We never signed up for this!
By Rev. Cynthia Rader Geyer, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry
About 15 minutes into one of our latest virtual ministry gatherings, I was already spent. Don’t get me wrong – I love our Moravian and Christian communities, and I was grateful for the technology to be able to see some faces and connect. At the same time, I felt “over it.” I wanted to leave the meeting right then.
I never signed up to be an online minister or parishioner. I am a people person. And nothing beats an in-person connection.
I am hearing from teens, youth, young adults, and adults that this type of community is leaving us feeling disconnected, dissatisfied, and ineffective. While we know that it’s better than nothing, and in my role as Director of Youth and Young Adults, I worked hard to create the best virtual youth gatherings possible, I have to agree.
I feel disconnected, dissatisfied, and ineffective because:
- I can’t read nonverbal cues when on Zoom
- I can’t hear laughter when making jokes or hear others sing when participants are muted
- I can’t give a hug or high-five
I’m not flat Stanley! I was created in a multidimensional world to live in a multidimensional community. We all were. We feel disconnected and dissatisfied because, while better than nothing, a virtual group does not create the same sort of connected atmosphere that our in-person groups do.
In other words, though there is some connection — compared to what we are used to, we feel disconnected. Yet, there are silver linings with virtual gatherings.
- Zoom has a beauty filter! You may have just rolled out of bed but no one will have to know that…
- Out of the box ministry is on the rise. Seriously, creativity is on the rise as we seek to break out of our Brady Bunch sized Zoom box.
- There is more kid, family, and pet involvement on zoom than in-person! It’s pretty much inevitable that a famifamer, someone’s child/cat/dog/hamster/bird/horse will wander into the room and peer at the camera ‘causing everyone to go “aww” and wave at least once every meeting.
- Depending on how you’re sitting, you can wear pajamapants! Angle your camera up, get comfy and enjoy!
- Cross Cultural Diversity is on the rise. Our youth and young adults from all over the United States and Canada as well as all over the world are connecting, getting to know each other as they meet, worship, and chat, etc.
- Zoom allows you to have virtual backgrounds! You can pretend that you are at the beach or traveling through the stars with a virtual background. It adds some variety to your gatherings and is helpful if you don’t want everyone to see your messy office or house.
I am ready to meet in person again. I long to travel to your community to share workshops with your congregations, to meet with youth and young adults, and to worship together. Some of us are there, many of us are not there yet.
So, here are some new workshops offered to your community in person or via Zoom or any combination thereof through the office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.
These workshops offer valuable insights for members of all ages and are easily adapted to meet the needs of your congregation and or community.
- For example, gather for a two hour in person with masks and social distancing and or virtual zoom workshop
- Set up a zoom meeting weekly for four weeknights or Sundays after worship, or Saturday mornings
- Bring pods, groups of no less than 3 and no more than 8 folks together in homes and participate with readymade groups in a workshop on zoom
- Have a virtual time of fellowship with games and snacks via zoom, see below or check with me if you need game ideas
- Suggest something that works for your community
The following is just a sampling of what is offered:
Ministry in a Digital Age:
Best Social Media Strategies and Practices
Share your best social media practices. Improve your congregation’s online presence. Find a way to use Facebook for good (is that possible?) Use the internet to create spiritual and personal connections on and offline. Workshops can be held in person with masks and social distancing for a group in your community or connected with other congregational groups or representatives via Zoom or via regional or district Webinar!
The Way I Heard It:
Jeopardy, Moravian Style
Jump into Jeopardy, Moravian style to discover Moravian ‘truths’ by sharing stories about the many challenges that ultimately led to the growth of the Moravian Church. This workshop is set up as a game and could be offered as a fellowship evening. Invite folks to gather as a pod, a small group of no more than 5 in someone’s home, bring and share favorite snack, and play The Way I Heard It!
Living in the Purple Zone:
Ministry in the Red-Blue Divide
Engage your congregation and community in ‘hot-topics’ by finding the values that bind them together and respond faithfully to God’s Word. Address the vital justice issues of our time with tested strategies and prudent tactics grounded in biblical theological teachings. In these divided times find a way forward that is marked by genuine dialogue, deep engagement with the scriptures and one another and a commitment to tackling divisive issues with openness and humility.
Email [email protected] or text Cynthia at 484-554-0102 for more information or to schedule one of these in person or virtual workshops. Are you looking for a supply preacher? Contact me for my availability to preach via Zoom, other social media venues, and or in person.
The Board of World Mission’s Moravian Disaster Response (MDR) fund stands ready to be of assistance whenever and wherever a disaster strikes and impacts Moravians around the world. This year we have been incredibly busy with an extensive hurricane season and the Covid-19 pandemic. To date in 2020, we have sent aid to our Moravian brothers and sisters in Wilmington, NC (Hurricane ); to the Eastern Congo (flooding ); to over 55 Moravian congregations and agencies in the US and Canada to assist with expenses related to adapting worship and church administration due to Covid-19; we have sent Covid-19 aid to Cuba, Peru, and Honduras. All told, we have sent out over $80,000 to people who have experienced some truly unfortunate circumstances. So much more needs to be done, and we cannot extend this compassionate help without your help. Please visit our website at www.moravianmission.org for more details on what is happening around the world and how you can help send relief.
CROSSROADS UPCOMING CLASS: CULTURE AND CHANGE
Mondays & Thursdays, 6-9 pm
November 5 – December 3 (November 30 and December 3 are by Zoom only)
Instructor: Dr. Jill Peters
In-person (Bahnson Center) or Real-time Distance Learning via Zoom
By Laura Watson
Director of Stewardship Services
Are you looking for a new resource to help reframe stewardship practices in your community of faith? Perhaps you’re ready to look at your ministry’s assets with fresh eyes but aren’t sure where to start. Or are you experiencing obstacles when it comes to forming faithful and joyful stewards? Join me each Thursday during October to discuss a different resource. Click the link below to read the details.
As we prepare for the arrival of the 2021 Moravian Daily Texts in late October/early November, we would like to offer our remaining 2020 editions to congregations and agencies for use in their ministries free of charge. Daily Texts are perfect for outreach, new member introductions, study classes and community events. We have a limited supply of various editions of the 2020 DT available; all we ask is that you either pick up at the Church Center in Bethlehem or pay for shipping to your location. To obtain these free editions, please contact Jill Bruckart at [email protected], or call 1.800.732.0591, ext. 38. And if you haven’t already, be sure to pre-order your 2021 Moravian Daily Texts! Visit https://store.moravian.org or contact Jill for details.
Eastern District Christian Education
Resource of the Month:
When churches begin returning to in-person Sunday School classes perhaps it will be part-time, and you may not yet be comfortable purchasing a quarter’s worth of curriculum. Following is a Sunday School curriculum for ages 5-10 that can be purchased one unit at a time. There are currently six different units available with more coming in October. (One unit = 3 – 5 weeks). The curriculum is entitled “Growing in God’s Love” and is based on stories from a new Story Bible of the same title. Learn more about it on the following website and contact Marie Couts: ([email protected]) for more information.
We are excited to offer new dates for cabin rentals and activities for families to enjoy. Rentals will be available September 25th, October 2nd, October 23rd, and October 30th. Rentals are for families, we cannot allow groups of individuals to rent a cabin as we are following guidelines set by the CDC, ACA and N.J. Government.
To make a reservation, call the camp office at 908-459-4435 or send an email to [email protected] and we will contact you shortly.