Resources During This Time of Social Distancing, May 7, 2020

Resources for Keeping Informed About the Coronavirus  

Although many states are opening up, experts say getting back to a pre-pandemic normal is at least two years away or when we have at least 70% of the population with antibodies for the disease which gives immunity or there is a vaccine.

Testing is becoming more available. So when should you get tested and what are the different tests and what do they mean? The AARP has some answers.

Johns Hopkins is instituting a nation wide study to track Covid-19. If you have a smart phone and a thermometer you can participate. By tracking people before they get sick enough to be hospitalized the researchers hope they can anticipate hot spots of the virus and to send equipment etc. to those areas more quickly.

Resources for Getting Benefits or State or Governmental Assistance Due to Covid-19

Montgomery County has passed several new Covid-19 related appropriations that will help prevent evictions, increase financial assistance to those who are not eligible for state or federal aid, and an increase in aid to help with food insecurity. Below is the press release and links to more information.

“The Council unanimously approved a special appropriation of two million dollars to be used for emergency eviction prevention and housing stabilization programs. This appropriation was spearheaded by Council member Evan Glass. Funds will be allocated to provide a short-term rental subsidy to low- and moderate-income households in response to the current Covid-19 state of emergency in Maryland.

We also approved three special appropriations for Covid-19 relief. The first was $5 million to increase direct financial assistance to low-income County residents in response to the Covid-19 public health emergency. This County assistance is intended for residents who are not eligible for Covid-19-related state and federal assistance.

Next, we approved an additional $750,000 to help address the County’s increasing level of food insecurity among community members and their families. The $750,000 in funding will be allocated as follows: $400,000 for nonprofit organizations; $300,000 to secure ethnic and culturally appropriate food items from ethnic grocery stores located in the County to be distributed in areas with high concentrations of vulnerable populations; and $50,000 to increase the County’s contract with the Montgomery County Food Council to provide continued planning, coordination and implementation of food security efforts. This funding was spearheaded by Council members Gabe Albornoz, Nancy Navarro and Craig Rice. The Montgomery County Food Council is accepting applications from nonprofit food providers starting today. You can view the application here.”

Reposting because these are still important resources.

The first coronavirus relief stimulus payments have been issued. Here’s what you need to know about how much you and your family could receive.

If you are self employed or normally would not be eligible for Unemployment Insurance you will now be eligible under the Cares Act in Maryland (check DC and VA for their requirements by Googling Cares Act DC or Va.) This link will tell you how and where to file. Filing in MD begins today, April 24.

MD, DC and VA have suspended the processing of evictions and foreclosures during this pandemic. They will however resume once this emergency is over. In the meantime contact your mortgage holder or your landlord and try to come terms with them for the duration of the pandemic.

Everything you need to know about paying your rent or mortgage during the pandemic.

Resources for Participation in the Upcoming Election

As the lockdown continues it is becoming more and more likely that voting in person is going to be difficult and risky. Now is the time to do something about that!  Trish found this great website that has clear usable information for each state about voting deadlines, registration deadlines and includes information on how to ask for an absentee ballot, etc.  There are relevant deadlines in May for each DMV jurisdiction so this is a good time to get this out. The organization is called Election Protection:866ourvote

This is from the League of Women Voters:

The Maryland Primary Election has been moved to June 2, 2020. It will be mainly vote by mail with limited in-person voting on June 2.

All active registered voters will be mailed a ballot in early May by the Board of Elections.  Check your voter registration at

or text Check to 777-88 and update your address or party affiliation if necessary by May 27.  Vote your ballot, sign the oath, and return your voted ballot by mail. You will not need a stamp- the envelope will have postage on it. Your ballot must be postmarked by June 2. You may also drop your ballot at any one of four Vote Centers or at a drop box at the Board of Elections or Rockville City Hall between May 21 and June 2 at 8 p.m. Go to the Montgomery County Board of Elections website for more details. The highly respected non-partisan Voters’ Guide from the League of Women Voters will be coming soon in both an English and a Spanish version. Check our website for updates or go to now.

