By Mary Lee

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — As a year ravaged by social unrest, wildfires and COVID draws to an end, San Francisco Bay Area religious leaders, choral directors and the faithful have taken to social media to deliver a message of hope during this stay-at-home holiday season.

Around 140 people from more than 65 churches in 25 cities across the Bay Area came together to lift their hearts and voices virtually.

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“I think in this time, we’ve been forced into such isolation,” said Linzy Westman, Peninsula Bible Church Worship Director. “We’re in the middle of this pandemic and everyone says to be alone, to stay at home, keep your mask on, and social distance and that’s all good. It’s keeping us safe which is awesome, but I think what we realized is we can safely come together to make a difference in our world.”

“There are still ways to do that and ways to combine our creative spirits and come together to offer up a message of hope.”

Organizers hope the classic Christmas songs lift spirits and bring some joy during this pandemic.

“Everybody knows ‘Silent Night’ and ‘Oh Come Let Us Adore Him’,” Westman said. “Everybody loves those carols and can sing them probably in their sleep. Well, how about we come together and sing it together and offer this message of hope and show the unity that we have, this united heart to bring life, light, and love into people’s homes.“

Worship leaders also wanted to capture the beauty of the Bay Area with all its diversity.

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“It’s very intentional, having it very diverse,” said Ian Pitter, Peninsula Covenant Church Worship and Creative Arts Pastor.
“The Bay is very diverse, so we wanted to represent the Bay Area well, so in this particular project, we have three languages representing Spanish, Farsi, and Mandarin.”

The goal was to give back to the community by making the Holiday Season a little brighter for the homeless and for families in need.

In just the first few days of the video’s release, The Bay Area Blessing raised $10,000 for two, local nonprofit organizations: Second Harvest Food Bank and HomeFirst Services.

They hope to raise even more before the Holiday Season is over.

“What does it take for a group of people to come together and give a little bit and together we can make a big impact,” said Lucas Parry, Peninsula Bible Church Worship & Arts Pastor. “I think that’s the story of this song that in unity when people come together, great things can happen.”

The Bay Area Blessing is already inspiring others to give while spreading love and Christmas cheer.

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“I think if there was ever a time, we needed this kind of message, it’s definitely now,” said Ian Pitter, Worship and Creative Arts Pastor at Peninsula Covenant Church.