HOUSE NOTES

By Mary Ellen Mitchell Can it be said enough that it’s been a strange year? At Lydia’s House we have nothing to bench mark this against, but we keep on keeping on. Through later summer and into fall we continued to operate our shelter in socially distanced “suites” with kitchenettes and private bathrooms. Meals were largely discontinued while we considered options and scoured the latest updates on the CDC website for where Covid spread was occurring and how to stop it. There were times we felt really low about the lack of community and engagement, and we kept returning to

LOVE EMBODIED

Honna Brown, volunteer coordinator, reflects on 2 years at Lydia’s House as she prepares to leave the role. “Wait, don’t leave- please don’t leave!” This might be one of the most squealed phrases from the mouths of the children of Lydia’s House. However, this young friend of mine was more persistent than many others. He draped his small body over the railing, continuing to holler, “Please!” I looked back, smiled, waved and told him I would be back soon. His mother poked her head out the door and told him to come back inside with everyone else. No sooner than

Pentecost and Community

After months of quarantine restrictions, we were finally able to attend our first “communal” gathering. We had planned a Pentecost service for the date of the liturgical celebration – but there were more pressing things that needed to be done! The protests downtown were in full swing and we all felt it necessary that we let our voices be heard. BlackLivesMatter! Our first celebration of Pentecost 2020 was a call to be heard and understood, to join brothers and sisters across boundaries to communicate one message: Black lives should be cherished and honored, Black children protected, Black families celebrated. We

EASTER

This year Easter came at about the same time as Ohio was predicted to peak in the pandemic. Thankfully, social distancing efforts helped us avoid the worst predictions but kept churches and normal holiday celebrations closed. In the midst of upheaval, the core community of Lydia’s House was still able to observe our own, intimate version of Easter. On Wednesday of Holy Week, Mary Ellen prepared a beautiful Seder meal with the traditional Seder foods. From matzo, symbolizing the unleavened bread, to tender lamb– the traditional sacrifice, to parsley for new life and horseradish for bitterness and suffering. We thought

RULES AND REGULATIONS

On March 22, 2020, Ohio declared “shelter in place” because of COVID-19. All non-essential organizations and businesses closed. As a family shelter we are considered to be essential, but our way of being together demanded reflection and change as a result of the mandate for social distancing. On the day of the governor’s order we had all four rooms filled with 4 adult guests, 4 children and 2 live in volunteers, all sharing meals and bathrooms and common space. We put all of our practices and norms under scrutiny. After many sleepless nights and a lot of behind the scenes