In another post, I described my ongoing interest in a virtual church – not simply a digital reporduction of a physical church or a place to pick and choose prayers and sermons, but a real and actual church meeting at predetermined (oops, there’s that Presbyterian word) time.
I envision a church gathering in cyberspace for communal worship and praise, as well as having a physical presence in each of the towns, cities and countries in which the “members” live. A church that enlivens mission, both individually and collectively, and promotes the notion of the “priesthood of all believers” actively engaged in the physical world as well as the cyber-sphere. It would be a church which has the same range of theological perspectives as any “real-world” church, but would have a space in which, unlike most churches today, those differences can be discussed respectfully and reverently.
It is a fledgling notion in my head, but one that is compelling me to move forward – although I am not sure how. It also compells me to test the waters of the Presbyterian Church (USA), to see if they would recognize such a church as a legitimate gathering and give it full standing as church.
So, I’m looking for like-minded Christians – perhaps those that have yet to find a bricks-and-mortar church in which they feel at home. We would need people with technical expertise to work collaberatively to “build” the church space, people with musical abilities and liturgical skills to help format services, people who would be willing to learn about Presbyterian tenets of faith and governance (upon which the US tripartite governance is based), but those who are willing to engage and worship together fully no matter any disagreements or controversies the members have.
How about it? Anyone else interested in this?
Church would have to be “done” very differently – wouldn’t it?
For instance, for pastoral care we’d have to make use of forums and blogs for public issues, and email, instant messaging and phone for private issues. I would have to set a shcedule of “office” hours when I was directly available – and the times would have to be at varied times to allow for people in different time zones. If this would develop, and there were enough people, we could establish a Deacons Board who could be primary pastoral care providers.
The Presbyterian structure requires elders – people who are ordained into lay ministry and leadership positions of the church. If there is any interest that develops, I would set up, initially, a separate page that would include instruction in the responsibility of ordained lay ministry in the Reformed tradition. Elders also form the “Session” which, with the minister as moderator, oversee the functions and structures of the church providing accountability and guidance.
I’ll take a step back, now, and see if there are comments that come in.