21st Century Congregations
June 2021
Photo by https://unsplash.com/@jesuslovesaustin
Digital Ministers, this one's for you!
We have all been changed by the events of the past 15 months. This sweeping understatement is necessary preparation for the next one. The Church has been changed, too. No place is that more obvious than in the rise of digital ministry necessitated by the pandemic. Like you, I spent most of 2020 shifting into a new gear. It felt something like "warp speed." I'm sure church leaders - clergy, wardens and digital ministers - understand this Star Trek metaphor. It was, for most of us, a time of energizing panic mixed with a spiritual determination that could only have come from God. Somehow, we did it. And, we are still doing it. It's time now to take stock of where we are and where the Spirit may be leading us.
Thanks, Ellen!
First, I want to thank Ellen Lincourt. Digital Minister for St. Michael's-on-the Heights, Worcester, Ellen is Senior AV Support Specialist at Worcester Polytechnic. Early on Ellen volunteered to offer tech support for congregations struggling with the nuts and bolts of streaming the Sunday celebration. A series of Zoom trainings called, "Tech Time," gave us a place to go with questions and a faith-filled person to offer solutions that fit our limited means and growing skillset.

Ellen has also continued to act as consultant to our congregations around video and sound installation. Her contact is here on the Digital Ministry page of our website. Ellen understands that digital ministry as essential to evangelism and hopes that we will build this new ministry community with regular gatherings for mutual support. I think that's a great idea so there will be an open Zoom door on the first Saturday of every month for this new cohort. (We know who you are thanks to our parish leadership request form.) Do pass this information along, if you have a newly recruited digital team.
Digital Ministers Community of Practice
 Every month on the first Saturday
Time:10:00 AM - 11:00 AM EST
    Jun 5, 2021 10:00 AM
    Jul 3, 2021 10:00 AM
    Aug 7, 2021 10:00 AM
    Sep 4, 2021 10:00 AM
    Oct 2, 2021 10:00 AM
    Dec 4, 2021 10:00 AM

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 845 7629 0468
Passcode: evangelism
Resources & Training

It was great to see so many of you at Mike Orr's talk on hybrid church. If you couldn't make it, here is the video (PW: hybridchurch) and the slides. And Mike has collected many resources for "Caffeinated Church" - a subscription platform.
We want to make sure digital ministers have access to the best trainings churchwide. The offerings are largely online, and that makes it easy to be part of a conference or workshop in the months ahead. The annual eformation conference, sponsored by VTS, will take us deeper into hybrid church. Check out the speakers and topics. Find out more about the 2021 eformation conference here. I hope to see you there!
And here is a class that takes place in two parts - also from Virginia Theological Seminary. This class takes a broader approach and suggests four fundamental pillars of a top-notch hybrid church:

  1. producing for the medium,
  2. creating a true digital community,
  3. fundraising effectively for sustainability, and
  4. examining the missional theology of a hybrid congregation

Learn more about the class here.
And, there is no shortage of good pieces about this digital transformation, and the impact of this shift on every aspect of ministry. Hybrid church is more than what happens on Sunday.
Why Hybrid Is Not Just for Cars and Superhero Movies...

Looking for the basics? Read Pauli's previous article Why Hybrid Is Not Just for Cars and Superhero Movies Anymore: Hybrid formation & discipleship basics . Well, sort of...you need the right equipment to bring it together. Check with your...

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Webinar: Ministry After COVID: What have we learned?...

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, churches and faith communities have had to move many of their ministries online, including worship and faith formation. As we look forward with hope as vaccinations are distributed and something resembling...

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Digital Ministry

Includes all the ways we connect with members of our congregations and the wider world through technology

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Six predictions for the post-pandemic church

As COVID infection rates decline and vaccination rates increase, we can envision the pandemic eventually coming to an end. Given that growing hope, it's a good time to look at what the post-pandemic church might resemble. Here are some...

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Before I wind up here, I want to convey how inspired I have been by you - the lay and ordained leaders in our congregations. It has been really hard in places and with love for God in your hearts, challenges have been met, and the impossible has become part of Sunday worship. This is a good time to breathe a little deeper and take stock of the tectonic shift we have experienced. No one among us can deny that this is 21st century stuff. It is also just the Church moving forward by grace. It's a joy to be with you in this work and share the Good News of God in Christ - online, in-person and heart to heart.

The Rev. Vicki Ix
Canon for Communications
The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts

The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts | 413-737-4786 |diocesewma.org