Resources for Re-imagining Our World After the Pandemic

This is from Jackie McMakin who encouraged me to create this topic for the Resources email. From Emergency to Emergence seems like something we all need to think about!

This is another one from Jackie: What are business leaders considering as they think about re-opening and the affects of the continuing pandemic might have on their company and the people who work there? Here are four scenarios they are considering. The good news is that 80% of 450 business leaders felt that the pandemic was an opportunity to create a more just world!

A few weeks ago Laura Kelly Fanucci  posted a poem she had written on FB. Since then it has been published in print, quoted on NPR and widely shared on social media.  It is a great meditation on what we have lost and what we might gain from this pandemic. It is also a good way to start a conversation with each other on re-imagining our world after this pandemic. Thanks to Larry for bringing this poem to my attention!

If you look at nothing else in this week’s resources email, look at this. A young poet from England whose parents and sister are healthcare professional wrote a powerful re-imagining of life after this pandemic. Set far in the future, it is told like a good night story to a young child! Very powerful!

Resources from Earth and Spirit Mission Group.

Here is a great opportunity! The Center for Spirituality in Nature is putting on a program program called: Coming Home-Exploring the Spiritual Wonders in Your Own Back Yard. May 9, 10am-1pm.

Suddenly there are flamingos! This link tells you why!

Resources for Gardening and Growing Vegetables

Are you thinking of starting a vegetable garden? Or do your rose bushes have funny splotches on their leaves? The UMD Extension service website is a great way to get all your questions answered! They even have Master Gardening classes!


Resources from Carroll Café

Since the pandemic began Carroll Cafe has had to cancel 3 of the 4 concerts on the calendar for the 2019/20 season, and will probably have to cancel the June concert as well. As you can imagine this is a very complicated time for all the artists/musicians, whose income is directly tied to being able to interact with the public. We’ve all read about larger venues making art shows and concerts available live streaming, but Carroll Cafe does not have the ability to do that.

So we would like to put forward an opportunity for you to explore the concerts that didn’t happen by giving you the links to the artist’s websites where you can hear and buy their music.

March 13, 2020 IN PROCESS…

April 10,2020 PIERCE PETTIS

May 8, 2020 IONA

June 12, 2020 Scott Ainslee

Resources For Sustaining Your Spiritual Life  (Sponsored by Living Water Mission Group)

Marjory offers this resource from her friend Lisa Smith who is a Pastor and Artistic Director at Convergence: A Creative Community of Faith.

Convergence has been working to create an online space for you to pause; to rest from anxiety and consider a bigger perspective. Each week, we create a short video meditation for you to watch on YouTube whenever you need it. (Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss anything!) Our current series is called “Learning to See” and we just released this week’s video, “A Surveyor’s Map,” so head on over to watch a

The Gerald May Seminar will be held on Zoom this year. The Friday night talk will include a time for interaction at the end. Saturday will be a retreat, with time for silence, guided meditations on art, sharing in pairs and small groups.

Friday, May 15, 7-9 PM

“The Divine Kiss: The Relational Mystery at the Heart of the Gospel”

The evening will include an opportunity for questions and answers.

Saturday, May 16, 10 AM-4 PM

“So Longs the Heart”

This will be a spacious, open, experiential, and interactive day, with brief presentations and then time alone for prayer and reflection with art, quotes, and in nature. We will return to share in pairs and/or small group. For more information

Resources for Food Assistance 

Reposting since these are all good resources.

Resources for Cooking

One of the rules in our household was, “don’t play you’re your food.” But this artist is turning her morning toast into works of art. Every morning since the quarantine began she takes a picture of her new creation and shares it on Instagram. Some of these are really beautiful!

A couple of new recipes from Erica:

Enjoying these banana cookies, I doubled the banana and subbed in some almond flour for regular flour. Delish!

