By Barrie Clayton, Regional Representative, McDougall United Church
Wow! What a huge change in our lifestyle in such a short time! In the recent Chinook Winds Regional zoom meetings, and in conversations in my own church and others, I have heard many concerns about the stress and anxiety being felt by some. Certainly, the constant news reports of so many persons ill or dying from COVID-19 are concerning to all.
At the same time, I am a “glass-half-full” person and while recognizing all the downside of this pandemic, I see some Blessings for our community. One of the biggest and most evident blessings is how much and how often people are helping people. So many are reaching out to others in humanitarian concern as “we are all in this together.” It has been a levelling of social strata. A gentler more compassionate society is emerging. So many people have made those phone calls, Facebook, or email connections that we previously did not think we had time for.
As a community of faith at McDougall United Church, we suddenly have to think about why we are here and prioritize what we do with limited time and resources. We are having to adopt modern technology to continue the important programs and services we offer.
And in doing so we are finding new ministries and new ways of conducting our legacy ministries. We have had the opportunity to re-evaluate what is really important on our spiritual journey. This COVID-19 lockdown will not last forever. And when we move to a new era, I am filled with hope that the lessons we are learning will carry on. It has been said, “God works in mysterious ways.”
New forms of ministry for McDougall, Calgary
McDougall United, Calgary moved on line for worship services and programs we have been offering plus some exciting new ones as well. At the first call to “Stay Home”, we set up a Zoom account for business meetings but now also use it for study groups, chat groups, exciting children’s activity programs, “coffee time” with the minister, Ethical Dilemma series, and more. Our Pastoral Care group has organized regular phone outs to all members to maintain contact. We recently instituted Text Giving by Tithe.ly, to add to our e-transfer, “Give” button on our website, PAR, and good old cheques to keep finances coming in without decline.
While we had discussed doing podcasts and live streaming of worship services for a few years, it didn’t happen until this was the only way to bring worship to our people. With an amateur production team, readily-adaptable music team, and the minister’s skilled content and PowerPoint presentation, we have not missed a Sunday (or Good Friday) service. We presently do a recorded podcast each week and will soon live stream. Check us out at mcdunited.com. These are exciting times!