The following was written by Connie Moore, who serves on the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors, as part of our new Board Perspective blog series.
People of Faith: It’s Our Time to Help
In the short time since Loudoun County’s first COVID-19 case was diagnosed on March 10th, the disease has spread rapidly. There were 121 cases as of April 2nd – a 40% increase in just the last 48 hours. And government officials and health experts are now steeling us for steep increases over the next 2-3 weeks.
We are all filled with concern about the suffering of the sick and their families, and the loss of life, and that concern extends to everyone in our community at large. The human and economic toll in Loudoun and northern Fauquier counties is extremely high and increases each day. People are unable to work, small businesses struggle to stay afloat, and our economy is coming to a standstill. The unprecedented strain on the region’s social safety net (food, housing, income, childcare, etc.) is why the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties (CFLNFC) moved so quickly to establish the COVID-19 Emergency Fund.
This pandemic is creating a huge challenge for people of all faiths. We collectively wonder, “how can we best help people – our neighbors – who are hurting throughout our community?” In normal times, we consider stewardship in terms of donating “time, talent and treasure,” with “time” frequently translating to volunteering with groups such as Loudoun Hunger Relief, Habitat for Humanity, and Tree of Life. But the highly contagious nature of this virus makes it almost impossible for people to volunteer their services. As a result, financial donations are more crucial than ever.
Helping our neighbors during this crisis is why the Community Foundation established the emergency fund – and thank God we did. Because we need both hope and help. And I say “thank God” not just out of habit but also as a person of faith. It’s great that the Community Foundation is not a religious organization; it welcomes help from all people, from all walks of life, and in turn opens the door to all people in need. That said, I am grateful that the emergency fund has given my church an opportunity to fulfill its mission by joining with others – both those from all faiths and those with no organized religion – so that we multiply our impact in fighting the damage caused by this crisis.
For just a moment, I want to speak to other faith families and congregations to let you know how much believers can make a difference here where we all live.
Even before this pandemic, my denomination – the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. – decided that our churches would embrace the teachings in Matthew 25 as our calling and cause. In verses 35-36, Jesus calls for his listeners to feed the hungry, satisfy the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, heal the sick, and visit the prisoner. He said, “[when] you did it to one of these brothers of mine, even the least of them, you did it to me.” I can think of no better time than now to put this teaching to work in our counties.
I am one of about 100 members of Catoctin Presbyterian Church in Waterford, a historic rural church established in 1764. Last week, we took a bold step by donating $2,500 to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund. This may not sound like much, but we are a small congregation with not-so-deep pockets, and this donation was a big step in our journey of living the teachings in Matthew 25. In fact, our donation aligned perfectly with the new mission we decided upon in January: “Extending God’s kingdom by serving those in need.”
We welcome and encourage people of faith and their churches, synagogues, mosques and other congregations to join us on this journey. Our neighbors, especially the least among us, need us right now and it’s our time to help.
CFLNFC Board of Directors
Elder, Catoctin Presbyterian Church