The Pulse That Goes On

Stories of camaraderie and commitment to community captured through conversation.

How Communities Connect During Crisis

Podcast by Brooke Wilson
Photos by Jaya Flanary

As nationwide lifestyle adjustments to the COVID-19 pandemic became increasingly stark, Brooke Wilson reached out to different religious figures in Bellingham, Washington to learn how the virus affected places of spiritual practice, and in a broader context, how faith and fellowship have transformed during a time when gathering is forbidden. These conversations were recorded in late April, when social distancing mandates were still enforced across Washington state and the number of confirmed cases averaged roughly 235 each day, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

Portrait Series

Faces across different Bellingham, Washington religious organizations who build identity around spiritual conviction

 

  • Rabbi Avremi Yarmush, Chabad of Bellingham - Rohr Center for Jewish Life

    Rabbi Avremi Yarmush, Chabad of Bellingham - Rohr Center for Jewish Life

    “I was wearing a tallit, a prayer shawl. Communal prayer is a very important part of Jewish life, the feeling of yearning for that to return is the reason I wore that.”
  • Garret Shelsta, Lead Pastor at Ekklesia Bellingham church

    Garret Shelsta, Lead Pastor at Ekklesia Bellingham church

    “My phone and headphones are the intersection of two conversations: one with my faith community and one with God. I am on calls with people in my staff and members of my faith community, hearing about their struggles, and their joys … The Covid-19 situation has caused a major disruption in the methodology of how our church community gathers to worship. This journal is where I write out ideas, prayers, and hopes for how we can exist as [a] church presently and into the future. I am almost through my second one in eight weeks. My hand is tired. Maybe I should have also included my pen?”
  • Alina Simone, community group leader at Ekklesia Bellingham church

    Alina Simone, community group leader at Ekklesia Bellingham church

    “I’m holding my Bible and my journal. Every morning I start out with journaling a prayer for the day to center myself and practice a posture of bringing everything to God.”
  • Ray Deck III, Executive Director and deacon at Christ Church Bellingham

    Ray Deck III, Executive Director and deacon at Christ Church Bellingham

    “Staying home with two active toddlers is a mixed blessing. Hard to get much of anything done, but lots of time spent looking at bugs and playing in the dirt.”
  • Rachel Benezra Devine, WWU Hillel Board Member and Peer Mentor

    Rachel Benezra Devine, WWU Hillel Board Member and Peer Mentor

    “I was holding a chanukiah in my picture, and it’s what Jews all over the world use to celebrate the miracle of Hanukkah. I chose it because it’s definitely one of my favorite holidays and it was a family heirloom that was passed down to me.”