Minister steps up technology use

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Rev Heather Kennedy has adapted her usual communication methods during lockdown and technology has become her new friend.

The Methodist minister is confident online, a regular at Zoom meetings and has found browsing Facebook and YouTube useful and entertaining.

“The older generation, like myself, have generally learnt technology as they’ve gone along and at a fairly slow pace.

“For me, and a number of others, lockdown has forced us to change the way we do things, particularly they way we interact with others.”

Rev Kennedy said churches in general had become more innovative because there were no face-to-face services and contact.

“The Methodist church, for example, has been sharing information and links about services people can watch online at home.

“Others are live streaming services from the homes of ministers.”

Rev Kennedy’s typical Sunday service for the Baring Square Methodist Church has been emailed out to the congregation along with YouTube links to hymns.

Most of the congregation are on email and those not online have been given printed material.

As well as being a Methodist minister, Rev Kennedy is involved with administration for the Presbyterian Church General Assembly, which has a bi-annual conference lined up in Christchurch at the end of this month.

Zoom meetings have allowed her and others to discuss and put forward business agenda items for the conference, which is shaping up to be a digital event.

Rev Kennedy also has a big Methodist church conference lined up in November and a decision on whether that goes ahead is still being debated through online conferencing.

“Sometimes there will be 30 people online at Zoom meetings and it was the same last year in lockdown, ” she said

Rev Kennedy said level 3 would be no different from level 4 for the church community, or the country as a whole.

There was some angst in the community and members of her congregation were concerned for fellow Tongans caught up in the spread of covid from a church gathering in Auckland.

Rev Kennedy said she felt for those in rest-homes who could not receive visitors at this time.

-By Mick Jensen