Even if I had somehow taken a course on “How to Be a Pastor’s Wife,” it probably would not have included a lesson on what to do when a global pandemic shuts down church as we know it.

On Sunday, March 15, I stood in an almost-empty church in downtown Ottawa, watching my husband, Brent, an Anglican priest, speak to our congregation through his iPhone set up on a tripod, improvising a worship service over Facebook Live.

Like so many other congregations, ours stumbled through the first week of COVID-19. And like so many other people married to pastors, I was called to duty.

Someone else was in charge of filming, but my job was to shush anyone who happened to wander into the church and to post the link to the online bulletin and service guide should anyone ask for it in the comments. I also appointed myself the role of thumbs-up gal, acknowledging the kind feedback that scrolled up under the feed. I felt helpful.

Then, almost overnight, I became not so helpful. The next week, I became like a hysterical cheerleader. I sent multiple articles to Brent on what other churches were doing. What about this? What about that? I thought of a really great idea. Look at this. Read that. Have you considered this, that, and the other thing?

My husband listened patiently, but as I saw the ocean of communication he waded through each and every day, I slowed down. I also recognized that some of my suggestions grew out of my own fear and insecurities about how our church would weather this crisis. Acknowledging my own fears settled my heart.

“This will be a marathon,” Brent said, “not a sprint.” I realized that for all the great ideas out there, no one actually knew what they were doing. This is a new place ...

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