F1rst Sundays fosters connections beyond the pandemic
On Sunday, 6 December, Parramatta Nepean Presbytery will stream the final instalment of their popular F1rst Sundays videos at 4pm. The series has focused on congregations’ innovative ministries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the 2020 finale, organisers invited all congregations from across Parramatta Nepean Presbytery to submit a video message exploring the question, ‘how has your congregation grown in capacity as a result of F1rst Sundays.”
Due to its focus on training and upskilling people in order to meet their needs during the pandemic, the project has gained government funding. Organisers are working with Bidwill Uniting Church to find and upskill 80 Digital Mentors across Parramatta Nepean Presbytery a process they say is underway and will continue into 2021.
Josh Wyatt is a producer who worked with congregations to train in the necessary skills and to deliver F1rst Sundays.
“F1rst Sundays has been an incredible collaboration this year,” he said.
“The F1rst Sundays initiative was all about strategic, creative, and technical capacity building throughout Parramatta Nepean Presbytery’s congregations. This Sunday, we’ll hear what all that means and the real impact F1rst Sundays has made in the life of the presbytery.”
“What’s exciting for me is not just hearing stories of capacity building, but the wider impact of the growth, relationship building, and storytelling. In a year where we have all been more disconnected than ever before, F1rst Sundays has been a timely venture that has brought us closer together.”
Rev. Dr Rob McFarlane is the Presbytery Ministery Leader for Parramatta Nepean Presbytery. He told Insights that the project had led to growth and upskilling for the congregations involved.
“There is no going back to the way things were before, with most congregations continuing in some form of outward-facing hybrid worship,” he said.
“Our final F1rst Sundays will have something of a “where are they now?” flavour. We will hear from people about how they have been able to get online. “
“While the focus for many has been on worship, this has had a strong missional edge. Some of our stories are about reaching further beyond our gathered congregations online; others are about documenting how our people have connected deeply with their local communities in the physical space, especially through providing food while building community.”
According to Rev. Dr McFarlane, the project has become “a key element in growing relationships across the Presbytery.”
“Our final F1rst Sundays will be a display of connection which will endure beyond the pandemic.”
F1rst Sundays streams on Sunday 6 December at 4pm on Parramatta Nepean Presbytery’s Facebook Page.