Recorded March 15, 2021; broadcast on April 15, 2021.
Rev. Kirk Perucca is the Pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church, a multi-cultural, multi-racial and multi-economic congregation in Kansas City.
He spoke with KBIA’s Levi Moltz-Hohmann about how his church has remained a resource for his community throughout the past year of the COVID-19 pandemic – and about how faith and health overlap.
This piece was reported and produced by Levi Moltz-Hohmann.
Region: Jackson County
Reporter, Missouri Health Talks
Pastor, Covenant Presbyterian Church
Rev. Kirk Perucca: It's caused us to be separated, and that's really hard. I haven't been to nursing homes, although that is beginning to open up. I couldn't go to hospitals, you know, we did get a couple of funeral services by Zoom.
So, it's really caused us obviously, to be more distanced.
But being the optimist, we've joined together electronically in ways I never dreamed. If you would have said to me on March 10, “We're going to be virtual for the next year.” I would have said, “What? How? Why?” And now we're very, very comfortable.
So, I think we're doing a great job of closing those gaps. You know, I call much more. That's the way I connect with people. I've got a list of members, and I call those members and just check in.
Candidly, in the past, often when I would call people, it was because I needed something, and I think last year when I just started calling people, people were surprised to get a call from me, just saying, “How are you? How's it going? Where are you? How do you feel? What are ya thinking?” So, but it's gonna be a while till we repair all of that.
Levi Moltz-Hohmann: Can you tell me a little bit about your own congregation now? How does your understandings of how faith and health issues in general – how do these things overlap in your current community?
Rev. Perucca: We have folks that are on the street and really struggling with a place to sleep. So, we have a very broad, very broad representation of people, but everybody seems to really care about each other.
And so, the great news is that here, we show up together, we work together, we’re side by side – socially distanced, of course – but we're in masks, but we really are a place where everybody's welcome.
We’re radically inclusive, and we seek to model the love of Christ, and when we model the love of Christ, that means that when people are hungry, we feed them. When people are struggling, we journey with them.
So then, when you began to think about health – we know the disparities in health care in the United States. We know the disparities. We see the disparities every day in our community, and a few years ago, we developed Covenant Community Health and Wellness.
And it was an amazing thing that really fit that helped people have access to health care. We had a physician in the building one day a week, and we did great things for people.
With the pandemic, that has really shut it down, and we're looking right now – what do we do to reconfigure Covenant Community Health and Wellness?
Copyright 2017 KBIA and The University of Missouri. Development and Design by Nathan Lawrence.