In September 2019, at the Hudson church in Hudson, Massachusetts, a visiting pastor preached on establishing small group meetings focused on evangelistic outreach, and church members responded. In October 2019, a small group had its first in-home meeting at Joan’s house. On average, 10 people attended each Friday evening (mostly church members).
Fast forward to March 2020. The pandemic shut down in-person gatherings, and virtual Friday evenings at Joan’s home began. The same (in-person) people attended, then several invited friends, who also started coming. Classmates from the past joined, as well as Facebook connections, coworkers, friends of friends, and more.
There are about 36 “photo/video frames” on the Zoom call now (and growing), but in each frame resides an older person sitting at their table no longer isolated, or a couple snuggled into their recliners listening, and families with kids in motion eagerly waiting for the children’s story. Friday evenings span the geography from Oregon to Massachusetts to Alabama to Maine to Martinique.
Each evening’s program includes an opening prayer, an introductory devotional, a presentation on a Bible character or spiritual topic, shared praises and prayer requests, music, a children’s story enjoyed by all ages, a one-on-one interview to more deeply get to know someone, and closing prayer—all shared by someone from one of those “picture frames.”
Individuals have stepped out of their comfort zone. The meeting notes are emailed or mailed to everyone, and the church members have learned that those notes find their way to additional homes.
Over the past year, the group has seen answers to prayer, people participating in other virtual church programs, and people now willing to give Bible studies. You may have noticed that they morphed from “Joan’s house” to “Joan’s home.” That’s because they are now an ever-expanding family, from all walks of life, age brackets, and religions—bonded together through their love for Jesus.
In addition to the virtual small group meetings, on Sabbath, January 23, David Bracetti, Hudson church pastor, baptized Amanda Drew Wales and Valerie Maillet. They celebrated this special day with family and friends attending in person or via Zoom.
—Cheryl McMaster, communication coordinator, Hudson church