Reverend Lynn Watson and those with St Paul’s United Church have gotten inspiration from the videos of people spreading positivity amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

There’s been a handful of videos from Italy going viral of people singing and dancing from their balconies while self-isolating or quarantine. Watson says she’s been watching videos from people in Vancouver who – while practicing physical distancing – have spent part of the night clapping for essential service workers.

If you’ve been to service at St John’s, you may recognize Heather Johns as the one who is often behind the piano, but she is credited by Watson as coming up for the idea for their salute to essential service workers. Every night at 6 PM the bell will be rung to salute those who are still working through this pandemic, starting Wednesday. “This is a way of us letting our frontline workers know that we’re in this together,” Watson says. “And also extending it to the essential service workers who have to work and may have their own worries and, of course, our homeless.”

Watson says it’s a sign of solidarity.

“We’ll do it as many times as the spirit moves us,” she says while laughing when asked how many times they will ring the bell.

“If anybody wants to show up with their car and beep their horn then go ahead,” she says. “We just want to make a lot of noise and let people know they’re not alone and we’re all in this together.”