Lacey Fosters Intergenerational Fellowship Despite Isolation
Jason Canfield’s last sermon before COVID-19 pandemic closures was about being a community in Christ and not forsaking assembling together. Little did he know the extent of what the next year of ministry would entail for Washington's Lacey Church and countless others throughout the world.
“Like most pastors, I began scrambling to find ways to hold the church together and minister to my church family,” Canfield remembers. “After the first week passed, I realized that something needed to be put in place to fill the void that existed from the lack of fellowship in community.”
As he looked at the options, Canfield realized there were enough sermons on the internet to keep someone busy until Christ’s return. He also saw very few options that would allow all generations within the community of Christ to interact in genuine fellowship and be spiritually fed.
The breakthrough came when a Sabbath School teacher decided to host a class on Zoom videoconferencing so adults could interact for an online Bible study time. “That one class created a spark that turned into a flame,” Canfield says. “One week later we not only had two adult classes (one quarterly and one nonquarterly), we also had earliteen/youth, juniors, primary, kindergarten and beginner classes. A few weeks later we added a collegiate class, with a young member leading from over three hours away.”
The creativity in classes was impressive. For example, the beginners teacher took a picture of the Sabbath School setup and used it as a Zoom background to help kids feel more comfortable. The junior class had guest reporters from ancient times (dressed in costumes), while earliteens found ways to share fun music and do Bible crosswords together.
At its peak, more than 70 devices (often representing multiple people) logged in weekly for Sabbath School. The church utilized its Zoom Pro account to recreate a reoccurring meeting ID. All participants initially met in a shared Zoom space before dismissing into breakout rooms. When the class ended, all ages then rejoined for the sermon time.
“Sabbath School was designed to be a place of rich fellowship and growing together as a church family,” Canfield says. “Several parents shared how much it meant to them that we created a space for every age. A focus on intergenerational relationships is aiding us in sharing the love of God that brings hope, healing and peace through Jesus Christ to our community.”