Inform and trust: How North Ryde overcame tech barriers
With Uniting Church services moving online and people working from home to lessen the spread of COVID-19, using the technology involved in this remote environment is one that can prove challenging.
For Rev. James Aaron, the minister at North Ryde Community Church, this was a pastoral problem with a straightforward solution. After a discussion with the church’s pastoral care unit, he decided to pair people familiar with the technology with those who needed help learning how to use it.
“It came about because our concern for those who would feel disconnected or not able to take part in our continued and diverse worship,” Rev. Aaron said.
“It was a simple and pastoral solution which our pastoral care team thought of during a Zoom conversation.”
With “five or six tech buddies working with a number of people each”, the team of volunteers worked to ensure that congregants had the hardware or could learn the steps to phone into the service.
“Mostly everyone found access to one of the platforms to the live service, or later took part through the website recording,” he said.
Rev. Aaron told Insights that the major lesson he had learnt from the experience was to, “Inform and trust.”
“I have been surprised how agile our church has been through this process,” he said.
“From assembly, synod and presbytery and congregations, there has been a very quick, very pastoral and very helpful directive to us.
“Our local church and it’s people have the skills necessary to gather, over the telephone, through online mediums and so on. I have to not underestimate what people can do when they are faced with the imperative need to adapt and reshape what it means to be the church through good times and through crisis.”
For a list of Uniting Churches that are streaming their worship services, visit the Synod’s COVID-19 hub here.