The Rotary Club of Richmond Hill held its weekly meeting Thursday, Oct. 29 at the Richmond Hill City Center. The meeting was conducted by current president, Alex Tucker, and past president, Lesley Francis, hosted the guest speaker, Pastor Devin Strong from Spirit of Peace Lutheran Church in Richmond Hill.
Pastor Strong started at the church in early April but was unable to have an official installation until August due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Strong has served several congregations and a campus ministry in Ohio, Michigan and Georgia, including a recent interim position at a church in Montgomery, Alabama. His many passions in ministry include preaching, Small Group Ministry, and missional outreach. Since being in Richmond Hill, Strong has already introduced many innovative initiatives in his short time as pastor, and has discovered ways in which his congregation can stay connected during this time of isolation.
Strong spoke to the civic group about the blessings and challenges of working with technology to host worship services, bible studies, ‘coffee hour talks,’ and communion via Zoom, “It was difficult for us to muster the technology needed to create spectacular pre-recorded worship services for our congregants, but it was through this difficulty that we decided to do live worship through Zoom. This was a blessing in many ways as before and after services, we would all talk and connect as we would in-person, and our participants could be a part of the service and still feel united with one another. A church of our size could have been completely wiped out by COVID-19, but our congregation persevered through it all and found blessings and positivity that kept us connected through this pandemic.”
Strong also discussed how the church is proceeding with in-person events with caution, “This past Sunday, we did a test run of in-person worship while still including our online participants via Zoom, which we are planning to continue. The real challenge is finding a way to make our worship time feel bonded like one community while 60% of our congregants are in-person and the other 40% are watching online. We are striving to create the best worship experience for our parishioners, and we are finding blessings through the challenges we face – which I believe God urges us to do.”
For more information on Spirit of Peace Lutheran Church, please visit www.spiritofpeacelutheran.org.