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Working during a pandemic...

Number of VPN connections from home office workstations to our servers. (Graphic: UEM)

As for everyone, the Corona pandemic came like a clap of thunder and has changed the way we work for the UEM communion. Being part of a special communion is an integral part of our daily work for UEM. This is often reflected when people visit us in our offices in Asia, Africa or Germany. Every day we meet for home devotions, which are prepared by our colleagues - over a cup of coffee together we exchange ideas about business and private matters. 

Distance is an expression of care

In these times exactly what is so important for us can no longer take place. As the German Chancellor Dr. Merkel said: "At the moment only distance is an expression of care". At first sight it almost seems as if exactly this statement is totally contrary to the Gospel, because Jesus said for example in Mathew 18,20: "Where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am in the midst of them". Nevertheless, it quickly becomes clear in this crisis that our responsibility can only be to follow the advice of the experts and do our part to ensure that the spread of COVID-19 is as slow as possible. 

This is why we have cancelled most of the educational programmes and meetings that were planned for 2020, 81 in all. At all four locations, we sent a large part of the workforce to their home offices and changed the opening hours in Wuppertal so that they could work outside the actual working hours, in order to minimize social encounters among colleagues as far as possible. Currently, a total of 57 people work in the home office. All of them are connected to our servers and can access all documents and programs from home, all others at least have access to their e-mails. In addition, extra systems for video and telephone conferences have been installed in the Mission House in Wuppertal to make it easier to keep in touch with the many people we work with every day. We are a little bit proud that we are able to stay operational even in these difficult times and that the UEM IT department has managed to do this so smoothly. I am also proud of the colleagues who have taken on this new situation as a challenge and continue to do their best for the UEM communion. 

By the way, we are still holding on to our devotions in Wuppertal at the moment, which we are celebrating outside, with those who have come to the office and with sufficient distance. With the others we are convinced that Jesus is in the midst of us when we are connected to each other via servers, telephone systems or video conference systems. 

Timo Pauler, Executive Secretary for Finance & Administration 


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