By Mekialaya White

DENVER (CBS4) – The past few months have brought their trials for an Aurora couple, but faith has kept them grounded.

“We’re a faith-based family. We’re a praying family,” said Claudine McDonald.

Claudine first spoke with CBS4’s Mekialaya White on Tuesday. She’s the Community Relations Division Manager for the City of Aurora, and helped organize a mobile food pantry for those in need. Claudine is also a COVID-19 survivor. In fact, her family was massively impacted by the virus.

She and her husband AJ believe they contracted coronavirus while on a trip to San Francisco.

“We celebrated our anniversary back in February. We got married on Feb. 14,” Claudine explained. “Two weeks after we got back, I started getting sick. But there really was no connection that we had made at that time with coronavirus.”

Both ended up testing positive for COVID-19, with different symptoms. Claudine developed pneumonia-like symptoms and had chest pains. AJ lost his sense of taste and smell, while experiencing a fever and vomiting.
But that was just the beginning of what became a widespread infection in their extended family, including 15 people total.

“At one point, we had four family members hospitalized and three on ventilators here in Colorado,” said Claudine. “One of our cousins in Kansas, he reached out. He said we need to get the family together.”

Odom Memorial Church of God in Christ

(credit: Claudine McDonald)

The McDonalds, who help pastor Odom Memorial Church of God in Christ in Denver, said the next step, naturally, was organizing a sort of support group virtually to uplift each other. They call it “Zoom Cathedral.”

“We pray, we sing, we give testimonies and updates. We really had to be creative about it,” said AJ. “Being on Zoom Cathedral — this is one way we can connect and stay in fellowship during these unprecedented times. It really has helped. Initially, I thought hey, going to get on and laugh and see people that we don’t normally see. But this really has been a strengthening tool for us and God has really seen us through this.”

Odom Memorial Church of God in Christ

(credit: Claudine McDonald)

The McDonalds also say they’re in no rush to re-open their church, to ensure everyone stays safe and protected.

“Everybody’s fine because they can see your face. One day we’ll be able to hug each other again and we are waiting for that day, but until then I think everybody is at peace that we can at least see each other through Zoom and fellowship in this way,” said Claudine.

Odom Memorial Church of God in Christ

(credit: Claudine McDonald)

Zoom Cathedral is going public as of Friday for a “Friends and Family Night.” For more information on how to get connected, contact Claudine at

Mekialaya White


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