St Mary Zooms into services
Virtue in our world of instant communication from St Mary's, Gamlingay
The bells in St Mary’s church in Gamlingay may have fallen silent and the door to the church is locked while the Church of England (and the rest of us) sits out the coronavirus pandemic, but fear not, for the Rev’d Hilary Young, priest-in-charge of St Mary’s with Hatley St George and East Hatley, has organised live services each Sunday morning via Zoom (see below for ‘New to Zoom?).
Church is not cancelled.
We are instructed to stay away from our church buildings (even I am not allowed to pray or worship, even on my own, in the church here, to my huge frustration).
Nevertheless, Church continues, in homes and hearts. With the miracles of modern technology, we have even also managed to be visibly together, even when we are physically apart.
Although we love and value our building, the church is the Body of Christ, which is people. And the Church is bigger and more profound than denominational differences. The Rev Adrian Semerene, Lead Pastor, Gamlingay Baptist Church, and I are in regular contact as we seek together to lead and support the Christian presence in the village.
I have learned a lot in a short time about technology I had neither time nor, I thought, need for, and so now we continue to offer prayer and worship through lock-down, and do our best to share that as widely as possible.
There is a morning service on Zoom at 9.30 each Sunday, and paper copies of worship and other news items.
Hilary also reminds us there is more to Christianity than church services:
The Anglican church here has organised to enable, even enhance, pastoral care of the church community via phone and e-mail. This is open to anyone who wants to link in, even if not a regular at church.
We obviously don’t know who everyone in that situation might be, so this is a good place to spread the word. The church admin e-mail is email@example.com and we also have a dedicated e-mail for prayer and immediate concerns during this time: firstname.lastname@example.org.
My phone number is 01767 650 587, so do get in touch if you want to receive regular communications from us or have a particular prayer concern you would like to be on someone else’s heart as well as your own. Communications to the prayer e-mail are confidential to me unless you tell me I can share them more widely.
New to Zoom?
Zoom? It’s a video conferencing tool where you can ‘meet’ others virtually face-to-face via the webcam built into your laptop or iPad, so giving the illusion of being together – see page two of the St Mary’s weekly newsletter. The BBC published this article on Zoom in March.
Alec Hissett wrote this very useful summary for the first of the St Mary’s weekly newsletters:
I expect, like me, many of you had not heard of Zoom before the lockdown. It has been a very useful means of communicating with our church community, family and friends. If you have not yet used it and have a computer, tablet or smart phone it is well worth giving it a try.
Most of the church services since Holy Week have been available via the Zoom application and this is likely to continue until we are allowed to return to our church buildings, and maybe beyond.
If you are receiving the regular updates from Hilary you will have seen the link to each service, if not and you would like to join in then please send an e-mail to: Gamlingaystmprayer@gmail.com you will then receive the necessary internet link along with a meeting ID, password and the time of the service.
Once logged in you will be prompted to switch on your device camera and microphone, this will allow you to be seen and heard by others attending. To turn off either of these functions you will see the option on the on-screen menu. Once you have joined it is good to see who else is ‘attending the service’.
Depending on the device you are using you will be able to select the gallery view from the on-screen menu this will display a small picture of each person (sitting in the comfort of their homes). The number of people displayed will depend on your device, to see more people swipe left or right.
This is a very brief overview of the Zoom application and I encourage you to give it a try!
Post created 4th May 2020; updated 18th May 2020.