Also my new favorite lunch is this zesty kale bowl. Packed with healthy ingredients and sooooo tasty thanks to the hint of lime and sugar. I omit the cilantro (not a fan) and sub feta for cotija. I make everything in a big batch at the start of the week and just reheat throughout the week.

Resources for Organizing and Decluttering

If you are finally getting to those clothes that don’t fit from 20 years ago or the over filled family game closet, there are still ways to turn  clutter into cash: How to sell all those old DVDs, Legos and other unwanted items sitting at home.

Resources for Mental Health, Wellness and Emotional Well Being.

I thought this was a very helpful article on the kind of grief we are feeling. We are experiencing many losses from not being able hug family and friends to losing a job or mourning the deaths of friends and family members. We are grieving all of these losses in many ways.

We are just starting to understand that there is a brain-gut connection that can impact our moods and our ability to cope with stress. Here is a great resource to help you choose the right foods to maintain a healthy gut as we go through this stressful time!

I am reposting information from last week, since I think there are some great resources here:

PEP continues to offer resources for families and children about the Coronavirus.

Anita sent me this link from the AARP:

“If you’re feeling socially isolated, you can use AARP Community Connections to ask for a phone call from an AARP volunteer Mondaythrough Friday 9 am to 5 pm EDT.  Call1-888-281-0145 or share this number with others.”

Here are some more mental health resources:

EveryMind Specialists are available 24/7 to listen and provide support to either you or a loved one. This service is free and open to all members of our community. You do not have to be in crisis to connect with EveryMind. Reach out even if you are just looking for ways to support someone you are concerned about.  Call/Text: 301.738.2255 or Chat:

Resources to Help You Laugh and Be Entertained 

In the “it’s never too late” category, May 4th was Star Wars Day (“May the 4th be with you.” Get it?) London’s Heathrow Airport got into the spirit of the day and put these flights on their Departures board. Gotta love that British humor!

Ode to Joy again, this time a Muppet version! If this doesn’t make you smile, nothing can! Be sure to watch to the very, very end!

Opera fans rejoice! The Met is broadcasting some serious opera on PBS! Read all about it here!

A new album from our own John Morris and Katie Fisher has been released! Download it here! Congratulations, Katie and John!

Next Stop Theatre, a local theatre company is producing some wonderful Covid-19 editions of famous plays. Elizabeth Jernigan, who grew up in Seekers, stars in one Noel Coward adaptation! Such fun!

If you love drama and heart pounding suspense you need not go any further than the Mother Goose Series from Eye On Sligo Creek. They have set up cameras and are filming a mama and papa goose who are trying to protect their nest and a clutch of eggs from encroaching waters, raccoons, foxes and even a Bambi Brigade! New film is edited and uploaded all the time so be sure to stay tuned to check back regularly.

Do you love amusement parks and riding the roller coasters! Well you are in luck! Now you can virtually ride all the most famous roller coasters in Japan! Don’t over do!

This is in the “Now I have Seen Everything” category. The Poop Museum in Tokyo (there really is one) is now offering virtual tours. Check here for what that entails!

Keith’s sister created a great video of her acting as her future self coming back from the future to warn her current self of what is to come. Kathy is public school teacher in Missouri. Cleverly done!

TV and Movies recommended by Seekers

Resources for Books and Reading

I am currently watching Poldark, which I highly recommend as well as Beecham House, a new offering on PBS.

There are evidently 23? movies in the Marvel Super Hero franchise. Some of the movies you might recognize are; Captain America, Iron Man, Wonder Woman and Black Panther.  Evidently they were not released in chronological order, so I may have to watch them all again in the correct order.  But I can’t be start until after I finish writing my sermon for Sunday. Erin Bush has already expressed interest in doing this virtually with me. Any other takers?

Going back to the future may be something we are all longing to do after seven weeks in social distancing. Luckily the movie gods have listened and Back To The Future I and II are being released on Netflix this month. III was already out on Netflix so now you can watch all three in order!

Books that Fellow Seekers Recommend

From Cynthia Dahlin:

I’m reading Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt, as we expected to be in Ireland right now, but his stories of finding humor in poverty make me see how little I actually need to live well.

