Church member helps elderly access online church

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Calvin Mak helping Covey Penny set up the iPad to watch church online.

Warragul Seventh-day Adventist Church (Vic) member Calvin Mak is no ordinary IT consultant—he’s actively using his tech skills to help elderly people access online church on Sabbath.

“Many of the members of Longwarry and Warragul church are older and don’t know how to use a smart device, and many of them live alone,” he explained.

Following an emergency business meeting at Warragul, it was decided that Sabbath school and church services would be held online via Zoom, but there was concern that older members wouldn’t be able to join.

“A couple of the church’s older members showed their concern . . . so I asked our pastor [Ben Townson] if there is anyone he could think of that would like to join but doesn’t have the tech knowledge or devices to do so,” he said.

After creating a list of people to help, Calvin collected six devices—his work iPad, his wife’s iPad, his son’s MacBook Air and another two older smartphones—and travelled around to the homes on Saturday morning to set them up.

“On Sabbath morning, I assisted a lady in Warragul [with an iPad], then got another phone call to assist a Sabbath school teacher to get her Zoom working, then another phone call to help their mobile phone connected in, and then I stopped by the church building to find one of the elders sitting there studying his Bible by himself in the foyer, just in case someone showed up to church, so I assisted him to connect to Sabbath school as well,” Mr Mak explained.

After Sabbath school and church services, the connected members enjoy chatting on Zoom for 10-15 minutes.

“It’s not just the blessing from the Bible, but the fellowship with each other—especially being able to see each other, not just hear someone’s voice,” he said.

Calvin works as an IT consultant and is also the communications officer for the local volunteer fire brigade. He’s also assisted some of the volunteers there with communications technology during social isolation.