Virtual Super Saturdays Draw More Than 300 Attendees

Virtual Super Saturdays Draw More Than 300 Attendees

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Most churches have had to adapt to conducting services in new ways over the past year, and it was no different for this year’s Super Saturday.  What has always been a day -long event – which usually consists of educational workshops, worship, a keynote speaker, a marketplace, and networking at a local high school – went virtual.  And while it still offered the same agenda, this year it was conducted online over two Saturdays – October 24 and 31, 2020.

More than 300 people, including speakers, exhibitors and attendees, logged on for one or both sessions. Twenty different workshops were offered each day, and focused on varying subjects, including simplifying church structure, moving to an online world, growing food ministries, racism, spiritual well-being and many more. Youth and children’s programs were also offered to help them connect to the Conference. Read more about the keynote here.
 
Ellie Richardson
Ellie Richardson, Associate Conference Minister for Lay & Clergy Leadership Development, opened the day by thanking all who supported the event, including those behind the scenes, corporate sponsor Boston University School of Theology, the online marketplace vendors, and the presenters who had to adapt to the new technologies.  She especially thanked the attendees who joined in this ‘experiment.’

“We miss seeing you in person, but it’s nice to know you are here,” said Ellie Richardson as she watched the chat screen fill with names of attendees along with their greetings and their locations. Folks from across the three states, plus many outside the region, joined the event.
 
Marilyn Kendrix
“This is a new way of doing Super Saturday, but I assure you that the same holy spirit is with us all,” said Marilyn Kendrix, Bridge Conference Minister, as she welcomed the crowd.  Worship included music, the Lord’s Prayer said in both English and Spanish, and a sermon by guest speaker Rev. Sarah Heath who spoke about “Living into a New Normal” and focused on Jeremiah 31:31-34, a new covenant (see related article.)

Bridge Conference Minister Don Remick thanked those on the call for attending another Zoom meeting, “not to escape the world but to be with siblings in faith and learning to be in Christ’s presence in the world, and the world desperately needs the Christ you know.”
 
​Those who attended Super Saturday can continue to log in to the Whova app that was used, to continue connecting with those they may have chatted with during the event. They can also still find the marketplace vendors, and any handouts uploaded by their workshop leaders.

During lunch break -- no long buffet line to wait in -- attendees were invited to visit the many online community groups that were set up to chat with others. Regional Minister Mary Nelson, an attendee of the Networking community, explained online that the communities were a way to find and communicate with other people who are interested in the same things.  “Think of it like hopping from table to table in fellowship hall at your church,” she explained.

The Prayer Request group was especially busy with over 20 folks offering and requesting various prayers for suicide awareness, for essential workers, caregivers, people in need, and even for the leaders of the national community as the election approaches. Engaging Seniors was another well-attended community where folks shared ideas on how to offer pastoral care to less tech-savvy and secluded members of the local churches.

In the What Makes You Feel Like You Belong community, folks offered answers like inclusive language, being listened to, affirmed, and welcomed, building relationships, being asked to share views and talents, and getting at least a warm genuine smile instead of a hug during the pandemic. Other communities focused on topics like difficult behaviors in church, kindness and firmness, musical inspiration, police and prison, becoming a Just Peace church, mental health, and many more.
 
Heather Ramsey-Mabrouk
Worship leader Heather Ramsey-Mabrouk offered a blessing that attendees go forth with hearts and minds open to receive the wisdom of God.  “May we know the presence of the still speaking God through the stories we tell, the stories we hear and the stories that are yet to unfold.”
 


 

Author

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Marlene Gasdia-Cochrane

Marlene Gasdia-Cochrane is the Spotlight and Publications Editor for the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ

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