Thoughts on online meeting for worship by Tim Gee
Self-isolating and unable to get to a Quaker meeting in person, Tim Gee shares some thoughts on joining his first online meeting for worship.
Another piece of ministry was a little hard to hear, but quoted from Advices and queries 10: “Come regularly to meeting for worship even when you are angry, depressed, tired or spiritually cold. In the silence ask for and accept the prayerful support of others joined with you in worship. Try to find a spiritual wholeness which encompasses suffering as well as thankfulness and joy. Prayer, springing from a deep place in the heart, may bring healing and unity as nothing else can. Let meeting for worship nourish your whole life.” Having the book there in front of me meant I could just read it rather than needing to ask for it to be repeated.Making connections Towards the end the children joined us. After what seemed like a very short time, the meeting for worship ended. I found that especially given the period of isolation, I appreciated the connection even more than usual. Before moving to notices we made requests to hold people in the Light, including healthcare workers and those who are unwell. I realise there is no spiritual reason for online meeting for worship not to work. Upholding people or meetings from afar is a well-established practice and online meetings for worship have been developing through Woodbrooke and Friends World Committee for Consultation among others. Nevertheless, I still found myself surprised by the strength of the experience. The technicalities At the end we shared how it was for us technically. If we were to do it again, we might spend some more time testing the sound, and perhaps plug in a microphone. With any more than the six or seven people we had, we might also ask people to mute when not giving ministry to prevent feedback or background noise. We also benefitted from one of us having access to a Zoom subscription (the free version times out after 40 minutes). Some Quaker meetings might want to carry this cost (£11.99), or try a different platform. Before leaving we also started wondering whether this might be an option we could offer in normal times too. The Spirit, it would appear, does not seem overly concerned about whether we gather in person or online. Online meetings for worship are held regularly by Woodbrooke. Find details of how and when to connect at www.woodbrooke.org.uk/online-mfw. Email QLadmin@quaker.org.uk for guidance on holding your own online meeting for worship. Tim Gee Tim is a Quaker in south-east England.