Many members of The Dale do not have easy access to technology. Some rely on now-closed libraries to get on-line and check email. Others have phones, but no data. So, how do we as a church connect in this time of isolation, especially when live-stream services might only reach a few?
In the early weeks of this crisis a small number of us gathered outside the building we usually inhabit on Sundays. Standing the appropriate distance apart in a large circle, we sang songs, including “and now, let the weak say I am strong, let the poor say I am rich, because of what the Lord has done for us. Give thanks, with a grateful heart…”, offered prayers of gratitude and lament, looked one another in the eye as we offered peace, and closed with “This Little Light of Mine”.
The opportunity to gather in this way has now passed. Tomorrow, as a staff we will walk along Queen St West in pairs with the requisite six feet between us to pray and deliver snacks to our friends who remain on the street. We continue to check in on as many people as possible through phone calls, texts, email and social media messaging.
As a church without our own walls, we have long felt comfortable with being outdoors. This latest decision for Sunday reflects our desire to remain present, while honouring the importance of Public Health (and keeping us all healthy). None of our decisions are made lately and we are aware that each is costly, especially to those who felt vulnerable and generally isolated before the onset of COVID-19.
In Acts, the church was one of movement. Yes, there were times people met in the temple, but it was just as common to connect in a home or by the sea. “Ekklesia”, the Greek word we get “Church” from means a gathering of people. Though we cannot gather in the literal sense right now, we have not lost our connection.
As I communicated this latest news to The Dale, I felt compelled to write this: the church has never been a building. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes to tell Christians that God’s presence is not just above and around them, but within them. We are the Body of Christ on earth and the temple of the Holy Spirit, actual living and breathing sanctuaries.
So, wherever you find yourself on Sunday please know that we have not ceased being a church.
4 thoughts on “Church is Not a Building”
Bless you Erinn and all the staff of the Dale. I think each of us is trying to think how we can support those we know and love around us in as creative a way as we can. Yesterday, for example, I held a Nia dance class via Zoom. Lots of bugs to iron out, but at the very least, it was good to see everyone’s smiling face. Bless you as you do your work side by side, one person at a time!
Erin you are an angel sent by God to minister amongst your friends there in the city of Toronto. Blessings to you, my friend.
Grandma Jean Ireland.
Hi Erinn, I will continue to pray for the Dale team as you go about caring for and praying with those in need. I will pray that God will protect you, the team, and also each person you minister too.
May God bless you all.💜
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!! Thank you Erinn 😊 I’ve found Psalm 91 an encourager for me too today!!! Be safe and be well friend….. ♥️