Connecting Over the Miles

Karen Scribano   -  

Joyce and Wally Kotvan grew up attending church every Sunday morning.  They made church a priority throughout their marriage in the Chicagoland area. So when they retired and moved 50 miles to a different Illinois town and couldn’t find a welcoming and inviting church home, the void in their lives was evident.

Over the next two decades, they occasionally worshipped in one church where they did feel welcomed – St. Mark. Joyce and Wally made the 600-mile round-trip drive to Des Moines a few times every year to visit their daughter and grandkids, and they always made a point to join them in worship.  After a short while, they decided to make St. Mark their church home and found many ways to remain connected over the miles. They signed up for every available electronic communication, set up recurrent monthly on-line giving, Wally ushered at a few Christmas Eve services, and Joyce began to crochet baptism blankets. But they couldn’t attend a worship service on a regular basis.

Then March 2020 happened.  St. Mark began livestreaming services to reach members in their homes.

“We know there are many people in the St. Mark community who, for a variety of reasons, don’t have the option to participate in worship while sitting next to you in the pew. St. Mark’s investment in livestream technology provides us with a connection to its ministry, mission, and worship, which is stronger than we could have imagined even just a few years ago.”

Since that time, Joyce and Wally have rarely missed Sunday morning worship. They see their family on the livestream and know that they’re worshipping together. They text their grandson after every service. They get to witness one of their baptism blankets going home with a new brother or sister in Christ. And occasionally they send a service link to a friend whose church can’t offer this same type of ministry.