'It’s NOT virtual church - the people are real'
Reflections on the first online service at Haggate Baptist Church in East Lancashire
Like many churches, Haggate Baptist Church in East Lancashire hosted its first online church service on Sunday. It was broadcast from minister Brian Davison’s kitchen using Zoom, and included communion.
'People preferred a Zoom meeting with what we could provide (limited to what all could enjoy, even if they have poor wifi) to a polished performance like the BBC service, or life church livestream because they were connecting with people they knew,' explained Brian.
'People logged on from around 10:15 and I had to leave the meeting to set up communion, and one or two other things in the kitchen, (where I have a nice plain wall and good wifi) and I left the sound going (with myself muted)
'I could hear people joining the group, laughing, telling one another how to get sound etc. Every bit as much laughter as when physically together, even more. The joy at hearing them having fun together was almost overwhelming, given how bleak things looked on Wednesday.'
The service included scripture readings, prayers, a short sermon and communion.
Elder Michael Green has subsequently written this reflection:
'I don’t know what our founding fathers of some 250 years ago would have thought about the Sunday morning service we held on 22 March. By using the wonders of modern science 18 homes logged into their computer, laptop or mobile phone using a programme called Zoom. I estimate that there were 28 people in total taking part. It’s not only the Rt. Revd Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury who can work wonders with modern technology but we Baptists can as well, thanks to Brian.
'We all tuned in ready for the service to begin at 10 30. The service, including communion, was led by Brian, who lives in Leeds, and we could all clearly see him in our homes on our own individual device. The service included scripture readings, prayers, a short sermon and communion.
'The service was absolutely brilliant. With a bit of fine-tuning and possibly some music, we are all looking forward to next week’s Sunday morning service. Two of our friends from Hill Lane also logged on.
'We, as a church were still communicating with each other as we would normally do on a Sunday morning, and this is important that we do not loose contact with each other. Everyone and anyone is welcome to ‘Zoom In.’
'Thank you Brian and well done it was much appreciated by all who took part in the service.'
This week church members also held a prayer meeting online, and on Sunday will try breakout groups where people can chat after the service in 3s or 4s.
Brian adds, 'This was our first online church service. It’s NOT virtual church - the people are real, the elements for communion are real we are just in different locations in space, together in time.'
Brian also explained how it plans to keep in contact with its Fantastic Fridays children's club (8-11s).
'Every Thursday Fiona will send out an activity sheet, and on Fridays we hope they will post pics of their efforts - we may even get them to come together on Friday eve on Zoom to show them off. That would be a private meeting, not the same number as used for services, invited guests only, and we and parents can see whose on and all activity.
'If this goes well we may attempt an online Messy church along the same lines.'
Do you have a view? Share your thoughts and experiences via our letters' page.