We call this newsletter Making Connections and it is well named. After all, a connection is defined as: “a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else,” and this newsletter attempts to promote exactly that. In fact, with this BCY regional focus, we want to tell some stories with words and pictures about how some of us are connecting in these unusual days.
I am impressed with the variety of ways our churches are connecting. Zoom gatherings and meetings, live stream and pre-recorded services, and YouTube channels abound in our churches. We obviously feel the need to connect, with physical distancing and COVID-19 sensitivities in place, and we have found ways to do so. May this issue of Making Connections encourage you to keep making them with our CBWC family as well.
BCY Regional Minister
Update from FBC in Port Alberni
“And let us not neglect our meeting together…” Hebrews 10:25
How do you do that while in the midst of a global pandemic? That is something our leadership team have asked and kept a priority throughout it all. Yes, we moved everything online, but there was still something missing. During the early part of the pandemic, I would have conversations with our congregation and the main thing that kept coming up was, “When can me meet together again?”
Now, I knew how important relationships and the opportunity to connect was in our church, but now I was seeing it from a different perspective. People in our church would be crying as they expressed how much they missed their church family. I then realized, that for some in our church, the only time they would experience any type of deep, loving and quality fellowship was when they would walk through the doors on a Sunday morning. So, it became the leadership’s main goal to find a way so that we could gather together.
Then everything changed in late May, when the province changed some of their language regarding mass gatherings—drive-in services were now an option. So, we immediately discussed the option and what it would take to provide a drive-in worship service. We purchased an FM transmitter and once it arrived, we spent roughly 1-2 weeks figuring out how to best set everything up. So, on Sunday, July 19th at First Baptist, we held our first ever drive-in worship service. We had a team of volunteers that greeted people as they drove onto the property and a parking team that directed them to a spot in our back field. To be honest, it couldn’t have gone any better, and was definitely beyond our expectations. The live music, worship leading and sermon all being broadcast over the radio and being listened to in the comfort of everyone’s car. The joy and the smiles from ear to ear as people drove in and left after was all worth it. Our little church found a way in a global pandemic to not neglect our meeting together. We have seen roughly 30 cars show up every week (with new people coming every week) and recently had the opportunity to serve communion to everyone as well.
Who knew that roughly 15 years ago, as God was leading the church in finding a new facility to call home, one that could be used to bless the community (which it has), that it would be used to bless us so that we could provide the opportunity to gather when so many are unable right now!
Update from Pastor Andrea Tisher from Southwest Community church in Kamloops
- I did a series in 1 Thessalonians this summer. For the first week, we heard the story of Paul going to Thessalonica in Acts. I then did a 5-minute intro about how to read an epistle and a bit of background on what we know about Thessalonica at that time. Then I read the epistle. All the way through. Like it would have been read in a 1st century church gathering. I worried about it being some kind of cheating, but it was a great way to introduce the concept of an epistle and set the tone for the rest of the series, because we got to hear the whole thing in context. (I’m about to preach the last message in the book and now I’m thinking, “Maybe we should read the whole thing again!?!?” Ok. That would be cheating. Back to sermon prep for me!)
- We did a pulpit swap with FBC Kelowna. Kevin Green and I preached twice on one Sunday and not at all on the other one. This worked great by syncing our summer series up so that we were aligned for at least those two weeks.
- I ran two 6-person groups of Faith, Grief & COVID-19. One was an in-person group and the other was a group on Zoom. Both worked really well, and I really enjoyed getting to know those twelve people in new ways. It was also two really interesting “slices” of the congregation. A group of 6 who otherwise would likely never end up in a “small group” together. I highly recommend it as a resource, and it worked well in both formats!
- In the last week of my vacation, the church is going to meet at two locations for distanced picnics. They’ll take a Sunday off from needing the tech side covered, someone to preach, etc. I’m hoping that’s a good chance for folks to connect in person.
Photo update from Living Hope Church
Worship time at home.
Social distancing at Youth Group.
Sunday morning at Living Hope Church.
Living Hope food bank collection.
This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Want to tell us how great we’re doing? Or how terribly? Email our senior writer, Jenna Hanger: firstname.lastname@example.org