Living Word interns answer the call

Shannon McLeod sensed a lull, and decided to do something about it.

When Oak Harbor’s Living Word Church put programs on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, McLeod, the congregation’s Discipleship Pastor, saw members of the Legacy internship program facing isolation and searching for purpose.

“These are people in training for the ministry, and the stay-at-home orders have been hard because they’re used to having something to work on. They are young adults, not just adults, which I think makes it even harder to be isolated and stagnant. Even though they live in a group situation, they still faced that lack of motivation.”

Properly masked and distanced, Living Word interns (l-r) Carter Liddycoat, Samantha Welch, and Kayla Rose serve a SPiN Cafe guest at Flintstone Park on Bayshore Drive. During the COVID-19 pandemic, meals are available at 11:30AM Monday through Thursday, plus alternating Fridays. SPiN hopes to fill the need for service on weekends as well.

With SPiN Cafe’s sack meal program, Pastor McLeod’s interns found a chunk of that purpose they needed. Through parishioner Gerry Fitzgerald, a regular volunteer at The Haven overnight shelter, McLeod connected with SPiN’s board member Tom Saunders.

“I was amazed,” says Saunders. “Shannon contacted me out of the blue, we discussed details on a Friday, and they were down here serving lunches on Monday.”

Pastor McLeod chuckles in agreement. “We jumped on it, and mobilized.” And now she sees the energy returning to her young interns. “They were commenting on how good it feels to get to be a part of such an important contributing factor for our community. They feel blessed to be a blessing.”

As to a relationship between Living Word and SPiN Cafe in the future, whatever a “new normal” looks like, Pastor McLeod takes a positive approach with a wait-and-see attitude. The church has a few local partners that they work with, and SPiN is “on our radar, so we need to hear what the needs are and continue to assess.”

And pray, of course.

For now, SPiN is grateful for the help, the service, and the blessing of Living Word’s interns.