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8 FALL 2020
Churches Thrive
  By Canadian Ministries
In May 2020, The Presbyterian Church in Canada launched a funding program to help churches in the midst of COVID-19 discover new ways to gather and send God’s people. A call was put out to the church, welcom- ing applications from ministries that wanted to develop discipleship pro- grams to help deepen people’s faith during a time of great upheaval or to begin a new public witnessing pro- gram as a way to spread the good news in their communities. The ap- plications came rolling in! From coast to coast, ministries put on their crea- tive thinking hats and with the Spirit’s guidance, developed wonderful min- istries to reach out to their communi- ties in whole new ways. Below is a
quick sampling of the over 30 grants that were given out under this pro- gram.
Cooking for the Soul
Prairie Presbyterian Church
in Winnipeg, Man.
Eating, that most central of human activity, is also a central symbol of God’s love and provision. Repeat- edly, the Bible refers to food—man- na scattered across the desert, a small boy’s lunch that miraculously fed 5,000 people, the sacred meal around which we gather as Chris- tians and remember. Recognizing the spiritual significance of food, Prairie Presbyterian Church in Win- nipeg, Man., is putting together a spiritual cookbook which will be so much more than just recipes. This collection will also include prayers, reflections and conversation starters to help members of the church and community think deeply about how they are fed and nourished by both food and faith.
Friendly Faces
St. Giles Presbyterian
Church in Calgary, Alta.
Hearing a friend’s voice is great, see- ing their face is better, and being able to hug them is best! While the mem- bers of St. Giles Presbyterian Church in Calgary, Alta., cannot do the hug- ging, they can bring the face to the voice.
The early weeks of COVID-19 were very difficult for the congregation. Along with the challenges associ- ated with the pandemic, they were also dealing with the deaths of a few long-term members and a transition in ministry. When social distancing meant they could no longer gather, they knew they needed to find a way to connect and to pray for one anoth- er. The congregation is exploring the possibility of developing a program to
send a “reporter” from the congrega- tion to interview other members. The hope is that these videos will help the community stay up to date with each other’s lives and learn about the ar- eas where prayers are needed.
Rule of Life
Knox Presbyterian Church
in Toronto, Ont.
We all have moments of deep soul hunger where we long to overcome the habits that distract us from liv- ing a life of faith and that distance us from experiencing the love of God in Jesus Christ. Recognizing this is a challenge, the leaders at Knox Pres- byterian Church in Toronto, Ont., be- gan to ask themselves: What is the way to a flourishing life? How can we live in daily communion with God, awake and aware of God’s every- day presence? These reflections led Knox to develop an online opportu- nity for congregation and community members to develop a Rule of Life. Based on the ancient Christian prac- tice developed by St. Benedict in the 6th Century, the Rule of Life program at Knox will help the community de- velop a repertoire of shared spiritual rhythms, renunciations and relation- ships as they strive to live life in Je- sus together.
Funds from this grant are being used to develop a website and video- based online teaching program that will explain the history and practice of the Rule of Life.
Virtual Camp
Camp Geddie in Merigomish, N.S. For years, Camp Geddie in Merigom- ish, N.S., has been committed to their mission of inviting all children to experience the joy of God’s beauty and love in creation, and to nurture a relationship with Christ in a caring community through play and wor- ship. When it became clear that the pandemic would force them to make the heartbreaking decision to close the camp for the summer, they knew they had to pivot in order to pursue their commitment to this mission. Thus, Virtual Camp Geddie was born! Using a platform designed especially for camps, the staff team has been gathering groups of campers for morning devotions, crafts, vespers and even campfires—all in the vir- tual world.
Not only has virtual camp allowed Camp Geddie to maintain its ministry, it has also extended their reach. Chil- dren from other provinces or without the economic means to go to sleep- away camp are now joining Camp Geddie alumni for a summer of fun!
Taking part in the Camp Geddie virtual talent show.
To learn more about virtual camps taking place across the PCC visit: camp.
Equipping Bible Study Programs
The Well Church in Mississauga, Ont.
Inspired by a vision that all members of the church would be able to move anywhere in the world and begin their own Bible study group, the Rev. Stephen Kwon of The Well Church in Mississauga, Ont., launched a new online Bible study with a special twist. The Bible study sought both to nourish members through the Word of God, but also to equip them with the exegetical tools necessary to lead a Bible study wherever they might find themselves. The vision of this program is grounded in the belief that God is constantly raising up new leaders and sending them out into the community. This program aims to make sure whoever God sends is prepared!
Correspondence Bible Study—St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
in Brandon, Man.
In the early days of COVID-19, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Brandon, Man., quickly realized that not all churches could pursue on- line options as a way to gather the community during the pandemic. The challenge that this new reality created led the congregation to get very creative with their Bible study. In place of physically gathering the congregation together to study the Word of God, the Rev. Dr. Glenn Ball developed a congregation-wide cor-
respondence Bible study. Congrega- tion members ranging in age from 18 to 92, received weekly packages mailed to their home with scripture passages and reflections. Not only did they receive mail, they were ex- pected to send some back!
Each week’s package included a return envelope and response sheet that gathered reflections from the members and were then shared within the congregation. The result— a congregation-wide pen-pal project that strengthened relationships and faith.
Spiritual Biographies—
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian
Church in Kamloops, B.C. Recognizing the imbalance between being called to be Christ’s witnesses in the world and feeling equipped to do so, the Session at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Kamloops, B.C., wanted to develop a pathway for congregation members to step into the biblical call to witness. This has led them to launch the Spiritual Biographies project. The project is simple, but the anticipated impact is huge.
Congregation members will be in- terviewed in short video clips where they are asked to respond to one question: How has God been present with you through a time of difficulty? The videos will then be shared on so- cial media and on the congregation’s website as a way to celebrate God’s faithfulness and to raise awareness of God’s presence in the lives of the community. The congregation also prays that these stories will provide hope and offer a glimpse into the blessings that come with living a life of faith.
 Presbyterians Sharing is equipping congregations as they adapt through innovative ministry during these changing times.

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