The Joy of Interconnectedness
It is always so encouraging to hear stories of our churches connecting with one another. Here is a fantastic story of a city church, an island church and a rural church enjoying connecting with each other in this season. (Editorial note: Jenny Wilson)
At Hillhead, God has constantly been reminding us of one word over the past year: ‘interconnectedness.’ Since lockdown, we have worshipped live online using Zoom, which has given us the opportunity to hold joint services with congregations geographically distant from us, notably Wigtown Baptist Church, in Galloway, and Ardbeg Baptist Church, on Bute. At the heart of this endeavour is the recognition that we are equal siblings in Christ, that we each have the capacity to give and to receive, to bless and be blessed, as co-workers in God’s Kin-dom of Shalom.
We thoroughly enjoyed the joint service and Communion with Hillhead at Candlemas, in the depths of winter and lockdown! Even in normal times, Wigtown is an isolated rural community, so it was very pleasing and uplifting to feel as if we were really together with a city church 100 miles away! It was particularly encouraging to the Wigtown folks that the sermon was preached from inside our own building, closed since March 2020. We are also enjoying weekly joint services with Wigtown Parish Church in their bigger, safer building, and afternoon open-air services in our grounds, when restrictions allow.
We had been linked with Hillhead, by Nicola, one of our deacons whose SBC ‘work-based learning’ placement there was interrupted by the first lockdown a year ago. Back then we would not have imagined to possibilities of lockdown gatherings. It has been something of a paradox that all this separation has brought people closer together but in ways it has been true for many of us. Being able to share and experiment (three voiced narrative sermon!), being together with new faces, and sharing in the same spirit, was a special blessing, perhaps especially for Nicola, the only one to know us all.
Our next joint venture, this autumn, will be a three-way, blended, service, as part of which we will explore the story of St Ninian who has historic connections with each of our locations. Exciting times indeed!