Re-engaging after our pandemic-induced exiles

Todd Seifert


As we come nearer and nearer to being able to return to life from our in-home exiles, Todd Seifert, conference communications director, has embarked on a new series for the “In Layman’s Terms” podcast focused on rebuilding our society and our spiritual disciplines.

Using the stories from the Old Testament history books of Ezra and Nehemiah, the goal is to share stories about how people and churches are preparing to re-engage with their congregations, their communities and with God through their own faith practices. 

Are you or your church doing something to prepare? Help him tell more stories of re-gathering with beloved church members and connecting with people not yet part of the family of believers by sending an email to Todd Seifert at He plans to provide more episodes starting in June. 

For now, catch up by listening to these episodes, which all use the stories of Nehemiah rebuilding society and Ezra rebuilding the faith community as a framework for discussing how Great Plains churches are preparing to re-engage their communities more fully and how individuals are exploring their faith practices.

  • Let's Build: Embracing the New Normal — This first episode in the series sets the stage by taking a brief look at Jewish history and the way people in Jerusalem viewed the foundation being set for the new temple after their return from the Babylonian exile.
  • Returning from Our Own Exiles — Calvary UMC in Wichita serves as an example of how preparation and flexibility can keep people connected to each other and, most importantly, to God. Rev. Michael Marion and Rev. Ashely Prescott Barlow Thompson sit down with Todd to talk about how the pandemic forced them to make decisions and how the congregation is adapting even 13 months after the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Reading the Bible — Rev. Jeff Goetzinger from the Hutchinson area takes part in a discussion with Todd about how the two of them read through the Bible in 365 days using different strategies as their guides. Re-engaging scripture is one of the key tactics for re-engaging our faith in a post-pandemic world.
  • Keeping What Works — The re-engagement series continues with an interview with the Rev. Stephanie Ahlschwede, lead pastor at St. Paul United Methodist Church in the Benson neighborhood of north Omaha. She and Todd talk about the things St. Paul tried as a means of staying connected to its community and parishioners and how some of those efforts are now so ingrained into the church that they will remain long after the pandemic is over. In this episode, Stephanie references several videos you may want to check out for yourselves:

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