The Rev. John Crowdis meets members of the Trinity United Church congregation during a physically distanced meet-the-minister event last Sunday outside the Trinity Ecumenical Centre. (Greg Sakaki/The News Bulletin)

Nanaimo minister’s YouTube teachings suited to COVID-19 times

The Rev. John Crowdis taking over for retiring Rev. Foster Freed at Trinity United Church

Church-goers are looking for new ways to worship during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Trinity United Church’s minister can help with that.

The Rev. John Crowdis starts as the church’s new minister July 1, taking over from retiring Rev. Foster Freed.

Crowdis met members of the congregation for the first time last weekend, but his face was already familiar to those who subscribe to his YouTube channel.

“His technical skills and online savvy are perfect for helping the congregation maintain connectivity during this challenging time,” noted a press release from Trinity United.

Crowdis’s YouTube channel is called the Accessible Faith Project, in which he explores some “tough, confusing and historical aspects of the Christian faith” in 5-10-minute videos – lost books of the Bible and most misunderstood books of the Bible are a couple of examples.

“Taking that resource and then putting into a kind of a Sunday morning worship format, that’s been more what I’ve been doing lately…” Crowdis said. “I may be doing services online for the first little while – at least [that’s] a skill set I do have.”

Crowdis comes to Nanaimo from St. Matthew’s in Calgary, but the Vancouver School of Theology graduate interned in Victoria and has in-laws in Parksville, so he already had some ties to Vancouver Island.

“The more we looked at it, the more that this seemed to be a really, really good fit for my particular gifts and skill set, ethos and everything else,” Crowdis said.

He said he’s looking forward to sharing the building with Trinity Catholic Church, noting that his background is “quite ecumenical” as his father was a church organist and the family went “wherever the gig was.” Crowdis said though the United and Roman Catholic perspectives can differ in many respects, he sees opportunities for partnerships “beyond just being housemates.”

The COVID-19 pandemic complicates Crowdis’s transition to his new job in some ways – the new minister hadn’t even seen the inside of the church when he spoke to the News Bulletin last week – but Trinity United says plans are being made to reopen slowly and cautiously once permission has been granted by the United Church’s Canada Pacific Mountain regional council.

“Because a lot of our people are in that particularly vulnerable age range, we’re exercising an abundance of caution…” Crowdis said. “We care a great deal about our people.”

READ ALSO: Nanaimo Ecumenical Centre celebrating 40th anniversary

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