Technology and the Sanctuary – Some thoughts

 

 

 

 

It has been a great day and I wanted to share something from it…

Yesterday, my friend and fellow probationer Brian contacted me to ask if I could help him to set up a Skype connection for a funeral that was to take place today. Intrigued and without a school assembly to go to, I jumped at the chance to help.

And so today after 45 minutes, a webcam and a wireless extender, we had a connection to stream the funeral from Kirkintilloch to Canada. The family across the pond had Skype on their television set, which meant that they could see and hear everything clearly.

After a short discussion and some minor adjustments to the position of the camera, I left the laptop unattended in order that I may prepare the iPad to record the service as a backup in the event of the connection dropping. As I looked over at the laptop screen, I was amazed to see that the brother-in-law of the deceased was sitting quietly, looking at the sanctuary beginning to fill with people. Even several thousand miles away and out of sight of everyone else, he chose to sit peacefully in quiet contemplation as he waited for his family to join him in front of the screen for the service.

As we drew closer to the start of the service, the family turned off their microphone. This is part of what made this experience so powerful as all I could see was a family talking to one another and wiping tears from their eyes. As the service progressed and the Rev. Mark Johnstone began to bring memories of the deceased to mind, I watched a sister sitting across the Atlantic Ocean laughing at humorous tales and sharing comments with her family. At this point, I felt quite emotional – it felt wonderful to have been able to help make it possible for a family to share in the celebration of the life of a loved one without distance being a barrier…

Thanks to Skype, stories, sorrow, sadness and smiles were shared. It was a privilege to have been able to help make that possible…

Many of you know that I love technology – I even preach from my iPad, which I know many other people are planning on doing in time to come. I have now helped two churches (including Trinity) make the idea of installing screens in their sanctuaries a reality with a number of other churches looking to follow suit.

But in spite of all this, I know that there are limits.
There are buildings where such installations would not work or would require a great deal of thought; there are situations where it is best to leave the screens shut off and folded back against the wall…
But there is a place for technology in the church and today’s example was just one of many…

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