Blog Post by
Presbytery Communications Associate
When the COVID19 Pandemic hit, our presbytery was ready. In the summer of 2019, the Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy began utilizing Zoom Web Conferencing to host meetings. They decided it was important to allow commissioners, congregant guests, and pastors, from a geographical distance, the ability to join meetings remotely and still feel connected and heard, as if they were present in the meeting room. I am now thankful that our presbytery made that decision.
In late February of 2020 it became clear that for the safety and health, to avoid COVID19 spread, we needed to change our mission and ministry in a larger spectrum. In our journey of 2020, we had reached the gravel bar of a deep stream. We could sink, attempt a dangerous jump over or we could wade right in.
In chaos, in challenges faced, and in fear unchecked we can become overwhelmed. That is easy to do, and I am guilty of doing that myself, but it also forces us into making a choice of either attempting to jump the stream, or wade right in and get wet. I, in my adult years, am not that athletic so wading into the stream was my only option. I am thankful to our congregations who joined us in the stream and those who will in the future.
The congregations of our presbytery are diverse in many ways, so the challenges they face technologically are also diverse. In some churches there is little, slow or no bandwidth, some have no consistent week to week pastoral leadership, some have financial challenges that make purchasing technological resources outright, almost impossible, and some were uncertain their age allowed them to successful learn how to use new technology.
Zoom, audio/visual elements, live streaming cameras, Facebook and Instagram Live, etc. are useful tools that have allowed us to meet, worship, fellowship, study and support one another in a variety of ways. Creativity and passion have been crucial, as well as the presbytery technology grants.
The presbytery in two waves, made technology grants available to our member congregations, so that they could maintain and sustain their relationships within their congregation and community. Below, and in the coming weeks’ newsletters you will find a brief statement from one congregation on how those grants helped their ministry and mission.
We continue to pray for all our congregations’ mission and ministries into 2021, and though no doubt the year will be filled with challenges, it will also be filled with testimonies of overcoming those challenges with unity, strength and purpose.
Let us wade into 2021 together….
“The past year has been a challenge to every church, but, with the help of several volunteers from the congregation and a technology grant from the presbytery, St. Mark rose to the challenge. We created an online video devotion that runs three days a week called The St. Mark Spark. We also expanded our video capabilities in the sanctuary and are now able to perform multiple shots of pastors, liturgists, and musicians. This helps to make the service look more professional and has allowed members and guests to feel like they are in this sacred space even as we must remain separated. St. Mark is very thankful to the presbytery for this grant and for helping us to share Christ’s love in new ways.” St. Mark Presbyterian Church, Ballwin, Missouri