COVID Silver Lining by Steve Pflasterer

February 26, 2022

It’s one phrase I’ve used to put a positive spin on the surreal existence we’ve experienced the last two years. For me, there have been a number of positive experiences, COVID silver linings. One that gave me special purpose and joy was gathering members and friends of Jubalate together early on Sunday mornings for an hour on Zoom.

Paul Newhouse and I realized early on that our beloved early service choir, Jubalate, could be a stabilizing force while Foundry was closed by COVID-19. Little did we know on March 29, 2020, that our little tribe would gather for the next seventy-two Sunday mornings to laugh, cry, dream, mourn and share struggles and fears and victories.

And we’d SING! If you’ve ever tried that on Zoom, you know it’s impossible.

Undaunted, each week we picked a theme — a composer, a topic, a style. Paul would come up with selections. We’d gather as a community early on Sunday mornings, check in, visit, and sing.

We’d screen-share YouTube videos of performers singing, mute our own computers, and sing along in the privacy of our homes. It was Jubalate and Friends Sing-Along!

One July Sunday in 2020, our special guest was the Reverend Jide Macaulay of St. Margaret’s, Leytonstone, London. He shared his experiences as an ordained, gay, African man in the Church of England. Rev. Macaulay had visited Foundry five years before and stayed with several Foundry members during his month speaking at various DC-area congregations. 

Another Sunday we featured the music of our own Francese Brooks, and on other Sundays Yolanda Bryant, Steve Telkins and Sarah Stiles gathered and sourced the shared music from YouTube. We brought our weekly Zoom gatherings to a close last August as we anticipated welcoming the congregation back to 16th and P Streets in September.

I look back on that strange period and still feel the joy and connection of a special time — amazed and grateful that we had the opportunity to create weekly Silver Linings. And now, I know there will always be Silver Linings to be found and embraced in whatever circumstances I find myself.

For an example of one of our weekly agendas, check out the YouTube playlist at Sample it and enjoy!