Churches have had to adapt in the last number of months with restrictions on meeting, closing of church buildings and sanitizing and distancing measures to keep their church family safe. Many, possibly most have taken to the internet in seeking ways to keep connected and minister.
Diaspora is, by its very definition, a dispersed church and we are even more so now! We used to meet in various homes and now we meet from EVERY HOME where our members live as we zoom online. We miss the in-person time but Zoom works for us as we log in and still get to participate. Participation is one of our highest values as people collaborate in our disciplemaking experiences of learning, worship, prayer, community and fun.
In Zoom, our screens from our households contain anywhere from one to 5 people and sometimes there is more than one screen from a single house. Plus add in the cats and dogs who wander across onscreen or jump up to get a pretty lively bunch as we meet.
I remember early Zoom calls when someone commented that it was fun coming to church in their PJs. While that made sense it also made me laugh because that happened even when we met in person sometimes. Started with the kids but with the whole ‘onesie’ style of pjs some of our ladies took part too and there were a couple of designated PJ days when a lot showed up that way!
We find Zoom works also for accountability groups, one-to-ones and leadership meetings as well.
One meeting variation that makes me laugh is what a friend calls “cop chats” as two of us will meet with our cars parked facing in opposite directions in a parking lot, thus staying distanced. I’ve found that very helpful. For so many years I’ve see police cars parked that way while officers chat!
Over the summer as we were allowed to meet outdoors we took advantage of that and met in various parks around the area sitting in distanced household groups. Wasn’t an entirely new thing as we did that the summer before too. It’s so great to worship Jesus sitting by the river, or praying at the Arboretum enjoying the fall colours.
And for fun, we did our annual Thanksgiving hike and had a summer car rally. In case, you’ve never encountered a car rally it involves following directions as you drive around looking for clues and answering questions. Great activity for Covid as each household was in their own car. The only limiting factor is needing at least two people per car unfortunately for driving and navigating. That doesn’t work as well for single person households.
A highlight of Christmas every year is our Diaspora Family Christmas Party with gifts, games and food as we gather as a church family. This year it will be a Zoom event and we’re getting creative with how to do the gifts/games/food. Check back for how it turns out!
Praying for you as you cope with Covid in your own way.