Surprise Blessings While Adapting to Change
Very few people adapt to change easily. For most of us, change is uncomfortable and “doing things the way we’ve always done them” is easier. This pandemic has caused all of us to change and it hasn’t been easy. But with change, comes the opportunity for innovation and improvement. Sometimes change brings surprising blessings, as well. We wanted to encourage you by sharing some of those surprise blessings from some of your fellow clergy in this diocese:
Our congregation has been warming up to Zoom because, at our size of around 150 attendees, it’s not TOO crazy to have people see each other and say hellos. It’s lifted our spirits much more than just viewing a livestream would.
So when Zoom decided it was adding passwords to all meetings, and we found out on Saturday that our (mostly) aging and non-tech savvy congregation would be faced with the hurdle of a new way to join the meeting in less than 24 hours, it appeared a disappointing, frustrating mess was at hand. But God...
We had spread the word so widely that there were more people logged in than we’d had on any previous Zoom, some for the first time, and we very much enjoyed our time in the Lord together! Thanks be to God!
I sent out a request for people to write down their reflections in the midst of the pandemic. Within 24 hours, I had some of the deepest theological and pastoral reflections I've ever read.
Additionally, one of my parishioners and vestry members made a sign that told parishioners that we loved them and were praying for them. She is in the process of driving to every parishioner's house with the sign. See attached photo, used with permission.
I had a parishioner who had fallen completely out of fellowship– probably hadn't seen him in over a year maybe a year and a half. He called me to ask if I would pray over his mother who was about to be turned off from life support. We worked it out for me to do so over the phone, and in the course of planning he opened up to me about many things that the Lord has been showing him, and is committed to being back in fellowship once the quarantine is lifted. Truly restored a relationship that I thought had been lost. Praise God.
While the technological challenges have been significant, our ministry is getting an unusually far reach through the Facebook Live platform. People are reconnecting with our church, those who are distant geographically, too weak to come on Sundays, and even some estranged members. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by both the comments online and the large number of views. We were in the midst of the Alpha program and our team figured out how to offer it over Zoom. My own small group for Alpha has continued online and people are sharing very candidly, maybe because of the safe distance provided by the digital interface. One family said they plan to join the church and start coming on Sundays once resume normal operation.
These are just some examples of the way God is using our churches to reach people during this time. We praise God for the ways he is using you, and we thank you for your faithfulness during this season. Please share your stories of surprise blessing during the pandemic with us!