Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the new congregations have been doing brilliant work to keep in contact with their congregations and to bless their nearby communities. They have really shone their lights in this dark time, with their compassionate and inspirational work around the Diocese.
Sam and Jess Rusling’s group Lighthouse, which meets in Wigan, have worked across the hub to deliver food parcels from St Paul’s Church to families who are in lockdown and on limited money. They are now starting to move people from food parcels to doing their shopping for them.
In addition, Lighthouse sent out flyers through their local Primary School, thanks to Sam’s links to the school as Chair of Governors and through Lighthouse. These flyers have been getting a good response, mostly from people in need of urgent food, but also people wanting prayer. This means Lighthouse can ensure that families who need food are taken care of. They have also been delivering packed lunches to kids on free school meals at the local school.
Gabriel Chiu’s Persian Congregation, which meets in the Toxteth and Wavertree area, held the first online service for their congregation last week, on Zoom. This gave a great opportunity for prayer and teaching of God’s word. Gabriel and his team of Persian leaders plan the Bible Study and create a corresponding template for completion by the congregation members. The Breakout Rooms tool on Zoom has enabled the Persian leaders to each lead a smaller group through the study, in the Farsi language.
With Zoom, the total number of people on the call can be divided into smaller groups or pairs, using the Breakout Rooms tool, for example to complete a template used for Bible Study or even for smaller prayer groups. The host of the call is able to join the smaller groups as and when, if they wish to. Once the breakout group time has ended, the call host can then reunite the smaller groups back on to the same call.
Kirsty Fazakerly’s Mums and Tots group, Minis, which meets in the Toxteth & Wavertree area, also held an online Zoom gathering, complete with babies and toddlers. They’ve also increased the use of their Facebook group to keep in contact with their local congregation. They’ve been posting helpful activities to do with children in the lockdown. Where access to online tools and resources wasn’t available, particularly with elderly members of the congregation, Minis have been keeping in contact by phone.
Nic Findley’s New Congregation at Christ Church Norris Green, usually meets with local families through various groups. Nic is posting a daily video and a daily blog as an uplifting alternative to Facebook and the News. They have also set up a “Living Room Church” for local families using Zoom. Additionally, Nic’s New Congregation have been delivering food parcels, bananas and avocados to locals, as well as a helpful banana muffin recipe. You can see what’s going on on their Facebook pages by searching for “Three churches doing faith together in L11” and “Triple C & Christ Church Children and Families”.