(RNS) Not long into the coronavirus pandemic, the Rev. Sandra Maria Van Opstal, a pastor at Grace and Peace Church on the West Side of Chicago, began to hear from congregants who lost their jobs and were struggling financially as the city closed nonessential businesses to slow the spread of the virus.
Some congregants were essential workers who were anxious about their exposure to the coronavirus and staying apart from family members so they didn’t risk bringing the virus to them.
Some had lost loved ones to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Others were unable to celebrate births or graduations.