Communicating through the Pandemic

Contributed by: Daphne Roberts, St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, Asbury Park, New Jersey

Julian of Norwich’s XVI Revelations of Divine Love (title page, 1670 edition)

Since entering the Diocese of New Jersey School for Ministry in September 2019, I have learned that one of my spiritual gifts is communication. It has inspired me to lead evening online worship services several times each month and morning prayers in-person as well as online.

In March 2021, St. Augustine’s of Asbury Park allowed me to host an online “Women’s History Month” presentation. An enthusiastic crowd participated; the topic was an introduction to Julian of Norwich, the 14th Century mystic and anchoress.

I have also been able to use my gift to spread the Gospel through a church newsletter. Pre-pandemic, St. Augustine’s “News Beyond the Pews” concentrated on items placed in our weekly bulletin. It was then emailed to the few parishioners providing email addresses. Since the pandemic, it has moved from church-centric to a community-minded vehicle.

We share God’s word and church related items as well as the news, our concerns and interests. Every week, we reach 160 members and friends in New Jersey, Mississippi, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Uganda, and locations around the world, whom we invite to our in-person and virtual Sunday services. The weekly invitation also includes our Monday Bible Study as well as other special activities and events. In addition, there is a Text Ministry providing information for members not online but receiving text messages.

I am proud of the projects I have initiated. The School for Ministry is instrumental in my growth in God’s word. That has a direct result and impact on everything I do.