Soon after the COVID-19 pandemic became a reality in Rome, parishioners of Westminster Presbyterian found a way to continue their mission work even with the church facility itself closed.
It started with Anita Errickson, a Registered Nurse and member of Westminster, finding a pattern for reusable cloth face masks. Barbara Elliott then put together a team of 12 material providers, fabric cutters, elastic cutters, sewers, runners and distributors to make and give away reusable face masks throughout the Rome community — and some outside Rome — at no cost.
A donation by Anne Reilly was an enormous help. She gave 20 years of accumulated quilting fabric.
“It is like having an assembly line spread throughout the community with different members of the church doing different tasks resulting in many masks that are our gifts to the community,” Errickson said.
In over a month, this team has assembled and given over 1,500 face masks to various facilities in need.
They include nursing homes in the area, Floyd Medical Center, Redmond Regional Medical Center, Tanner Hospital in Carrollton, the Rome Community Kitchen, residents of low-income housing, the new homeless shelter, the William Davies shelter for men, the Ruth and Naomi shelter for women, a local hospice organization, the Albany, Georgia Exchange Club and members of Westminster.
Westminster also made and gave dozens of surgical caps to Tanner and Redmond Hospitals. Most recently, masks were provided for parents and children picking up food at Alto Park Elementary and West End Elementary.
Even though Westminster Presbyterian Church is closed, a plastic box of masks located next to the door leading to Westminster’s office and Westminster Christian Academy contains masks for anyone who needs them.
Westminster Presbyterian Church is located at 1941 Shorter Avenue.
Rev. Sam Henderson, Westminster Presbyterian’s interim pastor, puts it this way: “The work of the church is not confined within its walls. We have been doing virtual worship for several weeks and will continue to do so until it is safe to meet in person. And the mission work of our members in the mask ministry and so many others shows that our work as Christians is only beginning as we leave the building. Christian discipleship, as Jesus commanded, involves getting out into the community and spreading God’s word and love in ways that meet people’s needs.”
Anyone in Rome who wishes to help with this ministry should contact Barbara Elliott at 706-506-2499.