Windsor Park Baptist Church
The COVID-19 crisis gives the church the opportunity to thrive. Here at Windsor Park we recognized very quickly that decades of ongoing growth and ministry development meant we were well-placed to be able to respond quickly and effectively.
We decided early to go fully online (we saw what was coming) and were able to resource WindsorPark@Home effectively with local missional tools that encouraged our congregation to care for each other, and beyond, very quickly.
We also produced a range of resources to help our community get through the first week, effectively communicated daily and did everything we could to be present and pastoral.
Just before moving into Alert Level 4, Windsor Park launched a social initiative called #reachout3 asking everyone in the Windsor Park community to reach out to three people, contacting them a couple of times each week to check in on, encourage, and show the love of God. Then encourage those people to reach out to 3 more and so on and so on. Our hope is for this to be a cycle of care and connection that spreads across our city and nation.
The Render Gathering, Manurewa
There have been some exciting opportunities to reinvent systems, process, and what gathering as faith communities looks like, but the real win has been seeing and hearing of people finding Jesus, opening up to him in their lives, and actually growing in their faith through digital platforms and what many may have thought to be limiting access.
We had planned to begin digital membership by the end of 2020, as we had been planning since mid-2019. But this gave us the opportunity to kick start that sooner rather than later. It has been a platform to birth new ministry opportunities and release, empower and initiate new leaders also.
We also started Render Radio, which was a late-night show targeted to bring joy and encouragement into the season, changing the narrative from media info and COVID-19 to development and joy. We’ve seen people come to church through it, linked into greater community spaces and broken-down perceptions of church and faith through it.
St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Hastings
We have been doing some great stuff in our church, some connecting to worship via zoom, some without internet having a worship buddy who will read the service to them. I think lots of connections between people have deepened and strengthened through this time of not seeing each other. It has been rich. We have also had special zoom coffee times, including an ANZAC space where people shared how war had impacted their family.
It felt like a gift from God to be able to worship together again at Pentecost.
It was so poignant to begin our worship with the Pentecost words from Acts 2: “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.”
Although we couldn’t embrace or shake hands or sing – we did dance as we shared Christ’s peace through smiling and waving to one another across the socially distanced metres that divided us.
If you have a story of hope to share with us, whether during lockdown or not, we would love to hear from you! You can email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org