ISP in the time of COVID-19

Jul 30, 2020

Currently, all in-person ISP programs through August 31 are postponed until we can safely re-schedule. This includes all retreats, follow up days of reflection, in-person spiritual accompaniment and events. The ISP Network anticipates reopening programs on a case-by-case basis, as informed by local city and state guidelines. Please check back here for more information as we continue to monitor the situation and update this page.

Over the past months, we have all been learning new ways of connecting and being in relationship with one another. Since building communities of spiritual friendship, hope and belonging is at the very heart of our ministry, ISP has been learning and growing too.

ISP continues to suspend all in-person programs until it is safe for us to resume. As a ministry that works almost exclusively with those residing in congregate living situations, many of whom are at high-risk or have underlying health conditions, we are compelled to exercise special caution during this time.

However, while we are not meeting in person, we have not gone quiet… to the contrary, ISP is alive and thriving. Across the network, staff and volunteers have risen to the challenge in new and creative ways as we continue to live out our mission.

At the local level…
After closing down in-person programs in March, many ISP teams quickly pivoted to holding weekly or monthly spiritual companionship sessions via Zoom, Skype, and other virtual platforms. Others divided alumni contact lists among their team and began reaching out one-on-one, holding spiritual conversations via phone and check-ins via text. In an effort to meet immediate needs, in many locations, ISP team members have provided meals, food stuffs, and other basic necessities to local partner shelters in need.

At the Network level…
At the Network, we have been working hard behind-the-scenes to support all this good work. In late March, we initiated new ways to share important information with our volunteers and sustain our faith community including ‘Gathering in the Spirit,’ a weekly spiritual reflection open to all across the Network.

In terms of ISP programs during this time, a decision was made early on not to attempt to translate our overnight retreat into a virtual online retreat. We felt too much of the ISP experience would be lost. Rather, we have focused our energies on developing high-quality, easy-to-lead spiritual accompaniment programs which our local teams can conduct virtually. New spiritual accompaniment resources were made available to team facilitators this week on themes such as the Examen, Imaginative Prayer, and Ignatian Yoga.

Last but not least, we are excited to announce the creation of ISP’s very own mobile app, which will provide new ways of building relationships across our Network. We have long dreamed of a tool that could reach more people, deliver inspiring content and make spiritual accompaniment accessible to our entire community. The COVID-19 era has emboldened us to move this dream forward and make it a reality.


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