Earlier this week, the Evergreen Project hosted a panel of Rectors from Anglican churches in the US and Canada to talk about how they are navigating online worship and plans for this coming Holy Week & Easter. The webinar began with greetings from Archbishop Foley Beach who prayed for our Rectors and joined us for the entire presentation. He even helped out fielding some questions for us in the chat box. Nearly 200 people joined the call and we learned a lot about the Zoom webinar format in the process. Thank you to everyone who joined us!
The webinar was really a virtual roundtable. One by one, each Rector offered some of the best practices and ideas they are using now or preparing to offer during Holy Week. The Rectors lead congregations of various sizes and churchmanships. They had great ideas and I love their creativity!
5 Key Takeaways
Reflecting, here are 5 Key Takeaways:
- Morning Prayer is Making a Comeback! One thing I noticed was that during this season where we are unable to safely gather for worship in-person, many are turning to the rich tradition of Morning Prayer for Sunday.
- Creative Distribution of Holy Communion – For those focusing on a Holy Communion Service, it takes a variety of creative forms. Some are distributing pre-consecrated bread prior to services. Others are having parishioners swing by after services to safely receive communion. Many are re-introducing “Spiritual Communion” and the sacrament of desire. (Link to AP article) By the way, our creativity does have a limit. The ACNA does not permit live, virtual consecration.
- Prep Time – All of these leaders are spending much more time in preparation as we make creative decisions. Many are preparing material in advance. One great idea was to have pre-recorded testimonies as part of an Easter service that are then played live. Others, are preparing parts of the liturgy to be engaged together. Some, who did everything live are preparing more in advance because of bandwidth issues they have encountered.
- Careful, Prayerful Contextualization – Almost every leader mentioned that they are NOT operating as if everything is normal and just adding a video camera. Many of these leaders are thinking through either how to best capture what they do for a video / audio resource or even how to adapt our resources in light of these new media. For example, there might be less music in the service and a longer playlist provided to use throughout the week. Or, there might be a Zoom breakout group for conversation and prayer instead of the normal coffee hour.
- Less is More – The one constant was that less is more. Everyone is discerning and focusing on the essentials. It is also clear that services (and sermons!) are much shorter to account for the difference in gathering in-person for worship and engaging digitally.
If you missed the webinar, you can watch the recording here.
Canon David has over 35 years of local congregational ministry, diocesan and national involvement, leadership, and ministry experience and is the founder of Leaderworks. He was the founding Rector/Pastor, Christ Church, Plano and currently serves as the Strategic Leader and Dean, Diocese of C4SO.