• Rossendale Circuit

Thinking Outside The Church - Ways We're Connecting

Updated: Jun 6, 2020

Words by Samantha Mackulin

I don't know if you've ever heard of the concept of 'Creative Limitation' it's essentially the idea that working within limitations can actually drive creativity. If there's ever been a time when this concept is being shown it's now. Sometimes it takes a time where we can't do a lot of the stuff we usually would, to help us to come up with totally new ways of looking at things.

So what has our circuit been doing, how have we been connecting, and what inventive ideas have so far come out of this strange time?

Photo by Bruno Cervera via Unsplash

The Online World

People across the world are connecting more than ever, despite the lockdown, because of the possibilities of the internet.

Our website is now home to a variety of useful links and information, articles, worship sheets, videos and we even have a 'poetry corner' coming soon!

Sunday Worship is of course very different at this time, but we've been hoping to encourage worship at home with worship sheets, prayers and a brilliant collaborative service on Easter Sunday put together by Richie and Sharon Watts from Newchurch. We've recently started to post a video service each week that Revd. David Burrow leads and more members of congregations are coming forward each week with video clips they've filmed to add to the service, including readings, prayers and short messages of their own!

David's Running Rev. videos are shorter messages and readings that he records while out on his daily exercise, often showing some lovely landscapes and are looked forward to by many. There are already a fair few installments to have a watch of if you've missed any!

Bev's 'Thought's For The Day/week' have been really popular, especially for those who like having something to read regularly, or are used to devotional diaries. Bev often reflects on the current situations, things that have sparked her interest during lockdown or particular parts of the Bible that she's reading at the moment. Bev jokes that she had no idea she'd be writing the thoughts for so long, thinking initially, like the rest of us, that the lockdown would only be a few weeks. Understandably, Bev has decided to make the thoughts weekly from now on but there's plenty to read back on if you want to have a look!

Photo by Eric Muhr via Unsplash

David Hollows' 'From the Garden Bench' is another great segment, this time weekly, where David reflects on a variety of topics, asks us to consider God's part in them and suggests some prayers and hymns for the week ahead. The articles could also be read as a short midweek service and each one always gives you a lot to think about. There are quite a few past articles already posted and they are updated each week on a Monday.

Various messaging apps are also being used to create group chats for those whose groups are currently not meeting up and also, as has been set up initially at Longholme, a prayer group where prayers, prayer requests and resources are shared.

This has been highly valued by those involved and has meant people could update eachother on current situations they might be in as well as sharing links and kind messages.

Of course good old email has been a great way to communicate and send all the materials around the circuit as well as keep in touch with other churches. Want to join our mailing list? Email us at rossendalemethodistcircuit@gmail.com and we'd be happy to add your email!

If you are someone who uses social media, you can also find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, it's just another way that we can connect with eachother and engage with all the materials on offer.

Photo by Erica Steeves via Unsplash

The 'Real' World

Not everyone has access to the internet, or the technology to get onto it. So it's important to make sure those people don't feel neglected or cut off from everyone else.

Across our churches, members of our congregations are working really hard to help those who have no internet access to feel connected to the community. This often includes printing off the worship materials each week and posting them through the doors of those who aren't online, sending cards and flowers and keeping up regular phone contact with their church community. We know this is so appreciated by those who are receiving this support.

We hope to continue with all these efforts and more across the circuit but do let us know if there's anything you're doing in your church that we haven't mentioned or if you have any ideas!

One thing that many people have mentioned they really miss?

Photo by Akira Hojo via Unsplash

The people.

No matter what we do at this time, we can't quite replicate human connection and sitting together in our churches, but this doesn't mean that we're disconnected or on our own. Only that the ways we're connecting are different.

If anything, many of us are perhaps experiencing that we're talking and reconnecting with people that we hadn't spoken to in a long time. Times like this can make us appreciate our friends, family, co-workers and church families more than ever and once this is over, our connections will surely only be stronger.

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