With no idea that a global pandemic was looming on the horizon, the diocese in November 2019 kicked off the Connect the Dots initiative as a way to encourage Episcopalians around the diocese to connect, share stories and learn from each other. A monetary “prize” was included to sweeten the deal – $1,000 for the outreach ministries of the congregation with the winning entry, plus the chance to designate $1,000 to the outreach ministry of a congregation visited. Originally scheduled to end in May, the enterprise was extended to November 2020 since so many of our opportunities to connect were thwarted by COVID-19. The bishop will now draw the winning entry for the Connect the Dots initiative at our annual convention on Nov. 7. 

There is still time to share your connection stories and enter for a chance to win some money for your congregation! Visit DSOConnectthedots.org to submit your story. Entries will be accepted until Nov. 1. 

Here are just a few of the “virtual postcards” we received during the past months of Connect the Dots.

In the age of Covid-19 distancing, it was terrific to visit with and be comforted by the Vespers service conducted online by Fr. Seth at St. John’s in Lancaster. What a blessing this service is, and it is so encouraging to see this congregation branching out with technology to continue connecting dots with Ohioans and others from all over.

 I attended the Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebration at All Saints, New Albany – co-sponsored by St. Andrew’s, Pickerington. What a joyful worship! It began with ethnic dancers dressed in colorful costumes designed specifically for the celebration. The service, including music, was primarily in Spanish. Even though my smattering of high school Spanish is long forgotten it was interesting to note how familiar the cadence and movement of the liturgy was. Fr. Jason Prati’s sermon was delivered in English and translated into Spanish for the large number of Spanish-speaking participants. The interpreter was excellent – every bit as good as the Presiding Bishop’s interpreter! The service was followed by a wonderful meal provided by a local restaurant with musical accompaniment by a Mariachi band and an opportunity for all of us to visit and deepen the developing community. 

Members of Ascension & Holy Trinity, Christ Church Glendale, and St. Barnabas joined the people of St. Simon of Cyrene for worship on January 19 and stayed for lunch and a Becoming Beloved Community session. The St. Simon Gospel Choir provided moving music during the service and we all enjoyed having lunch together. Guest speakers Cherie Patrick Bridges and Derek Peebles facilitated small group conversations. I think we gained a sense of connection. I felt that meeting in the church space, sitting in the pews, confirmed the sense of God’s presence in our conversations. It also felt that sharing a meal together first facilitated breaking down barriers and making people feel more connected. 

Drove down to Logan to join St. Paul’s for Holy Eucharist. I wanted to go see Deacon Paul Scanlan who I knew originally from St. James in the Clintonville neighborhood of Columbus about 5-6 years ago … I lucked out! Deacon Paul was actually delivering the homily. What a great homily! We were all in tears. Afterwards I joined the parish for a lovely spread in their social hall … Shrimp cocktail, a tasty cheese ball with crackers, Swedish meatballs, and a massive selection of homemade Christmas cookies. The punch bowl had eggnog that was more snog! Whoa! Lovely visit and must return to learn more of the parishioners.

We partner with Ascension & Holy Trinity, Wyoming with helping with the Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) at Christ Church, Glendale. I helped on Dec. 11. Feeding the homeless was a humbling experience.

Thank you to all who participated in this fun little endeavor and good luck to all the entries!