OUR CHURCHES IN COMMUNITY DURING A PANDEMIC
Martin Luther King, Jr. Christian Church
Many in Martin Luther King, Jr. Christian Church wished to attract (to evangelize) the Millennial Generation. Yet as their pastor, I have frequently alerted them that though we wanted their numbers, I was not assured our congregation was willing to include the younger generation in all our ministries. Thus, during our Bible Study period, we studied Dr. Joshua Mitchell’s “Black Millennials and the Church.” At the close of the Biblical sessions, the attendees excitingly produced dramatic pieces concerning issues brought up in Mitchell’s book. We wanted to bring the book alive. From that study evolved a new lease on the church’s life. The digital technology, that millennials are extremely well skilled, has become a medium for the entire church. Millennials are masters in charge of the church’s website and Zoom ministry. They are helpful in the audio and video ministries, as well as composing and producing worship music.
As a church, we had before resisted adopting emerging technology, however it has been a true blessing to view this intergenerational congregation working so well together especially during the Pandemic.
Rev. Dr. Jean Robinson-Casey
Martin Luther King, Jr. Christian Church
Dr. Stephen Tucker, Senior Pastor
New Commandment Baptist Church, Area One - https://www.newcommandmentdmv.com/
Here is a short synopsis of our ZOOM ministry for the children and youth of our church during this Covid-19 crisis we find ourselves in:
-Our children are given “free reign” each Thursday from 6-7 PM to connect with one another for one hour
-Nothing “biblically heavy,” but basically an opportunity to see each other, laugh with one another, have fun, and share what each has been doing during this time of “social distancing.”
-Our Youth Director guides the hour so it is not total chaos. The first session was so “over joyous” - it’s hard to describe. When an 8 year old tells a 7 year old how much they miss them, it is a little overwhelming.
-In all of our concerns about the mental states of our members, deacons, officers, etc., let’s not forget where our “first thoughts” should go - toward our children and youth...our future!
-I suggest every church should develop an hour or so per week for the children.
New Beginnings Christian Community Church, Charlottesville, VA - Area II http://www.newbeginningschristiancommunity.com
Response to our hungry neighbors during the pandemic
Please see below the MSNBC news segment taped last Saturday in front of our church.
In response to many people in Charlottesville being furloughed or having their paychecks reduced, forcing them to decided between paying for food or rent, our church, New Beginnings Christian Community, has expanded our Food Ministry from Saturdays at noon, to six days a week, from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. We allow people to “shop” for what they want, rather than hand them a bag of food, which may contain items that they cannot or do not want to eat. We admit them one at a time. Each shopper points to the item that they would like and a masked and gloved volunteer puts it in a plastic bag or box. About 85 families are given food for a week each time they come to our Food Ministry.
Our volunteers come from: Jewish, Unitarian, Presbyterian, Co-operative Baptists, American Baptists, Methodist and Episcopalian congregations and there are even some who do not identify with any faith tradition. They are bringing groceries to needy families, who cannot come to our church. Thus, with their help we are able to deliver food to public housing residents and to shut-ins.
We have received many generous donations of produce, meat, canned goods, pastries breads and funds to sustain our ministry from the wider community. The Blue Ridge Food Bank is not charging us anything for the food they supply us. Walmart and Food Lion have been very generous with their donations of groceries. A community group is working with a Shenanigans Toy Store to donate educational toys that are distributed to the families that come to our church for groceries. Another local organization is preparing cooked meals that we can hand out to hungry “shoppers.” God is blessing our church with an expanded community to help those who are hungry in Charlottesville. We are truly reaching out across businesses, congregational, racial and social boundaries to help one another. The Lord is using this pandemic as an opportunity for all of us to work together for our needy brothers and sister.
May God continue to bless your work and care for your health. We need you.