By: Nancy Belmont, Director of Faith Formation
In late July, we wrapped up our five-week Joyful Momentum book club. While our live discussions have ended, our online archives can help you develop and nourish dynamic women’s ministries through the COVID-19 pandemic. Each Sunday, we posted author chats with Elizabeth Tomlin on our MCCW website, and each Wednesday night, we interacted with our readers via Zoom in the MCCW-Worldwide Community Facebook Group. Even though the book club is over, author chats and the study guide remain archived on our MCCW website for your reference. Consider spearheading a local study based on these materials that will equip and motivate your chapel group to reignite its ministry this fall.
When we launched this book club, Elizabeth and I envisioned interacting with women hungry to jump back into ministry. We aimed to give them a road map for the way ahead. Much to our surprise, in our interactions on Zoom and Facebook, instead of eagerness to serve, we encountered tired women hungering for connection and sympathy during these overwhelming times. The effects of the pandemic and social distancing linger, and the unpredictability of the new school year weighs heavily on all of us. Some of our peers feel “stuck” and aren’t sure how to minister to other overwhelmed women. What we keep revisiting in our conversations is the need to cultivate our relationship with God, who sustains and refreshes us. Now more than ever, especially when some of us can’t even receive the Eucharist, fostering our relationship with God through prayer and reading His word is crucial. We must go to Him in these uncertain, overwhelming times, tell Him our worries and concerns, and carefully listen to what He is telling us today.
Besides speaking to us in the silence and in His word, sometimes God communicates through our interactions with other women who are striving for holiness. On our Zoom chat, Kaethe from Quantico boldly challenged us to “put on our big girl panties,” take the necessary health and safety precautions, minister to people, and welcome newcomers in innovative ways. That might involve a socially-distanced parking lot meet-up where everybody brings their own coffee and snacks, but can still see each other and connect from a safe distance. Patti from Ft. Lee encouraged us to give a personal touch to communication by reaching out via telephone or sending a card to members of our chapel groups. While this strategy is especially important to connect with those who don’t use social media, most women would appreciate personal outreach during these trying times. While they might not respond to a mass email and admit they need help, perhaps they’d be willing to open up to someone who calls them and asks how they’re really doing.
This book club was a wonderful opportunity for us to read deeply, consider how we can use our gifts and talents to enrich our local women’s ministries, and encourage each other to move past fear and uncertainty and reach out to our sisters in Christ. Please access these materials online for a dose of inspiration and practical tools to enhance your local ministry.
To help us serve you better moving forward, please share your thoughts about this series by participating in this evaluation, whether you were able to join us for the study or not.