The Church in Action During Crisis
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b
The church around the world is in action despite congregations not being able to meet together due to the vast spread of the Coronavirus or Covid-19.
Many churches around the world are taking the opportunity to be creative with technology and other means to share the Gospel and engage with their congregation and community. We are finding that many parishes and Provinces are learning from each other and adapting these ideas. Live-streaming, which has a steep learning curve, is only one means by which churches are using to adapt, so we have put together a dynamic, ongoing list of ideas from around the world so that you can see what others are doing.
We hope these are helpful and we welcome your suggestions and we will include as many as possible.
- From Jos, Nigeria, Ven Jusitice Okoronkwo brings a "Lockdown Devotion" Series with the following elements: 1) Confession; 2) Absolution; 3) reading/Sermon; 4) Prayer & Benediction
- Joseph Rusangiza in Goma, DR Congo, reports that those in places where the benefit of wifi, good broadband and smartphone availability is limited, staying connected during this crisis is particularly challenging. Here is his report and ideas:
In Congo / Goma, the activities of gathering people were stopped since Thursday last week.
Then every family is praying in her house. Secondly, we are buying the space on the radio to preach the gospel using the radio. We are wishing to do so three times per week (Sunday 9am to 10am, Tuesday 4h00pm to 4h30'pm, Friday 9h30am to 10h00am). The christian know these programs. They are gathering around they radio post to hear the word of God.
Thirdly, we are printing the meditations, programs, request prayers and distributing them in the families.
1. Many Christians don't have the smart phones which can help them to get or to join prayers online.
2. The radios are facilitating because, in using the radio, we are attending many people at once even if they are very expensive.
3. print shops have become expensive,
4. famine has taken place. in quarantine (in our), the government is unable to feed people. the faithful call for an urgent intervention.
- The Pastor's Heart with Dominic Steele marches on with solid content and helpful insights from Tim Clemens and Dave Miers where they discuss creative ideas going forward, "now that ministry roles have changed and people are more used to online content."
- How do you reach kids in your community during this time of crisis? Writer Annemarie Rivers and Youthworks, led by Gafon's Youth and Children's Ministry Network leader, Rev. Craig Roberts, offers some excellent suggestions for "Long-Distance Children's Ministry" here.
- During the virus crisis, pastors are moving to use the medium of livestreaming and video recording. What do tv professional broadcasters want preachers to know about communicating through a camera? Dominic Steele of The Pastor's Heart interviews TV professionals Evan Batten & Paul Richards about how preachers can best use video to effectively share the gospel. *You find an audio only version on the same webpage.
- Here is an excellent resource for Family Worship called, "Common Prayer for Homes." It is a liturgical resource which provides flexible forms of household worship to serve the churches during this difficult period.
- Pray: The Diocese of Sydney have written specific prayers throughout this global crisis: https://sydneyanglicans.net/covid19prayers
- Advice and helpful links: https://sydneyanglicans.net/covid19
- Here's a report on how parishes big and small are using varying technologies and ideas for engaging their parishioners and serving the community. https://sydneyanglicans.net/news
- Dominic Steele interviews Pastor Eugene Hor, Bishop Gary Koo and Dr Irmgard Pascoe here on The Pastors Heart on leading your church in the corona era. Questions like the following are addressed:
How to give spiritual leadership in a highly anxious season?
How to lead from the word of God?
What does calm leadership look like?
How can we lead when other church leaders around us are making different calls?
Why do different contexts lead to different decisions?
How to see this season as a blessing from God - that might lead to missional benefits?
How to act not in selfishness, but in love and care for our neighbours?
Navigating the finances of the church?
Juliane Uchoa reports the following:
Here in Brazil, we are doing some actions to keep people of the Church "in touch".
Yesterday, Archbishop Miguel Uchoa did an Instagram live on the Church Instagram (@paespiedade). A lot of people participated, and they all responded well by asking questions in the comments. To start an Instagram Live video go here: https://help.instagram.com/126662934757177
Archbishop Miguel answered some questions, clarified some doubts and talked about all the actions we are taking at the moment:
1. Starting this Sunday (22nd March), we are going to have "Online Service" at 5 pm.
2. Starting today (20th March), we are going to have ‘Daily Devotional’ live on Instagram (@paespiedade) with our pastors doing the broadcasting in their homes. We named this as "Church in The Homes". People will connect and participate in devotional time together.
3. "Volunteers Network": We are putting the youth volunteers to help the older persons. We provide a WhatsApp number where the elderly people needing food or medication can ask for help;l then one of the volunteers will buy and deliver at this person's home.
4. "Small Business Webpage": we are publishing a special web page to supporting the members who have a small business. They can register/offer their services at this page, and our membership can look at and see what they need to buy from them. That way, we will help our brothers and sisters, the small business owners, during this hard time.
6. All face-to-face gatherings are cancelled. We are thinking about alternatives for each situation. The theological studies classes, for example, are going to be online starting next week.
7. "Solidarity Network": Anyone who has extra medications and needs for self-care, will be able to share it with people who don't have those things.
8. We are going to keep in touch with the membership through the socials media and Whatsapp groups.
Europe & UK
- Lee McMunn, Senior Minister at Trinity Church Scarborough, talks with leaders from two AMiE churches in this Zoom interview about how they have been getting on with doing ministry while in lockdown.
- WhatsApp Groups for homegroups – we have been using a WhatsApp group for the past few months for prayer requests and updates. It’s proving very useful at this time.
- On Sundays we are livestreaming the morning ‘service’ which includes pre-recorded videos of the welcome, prayers, notices, bible reading and a sermon, by different members of the congregation and staff team. This is the same for the evening service. Our vicar is also doing a short bible devotion on Wednesday evenings which is a lot more informal from his house. We have been livestreaming via Facebook and YouTube and embedding the Facebook link in the church’s website. See the links here to get advice on how to use these platforms: YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/live_dashboard_splash; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/help/587160588142067
Prayers and readings from Archbishop James Wong: https://www.gafcon.org/prayers-during-covid-19-crisis
Science & Faith in Pandemic Times, with Francis Collins, NIH (National Institute for Health) director and BioLogos founder. Francis is a world renowned scientist and a believer who brings instight and clarity to the crisis we are all facing.
@JeffreyHWalton at Juicy Ecumenism reports here in his article, “A Great Cloud of Witnesses in the Cloud," some experiences from churches using these technologies.
- For those feeling aimless and isolated in their home, here is a great guide for developing spiritual habits of the heart during quarantine, by Justin Whitmel Earley.
- As families are stuck at home, here are some suggestions from the Gospel Coalition in engaging in family prayer.
- Daniel Adkinson and The Evergreen Project have a webpage, "Coronavirus Update: Gospel Ministry for a New Age" that provides helpful ideas and links. They are specifically hosting an online webinar on how to hold ministry during Holy Week and Easter Worship.