Connor clergy came together for a virtual meeting on May 7, with 58 people taking part in a Zoom conference chaired by the Archdeacon of Dalriada, the Ven Paul Dundas.
The conference was really to touch base with clergy because we are apart at this time,” said Paul. “We had hoped that 30 or 40 people might take part, so to have 58 online together was superb.”
Paul introduced the meeting, and all the participants had the opportunity to say hello before Paul did a reading and shared a reflection. He reminded clergy that the Connor Development Team is available to support them and their parishes. Contact the team.
The conference focused on two areas, pastoral care and online service provision during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The Rev Linda Cronin, Glenavy Parish, who was just three weeks into her role as rector before the lockdown, spoke about the challenges of ringing people she had yet to get to know, commenting that everyone made a point of asking how she was and enjoyed the opportunity to chat.
The Rev Canon Jim Carson, St Stephen’s and St Michael’s, talked about ministry in a Belfast context, highlighting how his parishes have compiled lists of those who are online and who are not to best tailor ministry to parishioners.
On the subject of online service provision, Derek Harrington, curate at Christ Church, Lisburn, talked about sharing services online, and the new phone number which allows those who are not online to listen in to a service for the cost of a local call.
The Rev Stu Reid, curate in Ballymoney, Finvoy and Rasharkin, spoke from his own professional background in production. Stu has circulated a resource to clergy looking at practical ministry online, managing expectations etc.
“We are encouraging people to share what they are doing. If someone is on their own in a parish, they can request someone else to do a recording for them to share. We want to encourage anyone who is struggling with online ministry to get help from someone who has more expertise,” Paul said.
Connor Bishop-designate George Davison drew the meeting to a close, finishing with the Grace.
“This was a great opportunity for clergy to connect and really good use of modern technology,” said Paul. “Today many of us would have been travelling to Dublin for General Synod, so coming together was very worthwhile.
“We hope to do this again sometime, and also organise smaller group video conferences.”