The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life

Wednesday Service

7 Comments

Gareth Janus led his first service today and Coy Weatherwax who attended the service gives this report:

Wednesday at 2pm SLT saw the first service at the Anglican Cathedral led by Rev Gareth Janus. It was a moving experience for all there, as Gareth used a liturgy adapted from the Iona Community and took us on a journey through the theme of doubt by reading through part of John 20 and the account of Thomas. This was followed by music from Steve Clarke and a song entitled Harder to Believe Than Not To which wonderfully outlined the real difficulties that can surround people of faith. Gareth intends to use a variety of liturgical and worship styles in these Wednesday services, which based on the first service, will be a wonderful witness to God in SL.

Revd Gareth will be leading a service each wednesday, 2pm SL time at the Cathedral.  You are most welcome to attend.

Images from the service:

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Author: Mark Brown

CEO of The Bible Society in New Zealand.

7 thoughts on “Wednesday Service

  1. I remember the service, and my first encounter with Charlie, well. It is amazing to me that over a year has passed since then. Time flies, not only our avatars….

  2. Thank you for sharing this Charlie, it really helps to ‘normalize’ the crazy things that happen in SL – i hope the RL church gets a good whiff of this sense of acceptance and encouragement!!

  3. Loved reading the experience.

    Thanks. Glad to know somebody knows what it’s like!

  4. Charlie,

    LOVED this piece, thanks – you do have a flair for writing.

    I’d forgotten that the first time you came to our services was for this Wednesday service. In fact, I don’t remember your first-day SL antics at all, I just remember the service was a bit tough, given the technical difficulties and the people in the congregation repeatedly commenting on them, which must have been a bit trying for dear Gareth.
    Anyways, Gareth stuck it out beautifully, and I am so happy that you decided to stick it out too, because it’s great having you as a friend on SL.

  5. Dear Charlie12string,
    I am SO glad this doesn’t happen in the little church I (lead) worship in, where the members of the congregation are much better behaved! Bless you as you explore virtual church, and share your experiences with others.

  6. “Off the Ground and Flying!”
    Reflections on Attending Revd Gareth Janus’s Service on
    ‘Asleep in the Light’. Wed 23rd April 08.

    I hadn’t been to a service at the Anglican Cathedral in Second Life before. This was to be my first time and I was looking forward to it! I had joined SL for this purpose. To see and take part in the virtual Church! I had spent part of the past eight days trying to learn to control and operate my new “outer man,” my avatar, a much younger, handsomer, and fitter version of myself, which sometimes to my consternation would appear as “my outer woman!”

    I suffer from a condition known as “satellite lag,” caused by the slowness of transporting data over the internet via the wireless system of my satellite connection. This can cause my avatar to be slow to react to my instructions and to over or under react to them. However I thought that now I might be ready!

    On arriving at the Cathedral I saw Rev Gareth Janus greeting people outside, and set myself off in the right direction. My avatar over reacted and swept past Gareth as he greeted me, going straight into the building where I managed to pick up a service bulletin before proceeding towards the front pews. I had decided to sit in one of the front pews as I thought that would be easier than trying to get between them. I attempted therefore to move forward but nothing happened so I tried again. Suddenly I took off, past all the pews, the altar rail, up the steps, through the altar itself, the cross also, and out through the end wall. Then as the service was about to start my avatar realized its mistake and I came running backwards in the opposite direction at an equally rapid pace. Feeling very embarrassed I turned around and attempted to sit down as Revd Gareth enquired if people could hear him on the “Voice Chat” and welcomed everyone to the service.

    To my consternation, instead of sitting down normally, I found myself squatting on the pew facing the back of the Cathedral with my back to Revd Janus! He began by saying “How good and how lovely it is to live together in unity,” others joining him in repeating the words. Squatting there in the front pew, facing the wrong way, I felt anything but unified. What should I do? Just stay like that or stand up and attempt to sit down again? For a little while I remained the way I was, but with everyone looking straight at me, I soon could take it no longer and tried again. I thought that in standing, I would jump back off the pew and stand up, but no! To my horror I was now standing on the front pew facing everyone in my leather jacket and jeans looking very much out of place, while Revd Janus said something about “PRAYER FOR GODS HELP” and most of the congregation were saying “Have mercy on us!” “Have mercy on us!”

