Staying connected: Dubbo has it in the bag

Staying connected: Dubbo has it in the bag

Through Church Care Circles and Church in a Bag, Dubbo Uniting Church has managed to remain connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With COVID-19 requiring churches to close down their in-person services, many congregations have turned to technology to bridge the gap.

Dubbo Uniting Church’s Myrna Eaton told Insights that, while Dubbo Uniting Church have embraced Zoom for their morning teas, the congregation is making sure that those with less access are not left behind.

“In this particular time of trouble people are having to think of new ways of living our faith and remain connected,” Ms Eaton said.

“One of our focuses has been on reaching our loyal and dedicated people who do not have access to all the whiz bang technology that is becoming so common.”

“After we’d been without a minister for a short time we began to realise that we needed to come up with an intentional plan for ministering to the congregation. We attended a pastoral care training session and then formed a committee (so Uniting Church) which asked the members of the congregation who wanted to be in a circle to fill in a card with their details. We then divided those people who were interested, which turned out to be most of the congregation, into circles of six to eight people.”

These groups became known as Caring Church Circles. Each circle has a leader who is tasked with keeping in contact with the group members. When church services were no longer being held due to COVID-19 the Circles became more essential to the life on the church.

“We needed to rethink the way we were reaching the congregation,” Ms Eaton recalled.

“At the same time the local Salvation Army was sending out services to their members in a bag so our office manager Raelene leapt into action and the DUC bags were launched. While the Caring Church Circles didn’t initiate the Dubbo Church in a Bag we did take on the responsibility of seeing that they were distributed not only to circle members but to all church members.”

“We know the idea of the Caring Church Cicles was well received because most members of the congregation joined. The group leaders have continued to maintain contact with all members and at times we hear directly from members about how timely our phone calls have been.”

“Some different ways of connecting have been sharing morning tea via Zoom, dropping grocery items as needed and beautiful handwritten cards.”

Ms Eaton told Insights that the Church in a Bag has also been very successful.

“We love hearing about the families who sit together on Sunday morning sharing in the services. Some even claim to sit on their front verandas and sing the hymns.”

“There are little treats in the bags which bring joy and moments of love and sharing. The latest round of treats included a woolly lamb with a Bible verse, an origami cup with a lolly inside, a tea light with a map of the world to stimulate prayer, morning tea biscuits and a bookmark for Pentecost. And the puzzles, our brains were well and truly stimulated by them.

“On our second round of bag delivery we were touched by the thank you cards lift out for us.”


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