I would like to repeat “God is our refuge and strength; a very present help in times of

trouble.” That is the opening verse of Psalm 46, one of my all-time favorite psalms. I quoted this

verse at the beginning of my pastor’s article last month. I feel strongly that we all can use this

firm assurance from the Lord again this month.


  Yes, life here in the Chicago suburbs is still topsy-turvy. Father Dennis O’Neill from St.

Martha’s Catholic Church and I were talking a few weeks back, and we discovered a large

number of people both of us had talked to who feel disconnected and disheartened. Many people

are fearful, anxious, stressed out, and experiencing many losses and griefs.


  Providentially, I then had a conversation with Mark Matz, the Director of the Morton

Grove Chamber of Commerce. He and I talked about a very similar thing, except this had to do

with the small businesses in the Morton Grove area, and how challenging this shelter-in-place

time was to the business community here and all over the country. Again, many people were

feeling disconnected, disheartened, and sometimes unemployed and desperate. What could we do

to help gather our community together?


  Jumping to the end of the story, the Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that

we will offer a short, 4-part video series titled “WE GATHER TOGETHER,” available on

YouTube and Facebook Live. I will act as host and narrator for this series.


  This community video project will premiere one segment each weekend in June. Each

segment focuses on a different part of this pandemic period of time. Education, families, seniors,

the local economic picture, community resources, essential workers, faith communities, and

ending with a look at the wider community’s losses and grieves from COVID-19, including a roll

of local deaths.


  I hope to bring to this video project the blessed fact that God is with us through all these

changes of life. I also want to show how in the midst of all this uncertainty our families,

communities, workplaces and other groups are finding resilience, togetherness, hope and even

joy. Wise people remind us that we gradually heal inside and out when we come together to

name our stresses, losses and griefs. What is more, it is important for our community neighbors

to join (virtual) hands together in community and solidarity in the face of anxiety and fear.

Alone, each individual runs the risk of isolation and despair. Together, we can join as

neighbors, as a community. We can encourage each other and together find strength and hope.

Isn’t this what Psalm 46 tells us? “God is our refuge and strength; a very present help in

times of trouble.” God is always there to help, even if the mountains fall into the sea, even if the

world turns topsy-turvy – like, in the past months with this COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless,

the Lord is at our side. We are not isolated and alone, but together in community.

God is, indeed, our refuge and strength, a very present help in our time of trouble and

need. God’s name be praised!


  Remaining faithful to our heavenly!

Help and Refuge,

Pastor Elizabeth Jones