The Table is a young adult ministry initiative that gathers people between the ages of 19–35 with some older participants. It was launched in the fall of 2019 as an in-person gathering in Hamilton at a coffee shop located across from Christ’s Church Cathedral. This monthly meeting has no agenda, but rather offers a safe space for people to explore trending topics, life’s big questions, and spirituality. In the beginning there was a consistent attendance of eight people, which has now grown to 30 as we have transitioned the gatherings to a virtual Zoom meeting space due to the restrictions of COVID-19.
It has been overwhelming to see and feel God’s presence among the conversations and prayers offered during the Zoom meetings by its unchurched and de-churched members, as well as by cradle Anglicans. This community has flourished during this time of isolation as virtual spaces offer a softer welcome to new communities, a sense of control with the environment and ability to participate, and the safety/comfort of ones home that organically encourages vulnerability and the openness to share.
We asked participants why they attend The Table, and this is what they said:
“I attend the Table when I can and appreciate the flexibility of joining in at any time when my schedule allows. The first reason I attend is because I can meet new people and learn about what church community they belong to. The second reason is that I get to learn about other events and initiatives that are taking place in the diocese and hope to become more involved one day. Lastly gatherings are important to me because I just want to hear how people are managing their lives during these crazy times and be able to compare and share my experiences. I am thankful for this group and for the diocese for offering this community that has allowed me to meet so many new people.”
“The Table is a great way to meet new people. You can go from laughing about silly things and then dive into a serious conversation in the span of 10 minutes. I love how I can call these people my family. I get so excited to see everyone’s faces each month and find out what they have done since the last gathering. The Table has been a support system for me, and a place where I can check in without the worry of bothering anyone. I would recommend the Table to anyone. This gathering helps to escape these crazy times and be able to discuss the difficulties the world is struggling with. I encourage those to join us, you won’t regret it!”
“Why do I come to the Table? It’s simple, I’ve managed to reconnect with people I haven’t spoken with for years from diocesan youth ministry. I have met new people and have made more connections than I thought was possible. I have a support system that is there for me when needed. They are like family. Talking about what is going on in this world and connecting with our faith all while having lots of laughs and true feelings of love.”
Ever since we moved to Canada from Shrilanka two years ago my husband and I have always struggled connecting with people our age as we never know what to talk about and how to start a conversation. The virtual Table has really helped us to break that and become more confident in meeting new people. We have made really close friends whom we know we can trust without being judged. I’m dying to meet everyone in person. It feels so safe and a place for us to belong. Thank you for having this space for us to connect!
Ann Tharuka Jesudian
For more information regarding The Table, please contact email@example.com
Source: The Niagara Anglican Newspaper By Sarah Bird