Due to the pandemic, the church is changing. While we miss the face to face contact we enjoy so much on Sunday mornings, and to which we look forward to eventually returning, People’s Church is expanding the ways we keep in touch electronically. An unintended good consequence is that there is more flexibility and more opportunities for participation.
Our Zoom Service is giving us unique opportunities to have people join us who would not otherwise be able to, and in ways not normally open to us on a typical Sunday morning. Zoom allows us to have Anna Lisa Hoepfinger and Neal Payne play for us, even though they are states away. Likewise, February Sky, was able to do their service for us in July from the Upper Peninsula. This month, segments of the service will be recorded, including sermons, reflections, and panels, from people who otherwise would not be able to attend or participate.
I do miss coming in on a Sunday morning and having everything happen like clockwork—walking along a well trodden path. I would come in about 9 or 9:30, listen to the music rehearsals, and the choir practice. I would run through the sermon or take care of odds and ends and visit a bit or take care of a last minute detail. With the Worship Associate and Sheila with the music and the order of service, all the parts were clearly demarcated and every one knew what to do and when to do it.
But since the pandemic, so far every Sunday is a bit different and presents unique situations for its participants. Thomas Trahey at the computer, having gathered and edited the prerecorded sections from different sources, displays what needs to be seen in its proper order. He then makes sure its broadcast through the Facebook page, where you can either watch it live, or at a later time at your convenience. We have learned a lot, and continue to learn how to use new technology. And of course, the possibilities for doing different things are expanding.
In addition to the Sunday Service, besides Coffee and Conversation on Tuesday mornings, we had our first Zoom class that Linda Cronenwett hosted, “Where I’m From.” And this month I will be hosting a three week adult ed class on the “Religions of Rome,” which I originally intended to do last Spring. Now, you don’t even need to be in Ludington to attend. For the first time, like for our church services and committee meetings, anybody can attend, from anywhere in the world.
In this way, Zoom is redefining what we are as a church, and how we do church things. On the positive side, we are expanding who can participate, the ways people can participate, and what we can do. When we again meet face to face on a regular basis and in larger groups, I would imagine that much of what we are doing through Zoom (or its future equivalent) will continue. Once again I must thank everyone for their patience, support, and flexibility, as we work through all of these major changes. With the addition starting, and the changes brought about by the pandemic, we are going to be different. I think we are going to turn the lemons into lemonade, and are going to be a better church.