Our “home group” has been meeting fortnightly in the same house for a while. We share a cuppa and some food, catch up on what’s happening, do a bible study of some sort and pray together.
Back in March, like everything else, our group stopped meeting in response to the emerging pandemic. We met a couple of times via zoom with no particular agenda, but as the reality of extended lock-down hit, we wanted to settle into a rhythm that would keep us both connected and growing in our discipleship.
Someone suggested we check out what the Bible Project were doing. We were already familiar with their excellent work, especially their fantastic animated videos explaining books of the Bible or Biblical themes in easy to understand ways.
The Bible Project team had already started a new page on their website – “Church At Home” (https://bibleproject.com/church-at-home/) – and we’re putting together a study experience each week as the pandemic unfolded.
The format is simple –
- a written introduction,
- a five minute audio introduction linking the theme to our current experience
- a video animation on the theme (drawing on their vast library of existing material)
- some passages to read and questions to discuss.
For us, whoever is leading our group on the night shares their screen on zoom, and we listen/watch the material, take turn reading the passages and talk about it together. (HOT TIP: Tick the “share computer audio” box when you share your screen to make sure audio goes out to the group)
We’ve found that not every study would hit the mark with us, but as we meet fortnightly there’s heaps to choose from. Studies on Peace, Generosity, Hope, Justice, Ephesians and Ecclesiastes have been particularly meaningful for us.
We still start with a cuppa and catch up, and have found that keeping close to an hour (rather than our usual in-person 2 hours) works better online.
With a few people who are in the more vulnerable category due to health issues, we stayed online when things eased up in June so we were all participating equally – we have prepared a COVID Safe Plan for meeting together with approval of our Church Council, but haven’t used it yet.
We marked the end of term this week with a night of fun and games – a member of the group has learnt a lot about fun activities online through leading a Girl Guide group. It was good to relax and have a laugh together.
For next term, while our church is planning to return to in-person/hybrid worship in October, our small group is likely to continue online for the time being.
David Cornford is the Head of Mission Strategy at Uniting Mission and Education, and is a member of Turramurra Uniting Church.