How One Church is Supporting Frontline Workers

By Kristi Swink

Hospital masks with background
The church has delivered masks to hospitals and doctors' offices across Oklahoma.

At First United Methodist Church in Yukon, Oklahoma, one of our Sunday morning practices is to share a mission moment with the congregation. We lift up a way that we, as a church, can be the hands and feet of Christ in the world. Sometimes we share about a local mission, an opportunity for service, or highlight one of our United Methodist apportionments.

When the Coronavirus (COVID-19) started affecting people in Oklahoma, the pastors got together and decided that we would go online with worship and close the church building to lower the risk of this virus being passed among the congregation. One of our priorities during this time was to make sure that people knew that even though the church building was closed, we were still able to engage in worship, mission, and ministry together as the body of Christ.

Joy muse wheeler with mask
Joy Muse Wheeler, who works at Integris Baptist Hospital, sent a thank you note to the church for making the masks.

As we were planning for that first online service, Pastor Kirt sent me a link about the shortage of medical masks in the hospitals due to the outbreak of the virus across the country. We agreed that this would be something we, as a church, could take on as a mission. I called a couple of hospitals, and they said they desperately needed the masks and told me what pattern to use. During our mission moment, we shared with the congregation the need for masks, and we also put the information on our church Facebook page. Not only did we start getting volunteers to make masks, but nurses also started sharing stories about how they and other nurses on their floor desperately needed masks because they were having to go without due to the shortage. Then, I received a call from Integris Baptist Hospital asking if we could make masks for them if they provided the mask material and supplies needed to make them. We said, “Surely we can!”

To date, we have made over 200 masks for hospitals and doctors’ offices around the state. Supplies are delivered to a volunteer’s porch and then picked up from the porch when the masks are completed. As soon as I pick up completed masks, they are taken to a medical facility in need. We are doing our best to keep up with the requests, but the need is great. I am thankful to be a part of a church that sees a need and acts on it. If your church would like to participate in this project, please contact Kristi Swink at [email protected].