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Members of Borculo Christian Reformed Church in Zeeland, Mich., are using the gift of time during COVID-19 isolation to serve others in several ways, from sewing to singing.

Jan Gruppen uses her time to sew cloth face masks. As a retired worker in the health field, Gruppen’s sensitivity for the needs of health care workers and those they serve was awakened during this pandemic. “Hearing about the shortage (of masks), I decided I could easily sew some simple masks,” she said, indicating these are not intended for direct health care workers in an acute environment—instead she brought them to rehabilitation and palliative care facilities where the supplemental barriers for caregivers or residents might be appreciated.

After the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommended that masks be worn by the general population when in public, Gruppens thought about her church family. An email from Borculo’s church secretary invited congregants to pick up masks from a table in the front yard of Gruppen’s home. “About 80 masks disappeared in three short days,” said Gruppen, who so far has independently sewn at least 150 masks out of leftover fabric. Family and friends are also supporting her with supplies.

Several families connected to Borculo CRC shared their time to contribute to others' worship. Participating in the creation of a collaborative music video, they sang with their children at home. Chris Sievers, the church's technology support staff, edited together the recordings of  children singing "Lord, I Lift Your Name on High." The video was included in Borculo's livestreamed Palm Sunday service.

Several of the children featured were from military families stationed outside of Michigan.

“I love the ability to connect with our church family virtually, and it was a nice surprise for my parents to have their grandkids participate in the service from so far away,” said Kimberly Bloem, stationed in South Carolina.

Another military parent, Jillane Boeve agreed. “A few of our relatives said how lovely it was to see our children,” said Boeve, stationed in Alabama. “I know it makes them smile being able to see their grandkids in the church service." Boeve said it took her kids about four times running through the song before she shot the video, but the singing kept going. "After the video was sent, the children were still dancing and praising God to worship music in the living room!”

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