Towards an Online Congregation

ECIC presentation: http://prezi.com/05eabpdvkrzz/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

Background research: http://de.scribd.com/doc/181240896/Extavagance-UCC-Considerations-and-Annotations

Extravagance UCC Facebookpage: https://www.facebook.com/extravaganceucc

Original Presenation: http://prezi.com/atusykz0pzqp/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

In German: Online-Gemeinde der United Church of Christ: Arche oder Auferstehung? http://theonet.de/2013/11/11/online-gemeinde-der-united-church-of-christ-arche-oder-auferstehung

Extavagance UCC – Considerations and Annotations

The United Church of Christ (UCC) is establishing a geographically dispersed intentional community. I had the chance to spend six weeks with the UCC in August and September 2013. I was able to share my experience of Christian online communities in Germany and had the opportunity to learn about the plans for Extravagance UCC. This paper is a summary of my reflections. I hope to address some questions which will be answered when Extravagance UCC is taking shape.

I am happy to be invited to the LinK Evant this week and meet with people interested to continue the conversation about Extravagance UCC.

My paper is from September, so the conversation may have moved on in some aspects.

Online Sacraments? Or do we need Real Bread?

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I was invited by UCC Local Church Ministries to give a presentation on our experiences with online congregations as the UCC is preparing to establish Extravagance UCC as an online congregations.

I raised the question of online sacraments. I was quite surprised that this question was not a really big issue – quite contrary to my experience in Germany.

Personally, I feel an online communion should be made possible  because I do not think that the the presence of the Holy Spirit is limited by a certain radius around the altar. However, I am always a little cautious when arguing for online sacraments. The discussion yesterday was very refreshing, it moved from online communion to online baptism. Baptism is a sign of the covenant, and according to the Cambridge Platform a

congregational church is … a company of saints by calling, united into one body by a holy covenant

If members of a congregation which meets online are united by a covenant – then why should someone who wishes to become part of that covenant be prevented from being baptized within this congregation? Interesting thought – which works in a congregational and/or reformed context. And the discussions needs to be carried on.

While preparing my presentation, I was reading Sara Miles’ book Take this Bread. She shares her story, how the actual bread in the communion played an import role in her becoming a Christian. (It is theologically unthinkable for Germans that partaking in the Lord’s Supper comes before being baptized.) Throughout her book, Sara Miles emphasizes how food and the act of sharing food is spiritually important, too.

What does this mean for online sacraments. You cannot share food, pass it to someone if she/he is at a different location. Then everybody eats his/her own bread.

What does this mean for online communion? I am wondering….