By Kerryn Smith:

A cross-commission Resource Collaboration Group was formed in late March to assist parishes and ministries with resourcing and to provide COVID-19 related guidance and information.

In an Ad Clerum sent out just before Easter, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall said that the most important and immediate priorities were:

  1. Pastoral care for your people;
  2. Care for yourself and your loved ones; and,
  3. Prayer and the prayer life of your community.

The Resource Collaboration Group took those words to heart and collaborated to intentionally assist parishes and the wider church so that they could focus on these priorities.

In early April, a survey was distributed to parishes and church groups in order to see how people were responding to operational changes and to identify any needs or gaps that were emerging. Analysis of that data revealed an opportunity for us to create forums that would assist clergy and other parish leaders to meet a variety of needs and collaborate with their peers.

It was decided that an informal online ‘help desk’ was initially the best way for people in parishes and church groups to problem solve issues or brainstorm ideas with a few friendly faces. Each session was hosted by three Diocesan staff with experience in liturgy, IT, communications and/or pastoral ministry. The Rev’d Canon Sarah Plowman (Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Vocations), Kelly Houston (Finance and Diocesan Services Commission), The Rev’d Jonathan Kemp (Anglican Youth Children’s and Families Ministry), The Rev’d Richard Browning (Anglican Schools Commission), Peter Branjerdporn (Justice Unit), Erica Skerman (Anglican Youth Children’s and Families Ministry), The Rev’d Jazz Dow (Community of The Way), Jonathan Sargeant (FormedFaith) and I facilitated three virtual help desks, hosted online via Microsoft Teams.

Some of the areas of interest and concern covered in these help desk conversations included digital technology or applications; reshaping liturgies; finding good resources; ideas for community engagement; and, getting referrals to the right people.

As a result of these sessions, we have subsequently gone on to host a range of online conversations that have been tailored to specific topics of interest, facilitated by people with particular knowledge and experience in those areas. These sessions continue to take place and are advertised in anglican focus, ‘Wednesday Weekly’, ACSQ Facebook, and by email to parishes.

Seven Resource Collaboration Group members share about their unique contributions, insights and learnings in a special anglican focus joint feature. For a full list of group members, their contact details and how they can help, visit the ACSQ website.

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