With the impact of COVID-19, new forms of communication have emerged and strengthened connections within WDC.
In April, pastors of the five WDC congregations along Kansas’ I-70 highway planned a joint online Good Friday worship service. In June, WDC’s six congregations in Newton, Kansas coordinated a joint online Vacation Bible School attended by over 80 children, including several from additional churches. To accompany online worship and activities, bags filled with recreation and craft supplies, workbooks and daily snacks were delivered to the children. In July, WDC congregations in Texas held a joint online worship service coordinated by Sandra Montes Martinez and Samuel Voth Schrag, who were also on the WDC annual assembly planning team. They noted that this was a helpful “trial run” for WDC’s online gathering several weeks later, which also provided connections through technology such as language interpretation channels on zoom, online webinars and video snapshots from congregations.
WDC has hosted Spanish and English zoom meetings for pastors to share resources, encouragement, and prayer. The WDC Resource Library has offered online story hour for children, and book bundles for study groups. The WDC Hope Fund has nurtured bonds of sharing across the conference, as generous contributions have provided grants and encouragement for congregations impacted financially by COVID-19.
God’s Spirit flows among us, beyond the barriers of a pandemic. It is the same Spirit who prompted Paul to write to the Thessalonians, when he was unable to be with them in-person: “Timothy has just now come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love. He has told us also that you always remember us kindly and long to see us – just as we long to see you. For this reason, brothers and sisters, during all our distress and persecution we have been encouraged about you through your faith. …How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith. Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. And may God so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.” (1 Thessalonians 3:6-7, 9-13)
–Heidi Regier Kreider, WDC Conference Minister