Today we are featuring Rev. Bob Molsberry in “Rooted and Grounded in Love: Leaders of Extravagant Welcome and Justice”. He is currently serving at St. Paul’s UCC in Donnellson, IA and has been serving in the UCC for 38 years.
“Being church now means remaining connected – though in new ways – and continuing to build one another up for service in the community.”
Rev. Bob Molsberry
Rev. Molsberry’s congregation has been thoroughly enjoying his simple and lovely services from his living room. “I do a weekly Sunday morning informal 20-minute living room chat that includes some dulcimer music and recorded organ music,” Rev. Molsberry explained. “I chose the living room format deliberately to simulate a living room chat with parishioners. The sanctuary services I’ve seen online seem cold and a little sad, trying to reconstruct a normal Sunday service. I deliberately chose the simplest platform – Facebook video – because many of my elderly rural parishioners would have trouble accessing a more sophisticated platform.” Since moving online, St. Paul’s UCC has seen a significant increase in attendance and participation. Their regular attendance is around 35 parishioners and some of their services have reached over 200 views. “We have an entire online community now that is hearing our message and even sending checks,” shared Rev. Molsberry.
In addition to online services, Rev. Molsberry has been calling around the congregation during the week to see how people are doing and what community needs they’re hearing about, and convening the consistory via Zoom to assess congregational needs and make decisions about continuing COVID response. He has also connected with the school superintendent, the county public health department, and a local nursing home.
Many are finding that COVID-19 sparks new and deep connections between people. “In some ways I’m more connected with the congregation now by phone than I was in-person,” shared Rev. Molsberry. With a newly full household and a family member serving on the COVID-19 frontlines, Rev. Molsberry is thankful for the ways people are helping those in need in the ways that they can. “Being church now means remaining connected – though in new ways – and continuing to build one another up for service in the community.”
“Bob Molsberry’s entire ministry has been a love-grounded witness of extravagant love and justice,” Proclaimed Associated Conference Minister Rev. Jonna Jensen. “He raises a prophetic voice with a pastor’s heart. Bob’s offerings of simple, richly engaging on-line worship have helped St. Paul’s UCC in Donnellson stretch to welcome hundreds of new souls from around the country.”
Thank you Rev. Molsberry and St. Paul’s UCC for your work!
“Rooted and Grounded in Love: Leaders of Extravagant Welcome and Justice” is a space to lift up and give thanks for leaders in our conferences who are leading with love and safety amidst the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.