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Reaching Out While Staying In: Epiphany Mask-Makers


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How can a church reach-out when its members (and everyone else) are under a state order to stay inside their individual houses? A group of members at Church of the Epiphany in Chantilly, Virginia, is finding out. 

They are virtually banding together to make protective facemasks for people whose work during the COVID-19 Pandemic means they must continue to be in public in some way. 

imageKrystal Apelquist, who is leading the effort for Epiphany, said she got the idea from a fabric store advertisement.  “I started asking others from our church if they would be interested in working with me on this effort.”  After that, Apelquist found a series of videos on YouTube outlining how to make masks specifically for helping prevent the spread of CoVID19.  “The instructions and specifications really gave us more confidence that these masks would be better quality and useful to those who received them,” she added.  While the masks are helpful, they don’t make social distancing and other precautions unnecessary.  Instead they provide some basic protection for those who otherwise might be without in this time when there are shortages in protective equipment.

Initially, the group that Apelquist has gathered made facemasks for staff members at Western Fairfax Christian Ministries (WFCM), an Epiphany outreach partner that provides food, counseling and other services to those in need in the northern Virginia area.  They are also making masks for church staff, and those involved in weekly livestreaming of Epiphany’s worship. 

“We are now proceeding to make masks for donation to various service organizations and health care workers.  These masks are washable and some in the medical community prefer to wear them along with the surgical masks they are provided at work,” added Apelquist.

According to Apelquist, making the masks requires basic sewing skills, and, of course, the necessary material.  It takes about an hour to cut and sew each mask from start to finish.

“I am grateful to Krystal and everyone else here at Epiphany who is working with her,” said the Rev. Peter Frank, Epiphany’s rector, “Offering help in Christ’s name to our neighbors is part of our purpose as a church, and this project is a creative way to do that during this challenging time.”

Top Photo: Krystal Apelquist of Church of the Epiphany in Chantily, VA, cuts fabric as she makes masks to donate to service organizations and health care workers.