St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Welland, ON is the Partners in Faith Resource congregation (Partner Congregation) for the Hamilton/Niagara conference in Eastern Synod. As part of the covenant with ELCIC their PIF committee decided to host their first PIF event on June 19, 2002. They felt that it would assist other congregations in their visioning for next year to have this input now.
"CHURCH and HOME, Keeping the Connection" publicity was sent out to area Lutheran, Anglican and Roman Catholic congregations six weeks prior to the event.
"How do we keep connected with our baptismal families and sponsors? How do we help parents and sponsors nurture faith growth? What resources are available to help us on this journey?" were topics to be shared at the meeting.
The event took place in the evening 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
||For our worship time the committee led us through the rite for an Education milestone (those entering Kindergarten, Grade 9, and College/University) that was designed by them for use with St. Matthew's congregation.
||A connecting icebreaker/mixer where we connected with a partner who held a game piece that 'connected' with ours and shared the name of someone we know who connects faith and life.
||Understanding the paradigm shift followed. Examples from today's world and using Dick Hardel's portion of The Child in our video to illustrate this shift in ministry were discussed.
||St. Matthew's shared some examples of their ministry that help make connections. Worship/Sunday School connection, Parents/Parents connection, Parents/Sunday School connection, as well as intergenerational event ideas were shared.
||To keep the connection newsletter article examples, intergenerational take home activities, as well as ideas around milestones were discussed.
||As they have connected with families this PIF committee has also been connecting with other ministry areas notably Witness and Worship.
||The group then gathered in their own congregational groups to talk about PIF ministry in their own setting. Under the headings of Celebrate, Tweak and Add we discussed possibilities in our own unique setting. Sharing with the other groups gave more ideas.
||The books purchased with ELCIC money were shown. Everyone got a list including the reviews. These are for conference congregations' use. The mechanics of borrowing them were shared.
The Benediction closed our meeting.
Three congregations were represented. Their discussions, questions and sharing indicated that the participants are convinced of the need for a paradigm shift based on the concepts of this process with the church/home partnership.
It was an excellent meeting. One of the congregations came from the far end of the conference and showed great interest. St. Matthew's people stated that they were a "work in progress" taking small steps to make and keep connections. Participants wanted telephone numbers and e-mail addresses and assurance of help as they work to take those small steps back in their congregation.
Although no one came from churches of other denominations St. Matthews has a relationship with both the Anglican & Roman Catholic congregations nearby and is hopeful that those connections will be made in future.
For more information contact Dianne Yungblut