Radio show keeps parishioners tuned in

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 on May 1, 2022

Embracing pandemic’s ‘chaos’ gives church fresh energy

During the pandemic, All Saints, Peterborough found an excellent way to keep in touch with parishioners and attract newcomers.”

For the past two years, the church has been producing a weekly radio show. Not only has it kept people connected, but it has led to other new initiatives in the church and the wider community.”

“When it became clear that it was going to be an extensive shutdown, we started looking at other ways to keep people connected,” explains the Rev. Samantha Caravan, incumbent. “Like lots of other parishes, we have some older people who have no computers or internet, and we thought, how are we going to reach them?”

The church’s director of children, youth and family ministry, Cormac Culkeen, suggested they talk to the local community radio station, Trent Radio, about the possibility of starting a radio show. The station liked the idea, and the All Saints’ Radio Hour was born.”

The hour-long show, which is broadcast every Sunday at 10:30 a.m., consists of a service of Morning Prayer that includes an opening prayer, the Collect, the Confession, the Prayers of the People, readings, psalms, a sermon and choir music. On occasion there is a “Saint of the Week” interview with someone about their life and faith journey. Past interviewees have included Bishop Andrew Asbil, Bishop Riscylla Shaw and Sylvia Sutherland, the former mayor of Peterborough.

The show is produced by the church’s staff and parishioners. It takes about four hours a week to pull together and involves several people, but Ms. Caravan says it’s well worth the effort. In the grimmest days of the pandemic, when pastoral visiting was suspended due to the lockdowns, the show was often the only connection that some elderly shut-ins had to the church. “It was a lifeline to their lifelong community,” she says.”

In a surprise twist, the show has helped to attract newcomers, particularly young families, to the church. It recently started a new 9 a.m. service for them and planned to launch a youth choir in April. “The place is expanding in ways we never thought.”

She says the pandemic taught the church about the importance of staying connected with parishioners and members of the wider community, to be “the church in the neighbourhood.” In addition to the radio show, it has been sending out monthly prayer cards, phoning people who can’t get to church services, and gathering with newcomers and others on Zoom.”

Its outreach ministry has increased as well. The church used to give money to a local school’s breakfast program, but when the school closed due to the pandemic, there was concern that the kids could go hungry. The church took over the program and began distributing weekly food supplement bags to those who were identified as food insecure.”

“It has grown into our current food security program that includes weekly grocery supplements, snack packages for those who are vulnerable and homeless, and monthly community meals.”

She says all the new activity at the church is the result of thinking differently. “We’ve embraced the opportunities and the chaos and the fear,” she says. “It’s about, where is God leading us? We’ve found places in the community to partner with, and we’ve run with it.”

As for the radio show, she says there are no plans to stop it. “It has given us fresh energy.”

The All Saints’ Radio Hour can be found on the internet at or locally on Trent Radio, 92.7 FM.”


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