These FAQs have come from questions asked during the round of community meetings held in February at Epiphany. These open meetings were an opportunity for community members to ask questions, make suggestions and get some more information as we consider the future together. Continue reading
Have there been times you just couldn’t get to church. Or you have had an accident and just can’t get out of the house. What if you are wheelchair bound and just can’t get to church. Or you are in a strange country where you just don’t know where the church is. Or you are in a country where going to church is banned and you are risking the death penalty. And long as the internet hasn’t been blocked then you can make it to church. But we don’t recommend risking your life. If you are going to do that make sure your history is switched off and nothing can be stored on your computer. And just remember nothing is private on the internet.
If you are stuck and just can’t make it to church. Well now you can.
A few clicks and you can be in a church and if you can line up the times you can make it to a Mass. There is one problem with going to an online church you just can’t make it to Holy Communion. But you still have community. After church you can still have a chat. After Mass we stop for a chat outside the entrance on the courtyard. At the moment most people use typing chat, I’m hoping that will change to voice chat. In the Chapel for Morning Prayer we use voice chat as there is not many people there. After Church I usually go to the Ivory Tower Library of Primatives Sandbox to talk and meet people. Plenty of space to talk without too many people listening in.
Now the online church I go to is in Second Life a type of alternative life you can live in on the internet. When you look at the homepage you could easily get the impression that it is just a glorified online game. But it is more than that. You have to download a program onto your computer so the program will run. I’m usually a bit cautious about downloading stuff I’m not sure of, especially game stuff but I have no problems it didn’t try to hijack my homepage or anything like that.
And once you are inworld a whole new world opens up for you to explore. If you are shy or introverted you can live behind your avatar and come out of your shell, because no one can see you and you can redefine your comfort zone. At the Little Chapel for Morning Prayer I sometimes do the one of the Readings from the Bible and you can do. So if you have always wonted to do the one of the Readings in church, now is your chance. I’ve always wondered how I sound coming out in the Little Chapel. Because everybody’s sound system is different I would probably sound different on all computers.
Also it is a dream come true for people with physical disabilities. In the movie “Avatar” the guy could walk around in the virtual world but in reality he was confined to a wheelchair and it could be the same for you. In this world you are what you can be so if you can’t leave your house the virtual world is open to you. Give Second Life a look, it’s free. I’ve been inworld for years now and if you don’t want to spend any money you don’t have too. You can come and go as you please, as often as you like without paying anything.
There is a money system available “Linden dollars” if you want to get into the commerce side of things. And don’t worry about your age all avatars look young. And what’s an old dude like me doing playing around on the internet. Well to be honest I think I could be one of the young ones. In the virtual world age doesn’t matter, you just have to be there to meet the people. I’ve never had any problems there but the same internet rules apply. Don’t give away your personal information and you will be okay.
I went looking for a church one Easter because I couldn’t make it to my church. So I checked out the internet and it took me a while to get the times figured out and now I go as often as I can.
Second Life is huge and it is very easy to get lost in there. After you have signed up and downloaded everything and you are ready to go. I would go to “World” on the top toolbar and from the dropdown menu click on “Search” and you end up on the “Events” page. If you want to find something to do just browse the “Events” but then you have to line up the times. The “Events” are where you meet people.
Now if you want to go to a real online live Mass you have to go to ustream.tv now this is another amazing part of the online world. Same as with Second Life you have to line up the times and you can sit in watching the Mass just like you are in a real Church. The cameras are usually just webcams and I think in some cases they are from the security system. It just depends on which church you go to. And again it is free. I love the internet. And there are plenty of Churches to go to. You can pick your language as well as the times. Church in Second Life is in English so far, where as in ustream it can be in any language. But inworld you can use any language you like, as long as you find somebody who speaks the same language.
Sometimes you might think some people are rude because they don’t talk to you but that is probably due to the wrong language.
Now to find a Church type Church or Churches in the search box, then click on “Everything” and from the dropdown menu click on “Places” then check “off” M for Mature and A for Adult, just search under “G” then hit the search button. That will give you over 100 results so you can either start going through the list or you could refine the search. Now to refine your search you have to click on “Search Home” and start again. This time type in Anglican Church and you should end up at the Cathedral I go to. Since Second Life is huge the learning curve can take some time but there are always people out there ready to help you. Just ask.
Well that’s it, now you have the Churches you can go to when you can’t go to Church. Once you are set up and know when the times match, Church is just a few clicks away.
See you in Church. https://slangcath.wordpress.com/
You can reprint this article anywhere as long as it is free, not changed and the resource box is intact. copyright(a) peter legrove 2012 all rights reserved
In September we published a paper written by Bishop Christopher Hill (who oversees our ministry) about online sacraments. A member of our community, Kate Lord, has now completed a paper looking at the possibility of celebrating the Eucharist in SL.
We hope to be able to host one or more conversations on this topic sometime soon. Do read the paper and contribute to the conversation.
Able Shepherd (Rev Mark Watson), a member of our Leadership Team, has put together a document summarising online resources for spirituality and discipleship. I hope it will be of help to you in your Christian walk.
Helene Milena – Lay Pastor
We are now in a position to publish the paper which Bishop Christopher Hill has written on Second Life and Sacraments. This final version of the paper is the outcome of discussion with the Leadership Team and others, and is likely to be Bishop Christopher’s final contribution to the subject. We are hoping to hold discussions about the paper in world as its content is of interest to many.
