I can do tech. I can. And I can do church. But mix tech and church and I set off like Scott of the Antarctic to explore new regions of chaos where never foot trod and never finger prod.
Last night it was the mute/unmute button in zoom. Sometimes I could see it but not poke it. No cursor! I poked, slid, woggled, nothing!
Notably this was for the songs. So instead of muting myself like any normal human being would I had to pretend to be muted, miming a heart-felt rendition of ‘Before the throne’.
At the end of the service I said “Jean-Sam pray for us”, and reverently bowed my head. After a moment wherein he was obviously gathering his thoughts there came the clamour, “Alan, what’s happening now? Alan, you’re muted.”. I unmuted and said with all the aplomb i could muster, “Jean-Sam pray for us”.
Oh well, worse things happen in Troas. Our passage was Acts 20:1-12, where we meet the singularly hapless Eutychus.
We discussed the government’s somewhat reluctant permission to conduct services. Here’s the conditions, some from the government document, some from the CNEF guidelines.
All 1m apart.
All wear masks at all times.
Hand gel on entry.
Disinfect and ventilate the place between services unless there’s a 5 hour gap.
Establish a one way system so people are not squeezing past each other.
No “attroupements” (no hanging around in groups)
You can take your mask off for a moment to accomplish a rite (they’re thinking of eating a wafer)
Obviously, no coffee, no larking about, no tickling children, no hugs or high fives.
About half of us are not comfortable with travelling on public transport just now, and about half of us live too far from the church to walk or cycle. Very few of us have cars. We’re so green! About a quarter of us are in some way “vulnerable”. So we could muster perhaps half our number in the building.
We discussed live-streaming the service. There’s no internet in the building we use, so we would need a sizable data plan on a mobile phone. That’s doable, and we would live-stream to YouTube.
However none of this takes us back to where we were before confinement.
Attroupements is part of it for us. It’s what we do, it’s who we are.
And life on Zoom, for all its clumsiness and ineptitude, seems preferable to the masked distance and YouTube.
So for the moment we’re staying as we are on Sundays.