Finding guidance through gospel meditations

A weekly meditation session that is usually held at Willetton Uniting Church has gone online for the duration of COVID-19 restrictions, with positive results.

Rev Lorraine Stokes, Minister at Willetton Uniting Church, regularly runs the meditation sessions on Thursday mornings in a corner of the worship space, with a handful of people. When COVID-19 restrictions meant they could no longer meet in person, Lorraine started up an online session via Zoom technology.

Using guided gospel meditations from Norma Woodcock and a PowerPoint presentation prepared by Lorraine, the Zoom sessions have so far run fairly smoothly. What surprised Lorraine, was that more people have been joining the sessions since they came online than when it was held at the church building.

“It’s working well,” she said. “The thing I find the most interesting is that we’re getting people who weren’t participating before. They’re finding that it’s far easier to join in with Zoom than to have to get up and go to the church building.

“I’ve found it quite fascinating actually. It’s allowing people to participate.

“I’m really quite thrilled in the way it’s morphing into something new. It’s not something I thought would happen.”

After the session, those present are invited to share some of the things that came up for them during the meditation.

“We usually have our chatty time as we get together, we go in and do the meditation, then we have a quiet time afterwards. People talk about stuff that’s come home to them during that meditation; something that’s related to them. So it’s quite a personal group.

“And then we have morning tea. We all just get up and come back with a cuppa and just natter. So it’s also social.”

Meditation, Lorraine said, can be a way of helping people get through the week.

“People are finding that the meditation helps them get through the week and helps them keep their feet on the ground. And because they’re based on gospel stories, you take yourself into the story – so you’re actually participating in the gospel story.

“And [Norma Woodcock] does it extremely well, she’s very clever. She takes time to introduce you into the scene, so you become part of the story. You’re basically living the gospel story.

“People just find it quite enriching. They really wanted it to keep going, hence we did. We found a way to do it which was the biggest challenge.”

Willetton Uniting Church have also begun offering a short worship service and a cuppa via Zoom on Sunday afternoons. For some, it was a challenge to get used to the online technology, but Lorraine is pleased with how many people in the congregation have taken it up to stay connected.

“They’re all saying its helping them keep a sense of community and for me that’s the essential element though all of this isolation,” Lorraine said.

Willetton Uniting Church’s meditation sessions are held each Thursday morning at 9.00am. For more information, or if you would like to join the group, email Lorraine at lkstokes@iinet.net.au

Heather Dowling

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