At a time when all of us are being urged to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by practicing physical distancing and avoiding gathering in groups, churches are scrambling to work out how congregational life, prayer and ministry can be continued. Already some of our regular attenders have decided not to attend worship for the foreseeable future, and we recognised that most of those who might have continued to attend would be doing so with an onerous sense of uncertainty about whether they were doing the right thing. So the SYCBaps leadership group have decided to relieve our people of that by deciding to cease gathering at the church for worship, and instead to take our worship service online, which we will attempt to do beginning this Sunday, 22nd March.
Many churches around the world are simply closing down worship services completely, and most that are switching to online worship are simply live streaming a video of some people leading worship. It is all one-way, like watching a worship service on TV. For us though, the “everyone participating” nature of our worship is one of its most important features, and we want to try to maintain that. After some researching and a little experimenting, we think we have found a way to do it. It won’t be perfect. There will be glitches. It will at times be a bit clunky. But even its clunkiness can be quite amusing and fun, and we are pretty sure that it will work well enough to be a whole lot better than just having no worship and not much contact with each other for weeks and months. In the internet age, physical distancing doesn’t have to be social distancing.
We have no way of knowing how long it might be until we can resume gathering physically, so this might be in place for a while. Like any radical change, it will feel awkward at first and there will be things that we discover don’t work very well online that we will want to change. Hopefully it will start with a bearable and amusing level of chaos and confusion and then improve significantly week by week as we work it all out.