We have had recording sessions when the entire service was dropped and we didn’t realize it until we were finished; so we had to turn right around and do it again. We’ve had times when we simply couldn’t get the live video started and ended up being five or ten minutes late. We’ve had times when the video worked but we couldn’t get sound. Why in heaven’s name are we doing all of this? Is all this videoing worth the effort?
Our world has changed forever because of Covid-19. Out of every valley in life, Christ finds an opportunity to sow good seeds and move us back to the mountain top. That has happened during our time of physical isolation from each other. This past week, our nine videos have been viewed 713 times at an average of 79.2 views per video. Isn’t that amazing!
Our face-to-face Sunday worship services, during a NORMAL year, have an average attendance of between 41-44 members. Our Facebook live Sunday service on July 12 has had 212 views as of Monday, July 20. We don’t know who is watching them, only that they are being viewed. What we do know is that many more people are watching than we have in our active membership list.
I have come to appreciate the use of technology to broadcast the services because it is reaching people who would not otherwise experience the beauty of Episcopal liturgy. As someone who has searched for ways to share the good news, but does not have the ability just to walk up to a stranger and start talking to them about her/his salvation, (which I don’t believe is an effective evangelism tool, anyway), I find these virtual services non-threatening and extremely rewarding. Like my work in prison ministry, I know that people who are participating in these services are doing so of their own free will, not because they have been cornered by over-zealous evangelists. That feels good and right. Our love for God is a choice, not something that can be forced. I pray that someone watching out there will commit themselves to be a follower of Christ through our efforts to live-stream these services.
I also find it rewarding that Pat and Laura are having the opportunity to lead some of our prayers. When we went through our team ministry training, they were both identified as worship leaders. But over the past 17 years of team ministry, our clergy rarely are absent from worship services, so Pat and Laura have had few opportunities to use those gifts. I’m glad they are getting to do so now!
I also find it rewarding that so many of our church family are participating in almost every service. As one who tries to participate in each service, I have found myself growing deeper spiritually and having a greater awareness of Christ’s presence with me throughout the week. I pray you all are finding that to be the case, as well. We must stick together and support each other thorough these difficult times. I love you all. Fr. Jim.