What can parishes do this summer to get together, interact with the community and do some of the near-normal things they miss? Here are a couple of examples.
PARISH OF KINGSTON
In the spring of 2020 the world encountered a paradigm shift. No longer could anyone assume that life would simply return to “normal.”
The Church was called to adapt and change to meet the need of those who found themselves spiritually and emotionally lost as increasingly norms were being restricted and canceled.
In the Parish of Kingston, we adapted as best we could with all sorts of online means of communication, but we were lacking a sense of joy and were longing to bring that back in the safest way possible.
After much discussion and prayer, it was decided that we would try a take-out event, as take-outs were the only means of eating out in the early stage of the virus.
We settled on strawberry shortcake: it was simple, didn’t require a large team and could easily be done by socially distancing at stations. Then came the questions of how to safely prepare the dessert? What do we charge?
An operational plan was put into place to make sure we met all provincial public health measures. A floor plan for the hall was designed, following governmental regulations, maintaining a six-foot distance, with masks, and gloves, hand sanitizer inside and outside the building. Everything would be done on-site, berries prepared, biscuits made in our hall kitchen (inspected by the Health Department of NB).
We sent the draft plan to the diocese first and responded to their recommendations by making changes to tighten up the safety of the public.
In order to avoid handling cash, and to focus not on fundraising but giving back to the community, we decided not to charge but ask for a free will offering.
On July 18, we served 110 shortcakes for an hour on Saturday afternoon, and received wonderful compliments on how safe people felt as consumers and as part of the service team.
It wasn’t our normal practice to have a summer event, but we adapted to meet the changing times; and yes, everyone had fun and enjoyed a moment to appreciate the life the Lord has given us.
Submitted by the Rev. Douglas Painter and postulant Sharon Arbeau.
PARISH OF COLDBROOK - ST MARY
On July 10, St. Mary and St. Bartholomew Church in Saint John held a drive-thru ice cream social. We served 58 treats and everyone had a great time enjoying a physically distanced visit. It was great to see and hear the kids being back together.
We had a team to take, assemble and deliver orders as cars drove to each station. The final station was a take-out VBS kit. This kit, focused on the Fruits of the Spirit, is filled with fun activities, family devotions, conversation starter cards, colouring sheets, games and some sweet fruit-themes treats.
Submitted by Bonnie Hunt.
1. Working your way through the line. 1st stop, order with Vanessa. 2nd stop pick up treats with Cyndi and Karen. 3rd stop, pick up your Take out Church VBS Kit with Bonnie.
2. The masked crew: Vanessa, Cyndi, Karen and Bonnie.
3. Assembling the strawberry shortcakes, station by station, inside the hall.
4. Entering the Parish of Kingston hall with plenty of space between people.