The Splendid and the Vile, the new Erik Larson book on Churchill was really interesting.

The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson was an enjoyable Swedish version of Forrest Gump—and I’m about to order the sequel, just published.

From Sandra:

Perfume by Patrick Suskind

Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (non-fiction)

Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco

Salt by Mark Kurlansky (nonfiction)

From Kolya:

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (a Native American Botanist)The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd    (if you’ve already read that book of hers, another equally inspiring one by her is The Invention of Wings (Historical fiction) about the Abolitionist movement through the eyes of Sarah Grimke and one of the women enslaved on Sarah’s family plantation.

The Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

From Erica:

Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor

Also love rereading the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis periodically

From Madeline Yates:

Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help us Grow

by Elizabeth Lesser and

Let your Life Speak by Parker Palmer

From Jackie McMakin:

I am reading “The Universal Heart”. by Kathryn Spink.  It is the story of Brother Roger Schutz and the founding and establishment of the Taize Community in the midst of another very difficult moment in history, World War II.

Resources for Learning and Trying New Things

Learning continues despite the pandemic. Here is a list compiled by the NYTimes filled with intriguing possibilities!

Elijah Wan’s podcasts on animals are both informative and entertaining from Crocodiles to Wolves you can learn a lot from Elijah!

Resources from Seekers

If you or someone within the Seekers community is running out of TP let David Lloyd know. We had some extra at church and we are willing to share with anyone in the community who needs it!

Our own Margreta is making and selling masks on her Etsy site. Here is the link if you need a mask!

Please contact David if you need a mask and don’t have the resources to buy or make them yourself. Margreta made a few extra to share with Seekers who need them!

Resources On How To Still Be God’s Hands and Feet while practicing Social Distancing. 

As we begin to receive our government checks some of us are looking for suggestions on organizations in addition to Seekers with whom to share some of this money. If you have ideas for organizations to support please let me know.

One of my spiritual practices during this time of Covid is to incorporate more music into my life. I found this recording/video of Black Water by The Doobie Brothers (one of my favorite bands!) which I really enjoyed. But at the end they encourage people to go to the Feeding America website and find out what you can do to stop hunger! Seems like a win win all around! Great music, feed people!

A friend of mine told me about McKinley Mutual Aid who is working with the Navajos and Zuni people whose supplies have been cut off by the Gallup lockdown. Indigenous people here in the US have been disproportionately harder hit by this pandemic. Right now the governor of New Mexico has placed the town of a Gallup in a strict lockdown because over 60% of the town’s 2,200 residents are positive for Covid-19.

Direct Support for Immigrants is an organization that some individuals in Seekers have worked with by meeting immigrants at bus stations and offering support. Now those same thing immigrants are struggling in the pandemic.

This is from Julie:

I wanted to mention an organization under the possible donations / support category. My good friends Cary Umhau and Scott Borger have a nonprofit called Breadcoin, which serves as a way to feed the hungry. Right now they’re really in need of monthly supporters to help them get food to those who need it most.

Originally, Breadcoins were physical tokens that you could purchase and pass out on the street to those who needed them. The recipients could then redeem those coins for food at vendors around DC who had chosen to partner with Breadcoin (these include Ben’s Chili Bowl). Our family has had a lot of meaningful interactions passing out these tokens in the past, but of course right now this kind of contact is not possible. Breadcoin is finding that monthly supporters is the most effective way to reach those in need. More info is here:

Finally, in other news

In 1847, when the Irish were suffering from the potatoes blight a native-American tribe, the Choctaw Nation, sent $170 to help. Now the Irish are giving that back and much more, sending money through a Go-Fund Me page to help the Choctaw Nation who are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. This is a story of goodness being remembered and repaid long after anyone at the original act of generosity is even alive. Read more here!

Remember we are all in this together!

Resources During This Time of Social Distancing, May 15, 2020
Resources During This Time of Social Distancing, May 5, 2020