‘Everyone there is for everyone else’: Snowmass Chapel offers more virtual support for locals during COVID-19 | AspenTimes.com
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‘Everyone there is for everyone else’: Snowmass Chapel offers more virtual support for locals during COVID-19

Aspen trees frame Snowmass Chapel on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times
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In the wake of the social-distancing measures implemented to combat COVID-19, local businesses and governments aren’t the only groups getting creative with how they both carry out their services and protect public health.

The Snowmass Chapel is coming up with different ways to connect with congregants and support the village community during the coronavirus pandemic, too, shifting its programming online and mobilizing volunteers virtually to check in on their neighbors.

“At the heart of all faith traditions is the desire to connect with people, so when we’re told we can’t do that it can feel isolating and lonely,” said Charla Belinski, associate pastor at the Snowmass Chapel.

“This is just so different because we’re not allowed the opportunity to process what’s going on together, so (the chapel is) working really, really hard to encourage and inspire connection in new ways.”

Although Belinski said many village residents are well cared for by their family and friends — aligning with Snowmass’ well-known, tight-knit culture — there are some older, single locals who live alone and may not have the same access to care or resources.

That’s why through streaming of its Sunday services online; a local “phone tree” network; a list or “care team” of volunteers to help pick up groceries and other necessities for residents in need; a new “Talko Tuesday” weekly video social hour through Zoom; and to be determined kids programming via Zoom, the Snowmass Chapel hopes to facilitate community connection for all locals and to ensure everyone receives the support they may need.

“Day by day we’re figuring out how to serve the community in new ways. We’re learning how to do things better online and may be something we continue moving forward, “ Belinski said. “I think most of us at the chapel are certain there will be some unknown gifts that come out of this. We’re just waiting to see what emerges.”

But while the chapel is doing more virtually as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, congregants like Donna Wiedinmyer and Jane Floyd say its behind-the-scenes efforts to support locals is nothing new.

“Everyone there is for everyone else,” Wiedinmyer explained. “Whenever someone is in need you see an immediate response, so it feels like a big family.”

Floyd expressed similar thoughts.

“Yes, the chapel has stepped up but it’s always been there for people,” she said. “I think this is more of an awakening.”

Wiedinmyer and Floyd are a part of the chapel’s phone tree, which guarantees participants two phone conversations at least once a week. The women said they’ve already gotten to know some of their neighbors more than they would have outside of the phone tree, and look forward to taking part in the creative virtual programming Snowmass Chapel continues to come up with.

But Floyd and Wiedinmyer also emphasized that they feel the chapel has always worked to connect with and offer something for everyone and are confident through all-encompassing support from organizations like Snowmass Chapel, the community can get through the COVID-19 crisis together.

mvincent@aspentimes.com


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