Uniting Church members at Dalby and Jandowae are learning new ways and re-discovering old ways of connecting as they respond to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Rev Adam Tipple writes.
Like many other congregations, at Dalby and Jandowae we are learning how to “do church” differently in this time.
Firstly we recognised that the need for clear communication was paramount. As soon as the Synod recommended that we cease to gather physically, we sent an email/letter outlining the response of our churches to this situation.
We then made plans for Sunday worship and decided to record a 15-minute worship segment which was uploaded to YouTube and shared on our website and via Facebook. I was delighted that several people who I suspected might be missing worship, let me know they had watched and taken part.
A challenge is that we have a “two-tier” community which is probably common in older, rural congregations—those who use the internet and those who do not, so we are working on something that we can send to those who miss our online content.
There are also many challenges around the negative impacts of social isolation which we are trying to mitigate. We have recognised the value of the telephone in this time and made the goal of contacting everyone by phone in the first week of these changes. We are looking out for those in need and have a response team of people who can collect groceries and pick up medications.
While there are many challenges and pressures to adapt and change, there are also blessings and opportunities as we reimagine how we do things—we have already put together a new church directory and pastoral care support network and learnt how to do online worship.
Questions I keep asking are: “What is God saying to us in this time?”, “What are the important lessons that we are learning?”, and “How can we gather, when we can’t do this physically?”
Rev Adam Tipple
To join in worship with the Dalby and Jandowae Uniting Church community visit dalbyuniting.org.au/worshiponline