From Deacon George …

Techno-Church and YOU

On Monday, a couple of our parishioners and I began an online course offered by Luther Seminary called Ministry in a Digital Age. We meet via Zoom (what else?) along with 80-100 students from many denominations and churches across the US. These are folks who are anxious to know how to keep their churches alive and well in this time of pandemic.

You may be as surprised as I was to know that the first principle that was emphatically stressed by our instructor, Ryan Panzer, is that technology is moving to fast for us to keep up with it. Panzer says, “We don’t need to be power-users of every new digital technology, but we do need to be attuned to our broader digital culture that conditions us to act in ways that are different from the time before smartphones and high-speed internet.” 

The focus of the Luther course is to become adept at a few techno-tools we already have and use them as a platform to engage with each other, as we always have, in hearing God’s Word and doing God’s work. It is a four-week course and we are just past Week One, so there will be more to report in the coming weeks. But for now, here are some personal observations –

Stupid political posturing aside, it seems clear that nobody can predict with accuracy where we will be in the short term – arguably even in the long term – with reopening our economy, our businesses, our churches. Things that were once closed were reopened and are now being re-closed, including churches. There is no clear across-the-board leadership on this point. Hence, I believe that online church will, wisely, be with us for a while longer. 

Leadership at St. John’s is committed to making our online worship a meaningful experience, improving it weekly. Our leaders are moving toward a robust Spiritual Eucharist with music and sermon. In the meantime, we have seen the 10AM Zoom Morning Prayer Service and the 12 Noon Zoom Coffee Hour attendance – which admittedly began as a test and are ‘works in progress’ – fall from around 25 the first week to less than half that in the last couple weeks.

In a church like ours where Eucharist is a Sunday staple, Morning Prayer is not everybody’s cup of tea. We will get to an online version of a complete Eucharist service soon, I believe. Great online Eucharist options are available now, as noted on our own website. But as a faith community, I hope that we can gather and worship together as well. Personally, I currently attend our 10AM Morning Prayer service then join the National Cathedral Eucharist in progress, getting both the communal benefit of worshiping with my fellow parishioners AND  the splendid music, powerful sermon and spiritual Eucharist provided by The Nation’s Church.

Here is what our leaders are currently doing to keep our church operating online –

  • Developing interactive communal worship using the Book of Common Prayer
  • Planning a ECMN-approved Spiritual Eucharist service with music and sermon
  • Facilitating a Sunday 9AM anti-racism book study group
  • Conducting youth formation via Zoom and website videos
  • Conducting adult formation with a new Netflix and Zoom Seeing & Believing format
  • Having regular ministry team meetings and vestry meetings via Zoom
  • Completely redesigning our church website

Here is what YOU can do to make online church succeed –

  • Attend Zoom Service/coffee Hour Sundays at 9AM and Noon
  • Call someone you know and haven’t seen and invite them to Zoom with us
  • Attend an online event – book group, movie discussion, etc.
  • Propose an online event and maybe even help facilitate it!

Luther course instructor Panzer tells us, “In the church, we should seek ways to further creative expression, exploring what it would mean for our communities to function not just as spaces for worship, but as workshops to help us articulate our experience of God.”

Have a Blessed Week!

Deacon George’s Message

Techno-Church and YOU

On Monday, a couple of our parishioners and I began an online course offered by Luther Seminary called Ministry in a Digital Age. We meet via Zoom (what else?) along with 80-100 students from many denominations and churches across the US. These are folks who are anxious to know how to keep their churches alive and well in this time of pandemic.

You may be as surprised as I was to know that the first principle that was emphatically stressed by our instructor, Ryan Panzer, is that technology is moving to fast for us to keep up with it. Panzer says, “We don’t need to be power-users of every new digital technology, but we do need to be attuned to our broader digital culture that conditions us to act in ways that are different from the time before smartphones and high-speed internet.” 

The focus of the Luther course is to become adept at a few techno-tools we already have and use them as a platform to engage with each other, as we always have, in hearing God’s Word and doing God’s work. It is a four-week course and we are just past Week One, so there will be more to report in the coming weeks. But for now, here are some personal observations –

Stupid political posturing aside, it seems clear that nobody can predict with accuracy where we will be in the short term – arguably even in the long term – with reopening our economy, our businesses, our churches. Things that were once closed were reopened and are now being re-closed, including churches. There is no clear across-the-board leadership on this point. Hence, I believe that online church will, wisely, be with us for a while longer. 

Leadership at St. John’s is committed to making our online worship a meaningful experience, improving it weekly. Our leaders are moving toward a robust Spiritual Eucharist with music and sermon. In the meantime, we have seen the 10AM Zoom Morning Prayer Service and the 12 Noon Zoom Coffee Hour attendance – which admittedly began as a test and are ‘works in progress’ – fall from around 25 the first week to less than half that in the last couple weeks.

