With the suspension of in-person gatherings across Canada in March 2020, most United Fresh Start facilitators paused their program leadership. However, in the winter of 2021, some regional councils began to think creatively about how this program to support healthy pastoral relationships could be re-imagined in a virtual way. In Horseshoe Falls, Antler River Watershed and Western Ontario Waterways Regional Councils, Diane Blanchard (pastoral relations minister) organized Zoom-based offerings of four modules.
The following modules were offering to communities of faith and their ministry personnel:
- Entering a New System
- Habits and Norms
- Family Systems
Diane teamed with two other facilitators to prepare recordings of the facilitator’s presentation. Each module was offered twice during the late winter and early spring. The groups from communities of faith engaged in the handout material in break out rooms.
Also, during this time, some modules of the United Fresh Start program were used in ministry personnel groups. Ministry personnel in new pastoral relationships were invited to join a small group to work through a few United Fresh Start modules. Previously these groups would have met in person for education and mutual support, but in 2021 they began meeting virtually. The ministry personnel selected which modules they had interest in engaging and the facilitators led them through the material on a monthly basis. The members of these groups also brought case studies to the gatherings for discussion and further learning.