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The Ultimate Presbyterian Connection?
   The Rev. John and Shari Green at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Campbell River, B.C.
our representative elder, talks to her sister Julia who lives in a rural farm- ing area in northern Scotland. Dur- ing their talks, Norma told Julia how much she appreciated still being able to be part of church through the won- ders of modern technology. Julia, on the other hand, lamented the loss of church in her life. The congregation in her rural area only meets sporadi- cally in a nearby hall, and the nearest church, in a larger centre, is too far for Julia to travel. Now part of a mul- ti-point charge, she rarely even hears from her minister. And on top of that, there is no Internet connection where Julia lives.
This dilemma set Norma thinking. How could she reconnect her sister to church? The answer turned out to be relatively simple. Each Sunday as Norma connects to Zoom to be part of the worshipping community at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Camp- bell River, she also phones her sis- ter in Scotland. She then places the phone by the computer speaker, and Julia can listen to the worship service and hear the church family sharing fellowship as we do before and af- ter. To make it even more real, Norma sent Julia a photograph of the Rev. John Green while he was preaching. When worship begins, Julia props the picture of John up nearby so she
By the Rev. Robert Kerr, retired minister and member of the church family at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Campbell River, B.C.
Immediately after the pandemic shut- down began, the Rev. John Green, minister of Trinity Presbyterian Church, and his wife Shari, started leading us in online worship from their home here in Campbell River, B.C. While John led us in worship, Shari played music on her piano. They did an excellent job of keeping us together as a church family.
As the weeks passed, they became
more and more technologically adept, and others joined in to help make this wor thwhile worship experience pos- sible. Soon it came time for Shari to reclaim her office in their house, and production of the weekly live stream was moved to the sanctuary at the church. The congregation continues to value the sense of immediate con- nection they enjoy by “being together” at 10 a.m. on Sunday mornings. We have also enjoyed excellent worship led remotely by other ministers on two occasions, one from as far away as South Africa!
Each Sunday, Norma Ashcroft,
Julia’s rural home in Scotland.
can see the person who is leading her in worship!
Through computer technology, the Zoom online platform, a phone connection and a photograph, Julia is now part of a church family, even if it is some six thousand kilometres away.
While the pandemic may have temporarily shuttered or reduced the
numbers in our sanctuaries, it has also brought out such creative think- ing that has made it possible for the gospel to be shared far and wide.
A congregation in western Canada welcomes a regular participant from northern Scotland through one of the simplest and most readily available means. Is this not the ultimate Pres- byterian connection?
was in the boat. Later she asked her parents, “Can we go to the church where we can fish?”
We celebrate engagement with people through Facebook, too. We think of a gift; a beautiful handpaint- ed picture inspired by a colouring page that was shared on our web- site and sent to us by an artist from the United States.
It’s through engagement, too, in online worship that volunteers willingly par ticipate in readings, prayer and music. It is an honour to experience a first meeting online and evolving conversation through social media. People have also reached out through social media about having a marriage or other significant life event take place for them in the Dorchester Presbyte- rian Church building and in our faith community.
In a time of pandemic, we can grow in personal connection and suppor t of each other in kindness and care. We pray to be good stew- ards of God’s blessings and keep moving forward through Christ, us- ing a variety of spiritual gifts in our community, all to serve Christ and one another.
  Growing and Connecting in Dorchester
 By Linda Charlton, Elder, Dorchester Presbyterian Church in Dorchester, Ont.
March 2020 was a time of learn- ing to let go of familiar routines and deadlines. Since then, the con- gregation of Dorchester Presby- terian Church in Dorchester, Ont., has learned a little more each week. Mostly, we try to step back and re- member that it’s okay—we are not meant to be in control of, or know everything. It was during our new beginning through outdoor worship that we could reflect upon our faith journey in very special ways.
We are a small group expanding our comfor t levels by stretching into the world of technology and finding
new means for engagement with people. Through website develop- ment, Facebook and online worship, we’ve learned the importance of en- gaging with people where they are and in their own personal times of Sabbath, too. This time of new be- ginnings is a journey in taking time to be still, and listening for how we are called by the Spirit and how to respond to Christ’s call.
We are like the falling leaves in autumn! We are tossed and blown about just before a new season ar- rives. In Christ the chaos of toss- ing and turning will change, and there will be new growth again. In this way, we try not to define our- selves with worry even in a time of immense change. We are at home
Dorchester Presbyterian Church in Dorchester, Ont.
in our community and continue to build our outward-focused ministry through relationships. Today, we are graced with increasing oppor tunities to engage in new ways with seniors, presbytery youth and others.
We think often of the little girl who attended a youth family event host- ed by our worship team pre-COVID. She experienced an active story of Jesus at our event: the story of the miraculous catch of fish when Jesus

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