Церква Опікується Парафіянами в Час Пандемії Коронавірусу
Ukrainian Orthodox Christians Cared For in Time of COVID-19 Crisis
St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Memorial Church at the Metropolia Center of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA (South Bound Brook/Somerset, NJ) formally welcomed back numerous parishioners and visitors of the Spiritual Center of the Church by providing the life-saving spiritual and physical means of salvation and self-protection. Due to the generosity of FOCUS North America, parishioners and visitors to St. Andrew Memorial Church received facial masks and shields free of charge.
Reflecting on the ministry of FOCUS North America, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel stated: “The hierarchs, clergy and staff of the Consistory Offices and Entities of the Spiritual Center (Metropilia Center) of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA in South Bound Brook/Somerset, NJ are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of our clergy, faithful, visitors and employees. We are carefully monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic as well as all communications from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), government agencies, local health officials, and our internal team keeps close watch on this ever-changing situation.
…Orthodox Christians across the United States are mobilizing to help address the COVID-19 crisis, and one of the important ways in which they are responding is through offering thousands of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items to those serving on the front lines and/or residing in vulnerable situations, including priests, medical professionals, grocery employees and those in homeless shelters. They are making this offering through FOCUS North America, a domestic humanitarian agency of the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church…
We are truly grateful for the gift of PROTECTION of human life! As the CHURCH of Christ, a true FAMILY – we care for the spiritual wellbeing of our faithful and clergy as well for their physical health.
We have enhanced our cleaning procedures to include the use of disinfectant cleaner in bathrooms, chairs in the waiting area, places of common worship, door handles, etc.
We have also placed hand sanitizer dispensers in the Memorial Church and throughout the main Consistory building offices, which are available for employees and visitors to use. Acting on the guidance from the CDC, local health officials, and using our own sanitation and cleaning procedures that are already in place, we are striving to make our Metropolia Center of the Church a safe environment for everyone.
We strongly encourage the parish communities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA to follow our example by providing a safe and clean environment in the local parish churches, parochial offices of ministry, etc.”
FOCUS stands for both the initiating group (Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve) as well as the services they offer (Food, Occupation, Clothing, Understanding, and Shelter).
FOCUS is distributing over 18,000 items of PPE to front-line professionals through their local FOCUS Centers and other FOCUS outlets, inclusive of close to 1000 Orthodox priests in the United States in 13 major metropolitan areas. Many Orthodox priests have contracted and are fighting the COVID-19 virus. As with much of the rest of the country, FOCUS is working to stem this tide of the spread of this disease.
Priests are “front-liners” in the spiritual arena, visiting hospitals where allowed, conducting funerals, spiritual counseling, and much more, as well as they or their wives needing to go to the grocery store. As the society begins to return to “normalcy”, albeit with continued use of facial masks and shields, the need for these items will continue over a much longer period.
FOCUS included priests in its list of front-line service providers because if a priest, the leader of one of the 2000 spiritual communities of Orthodox Christians in this country, dies, the impact is great. It not only is a tragic loss for the priest’s family, but for an entire community. Many of the larger churches serve more than a 1000 people in their parishes.
FOCUS North America is 10 years old and has, over that period, produced over $43,000,000 of revenue to support its work in distributing to those in need, including meals, clothing, pantry items, household goods, personal hygiene items, employment training, shelter, housing support, healthcare, tutoring and educational support. Through its YES (Youth Equipped to Serve) program for teens and college students and its local centers and outlets across the United States, FOCUS volunteers have logged many tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of hours in doing the work efficiently. The initial PPE effort is costing approximately $50,000 for the PPE delivered. Increasing FOCUS’ overall resources through donations will help it to do more in this and other areas for those in need.
To find out more about FOCUS North America visit www.focusna.org
Ukrainian Orthodox Christians Cared For in Time of COVID-19 Crisis - 06/28/2020
Photos by Subdeacon Yaroslav Bilohan