Southern Virginia worships in virtual space: Jane sets up her home church and worships with St. Paul's, Suffolk, on Facebook; the Rev. Ashley Urquidi at Old Donation, Virginia Beach, offers a children's sermon on YouTube; The Revs. Cameron Randle and Julia Messer at Eastern Shore Chapel, Virginia Beach, live-stream worship Sunday morning on YouTube; The Rev. Mark Riley at St. John's, Hampton, live-streams Compline every evening at 9 p.m. on Facebook.

Worship and formation resources for congregations
gathering in virtual spaces

Congregations in Southern Virginia are adjusting to new ways of being in relationship as church gatherings are cancelled in an effort to mitigate the spread of coronavirus/COVID-19. Congregations are using Facebook and YouTube to live-stream worship, Zoom to gather Bible studies and Lenten formation programs, and, of course, email and phone calls to check in and offer encouragement.

Old Donation, Virginia Beach, and Eastern Shore Chapel, Virginia Beach, are using YouTube to live-stream worship. Old Donation also offered a children's sermon on YouTube. St. John's, Hampton, is using Facebook to live-stream worship, including Compline every evening at 9 p.m. St. Paul's, Suffolk, is also using Facebook for their live-streamed worship.  St. Andrew's, Newport News, is using Facebook to live-stream worship, daily devotions and prayer. St. George's, Newport News, is using Zoom, an online meeting platform, to gather, allowing all participants to see and hear each other. Galilee, Virginia Beach, live-streamed a funeral. And these are just some of the congregations gathering in virtual space.

The good news is that, thanks to media like Facebook and YouTube, congregations are able to stay connected in ways we never dreamed just a decade ago. Even more good news is that using these media makes our worship and prayer available like never before to the communities beyond our walls. Facebook, YouTube and other online platforms are virtual spaces where people gather every day. As we now meet in these same virtual spaces for worship and prayer, we are able to invite and include new people in a whole new way - a fresh expression of Church!

If you are seeking resources for worship and formation online, here are some worth checking out:

Resources for online worship

Taking your worship online: A guide for beginners and everyone else

Quick start guide to live streaming - Facebook and YouTube are excellent platforms for easily live-streaming worship. (You do NOT have to have Facebook account to watch.)

Resources for online formation

Illustrated Ministry - Free weekly faith formation resources for all ages for use during this time of suspended services and programs

Prayer & Worship in Our Homes - a free course ChurchNext focusing on prayer, designed for those who might be seeking alternatives to group formation/worship as churches navigate Covid-19 (the coronavirus) in our communities. The course can be utilized either individually or via a zoom-style classroom. ChurchNext is offering two other free courses: Bridging the Political Divide with Parker Palmer and Make Me an Instrument of Peace: A Guide to Civil Discourse, sponsored by the Office of Government Relations of The Episcopal Church.

Lent Madness - This annual saintly competition is carrying on and is a good option for online formation.

The Work of the People - A spiritual visual library. Their videos can be streamed in Zoom gatherings ( here's how to do that).

Zoom - A web-conferencing platform that offers free and very affordable services that are great for bible studies, Lenten programs, and other gatherings - even worship.

Facebook groups - For folks on Facebook, the Groups feature is a good way to stay connected, but in a more private way than on a regular Facebook page. These are a great way for bible studies, book groups, prayer groups, etc to gather in virtual space.

Finally, the diocesan website has many more resources for prayer, worship and formation at home, as well as resources for talking to children and youth about coronavirus/COVID-19.

Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia
11827 Canon Blvd., Suite 101, Newport News, VA 23606
757-423-8287      800-582-8292