In a church like ours where Eucharist is a Sunday staple, Morning Prayer is not everybody’s cup of tea. We will get to an online version of a complete Eucharist service soon, I believe. Great online Eucharist options are available now, as noted on our own website. But as a faith community, I hope that we can gather and worship together as well. Personally, I currently attend our 10AM Morning Prayer service then join the National Cathedral Eucharist in progress, getting both the communal benefit of worshiping with my fellow parishioners AND  the splendid music, powerful sermon and spiritual Eucharist provided by The Nation’s Church.

Here is what our leaders are currently doing to keep our church operating online –

  • Developing interactive communal worship using the Book of Common Prayer
  • Planning a ECMN-approved Spiritual Eucharist service with music and sermon
  • Facilitating a Sunday 9AM anti-racism book study group
  • Conducting youth formation via Zoom and website videos
  • Conducting adult formation with a new Netflix and Zoom Seeing & Believing format
  • Having regular ministry team meetings and vestry meetings via Zoom
  • Completely redesigning our church website

Here is what YOU can do to make online church succeed –

  • Attend Zoom Service/coffee Hour Sundays at 9AM and Noon
  • Call someone you know and haven’t seen and invite them to Zoom with us
  • Attend an online event – book group, movie discussion, etc.
  • Propose an online event and maybe even help facilitate it!

Luther course instructor Panzer tells us, “In the church, we should seek ways to further creative expression, exploring what it would mean for our communities to function not just as spaces for worship, but as workshops to help us articulate our experience of God.”

Have a Blessed Week!

Deacon George’s Message

Techno-Church and YOU

On Monday, a couple of our parishioners and I began an online course offered by Luther Seminary called Ministry in a Digital Age. We meet via Zoom (what else?) along with 80-100 students from many denominations and churches across the US. These are folks who are anxious to know how to keep their churches alive and well in this time of pandemic.

You may be as surprised as I was to know that the first principle that was emphatically stressed by our instructor, Ryan Panzer, is that technology is moving to fast for us to keep up with it. Panzer says, “We don’t need to be power-users of every new digital technology, but we do need to be attuned to our broader digital culture that conditions us to act in ways that are different from the time before smartphones and high-speed internet.” 

The focus of the Luther course is to become adept at a few techno-tools we already have and use them as a platform to engage with each other, as we always have, in hearing God’s Word and doing God’s work. It is a four-week course and we are just past Week One, so there will be more to report in the coming weeks. But for now, here are some personal observations –

Stupid political posturing aside, it seems clear that nobody can predict with accuracy where we will be in the short term – arguably even in the long term – with reopening our economy, our businesses, our churches. Things that were once closed were reopened and are now being re-closed, including churches. There is no clear across-the-board leadership on this point. Hence, I believe that online church will, wisely, be with us for a while longer. 

Leadership at St. John’s is committed to making our online worship a meaningful experience, improving it weekly. Our leaders are moving toward a robust Spiritual Eucharist with music and sermon. In the meantime, we have seen the 10AM Zoom Morning Prayer Service and the 12 Noon Zoom Coffee Hour attendance – which admittedly began as a test and are ‘works in progress’ – fall from around 25 the first week to less than half that in the last couple weeks.

In a church like ours where Eucharist is a Sunday staple, Morning Prayer is not everybody’s cup of tea. We will get to an online version of a complete Eucharist service soon, I believe. Great online Eucharist options are available now, as noted on our own website. But as a faith community, I hope that we can gather and worship together as well. Personally, I currently attend our 10AM Morning Prayer service then join the National Cathedral Eucharist in progress, getting both the communal benefit of worshiping with my fellow parishioners AND  the splendid music, powerful sermon and spiritual Eucharist provided by The Nation’s Church.

Here is what our leaders are currently doing to keep our church operating online –

  • Developing interactive communal worship using the Book of Common Prayer
  • Planning a ECMN-approved Spiritual Eucharist service with music and sermon
  • Facilitating a Sunday 9AM anti-racism book study group
  • Conducting youth formation via Zoom and website videos
  • Conducting adult formation with a new Netflix and Zoom Seeing & Believing format
  • Having regular ministry team meetings and vestry meetings via Zoom
  • Completely redesigning our church website

Here is what YOU can do to make online church succeed –

  • Attend Zoom Service/coffee Hour Sundays at 9AM and Noon
  • Call someone you know and haven’t seen and invite them to Zoom with us
  • Attend an online event – book group, movie discussion, etc.
  • Propose an online event and maybe even help facilitate it!

Luther course instructor Panzer tells us, “In the church, we should seek ways to further creative expression, exploring what it would mean for our communities to function not just as spaces for worship, but as workshops to help us articulate our experience of God.”

Have a Blessed Week!
Deacon George 

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