A ministry providing spiritual care to individuals with disabilities is finding that their move online has helped them reach more people than ever before.
Hope Centre Ministries (HCM) says that typically they host small events in person, focusing on young people in the summers. HCM would have seven-10 people in a small group but because of public health concerns, they decided that because they work with more vulnerable populations, it would be safest to move online.
The move online proved to be a large success.
"We had a lot more people participating this summer, including adults of all ages, not just youth and young adults. That was neat, to be more engaged with people over the summer." Michelle MacGibbon, HCM's Program Coordinator says.
Moving online, MacGibbon says they have seen people's participation levels grow as well.
"Some people that may find it hard to connect in person, for anxiety reasons or whatever there may be in social settings, being in a Zoom setting and being in the safety of your home... has allowed us to get to know some people that we have not," MacGibbon says.
One of their big successes this summer has been their Mission Week in a Box. Normally in-person, the week would explore ways to minister in Winnipeg. This year, HCM instead put everything one might need in a box and gave participants tasks.
"Each summer we usually do a missions week and that usually has about a dozen youth, but that week, we had just shy of 30."
HMC put a box together and created a daily task video.
"There was video teaching, worship time, at-home activities as well as a challenge with the theme of the day of how you are going to serve others."
HMC says that participants loved the idea and enjoyed a week of reaching out in their communities. Each day and a theme, including topics such as caring for God's creation and showing God's love to your neighbours."
She says Mission Week in a Box challenged participants to find ways to serve others in their communities. She says the week ended in a discussion about how to continue the "helping habits" learned during the week.