Gloria Medrano (Torrey Pines Church/Paradise Village Church) has kept her congregation connected in a way few would find relevant. A simple weekly phone call is uniting an entire retirement facility, and Gloria reminds us that low-tech is better than No-tech at this moment.
If there’s anything we’ve learned from ministry, it’s that Jesus has no restrictions on how we pastor to people. COVID is not the first obstacle we’ve encountered in ministry, and it won’t be the last. Christianity has flourished and grown to what it is today partly because of the followers who were creative in their methods of discipleship. Gloria Medrano is no stranger to this! Between serving a ministerial tenure in Europe and her current role today pastoring COVID-susceptible individuals, Gloria is a prime example of what it looks like to devote oneself to ministry.
The senior population is one of the more underserved communities in our society. Unfortunately, when COVID safety measures closed church doors, most seniors faced few options to seek out God’s Word. Often living on their own or in retirement communities, they also lack modern tools vital to socially-distant services, like computers, smartphones, and social media. These issues force leaders like Gloria to get creative to foster spiritual engagement. It would be an injustice to ignore people’s need for church involvement in their lives. Gloria took the time to learn how seniors best understand and use technology. As a result, Gloria learned to take advantage of the classic prayer line. She’s found that using a conference call line is very effective to help people who usually struggle with connecting online. Despite our modern day and age, Gloria proves that we can’t afford to discount any method to bring God to His people.
It’s the need for solutions like these that keep Gloria encouraged to continue ministering to others. She recounts that her feelings of empathy help her provide the best care she can offer to others in need of help. Everyone is dealing with personal struggles whether they publicly share them or not. The monotony of pandemic life can magnify these personal issues. While we might be all in different boats, we’re all weathering the same storm. Knowing that we’re not truly alone is what helps leaders like Gloria persevere, despite the setbacks life may throw at them.
Additionally, Gloria cites the consistency of Eastlake’s reopening plan as a notable tool that helps people with coping during the uncertainty of the pandemic. It’s disappointing that people won’t be able to meet together in the near future. But, a clear, unchanging stance from the church provides people with some sense of stability. This act of certainty mirrors that of God’s promise to His children. There will always be surprises no matter where you look in life, regardless of the times. But despite these surprises, God is always consistent, and always remain to love and support us.