Is there life on Zoom?
Some years ago I remember overhearing an elderly woman at a weekend conference telling her friend, ‘…So I googled it…’ and I realized that the internet was reaching places which some thought it would never reach, and a new vocabulary was being grasped by all ages.
In this era, ‘Zoom’ seems to be the word on all our lips – and the reality in all our lives. I am guessing that if you are able to read this blog online, you have also been in at least one Zoom gathering in the past week… (?)
I have mentioned before my scary introduction to Zoom; chairing the Methodist Council remotely – 55 people for 6 hours at the end of March! Yesterday we had another meeting (only 4 hours) which included ratifying the ways in which the Methodist Conference will be held virtually in June/July. It is going to be very different… and it is hard for us to let go of time-honoured ways of doing things, but we recognize that has to happen, and welcome the new technology which enables means of communication undreamt of by John Wesley (but I have a feeling he would have been a fan!)
So, as well as Council, this past week or so my Zoom encounters have included:
- Two meetings about the Worship: Leading and Preaching course; portfolio simplification (hooray) and offering some training to new tutors in the North of Scotland and Shetland.
- Catching up with folk in the Caribbean as St. George’s Methodist Church Grenada celebrates 200 years.
- A catch-up with members of the congregation at Woodlands, including a little Bible Quiz
- Meeting with the team who are guiding the design and launch of ‘A Methodist Way of Life’ (which I warmly recommend – a way too of introducing some structure into our discipleship in these unstructured days)
- Occasional one-to-one conversations with Andrew from different parts of the house… usually because we are trying to teach each other new Zoom techniques!
- Best of all, Martha, our wonderful 2-year-old granddaughter (who has taken to technological communication like the proverbial duck to water) Zooming Andrew and me around her new home and garden with breathtaking speed and non-stop commentary!
So is there life on Zoom? Yes, indeed there is; a wide variety of types of life and a welcome opportunity to see faces and hear voices… but it is a two-dimensional life, a draining sort of life, a frustrating life at times and a limited life (have you tried singing, or even saying the grace, together via Zoom??!) God in Christ demonstrated that face-to-face encounter is at the heart of the way relationships are built and developed and so we say with the psalmist, ‘How long, O Lord, how long?’
I am somewhat dismayed by the national differences which are now creeping into lockdown regulations across the UK – I would have thought this was a time to unite, rather than divide and rule…. In Scotland we have been told to wear face masks for shopping so my mother-in-law very kindly made me this, decorated with butterflies (Andrew’s is in Leeds United colours!) – it’s not my favourite item of clothing, but I’m glad to have it! Keep safe, Jill
PS Of course the other ‘buzz’ word now is YouTube… you may already have found Andrew’s ‘5@5’ a five-minute reflection which is live at 5pm each Saturday but can be found at any time afterwards on this channel and our weekly circuit services which can be found here.