Jul 21, 2021

As the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, more churches are planning, preparing or just pondering  steps to take to fully, safely and effectively reopen in the coming months. And many of their leaders are seeking answers to persistent questions—especially when, where and how? 

Leaders of ministries that serve children, youth and families are determining how to resume or revise or recreate their ministries in a changed environment—especially if that environment is both onsite and online. Several such leaders in the Eastern PA Conference have been exploring those considerations together, and they recently discovered a helpful new resource they want to share with others. 

Elizabeth Christie, Director of Faith Formation at Fritz Memorial UMC in Bethlehem, has been meeting every few months with several peers including: 

  • the Rev. Eva Johnson, Director of Faith Formation at Grove UMC; 
  • Kelly Rismiller, Pastor of Children & Family Ministries at West Lawn UMC; 
  • Sally Doyle, Director of Christian Education at First UMC in Phoenixville; and
  • Kelly Lynn, Coordinator of Children & Young Family Ministries at West Chester UMC.

They discovered Post Pandemic Pondering & Planning, a booklet of good ideas published by the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators (APCE) in partnership with the Office of Christian Formation in the Presbyterian Mission Agency PC(USA).   

Elizabeth Christie (top left) talks with several Fritz Memorial UMC children on Zoom during the pandemic shutdown. 

“We think there must be other congregations in this conference that would also benefit from using the guide as they plan,” said Christie. She and her team proposed leading a Zoom meeting for anyone who wants to “peruse the guide with us and talk through questions we have, along with sharing our hard-earned wisdom from pandemic ministry.” 

When she contacted the Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm, Director of Connectional Ministries, they scheduled Monday, August 2, at 6:30 PM, for the Zoom session. Christie, Johnson and Rismiller will co-facilitate the seminar.

“Tiny Fritz Memorial has experienced over 300% growth in engaged attendance for faith formation since the pandemic,” reports Christie, who has created and led ministries for families and children at churches for two decades. Eager to share what she knows, she has taught workshops at several conference events. 

“Going online opened a whole new campus for us; and we are reaching more people than we ever could have before. I hope other congregations have been able to adapt and thrive, too.”

Register now if you want to learn what works in this online and emerging hybrid world so full of promise and possibilities for reaching and engaging families through creative ministry. Meanwhile, download and preview the booklet, Post Pandemic Pondering & Planning. And bring your questions and ideas to the seminar.

Connectional Ministries will provide a recording of the seminar for later viewing. For more information contact Christie at elizabeth.d.christie@gmail.com