Andrea Board hails from Winchester in Virginia, USA, and has been following the online content provided by Avon Valley Churches Facebook page since the beginning of the pandemic. Last week, after planning the trip for more than a year, Andrea finally made it over to meet the Avon Valley Churches congregations in person who welcomed her with open arms.
During her visit Andrea renewed her baptismal vows in a very moving service at St Mary’s in Fordingbridge. She said:
“I never thought that something so positive could come out of such a negative situation and yet here I am today. Every single one of you is a huge part of my spiritual journey and I am so grateful to all of you. From Saturday afternoon when I arrived, I was welcomed by people who have shaped my faith journey and have become my family and community. So many people surrounded me and supported me when I renewed my Baptismal vows. Relationships have deepened and more friendships have been formed.”
Andrea was introduced to AVC’s online provision by ordinand-in-training Jo Criscenti, whose sister she met when travelling. Since then, she hasn’t missed a service, a Thought for the Day, or indeed a Saturday Conversation – all regular weekly items created and shared by members of the 7 churches in the benefice. Andrea even contributes her own monthly Thought for the Day on the AVC’s popular Facebook page @avonvalleychurches.
With more than 1,000 online followers, and posts and videos reaching up to 10,000 views per month, Andrea is not the only cherished member of AVC’s global community which includes followers from Africa, Australia, India and Europe.
Revd John Towler from Avon Valley Churches said:
“For the church Covid 19 was tragic in the devastation of loss of lives, and beneficial in terms of our outreach. Andrea’s story is ample testimony to this piece of technology that bridged the Atlantic and enabled her and many others locally, to renew a sense of connection with God and his church and brought strength and comfort to her in troublous times.”
For more information about online church and Church Online, along with many other in person community services, please visit www.avonvalleychurches.org.uk