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Once upon a time . . . 

James Bay United has learned a lot about storytelling over the last five years. Under Gordon’s leadership we’ve learned how to share our stories around the neighbourhood and further afield. When the Communications and Neighbourhood Engagement portfolio was created, little was known about the church outside of its doors. Today your neighbours know that something important is happening around our little church, and it isn’t only about Sunday morning.

Now that there are three (wow, three!) people doing parts of that job, we each bring our own stories. For Communications, my role is to understand our themes - what’s at our core and what spark of energy drives our reason for being. Then to make sure that our messages about programs, events, and ministries are articulated and presented to our audiences consistently and faithfully, while continuously building the ‘brand’ we have established.

“Opening Doors To God’s Love - and there are an infinite number of doors.” Karen’s words to us every Sunday. Every Sunday! The quickest way to a communications person’s heart is to tell them THEIR story. We love to overhear conversations where someone else is sharing the things that we’ve been creating and disseminating through our various channels.

Our neighbours speak of us as generous and welcoming and hospitable and open and friendly and ‘the kind of church you want to have as part of the fabric of the community’. They are telling our story for us, and in many ways we have given them a good story to tell - a true story. It is perfectly possible that a person who had never been inside our church, when asked about a congregation they might attend could say, ‘I hear great things about James Bay United, you should check it out’. Every week newcomers arrive to shop at the Thrift, to listen to jazz, stop to admire our banner, read our roadside sign, attend Sunday Worship (in-person and on-line), and connect through the networks supporting the unhoused. Everyone heard it from somewhere. And as the story goes - they told two friends and they told two friends and so on and so on.

I hope to continue to craft your story with you. I expect you to share it too. After all, Jesus called his disciples for a reason - not because he needed some friends to share some food with - but because he had a great story to tell and he couldn’t keep it to himself. 

~ Christine Chepyha

Photo by Brian McGowan on Unsplash