By Brian Gooding, Pastor
What’s happening? Its Sunday afternoon. I’m the Pastor and so far today I’ve watched several online services and, later today I’ll watch myself and some of our team as our weekly Sundays@Six Online service goes out – strange days and not what I would have thought our fledgeling church needed!
It’s over six years since our group started praying together and three years since we started our Sunday service at 6pm in a local church hall. With a regular attendance between 25/40, and a part-time pastor, the group was developing skills and a great team has been formed. The future looked bright.
There have been frustrations – especially our continuing difficulties acquiring suitable premises for worship and outreach. We were initially also concerned that we were a middle-aged/elderly group, but progress has been made in the last year when God blessed us with young families attending our services. We had started Sunday Morning Family Worship with a small group attending with a class for children every week. The Youth pastor from Stirling Baptist came out to Callander every Thursday afternoon to lead our Youth Group immediately after McLaren High School. Both these new activities took place in our home.
Covid-19 caught us without warning and we had to quickly adjust. Our aims had to be the maintenance of our small Christian community which could easily dissipate if we did nothing and to reach beyond our existing group with the gospel. Callander has a strong community spirit and immediately groups sprang to action to meet local physical and social needs during lockdown and, whilst some in our fellowship are involved in these groups, the main role of our group has been spiritual.
Our Sundays@Six Online service has reached many more people than our usual Sunday attendance, our profile within the town is much higher, on Mondays and Thursdays we meet to pray and on Wednesdays are doing the Prayer course on Zoom together. More people are attending these than used to be at our groups and those attending cross existing church congregations.
Like everyone else we are trying to discern the future shape of church but being young and without a building or years of tradition we feel well placed to adapt to the new normal!