George Joyce is the plumber pastors call to help with their problems.
“George has never met a remodel job he didn’t absolutely love,” said Kate Joyce, his wife of 52 years. “All the ministers at church call him for their plumbing. He always teases and says, ‘You guys need to stick to preaching and let me stick to the plumbing.’”
George’s latest project was adding a large screen TV on the back deck of their home to host Southeast Christian Church livestream watch parties with friends and neighbors on Sunday mornings.
“We feel very blessed we are able to do this,” Kate said. “George renovated our home probably 35 years ago. The deck is huge. It was perfect for this. I believe God moved 35 years ago for what this deck was going to be used for. This is the only house we’ve ever lived in. It was our starter house and now it’s our retirement house. It’s not big. It’s not fancy, but we love our house. That deck is not ours. God gave us that. So we always try to keep our focus on that.”
The Joyces, who attend Southeast’s Southwest Campus, have hosted nine-person watch parties the past few weeks.
“As the weeks went by (worshiping at home), I felt myself not feeling as involved in worship and that really bothered me because I love worship,” Kate said. “I’m not a good singer, but I love to sing. George likes to tell everybody he was a great singer before his tracheotomy, which is not true. I think we found ourselves slipping a little. The last few weeks, the nine of us have felt more open to singing … It’s just the connection of other people of a like-mind.”
For more information on how to host a watch party, email firstname.lastname@example.org or text “WATCHPARTY” to 733733.
Virtual small group
The Joyces also lead a community group through Zoom on Friday evenings.
This is one of the main ways the Joyces have stayed connected with others during the COVID-19 shutdown.
“When I was isolated and didn’t talk to anybody, my whole focus was on myself and how it was affecting me,” she said. “I felt like a victim. When you really connect with people you’re in relationships with, they’re not going to allow that to happen. My group just won’t allow me to stay there for very long. They’ll sympathize with me, but eventually they pull me back up and say, ‘Hey, this is what the Bible says.’”
The small group of married couples and single women has been life-giving to Kate, especially when she hasn’t seen her extended family.
“What we all found in common is that we were grieving what was, and we were mourning together,” she added. “We all felt comfortable enough with each other we didn’t have to pretend … I want to hug my grandkids. I want to see them because they don’t live very far from me. I haven’t seen my mom since March 7. Our group always went to breakfast after church. This has shaken us up and made us think outside the box.”
The group has been studying the eight-session series, “The Good Book,” with Southeast Senior Pastor Kyle Idleman and Pastor Deron Spoo, which is available for free through RightNow Media.
If you would like to lead a virtual small group, visit www.southeastchristian.org/resources and click on leader guide.