Ministry during lockdown
A lot has been said about developing online ministry in our churches during the Covid-19 crisis. Earlier in the year, though, one local minister, Rev. Peter Sibley, found himself ministering to a whole group of older members of his congregation and discovered few if any of them had internet access. The following is his story.
Peter Sibley wrote:
When we had to stop meeting in our church building, I was asked to be pastorally responsible for our Wednesday congregation which numbers almost 30 people. Most of them are older people.
We compiled and distributed (with permission) a list of email addresses and phone numbers and encouraged everyone to use the list to keep in touch with each other.
Nigel Graham, another retired minister, provides pastoral care by regularly phoning everyone on the list.
The 6 of us who would normally preach on Wednesdays are on a rota to write a short sermon (“The Wednesday Word”) which is circulated each week by email, together with any items of news, prayer requests, etc. However, about half of the congregation cannot receive emails (or watch our online Sunday services), so printed copies are delivered every Wednesday to their homes.
(It’s interesting that a number of other church members who do not normally attend on Wednesdays have heard about this and have asked to be added to the email or printed distribution.)
People have been told about “Daily Hope”, a good selection of worship material, which can be accessed with a free phone number 0800 804 8044. No internet needed!
- We must remember that a significant number of our older members cannot access anything online. We need to ensure they are properly catered for.
- Dividing our overall church membership into smaller groups, each with a nominated pastoral coordinator, helps us to ensure that no-one gets left out.