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Posts Tagged ‘Zoom’

Blanket Zooming

Like many others, I’m spending a fair amount of time on Zoom this year. This afternoon was an encouraging couple of hours in a meeting, but I find it much harder to concentrate in Zoom meetings than in flesh and blood ones. So to keep myself from major distraction I have a new blanket project. The kit was a gift from our friend Dreamer and has been very useful for meetings over this latest lockdown.

How do you concentrate on Zoom?

Such great Spring colours

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So I thought I’d get ahead with my plan to blog through Lent, and get some creativity practice in before Ash Wednesday. This is despite Facebook’s determination to keep me blocked, which means that if you follow my page there, you’ll not get updates when I write something new and exciting here. In the hope of getting this controversial and dangerous blog allowed on Facebook, I continue to lobby random FB executives whose Twitter accounts I can find.

There are small signs of Spring in the parish. This morning’s venture out with Song and the Vicarage Hound was warmer than it has been for quite a while. And the varigated blues of the sky matched the colours of the flats in a pleasing fashion.

It’s been a long lockdown, this third one, and I don’t think that I have been making the best of it, although I have made some good progress on another crochet blanket and several new recipes have been attempted. If I’ve not recommended Rukmini Iyer’s Roasting Tin books yet, do look them up now. I am a big fan of shoving stuff in a tin and then in the oven. I was going to share some recent faves but they are so distressingly middle class that I can’t quite face doing it. Great recipes though, and not all of them involve quinoa (and none of the ones I use – not a fan).

Lent begins the day after tomorrow and I have a book to read. My devotional life has not been the best with the recent lockdown-toothache combo that I’ve been navigating. So a shiny new book of prewritten prayers should be just the thing. It’s Tim Chester’s latest, An Ocean of Grace, and I’m looking forward to working through that alongside video devotions on our church YouTube channel. We kick off with a modern version of the Commination (with no ashing required) on Wednesday evening – in church and on Zoom together, hoping that the tech can be negotiated effectively.

I was thinking today about the strange Anglican naming of the three Sundays before Lent (now prosaically called Sundays before Lent). They are Septuagesima, Sexagesima and Quinquagesima. Quinquagesima is fifty days before Easter Day, if you fudge the counting a bit (by including some extra Sundays), and then the numbering really goes to pot because you can’t even fudge it to make Sexagesima and Septuagesima count as sixty and seventy days before Easter. Church of England maths makes as much sense as the rest of what we do as a denomination, I guess.

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Today we had our second meeting of Cake and Chat over Zoom, the app of the moment. No cake is provided, although a few of us made breakfast as we chatted. It’s still a great joy to see one another and catch up with everyone’s locked down weeks. Meeting remotely loses much – it’s not true Cake and Chat when we are physically apart. We miss the break out conversations and more in depth chats.

Being together bodily makes it a true meeting, shared cake eaten together makes it a true meeting. The physicality of being in the same building makes our meeting a true meeting. So this Zoom Cake and Chat will do for now. But it won’t do properly. And that’s a little like Holy Communion not being possible when a church is unable to meet. We look forward to the time when we can truly taste and see that the Lord is good, when we are back together for Cake and Chat and for our communion services.

Loaf cake & biscuits just out of the oven

Our usual Thursday morning feast

Cake online is not truly cake. But noise outside is real noise. And tonight we joined neighbours outside in the 8pm #ClapforCarers #ClapforKeyWorkers. The Joker decided to up the noise quotient by bringing out my frying pan and a wooden spoon, and I’m sure that some of our neighbours only remembered because of the enthusiastic vigour that he used. There was some enthusiasm on the street for more pans and spoons next week.

Perhaps the Joker will bring his trombone out, following the example of my excellent nephews who live out in the countryside. They made sure that their #ClapforCarers was heard by playing their bagpipes.

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So today was the day of the Vicarage getting up to speed with tech. The Vicar and I are  already fairly comfortable with technology – we both blog and tweet and have Facebook accounts. We’ve uploaded videos online before and we can populate a website. Perhaps the advantage of our backgrounds in engineering – we’re not scared by machinery.

Because now church is going mostly online – there will be no Sunday services or midweek meetings for the foreseeable future. And so we’ve had a big day of pretty fast learning. We had to get a church YouTube account, we’ve been drafting blog pages and we’ve been getting our heads round Zoom and finding out about Facebook Live.

The plan is also to record and broadcast a daily prayer service at the times we’d usually host our Open Church. So people will be able to connect when they might normally come in for tea and toast. And we’re going to broadcast a morning service live on Sundays. And we’re hoping to run youth Bible studies and prayer meetings and maybe even some toddler and kids work over the internet too.

We’ve also found a telephone service which is accessed through dialling in, so people who don’t have the internet will be able to listen to a short message or a sermon over the phone. And we’re going to deliver leaflets with details around the parish and service sheets to those we think would like to join in with the services. And of course we’re making lists and aiming to phone people up and contact them individually throughout the week too.

Phew.

And I’ve been having to remind myself that this Sunday is just the start of an extended time of doing things differently. So we can adjust and improve as time goes on, but hopefully start in some sort of helpful way.

The old joke made to vicars is that they only work one day a week. And now of course the joke will be that they don’t have anything to do at all. But actually what is happening is that the week long work is changing and there are steep learning curves being climbed by gospel ministers here in the UK and all over the world as they develop ways of pastoring through this pandemic. Pray for us – for videographic mercies, for photocopying grace and for our bandwidths on Sunday morning.

 

exponential learning

Graph of time vs clergy competence in tech since last week

 

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