Life after COVID-19: Community celebrates anniversary in the new normal

Waves of euphoria swept across a wide swath of the community as little cell groups gathered physically in their respective groups to celebrate the community’s 37th anniversary.

Aug 03, 2020

By Agnes Chai
Waves of euphoria swept across a wide swath of the community as little cell groups gathered physically in their respective groups to celebrate the community’s 37th anniversary.

The experience of going through the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly taught members of the Light of Jesus Christ Covenant Community many lessons. Life after the coronavirus is unlikely to return to the community that was.

Following the instruction of the parish to all church groups or communities to ban all meetings and activities as a way to help the government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the enforced lockdown that lasted over four months has curtailed members from meeting in-person,

Traditionally the 300-member strong community marks its anniversary with a thanksgiving Mass and a fellowship meal. Because of the partial lockdown that discourages large gathering, the members of community were encouraged to gather themselves in their little groups to celebrate in the new normal, complying with SOP protocol.

Small pockets of celebration sprung up as the anniversary date of July 31 drew nearer. Some individual cells, while others made up of combined cells, met in homes or public eateries. The celebrations, albeit small, bore a resemblance of the return to normality.

Although community life was generally disrupted and members were not able to meet together as cell groups, they did not stop being part of community. The community was able to experience powerful forms of connectivity through the internet. General community gatherings, cell group meetings, intercessory meetings, pastoral leaders meetings have been sustained by new and creative forms of social media platforms.

As the nation enters into the recovery stage of the pandemic, what would life be for the community after COVID? It is without a shadow of doubt that the community has learned during the pandemic that they were not alone. They learned that the Lord goes before them on their journey. He has protected the community and led them through the crisis.

Would the words of Pope Francis strike home? The pope describes the current phenomenon as a “propitious time” to be open to the Spirit, who can “inspire us with a new imagination of what is possible”.

The pope suggests that after emerging from the coronavirus pandemic, everything would be different “The Spirit does not allow itself to be closed in or manipulated by fixed or outmoded methods or decadent structures, but rather moves us to make new things.”––Catholic Sabah

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