    I lost track of what was being said for a time while I tried to extricate myself from my position, but vaguely remember Janus saying “Give us again the joy of your help,” which certainly seemed appropriate! Somehow I managed to get down between two pews but there were people sitting there, so I crossed to the other side and attempted to sit once again. Unfortunately I found myself sitting side saddle on another bloke’s knee which surprised both of us, so I stood up again and finally was successful in sitting! I must say however that my new companion kept shooting me sideways glances throughout the rest of the Service! I looked around myself to see if people were still staring at me and saw to my surprise, a naked lady descend from the roof into the pew behind me. Fortunately her body was gray so I was not tempted too much in that regard and she quickly regained her clothes once she had landed.

    At long last I was able to attend more to the service now that things were reasonably settled. Gareth Janus was saying “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise… ”
    I thought, “I haven’t been very wise so far, but how anyone could sleep through all this is beyond me!” I was pretty sure the rest of the congregation was certainly going to …“Be on guard! Be alert!” and “If He came suddenly He wouldn’t find them sleeping!” 864 Words

    Then Revd Janus attempted to play us a song by Keith Green, a wonderful song about a world in need, in darkness, and a Church not caring, well fed but asleep in the light. Unfortunately there were technical difficulties and he had to read the song to us instead. In the midst of this a huge creature with many feet came down the isle interrupting the service temporarily.
    Gareth Janus said “When Jesus comes – will we be ready?
    When Jesus comes in the special times or simply in the daily routine of our lives – will we be ready?
    Parishioner 1: With the help of God we will.
    Gareth Janus: When Jesus comes in the faces of the needy, the hurt, the lonely – will we be ready?
    Parishioner 2: In God’s good grace
    Gareth Janus: Are we ready? – Ready and waiting to reach out to those God brings to our doorsteps.
    Parishioner 3: I’m not so sure.
    Still recovering from my experiences I said: Not with Satellite lag. I won’t be ready.
    During a time of intercession we prayed among other things that we would be made ready, and now on reflection I think that perhaps we will be.

    I remember some years ago having a vision of the Church compared with the Heaven. Heaven was like a busy airport with modern streamlined and efficient planes flying off to all the regions of the world. The Church was more like the Wright Brothers plane Kitty Hawk, looking constantly like it was going to come to grief on the next hedge, very unstable and fragile, but still Praise God, off the ground and flying!

    I am full of admiration for Revd Gareth, who when I apologized for my antics on the way out, calmly said “No Problem.” No Problem! No Real Life church was ever like this, and Seminary training never prepared anyone for a Priestly ministry such as this! Yet here are ministers devoting their time and energy in uncharted waters. One might say, “walking on water,” reaching out to people across the world with one hand and reaching out to Jesus with the other. I don’t think the forces of evil will be taking this ministry seriously yet, the service seems to be too chaotic from beginning to end. But they are in for a shock! People come and are engaged by these services. People do feel drawn to this Cathedral and love being able to participate, to contribute and be a part of the life of this Church. I can almost hear Jesus saying “Well done my good and faithful servants. I am confounding the wisdom of the wise with the foolishness of God once more. Draw near to me and I will draw near to you. You are off the ground and flying!”

  7. Thanks for the synopsis, Coy.

    I was able to make last night’s service with Gareth and was very much impressed. This time Gareth worked with a prayer-meditation by Abbé Michel Quoist – more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Quoist – from which he created a very memorable liturgy. Apparently the others in attendance were as well, exceedingly positive remarks all around.

    My only comments regarding this service would be the desirability of following the usual liturgy regarding the gospel reading, preparing ourselves with the appropriate respect and praise (and standing).

    I do miss Erz, I have heard that she has been plagued quite a lot by some griefers. I have seen her deal very elegantly and efficiently with griefers who were insulting her in a most repugnant manner – which made me quite proud to have her as one of our leaders. I do hope to see her back soon!

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