The Connection Center Seventh-day Adventist Church in Zimmerman, Minnesota, celebrated a wondrous event on March 25 as three of its attendees made their love for Jesus Christ and their devotion to follow Him public by being baptized.
Linda Wermerskirchen, Jill Delaney and Shirley Newport each have a unique journey in their respective spiritual walks, but they share a common thread—all three have been part of the Connection Center’s Skype ministry, which has spread to include callers from all over the United States and around the globe.
Although the world moves quickly, its inhabitants are not always able to match pace. Therefore, it is paramount that the church body find ways to accommodate those who may feel left behind or disconnected. One way of connecting with those who are not able to attend weekly has been the use of Skype to allow people to still interact in the church service.
Old friendship sparks new ministry
A couple of years ago, Connection Center’s Pastor Gene Yocum reconnected with Mike Kimbler, a member who had not been attending for several years. After catching up, Mike mentioned he was part of a small Bible study and prayer group that met on Skype. This small group was eager to learn, and they asked Pastor Gene to be part of the group and take them through an in-depth Daniel and Revelation study. He obliged and began the study. Soon the three-times-per-week Skype sessions had transformed into calls every night at 7:00.
Connecting through Skype
Jill Delaney has journeyed far in life. Her home country is Ireland, and during the Daniel and Revelation seminars she was living in New Jersey. But today she can be found each Sabbath morning sharing her enthusiasm and bubbly spirit at the Connection Center Church in Minnesota.
Linda Wermerskirchen was first baptized at the age of 12. Through the Skype ministry she rediscovered her youthful loyalty to God and rededicated her life to Christ four decades later.
Despite living approximately two hours north of the church, Linda makes her way south every chance she gets. When commuting is not an option, her exuberant laughter and joy are present on Skype with other members who either could not make the drive or live outside the state.
For Shirley Newport, the Sabbath of March 25 carried extra significance. She desired to be baptized that day because it is also her birthday. As she so eloquently stated, “I wanted the day of my birth to also be the day of my rebirth, so that way I’ll never forget it.”
Nowadays the group meets a little less frequently on Skype. Currently, they have prayer meetings on Wednesday and a women’s study call on Friday evenings, each taught by members who live in different states. And, of course, there are calls on Sabbath for both Sabbath school and church worship service. Even when there is a baptism at the local community pool, the Connection Center Church finds a way to include its entire extended church family in the celebration.
If you are unable to attend your local church service, or if you know of someone who might like to join additional weekly activities, remember that whenever you feel inclined, you can join an interactive Skype call with the Connection Center Church. Just call Pastor Yocum at 763.370.0011 or send a Skype contact request to ConnectionCenter777.
—Brent Jordan Yocum is a former Union College student and a graduate of the University of Minnesota. He spent several years in Ukraine teaching English, and has recently moved back to the Minneapolis area where he is a member at Connection Center Church in Zimmerman, Minnesota.