While daily worship and the subject of prayers have changed, colonies are turning to God for wisdom and strength.

Kenny Wollmann, a member of the Hutterite Safety Council COVID-19 Task Force, says that communities are facing difficulties due to the rising case numbers.

"We are facing a bit of stigmatization. In Manitoba, it is nothing serious yet, but it (is) sometimes a challenge to respond to challenge with grace," Wollmann says.

As colonies continue to face the pandemic, Wollmann says it can be difficult to respond in ways consistent with their faith when they become offended. 

He says that while there is some stigma from outside of colonies, they are focusing on their community members and helping them through the pandemic. Wollmann says that many members are facing anxiety about the situation and that some have given into fear.

"Jesus tells us not to fear," Wollmann says.

One of the bigger issues for colonies at this point, says Wollmann, is educating people in the colonies and helping them be less fearful of the pandemic. He wishes to combat that fear in people by building trust for government officials and reminding them of the importance of caring for others. 

Wollmann is seeing that the community is sticking to the fundamentals of their spirituality, which is helping other members.

"We see the core of what really, really matters, and that is taking care of one another, lifting each other up in prayer, and doing our spiritual disciplines in a safe way." 

He says people are praying for wisdom, both for the colonies as well as for those in leadership roles.

"I have just found it very, very meaningful in a time of pandemic to reflect on what people of faith have done in the past," he says. "These difficult days have a way of exposing what is most important in our lives."

Wollmann says they are still nurturing faith, but are doing it in a way that keeps people safe.

"Our daily worship sessions have been restructured in cases where communities have significant concerns, either with positive cases in them or with potential contact with exposures. That, however, has not put an end to our services, it is just that they go digital."

Wollmann says worship is important for their community, and that many worship sessions have turned its focus to COVID-19. The nature of people's prayers is also drifting towards COVID-19 related topics.

"I have heard many prayers adapted to be COVID-specific. Hutterite ministers will be praying for healthcare workers, for the safety of their community, for the safety of all people, and for the wisdom of government officials as they make important decisions that impact us all."

Wollmann says that for himself, his prayers focus on asking for energy to deal with the pandemic. Staying strong in his faith is what is helping his during the busy summer as he helps with the pandemic response as well as prepares to go back to the classroom as a teacher in the fall. 

Wollmann says that the best way people can pray for Hutterite colonies is to pray for the strengthening of their faith.

"I think Hutterites would appreciate the prayers for ongoing faithfulness," he says. "I think we could also use some prayers for ongoing courage, to do the right thing."

He says that prayer to remind the Hutterite community that Jesus says not to fear is also appreciated.