Pastors, leaders, and members pray and volunteer in the city’s communities amid a surge of COVID-19.
It had been a week since the beginning of the lockdown. The day after he joined the neighborhood volunteer team, pastor Xue of GB Church received a white one-piece protective suit, a pair of shoe covers, a pair of gloves, and a face mask. (Xue and others throughout this piece have been given pseudonyms for their own safety. So have the church names.)
After 8:30 p.m. that day, he was responsible for collecting the garbage placed in the doorways of 72 homes on the 16th to 27th floors of the building. It took him about an hour to move nearly 150 kilograms of trash. The following day, the 150 bottles of alcohol and thousands of masks he ordered through online group purchase rapidly met the demand, and the community volunteers quickly became acquainted with him.
When they saw him at a community meeting, the local aunties and uncles immediately switched from Shanghainese to Mandarin with a strong Shanghai accent in their chatting to ensure unhindered communication. Xue’s newly added WeChat friends are all neighbors in the community. Neighbors are no longer an abstract concept or a group of people in the administrative or geographic sense, but people of all types, with their own temperaments.
In another area of the city, morning prayer meetings at the CL Church had seen a significant increase in attendance since the lockdown. While the city’s early risers were busy ordering groceries on their mobile apps, more than 20 Christians and seekers began online worship.
“With 15 minutes of Bible sharing and 15 minutes of prayer every morning, we encourage people to pray first after they wake up and before they do anything else. As Martin Luther said, if you wait till you finish everything else and then pray, you are actually …