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Church Without Walls

by Michael Ford last modified 26 Jun, 2020 10:49 PM

Not all our churches will be able to reopen for worship and, for many people, the chance to join a virtual service or time of prayer is deepening their faith, while for others it is an introduction to the variety of styles of worship our churches can offer.

And with singing unlikely to be allowed in church worship for a while yet, services like Taizé-style worship, which is all about the singing of simple phrases, will need to stay online.

But this has given our ministry teams a chance to reach out and gather in new worshippers to these different ways to worship and pray.

This is certainly true in the Dorset Benefice of West Purbeck, where their vision to be Church Without Walls has become a reality, thanks to coronavirus.

Rector Carol Langford explains:

"We’re streaming all our worship through Zoom; daily Morning Prayer, weekly Night Prayer, monthly Breakfast Prayer and Sunday Morning Worship.

"The numbers logging in across the benefice has been amazing- what a blessing! In ‘normal’ times we have a range of worship styles across the benefice and a great range of people, lay and ordained, come to - and lead - the services.

"We want this breadth of worship, leadership and participation to flourish and grow and for people to feel that when we’re worshipping we still do so as the gathered body of Christ, even if we’re located in different places, so we’re always looking for ways to make these things possible ‘online.’

"This is how our recent shared Taizé-style Worship Service evolved.

"We invited people to light a candle at the beginning of the streamed Service and, at the end of worship, to take a photo and send it in for a benefice collage of our shared life together. As you can see, common prayer in lockdown is indeed possible - and wonderful!"

Taizé is a form of worship that uses music and prayers and where the music emphasizes simple phrases, usually lines from Psalms or other pieces of Scripture, repeated in a prayerful way.

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