SEE US IN A NEW LIGHT
Those who Zoom… stream… film… record and replay, pray twice
The Revd Canon Peter Dobson, Canon for Outreach and Discipleship, writes…
‘Those who sing, pray twice’, St Augustine is purported to have said! Of course, he almost certainly never did say that, but the sentiment remains a nice one, perhaps especially at present when many of us are missing making music and singing together with others. While there is no singing, we know, very well, that worship and prayer has more than continued online and in our homes, by telephone and on the television.
I wonder what those who wanted St Augustine to have said, ‘Those who sing, pray twice’, would say about the way we had to worship while our church buildings were closed, ‘Those who Zoom… stream… film… record and replay, pray twice? Thrice? More? Or, less?’… Different people have different perspectives, of course, but I should think that those of us who have had the responsibility for crafting worship, and ‘producing’ it, over the last few months have learnt much about our dependence on things we don’t understand and need to learn more about. We, and others of you grappling with technology in new ways, may well have been praying harder than ever!
Just as we, here at the Cathedral, had to make the painful decision to close our doors even before lockdown, the Cathedral, sadly, still remains closed. It feels a very strange situation to be in as many other places of worship are now open once again. However, our building work still progressing, leaving us with much less space, and, at present, just one entrance and exit, it would be impossible to be open in a way that safely complies with social distancing, and the other important undertakings to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
While St Augustine never said, ‘Those who sing, pray twice’, he did write, ‘Singing belongs to one who loves’. While worshipping together from home, online or on the telephone, may not have felt the same as what the Church normally does and is, it has been about love, an offering of love for one another and toward God. While, for some of us it may, at times, have felt like a “labour of love”, with lots to learn and unexpected hitches to fix, I think it has taught us all just how important it is to feel as if we are together. At the same time, it has forced us, happily, to notice those we, even without knowing, exclude from our churches and gatherings even when we are ‘open’ – those who are not able to join us physically, those who find that intimidating, and all those who are tentatively looking for ways to explore faith from the edges of our churches’ lives.
Where some places may have had to scale back online offerings as they minister to those returning to worship in church buildings, the Cathedral’s online rhythm of prayer continues and, as ever, all would be very welcome to join with us, as we, in the midst of our own changes, continue to hold all of you, and all that you are facing, in our prayers.
Our Sunday service premieres on YouTube each Sunday at 10am, and is then available to engage with any time after that, followed by a gathering for Cathedral Coffee via Zoom (you can sign-up to receive the link at https://tinyurl.com/cathedralcoffee).
In addition, the Cathedral’s Sunday service can also be accessed from 12pm each Sunday by telephone on 0191 814 4142 (charged at the cost of a local call).