I am Anna Anandarajan, the Care Ministries Pastor at the bridge. I am quite excited to share with you how God has impacted the lives of people through Care Ministries in the ministry year we have just completed.
At the bridge, we gather, we group, we give and we go; this is how we fulfill our mission and vision. Our mission is to connect people to God, His church, and to their world in life-building life-enhancing ways. Our vision is of transformed people impacting their world in Christ. This is reflected in each of our ministries. As Care Ministries Pastor, it has been my absolute joy and privilege to witness cared-for people, by the renewal and transformation that took place in their lives, impacting their world for Christ, as we care through prayer, visitation, hospitality, cheer, support groups and life events.
We served through the ministry of prayer in our weekend gatherings both individually and collectively. In addition, we met weekly two times a week to pray for the needs of the church and for our local and global community. As we all have experienced, this past ministry year was an unprecedented one, where many experienced various losses and challenges and this continues to this date, but we saw God’s mighty hand at work in the lives of people, as we interceded and prayed for our brothers and sisters, who needed someone to lean on and pray with them. And we had the joy of celebrating with many as they experienced life transformation and strengthening of their faith as a result of prayer even though, at times, circumstances didn’t change. As you all know, in the second half of our ministry year, we had to move most of our ministries online, and prayer ministry was one of them, but the engagement and participation in our online prayer gatherings grew significantly. This ministry year, we saw a doubling of the number of prayer requests that we received from our previous year, and we are so thankful and appreciative of the 84 prayer partners who regularly pray for these requests e-mailed to them. We not only pray for the needs of people, but also walk them through the many resources that are available at the bridge to support them and their families during their challenging season. And encourage them to take a step of faith either to join a LifeGroup, Seasonal Group or be supported through counselling, or if practical support is needed, support them through meals and also connect them to other services in the community.
Our care connection team takes the lead from our prayer team and follows up with the people who need that extra one-on-one support and we had the privilege of following up and supporting more than 115 people and, in several cases, guided them to take next steps towards their healing.
In Care Ministries, we group through our Seasonal Groups; these are support groups for adults. Our current pandemic impacted significantly how we offered our Seasonal Groups, but it didn’t deter us or slow us down in any way. We actually ramped up to meet the need that we saw in our community. We offered nine different Seasonal Groups, which were 8 to 12 weeks long where more than 135 people participated in these groups. We are very thankful to our dedicated team of 17 Seasonal Group leaders who gave tireless leadership to these groups. We also supported all those who were facing various challenges during the spring and summer months through our online café opportunities to have conversations about parenting, career, overcoming depression, finances or just to “chat” and more than 80 people participated in these online sessions.
Through our “Go” initiatives, we were able to bless 120 families in our community through Christmas Cheer and were able to raise more than $25,000 due to your generosity. We also supported 22 families who were not eligible for government support with groceries and other necessities during the spring/summer months.
Delivering more than 125 meals for people who were going through various challenges, praying for more than 356 prayer requests that were sent out, supporting 135 individuals through Seasonal Groups, 85 individuals through online cafés, and supporting 115 people through care and prayer connection, purchasing and delivering groceries for 22 families or blessing 120 family units at Christmas would not have been possible without each of your financial giving and the generous service of each of our 62 volunteers who serve in this ministry, our four lead teams who provide leadership to the different areas in care ministry along with me and our 80 prayer partners who pray for the needs presented before them and all our staff and admin team who work together to fulfill God’s purposes. To all of you a huge thank you.
Friends, we are able to serve our community only by the grace of God. It is He who created us, formed us, redeemed us and called us by name to do good works (Isaiah 43:1). God has made us what we are and, in our union with Christ Jesus, He has created us for a life of good deeds, which He has already prepared for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). Let us continue to remain faithful in our loving union with Jesus because He is faithful. Through this report, to Him we give glory because He has done great things. Amen.