Easter 2020 was one for the books. For the first time, our church had to rely on our online platforms to stream our services, our traditional Easter egg hunt couldn’t happen, and a lack of holidaymakers made our region seem like any other quiet weekend.
On top of all of this, Charlie and I welcomed our son “Bear” into the world, a healthy and happy boy who drinks more milk than we ever thought possible. Charlie and I are loving parenthood already and little Bear has captured our hearts (even among the sleepless nights!). I’ve never known love like the love I feel for him.
It seems like, as a society, we are all trying to figure out our “new normals”. What was once easy, is now a challenge, and that which we once took for granted, we now have a fresh thankfulness for (who knew toilet paper on the shelf could bring so much joy!).
In the national newspaper today, there was an article about an increase in mental health cases due to the pandemic, with the main contributors being stress and isolation. Connection with others is something being challenged in our society.
As pastors, Charlie and I are passionate about trying to help our community stay connected. It’s a challenge, yes, but a challenge we can overcome together!
In response to this, we have implemented 7 “connection points” throughout church life to help our church community stay connected well.
1. Church online. Every Sunday we air church online. A time where you can connect with Charlie and myself, hear our heart, enjoy worship and the word together, as well as connect with our pastors via things like the YouTube & Facebook live chats.
2. After church ZOOM groups. These are essentially connect groups that meet virtually after our Sunday services for fellowship and to discuss the topics in the sermon. Anyone with an internet connection and device can be a part of these. Charlie and I personally do this every Sunday with our connect group and we love it. I encourage you to contact the church website to be a part of this.
3. A fortnightly pastoral phone call. We have worked hard to make sure everyone who calls our church home gets a call at least every fortnight by one of our team. Unfortunately, our pastors can’t make every call as there are many hundred who call Celebration Church home. However one of our amazing team who love you will call. If you haven’t received one of these yet, please contact our church office via our website.
4. A weekly written update from Charlie and I called "THE WEEKLY". This will be posted on our church website and church social media accounts.
5. A church-wide devotional via the YouVersion app. This is a devotional open to all, where people can connect via the comments after doing the same devotional every day. I’ve been really blessed by this.
6. Worship Wednesday. We are trialing “Worship Wednesday” every Wednesday night at 7pm on Facebook. It's a time of worship and communion and will help to provide a mid-week connection point for you with our worship team and one of our pastoral team. Let us know if this is a blessing to you, so we can keep doing it.
7. Upcoming Church Events done virtually. These include department get-togethers via zoom, Heart & Soul nights, prayer gatherings, and more. Stay tuned for more details to be announced.
We believe that creating a church community who is connected with each other is a healthy community.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
We pray God's blessing over you. Let’s be a church that’s connected and not isolated! All our love, Benaiah & Charlie Halliday (and Bear!)