Connect the Dots, the initiative for individuals and congregations to visit and connect with other congregations around the diocese, has been extended until November. It was originally scheduled to end at the end of May.

Connect the Dots kicked off last November at diocesan convention, and was scheduled to run to Pentecost. The goal was for Episcopalians throughout the diocese to visit other churches and ministries to learn, share stories and build community. The bishop offered an incentive – a chance for a congregation to win $1,000 toward their outreach ministry – by participating in the program. The drawing for the winning congregation was scheduled to take place on June 6, but will now be done during diocesan convention in November.

The program was more than slightly derailed in March, when stay at home orders arising from the COVID-19 pandemic prevented anyone from traveling and our church buildings closed to in-person gathering. But one exciting lesson learned during the pandemic is that our opportunities to connect have actually greatly increased during this time of isolation by using modern technology. Congregations that never could have imagined offering live-streaming of their worship are now offering services multiple times per week. Bible study, book clubs, and the work of ministries, committees and commissions has moved forward by using Zoom or other online meeting platforms. Phone conferencing has bridged gaps where online meeting is challenging.

The time commitment once needed to travel to and connect with another congregation has been virtually eliminated, and some congregations are using creative ways to connect with others online. You can read some of their stories on our Connect the Dots website, dsoconnectthedots.org. This is the perfect opportunity to participate in worship with another community. Don’t have a youth group? There are plenty that are getting together virtually, and this is the perfect time to reach out to other youth to join. Looking for a Bible study? There are several going on at different times and days through the week. The possibilities for connection are endless!

Send your opportunities to communication@diosohio.org and we will post them in e-Connections or at dsoconnectthedots.org. Looking for an opportunity? We can post those as well. A grid of Sunday and weekday online worship opportunities is available on our COVID-19 resource page on our updated website. Click on the name of the congregation to go to their online worship.

Once you have connected with another congregation, make sure to send us a “virtual postcard” about your time together. You can find the form at http://dsoconnectthedots.org/postcard/. We hope that this additional time will spark your creativity in ways to connect, and we look forward to reading your stories!