all services with:
Take courage friends.
The way is often hard,
the path is never clear,
and the stakes are very high.
Take courage.
For deep down, there is another truth:
you are not alone.

8) One of my stoles. Brought home in case I have to do online memorial services. Praying it will never be used.

9) Bin full of theology books brought home at the start of the pandemic, with the idea that I'd have time for some deep reading. Has not yet been touched.

10) Prayer journal, filled with the names of members and others who are on my heart.

11) Candles, put in the window every night.

12) Items for "grief kits" for when people are unable to attend memorial services. Praying there will be few needs.

13) Basket full of clean face masks for any time we leave the house.


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