COVID & Community

Updated: Nov 17

By Holly Harnsberger



The first thing you need to know is that I broke my foot 36 hours before I moved to McLean, VA. I’ve spent the last six weeks hobbling around in a giant boot that announces my arrival by its THUD before you ever actually see me coming. 


Fast forward to last Sunday morning: I’m walking to McLean Presbyterian Church for the 9AM service (Mattie, Delaney, and I live directly adjacent to the church). I was enjoying my quiet morning at home and was looking forward to worship. As I’m crossing the parking lot, I hear a terrible ripping sound which was quickly followed by my life flashing before my eyes as my leg folded out of the boot and I almost tripped and died. After so many weeks of wear and tear, the straps had completely split in half. I hobbled back over to my house, feeling discouraged that my quiet morning had turned into a scramble as I tried to problem-solve this very unique situation.


Expectation: Worshiping at church. 

Reality: Hobbling like a baby giraffe learning how to walk for the rest of the day.


I digress.  


Being a Fellow in the age of COVID is met with lots of expectation versus reality moments. John Kyle’s tagline of the semester is, “COVID is stinky.” And well, he’s not wrong.


A resounding theme we’ve heard from previous Fellows is: constant community and presence with the other Fellows. This is the stark difference between pre-COVID Fellows classes and now. The current Capital Fellows class is characterized by social distancing, more online events, and asking people to repeat themselves because for some reason wearing a mask affects one’s ability to hear.


This plays out in the simplest of ways: 


Yeah, let’s hang! Wait, will we be outside?


Yeah, come on over to my house! Please wear a mask and stay six feet apart.


Let’s take a pic! Leave masks on and SMILE WITH YOUR EYES!


The reality is that all of the Fellows are typically only together a couple times a week for either Roundtable on Monday evenings or Dr. Fullilove’s class on Fridays. We sit six feet apart in class, wear masks at all times, and do temperature checks before some events. For Dr. Ince’s class, Sunday School, and Cornerstone tutoring, we see each other’s faces via Zoom instead of in person. 


One-on-one meetings, coffee dates, brunch, camping trips, museum touring, and exploring the city still happen — we are just wary of social distancing, mask-wearing, and hand sanitizing.  And even amidst such an unusual time, I think the rest of the Fellows would agree that the Lord has blessed us with enriching discussion, thoughtful prayer, and bringing us closer together even though our physical proximity is limited.


We may have a very  w i d e  Roundtable, but we serve a God who is not bound by physical distance. The Lord is faithful to promote community and connection among – what was six weeks ago – a group of 14 strangers. 


Here’s to the Fellows.

Here’s to community.

(And here’s to Amazon Prime coming through with a new walking boot in 24 hours.)


And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. -- Hebrews 10:24-25




Pictures from the Week





A socially-distanced viewing of the documentary Waiting for Superman at Roundtable on Monday



Weekend brunch with some of the Season 12 and 13 ladies! 




Mattie, Delaney, and I at Roundtable. No social distancing required for us because we live together!




Breakfast in Ballston with a few of the Season 14 ladies!



Become A Capital Fellow in 2021-22


We are now receiving applications for Season 15 of the Capital Fellows program!


The next program year runs from late August 2021 through mid-May 2022. If you are a college senior or recent college graduate - or know someone that is - we would love to hear from you! The Early Application Deadline is November 30th!


Click here for the Capital Fellows program application.


Pray for the Capital Fellows


Thank you for praying for the Capital Fellows each week! In the coming days and weeks, the Capital Fellows will be, among other things, working on the topic of servanthood. As followers of Christ, we are called to be servants as he was a servant. We are called to have a radically transformed mind about what our lives, careers, wealth, and power are all about. Please pray that during the fellows year, they will establish the foundations for a lifetime of seeing and serving into the needs around them.


Want to pray for the Capital Fellows throughout the year? Download this handy prayer guide for your phone or tablet.


Capital Fellows Class Brochure - 5x11
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Benefits of The Fellows Initiative


You probably already know that Capital Fellows is one of 30 fellows programs in The Fellows Initiative network. But, did you know that the sponsors of TFI offer great benefits to Capital Fellows alumni? For example, Reformed Theological Seminary offers a 33% tuition discount for 5 years. You can learn more about TFI's sponsors by clicking here.


If you know of a graduate school, seminary, employer, or other organization that would be interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact TFI by clicking here. Thanks!



Want To Read More?


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McLean Presbyterian Church  |  1020 Balls Hill Road  |  McLean, Virginia 22101  |  Email: fellows@mcleanpres.org

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