This document forms the basis of our approach to sacraments in Second Life which you can read on our ‘The Vision’ page of this blog.
Many people struggle with prayer. We may feel inadequate and clumsy, and even perhaps unworthy. We may think that prayer is something that others do and we simply go along with them or that we don’t really understand prayer, or why we need to pray. We are not alone in that. In Luke’s gospel, we are told how the disciples encountered Jesus in prayer and when he had finished praying “one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray.”” (Luke 11:1) The disciples had a growing awareness of the need to pray, and of their own inadequacy at prayer. They realised that prayer was central to Jesus’ earthly life and ministry, and they knew they needed to learn how to pray to grow in their relationship with God. Jesus’ wonderful response was to teach them the Lord’s prayer.
Prayer may be many things: a declaration of truth, the heart of relationship and intimacy with God, knowing God’s heart, a lifeline to the Lord, a vehicle for confession, worship & praise, a journey into humility, an opportunity to draw close to the Lord, a request for God to act from an open hand of need and hope, a time of intercession and joyful and continuous (1 Thessalonians 5:17)! Prayer may be personal and intimate (“go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:5-8)) or corporate (“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you one earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am with them.” (Matthew 18:19-20)).
Eugene Peterson shares a helpful insight in telling us that “Prayer has to be a response to what God has said. The worshipping congregation—hearing the Word read and preached, and celebrating it in the sacraments—is the place where we may learn how to pray and where we may practice prayer. It is the centre from which we might pray. From it, we go to our ‘closet’ or mountains and continue to pray.”
I think that God rejoices when we come before him in prayer; he yearns that we, the pinnacle of his creation, might be in intimate fellowship with him. We can come before our heavenly father, Abba father, daddy, knowing that we are loved as we are because in Christ we are children of God. And so I invite you to ask God with me, just as the disciples asked Jesus…“Teach us to pray.” If you want to kick start your prayer life, why not make contact with any of the members of our prayer ministry team? And if you would appreciate a session on prayer please let the Leadership Team know.
At the Leadership Team meeting on 16 July we listened to a presentation on evangelism by ZoeRose Eiren. We revisited the material at our September meeting on Saturday. We were considering how we move forward as a result of what we had heard. We already know that, although we have taken Church into SL, once there we are mostly staying in one place rather than going to find the many who need to meet Jesus. We certainly meet and minister to many people already who come to Epiphany Island. Several of our community have brought friends to our services or have recommended that their friends should seek pastoral care from us. There is still much more that we could do.
We have decided that we will offer a Christian pastoral care/listening course beginning in November as part of our response. So many of those whom we meet need someone to listen to them. It’s good to feel confident that we are doing the right thing when we listen and respond. We hope this course will equip more people to minister to others in this way.
We are also going to continue the conversation and want as many of our community as possible to join in. We will announce times when we plan to meet to chat together. We hope there may also be impromptu conversations on the same subject, perhaps when we meet after services. There could also be conversation here on the blog or on our Facebook page.
The content of ZoeRose’s paper is given here for you to read and consider. Our hope is that we will together hear clearly what God is saying to us and have the courage to do as he asks.
Helene Milena – Lay Pastor
In the process of the survey we were given many good ideas about what members of our community would like to see being offered in addition to what was offered at the time, and how we could improve what we offered. Below is the list of ideas and each has a note of where we have responded (in italics), if we have done so. Obviously this survey was conducted two years ago and so not everything would be exactly the same as if we were to ask the questions today. If you have ideas which you would like us to consider, do let us know. We are always pleased to hear from you.
SUGGESTIONS FOR SERVICES
- For Anglicans, liturgy arguably reflects doctrine. If the Cathedral is ‘branded’ as being the Anglican Cathedral in SL, then in my view it has an onus to be faithful to the liturgical tradition.
All our liturgies are either published Anglican liturgies or follow the format of a Service of the Word, which is acceptable in Anglican churches.
- Use of agreed upon forms of service
Any worship leader must agree the format of services used with the Leadership Team.
- Have a default service that someone can step in and lead if leader doesn’t come
- More services
Since this survey was undertaken we have increased the number of regular services offered significantly.
- More variety across the Anglican tradition-spectrum
We offer a wide variety of special services at points in the Church year, particularly in Holy Week.
- Use chapel more
The chapel is used twice on most days for the daily offices.
During Lent 2009 (a long time ago I know!) Anglicans of Second Life conducted an extensive survey of our members. It involved an online survey, discussions in world and responses by individuals to the survey. We published the demographic results but got no further in writing up the rest of the results, although the information gleaned has informed our direction as a ministry since that time. Finally there is further information to share with you.
Firstly, we asked about the seven marks of a healthy church and how respondents thought we were doing on them. The pie charts below show this.
One of the key challenges with online worship is how to incorporate the Eucharist. The Eucharist is a physical experience from witnessing the act to receiving bread and wine. But it is also a spiritual experience in that the key action is invisible, caused by God who acts within the liturgy. So would it be possible to have a virtual communion, a virtual sacrament?
The Revd Professor Paul S. Fiddes, who is Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Oxford and Director of Research, Regent’s Park College, has just written a very interesting short paper called Sacraments in a Virtual World?
You can access a copy of the paper here. Your thoughts are welcome!