Travelling and can’t be with the Highlands congregation in person? Perhaps you’ve got the flu? Maybe your relatives in Ireland would love to see their niece or nephew baptized? Or you know someone who is in a care facility who would love to be part of Highlands’ Sunday worship service.
If you’ve got a computer with an Internet connection, you’re in luck!
Andria Irwin is our new Highlands On-Line Minister – see below an introductory message from Andria as she embarkes on her new project:
August 28, 2019
Greetings HUC family,
Allow me to (re)introduce myself — my name is Andria Irwin and I am your new Online Minister!
What is an online minister, you ask? I’m glad you did. But first, some backstory:
As many of you may know, Highlands has been working hard over the past few years to create an easy, enjoyable, engaging version of our Sunday morning service online. We broadcast our services each morning through Livestream, and are joined by 10-80 different people from around the world every single week.
Our system is far from perfect, but we are still ahead of the curve when it comes to putting our attention toward the possibilities of what using technology differently could mean for the United Church of Canada. So far ahead that, due to the diligent and faithful work of our Livestream Committee, we have been awarded a 3 year Embracing the Spirit grant to help plant a United Church online community where churches from around the region can come together and offer different ministries to the world wide public, online. It is our vision that this United Online community will offer quality United Church worship in various styles, will project a quality progressive Christian voice into the noisy landscape of the Internet, and will help to reach those who are otherwise unable, unwilling or simply uncomfortable attending church in person.
My job, then, as the Online Minister is to first and foremost make sure that what Highlands United Church is offering online is not only of good quality, but is of good stewardship — engaging and ministering to all those who enter into our virtual sanctuary in a way that nurtures their spirits and lifts their hearts. This includes offering prayer and pastoral care, online programming, and radical hospitality. The second part of this job is to help build this community out beyond the (virtual) walls of Highlands and into the entire Pacific Mountain Region, opening up different churches to the same kind of reach so that the United Church of Canada can stand taller online, can share worship resources and leadership, and can offer our unique and Christ-led welcome to as many people as we possibly can.
United Online is a three-year pilot project, the first of its kind, and I am honored to set my heart and mind to this work of building and planting alongside the Livestream support and planning committee, the tech team, and the rest of the ministry staff here at HUC. My door is always open for feedback and conversation surrounding this ministry, and come September you can find me on Wednesdays and Fridays at my desk in the Resource Room, or email me any time at email@example.com
I am so grateful for all the support this new ministry has gained over the past couple years and for the enthusiasm of the congregation and staff to participate in such an exciting opportunity to take things further.
Blessings on these last couple weeks of summer & I look forward to leading you in worship on Sunday, September 1st.
Andria Irwin, United Online Minister