Caring in the Time of Corona

Published on 18 May 2020

A message from the James 1:27 Trust team on the Covid-19 pandemic and what steps we are taking in response to it

Whether or not we are prepared, the world around us is disrupted. For some it is a great shock, a shaking from the confines of comfort and security. For the vast majority, however, it is a further stretching in resilience, adaptation, and survival. Exhausted by poverty, broken by systemic unemployment, and assaulted by inequality and injustice, life remains defined by great pain and suffering, fear and hopelessness. Into this narrative the Gospel, timeless and resolute, speaks about a Kingdom at hand, today. It brings hope and a reflection of Heaven that not only awaits but intrudes in the very DNA of life itself.  

I think sociologists will describe Covid-19 as the moment in world history where we realise that we are one species with one destiny: interconnected and interdependent. Globalization and multilateralism is not an ideology; it is a reality that needs regulation, management and leadership.  Democracy, damaged by the business of politics and politics of business, remains our only hope and the market our only economic chance for recovery.  It is however a market that needs to incubate a different trade and exchange. It is one of human talent, creativity and innovation.  A people-centered economy.  

I can’t help thinking that Covid-19 demands from us a sharing of the second tunic, a giving what we have, two loaves, five fish. Therefore, the question we have to ask is what is needed in the next five minutes, five months and five years from now.

At the James 1:27 Trust we have over the past 3 weeks wrestled with these questions. Deliberately avoiding the temptation of a cosmetic response, we have dug deep into our very mandate and calling: “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you..” (James 1:27, NLT)

In this regard, the following has emerged:

  1. We have doubled the care budgets for our families.
  2. We will use their geographical location as a platform for further care into their communities. We are busy working out what this means!
  3. We will form an alliance with other partners to strengthen the capacity of the local men and women of peace, situated on the ground, to direct and manage the crisis as it unfolds. Service Level Agreements have been signed.
  4. We recognize that we need to play a role in creating a proactive place of quarantine for granny-headed households.  Their risk is our risk.  As they care for their orphaned grandchildren, their little families remain very vulnerable.
  5. Our staff team have been strengthened with four new associates in operations, legal and contractual, monitoring and evaluation, and communications.
  6. Funding has already been secured for our first crowdfunding for a partner organization that works with trafficked young girls and women.  More details to follow.

Finally, in terms of prayer, we remain dependent on your support of our work as our worship and your patience as we endeavor to improve on our communications with you all.  We realize that this is our constraint, and we are fixing it!

As I close, I share with you what has been my greatest lesson to date. I have realized that eternal life is today, and in each day I need to embrace the cross in all its reality and be exposed to the grief of the tomb. But as we lament that our God has left us, on the third day the tomb is empty, and we encounter the resurrection power. My prayer for you is to endure the cross, accept the tomb and be expectant of the power that is now with you, in you and among you.


Robert Botha