What’s a Person to Do?
by Shirley Dubeau, Women’s Ministries Chair
Yearly, following our Annual Gathering (AG) the Women’s Ministry Committee (WMC) hears this plea from our CCCC sisters: “How can we stay connected throughout the year?” Some of us feel isolated.
Recently transplanted to Western PA I’m appreciating more the need to feel connected. I came from New England and a rich experience with that region’s group (New England Congregational Christian Fellowship). NECCF provided additional times to connect between AGs such as: A yearly NECCF Annual Meeting, The Ministry Encouragement Retreat and the NECCF Women’s Retreat. These were great, growing times for me and my relationships.
I encourage us to find out what our part of the country has going on. Using our CCCC Yearbook (click on the link to download or view under the Resources tab on the CCCC website) to find the Area Pastor in our region is a great place to begin. Another newer opportunity for connection is a Community Pastor’s Group (CPG). Some are already formed in different regions of the country and offer pastoral encouragement. Terry Shanahan, Northeast Regional Pastor, shared what happens in his CPG of 5 pastors beyond the monthly meeting with these men. Terry offers a quarterly pot luck meal inviting the pastors along with spouses. This event provides an organic, natural connection. Spouses meet other spouses, get to know each other, exchange contact info and relationships grow.
Terry’s advice: Get and stay connected with a CPG! Let’s take his wise advice!
If there isn’t a CPG in your area contact Peter Wood, Director of Conference Care (email@example.com) he can link you up or help you get a CPG started in your area.
The WMC hears your cry for connection! Yet WMC’s activity outside of the AG is minimal. Over the years we have found that the country-wide nature of our conference makes it difficult to connect physically throughout the year. So friendships we make at the AG, the one opportunity we all can take advantage of, become even more precious.
One spouse shared how she and a few women scooted up into the A.J. Gordon Chapel balcony during this year’s AG for a time of encouragement & prayer. This is a great example of how the Holy Spirit works during the AG! He moves people to connect so that new friends come together organically, naturally. I’m pretty sure those “Balcony Buddies” will keep connected!
The old adage “to have a friend, be a friend” holds true. Overcoming long distances is better done as individuals by using social media, email, text or, dare I say it, telephone and even snail mail!
The WMC travels those communication routes, too. We have a FaceBook page: CCCC Woman and an email list made up of CCCC w omen who’ve signed up. I maintain it, periodically send out encouragement and when contacted, connect prayer requests with others on our team. If you are interested in being on this email list please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Staying connected is so crucial and so hard! Regional gatherings and the AG are wonderful places for life on life experiences that make these initial, crucial connections. That’s what makes our gathering times so treasured to each of us and to our conference. It’s there we become family.
So that brings me back to the question: What’s a person to do? Pray! Reach out! Connect! And don’t give up trying creative ways to stay in touch with folks between events.
In the meantime, does anyone come to mind? Take time to contact that someone. It’s important to keep in touch with our CCCC Family! Do it today!