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It seems like such a shame that for years organizations would run a "shoebox program" that is potentially harmful and then have it suddenly disappear once churches adopt these principles you lay out Jodi (which we fully endorse!!) - what impression does THAT leave with the children and parents in those countries? (Although I am sure many will still use that program so it won't disappear overnight, but you know what I mean.) I pray we/churches can own any unintended harm we may have caused in the past and pray God will turn all things for good somehow.

But ultimately, if churches can move toward this more holistic, helpful and sustainable way to support others in their city and beyond, this is a win!


Thank you for sharing this Jodi! We commend the creativity of churches and their increased desire to show and share the love of Christ in their neighbourhoods. The example you provided sounds like a something our NewGround program could support and we wonder what this could look like up here in Canada.

This is great Jodi! Thank you for all of your work in supporting and equipping deacons.

Just a note that a special fund was also set up for Canadian CRC's, in partnership with Diaconal Ministries Canada and World Renew Canada. Churches can apply for Covid-19 Grants on our website:

Not sure where to start? Here are some great ideas from Mike Frost!

Thank you for sharing this Steve! (Psst. He's one of our cherished Board Members currently!) Very helpful and something churches can adapt to make it appropriate for their own context. As Kathryn mentioned, could you share how you are soliciting votes from those without or with limited technology?

Hello William! I (Erin) reached out to our Diaconal Coaches and here was one reply I received:

"I think this is where the elder and the deacon need to work together. You have the spiritual aspect of grief but also the practical aspects including the immediate funeral arrangements as well as government paperwork and legal ramifications. 

The article [provided by Staci] was good, particularly for the practical considerations. In my travels, I learned that Discovery Church in Bowmanville, ON uses a series of 4 booklets titled "Journeying through Grief" by Kenneth C. Haugk. The first booklet (A Time to Grieve) is given to the grieving person 3 weeks after the death of a loved one. The second (Experiencing Grief) is given 3 months after. The third (Finding Hope and Healing) is given 6 months after and the fourth (Rebuilding and Remembering) 11 months after.

Here's a link to a short article about this series on the Stephen Ministries website."

The Canadian Cancer Society has a fairly exhaustive list (for information purposes only) as well. Each province will also likely have their own "to do" lists. I wonder if this would be a helpful "project" for elders and deacons to pursue for their members. Thanks for bringing it up William!


Erin, Communications Coordinator

Diaconal Ministries Canada

Posted in: Virtual VBS?

Hello Melanie! We commend your desire to engage with your community this summer, despite the ongoing pandemic. We saw some great help on this website:

As much as possible it would be wonderful to offer in-person VBS. This may require smaller groups meeting in various locations across your city, also known as Backyard VBS! How wonderful it would be to have your members get to know their actual neighbours while offering this time together, safely of course. This article is great and again, you could adapt it to your context!

Some churches have opted to create a VBS-in-a-box type ministry, which would put more onus on parents to do the activities with their child; not a bad thing either! Another one did a one-night event "Under the Stars". Again, you'd have to adapt for your location, budget, amount of volunteers, but including your entire congregation in reaching out to their neighbours is a win-win!

If you ever have any other questions about community engagement, or would like more help, you can reach me at [email protected]. Blessings as you plan!


(We don't know if you are in Canada or in the US or what region but we know you'll adapt your VBS to local health guidelines, rules and restrictions.)

Hi Vicki, Diaconal Ministries recently put together this resource: It's found on our Covid-19 landing page.

It is primarily for churches who have never done online giving and are looking into it for the first time. These are some of the best options out there but each church and context is different so churches should decide what would work best for them.

We want to hear from you.

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