Saltbush – Uniting the Scattered Community found its name from the resilient plant that can survive regardless of what climate it finds itself. Rural Church communities too, have been resilient in their outlook despite isolation, of both geography and population.
The Saltbush team – Mark Faulkner, Geoff Wellington and Tim Jensen – are working to build relationships across vast distances and support people who are willing to explore new and creative ways of gathering as Christian community.
The team seeks to encourage and connect smaller, Uniting Christian communities, irrespective of size or location. Saltbush seeks to enable us as a broad church to embrace the reality of being Christian community in the 21st Century and to affirm the place and capacity of smaller Christian communities both to gather and be in mission.
Weekly video offerings with associated resources are regularly shared on their Facebook page and website.
Now more than ever this technology offering has come into its own, with COVID-19 causing large groups of people to stay away from gatherings, the team has come up with some unique ways of connecting people.
In the lead up to Easter the Saltbush team have been trialing Zoom Cafés. Having started for Lent, the online Café is building interest with 25 people gathering on Zoom for virtual community – you just need to BYO coffee or tea. These gatherings will continue through to Easter with a plan to continue throughout the year.
Saltbush Zoom Cafés meet every Wednesday morning at 10:30 am and every Thursday evening at 7:30 pm. To be part of the Café, all you need is the Zoom app enabled on your laptop (make sure your laptop has a camera and microphone) contact the team at Saltbush@nswact.uca.org.au who can help you get set up if need be. Then all you need is your beverage of choice.
“Christians have gathered in diverse ways and places down throughout the ages and we see this as an important “way” and “place” for Uniting Christian community to gather in these days,” explains Mark
The latest innovative development from Sunday March 22, in addition to the two Saltbush Cafés, will be Saltbush Sunday’s @9!
“Anyone who is part of the Uniting Church, from anywhere, is welcome to come along,” explains Mark. “All they need is a recent laptop with camera and microphone or a camera with microphone and speaker attached to their computer. The Scattered Community Ministers will also show people how to use Zoom and make it easy for all participants.”
These will be times of worship and reflection including prayer, music and conversation, online via Zoom. Each week will be led by one of the Saltbush Scattered Community Ministers (Mark, Geoff and Tim).
The Saltbush team would encourage people to follow the Saltbush model for worship as a step towards shaping new Christian communities and are available to consult ministers about how to set up their own online community.