Beginning November 16th and lasting until December 11th, a plasma donation drive will be hosted at the athletic center in Daegu, South Korea. Fully recovered COVID-19 patients in the region are encouraged to donate and are eligible to receive a travel stipend ($18-27) as compensation.
Among those who plan to participate are 4,000 congregation members from Shincheonji Church of Jesus (SCJ) in Daegu. This will be the third time members from the church are donating plasma. Over 300 congregants have participated in similar donations twice previously and approximately 1,700 members have donated plasma at least once. Furthermore, in all instances, church members have declined to accept travel funds but are voluntarily donating their plasma and time.
The Korean Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) has been working rigorously to amass convalescent plasma donations from fully recovered COVID-19 patients. Plasma will be used as a potential treatment to help those presently infected with the virus. Shincheonji held group donations in July and September and the KDCA has reached out to Shincheonji, requesting further involvement and support in plasma donations. These requests have been met with cooperation and eagerness from Shincheonji members who not only desire to support the effort towards treatment of COVID-19 but also wish to spread love and unity throughout Korea and the world.
In addition to the plasma donations, Shincheonji is modeling the way in following safe and responsible COVID-19 prevention practices. While South Korea has begun to lift restrictions on many institutions, including churches, Shincheonji remains committed to offering church services online to prevent further outbreaks. These measures are being applied domestically in South Korea and in branch churches internationally.
The efforts of Shincheonji Church in Daegu have not gone unnoticed. 20 State representatives and 51 mayors in the United States and Canada have sent letters of support and appreciation. Despite the distance between the countries, these letters convey the collective difficulties and pain experienced due to the pandemic. They also convey the mutual sense of responsibility and care for one another as mankind. Additionally, many elected officials hope that others may learn from Shincheonji’s example and serve their own community in any feasible manner.
While the staggering number of congregation members within Shincheonji Church in Daegu who have donated convalescent plasma has attracted global attention and praise, Shincheonji is also shining the light through volunteerism throughout the world. Congregation members worldwide have made substantial efforts to prevent infection of COVID-19 and are planning to participate and host whole blood and power red donations through organizations like the American Red Cross.
Though the pandemic has made volunteer work more difficult, Shincheonji branches worldwide are continuing to support their communities. Amongst the volunteer projects, members have been reaching out to local stores, restaurants, and nonprofits, asking for donations of extra items to give to food banks, fire stations, and senior living facilities. Some members are partnering with nonprofits that work to ease social isolation in the elderly. Even just a simple phone call is touching and significant for seniors who are isolated and vulnerable. Congregants are also able to expand their hearts and perspective for a demographic they might otherwise have had little interaction with.
Shincheonji members are further volunteering their time and expertise to host workshops online, teaching art to children and leading group workouts sessions. Multilingual members are participating in translation and interpretation work while other members are supporting environmental projects such as tree planting and weeding.
At a time in history when many people feel hopeless, anxious, and exhausted, it is even more important to share love and support for one another. The method can be simple, a handwritten card or raking a neighbor’s lawn, but the gesture can mean more than words are able to express. Shincheonji Church of Jesus has and continues to shine the light to the world through volunteerism.