Day of Encouragement Set for Saturday
This year’s Day of Encouragement event in Canada, “Stories of Care and Connection — Wellness and Healing in a Time of Isolation,” will be held online Sat., Nov. 7, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (MST).
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Northern Alberta Diaconal Conference (NADC) teamed up this year with Diaconal Ministries Canada to offer its annual event online, making it accessible to deacons all across Canada.
When COVID-19 closings began back in March, Jesse Edgington, consultant with NADC, knew that this year’s Day of Encouragement (DOE), like many events in the past six months, would need to look quite different.
“As things got derailed because of the pandemic, I, like most people, began to realize that large, in-person gatherings were not going to be possible and that our roles in community and church were going to change,” he said.
Seeing the need for deacons and churches to reexamine their roles and find innovative ways to do ministry in this new, shared reality, Edgington says the theme for this year's event shifted slightly in focus from what was originally planned.
Since advocating and caring for the vulnerable in our communities would need to look different for the next while (and possibly forever), Edgington felt it was important for ministry leaders to hear current stories of struggle and pain and to hear about the realities of trauma that are happening all around us to people on multiple levels.
“Hearing these stories is only the beginning—through these we hope also to hear the positive stories of hope and healing; of relationships flourishing and of solidarity with others despite the isolation of a pandemic,” he said.
Many of these stories will be shared through a list of guest speakers and panelists who are actively present in the lives of people, whether students, seniors, or refugees.
“My hope,” Edgington shared, “is that these stories will inspire others to do the same in their own contexts. I hope this event will encourage deacons and churches to creatively consider what they can do for others: whether by assisting a neighbor or a stranger who calls or comes to the church or by using the resources of agencies like World Renew to bless someone across the world.”
New this year for the annual DOE is a more direct involvement by Diaconal Ministries Canada, and more particularly, Rachel Vroege, regional ministry developer for Western Canada.
“This theme of wellness and healing in a time of isolation spoke strongly to me, both personally and as a coach to deacons and churches,” Vroege said.
“As people in our neighborhoods and church communities grapple with the disruption of food supply lines, jobs and schools, family and social connections due to COVID-19, it has become very apparent that we need to find creative and persistent ways to take care of ourselves and others.”
In her work with deacons, Vroege reminds them of Jesus’ call to care for the vulnerable — which is especially important now.
“My hope for this year’s DOE,” she explained, “is that every person will continue to learn more about how to care for themselves and others from those working in the areas of spiritual and mental well-being.”
To see a full list of speakers and to register for this free event, visit the Day of Encouragement 2020 page. Or, for additional information, visit the Facebook Event page, see the Diaconal Ministries Canada website, or email [email protected].