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Indianapolis church looking to add names to COVID-19 community memorial

The memorial will honor the lives lost to COVID-19.
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Posted at 8:47 PM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 22:51:43-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Leaders of Faith Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis are creating a permanent community memorial for those who lost their lives to COVID-19.

"It started as a smaller concept for a worship series that we were doing where we were looking at the stories of Jesus who brings people into community when he heals them," Senior Pastor Charlotte Lohrenz said. “And we had this idea of using a mosaic that was broken pieces coming together.”

She brought in her daughter, Rebecca Shipman, who is an art history major at Howard University.

Shipman grew up in Indiana and said she is honored to be part of the project.

“I also really, really value art as a tool for community making but also for exploring one's own feelings but this feels like an opportunity to use art in a really powerful way to me,” Shipman said.

Together, they came up with the idea of creating a mosaic art piece to memorialize those people lost to COVID-19.

"The top half is the plants, the flowers, the birds and new life, and this bottom half is where the thousand names will be," Lohrenz explained.

The two, familiar with the feeling of losing a loved one to the virus, Lohrenz lost her mother, Shipman’s grandmother, in May of last year.

"She was a great, strong, loving person. The way she showed her love was by taking care of you," Lohrenz said.

Rosina Lohrenz, 87, was living in an assisted living home when the pandemic began. She had a cough so staff sent her to the hospital to get tested. When the test came back positive for COVID-19, she was taken to a rehabilitation facility rather than returning to the assisted living home where she passed away.

"We had trouble getting any kind of contact with the staff who were clearly overwhelmed by the situation and she just deteriorated with ancillary conditions from then on,” Lohrenz said.

Rosina passed away on May 15, 2020. Her name is one of 50 on the list so far for the memorial. The goal is to reach 1,000 names.

Each name will go on a one by three-inch tile and will make up the soil that flowers are growing out of in the mosaic piece. The completed memorial is projected to be six by nine feet.

They are still determining where the memorial will be placed because they want it in the community because it’s not for just the church it’s for everyone.

The mosaic itself will be completed over the summer with a dedication ceremony the following spring.

If you would like your loved ones name to be part of the memorial, click here. Your family does not have to be part of the church to be involved with the memorial.