We were back in church at Easter. On many levels it’s good to be back in the church community. But ….. the small numbers, the absence of singing, the masks … I guess that, as we move back to some kind of normality, the ‘in church’ experience will improve. And then we’ll have to talk about whether Zoom was just something we did when we had no alternative – is it going to be an enduring part of what we offer.
This is actually a number of quite separate questions. There is the Lord Braid view that online worship is an alternative rather than worship itself. I guess that questions about the authenticity of sacraments are in the same area. I have to confess that there are things about worship on Zoom which I like. I like being able to see the congregation all on the screen at the same time. I like being able to visit a number of churches – some would say that I am fickle. But Zoom really helps to challenge the congregationalism which is so characteristic of church life. And it makes it possible to include housebound people in the community – and to give people who may be considering joining a congregation an opportunity to ‘try before you buy’
I know that I am privileged in my ability to have a ‘view from the pew’ or more often a ‘view from the laptop on the kitchen table.’ To lead worship on Zoom must be very demanding – particularly if you want to do more than just ‘point a camera’ at what you would have been doing anyway. One of my clergy friends described it to me as ‘like running a small theatre which also broadcasts its offerings.’
I suspect that we are going to be talking about this for a long time. I’m about to run a clergy ‘Quiet Day’ on Zoom. I wonder how that will go!