“Lockdown does not mean shutdown,” Pastor Mark Smallwood
In a time where social interaction is impermissible, the need for connection remains. As businesses, organizations, governments and households have had to figure out new ways of navigating this current lifestyle. Innovation is required to make this happen.
Narrowing in, the church has had to do the same. Through sermons delivered online, individual phone calls to congregants, praying over frontline workers, implementing new health and safety procedures, and figuring out how to plan ahead, it has been a stretching experience for pastors.
One of the local churches, Millbrook Christian Assembly, has learned to adapt through the different seasons of the pandemic. The church’s Pastor Mark Smallwood explains his philosophy saying “When you can’t get out to church, the church comes to you.”. Through pastor to house porch visits, to the parking lot/drive-in services last summer… there has been nothing but positive feedback from those who have watched and listened from their backyards and porches.
The church leaders have been in continual communication with public health on the guidelines of reaching out to their community and they emphasize their focus NOT on what they cannot do through this season, but what they CAN do. This includes weekly prayer meetings with up to 10 people for which the church is grateful. However, the church’s reach is not limited to the confines of Millbrook. Fourteen year old Owen Jewell from Stirling states, “Our church remains a place of comfort while it is still respectful of COVID rules.”
One accomplishment that the church has been celebrating over the past year is the construction of the community park. Owens mother, Kim Jewell states, “When the vision of Harvest Community Park, an accessible playground in Millbrook was formed, I remember thinking, ‘How are we going to raise enough money to build a $184,000 playground?’ It seemed impossible. Well…God loves impossible. My attitude, and the attitude of many at Millbrook Christian Assembly is this: ‘If it seems impossible, sit back, look up and watch Him go. You’re going to see a miracle.’” The church anticipates the completion of the playground this spring.
It looks as though gathering will not be a problem for Millbrook Christian Assembly – the church is currently pursuing more of an online route with the intent to keep people engaged in teachings and personal connection through an Alpha program. The program is an eleven-week evangelistic course that seeks to create a culture of love and hospitality while engaging people in conversation about life and faith. Millbrook Christian Assembly will be fostering these values through a digital experience with the help of zoom’s online resource. It is a casual small group atmosphere that has excited volunteers ready for people of all walks of life to join in and they look forward to addressing life’s biggest questions together. If you, or someone you know would be interested in this, please explore millbrookchurch.ca/alpha for more information. The course runs Wednesday evenings at 6:30 pm starting February 10th.
While Millbrook Christian Assembly uses the resources they have online to welcome people in, they certainly anticipate meeting and celebrating being together again.
By Cara Tetroe