There are a lot of studies coming out now about the impact of isolation. In the last two years, we have seen a breakdown in the normal way of relating to each other. A number of years ago, we were used to a variety of social circles—from family and close friends, to our church community, to friends and neighbours, to moms and dads at the soccer field and the hockey rink. All of these circles have been changed and become smaller.
The Bible teaches us from the first chapter in Genesis that we are made in God’s image. We are designed for relationship with God and with others to work to bring the ways of heaven to earth in the realization of the Kingdom of God among us as followers of Jesus.
At Holy Trinity in Welland, we sought to respond to the isolation we saw by creating pockets of community. We ran an initial Alpha online program to train the leaders of the parish to run the program. We then opened up the program to the community, offering a space for exploring the basics of the Christian faith and a safe place for the questions people have about Christianity. What has resulted is a group of people who continued to meet after Alpha was over!
This group is now watching the television series The Chosen, all about the life of Jesus and his followers. Group members will view an episode on their own and then come together on Zoom to discuss it. The group is made up of people from all over.
What we are seeing is that people are connecting more widely to Holy Trinity’s ministry in a variety of ways because of creative approaches like this to alleviate isolation. This is what happens when we provide people with the aroma of the Christian faith in a community that seeks to learn to be followers of Jesus.
All of this started from running the Alpha program at Holy Trinity. As our parishes engage the Parish Mission Action Planning process, consider how you might think about creating new pockets of community in a world of tremendous isolation.
To learn more about the work of Alpha in the diocese, and how your church could create doors to faith, email Tom at [email protected].