Aug 23, 2013

Extravagance UCC needs to learn from history


As long as it is “on the internet” it must be cool, right? That’s why the United Church of Christ wants to start an online congregation by the name of Extravagance UCC.
I’m hip and online and all but I want to play devil’s advocate: It’s not gonna work, sorry.

1.5 years ago a bunch of Presbyterian leaders tried the exact same thing. I wrote about that here: Church Online?
8 months later the whole thing collapsed into an uninspiring existence as a mere facebook group. Now I can’t even find that anymore. Read about the demise here: Not a Facebook Church

Like its predecessor Extravagance UCC starts with a questionnaire. Here are my answers:

What are your hopes, dreams and ideas for Extravagance UCC?
My hope would be that the people involved with this program reach out to Bruce Reyes-Chow and the former leadership of “Church Online” – the failed Presbyterian version of Extravagance.

What gifts, skills and interests would you bring to Extravagance UCC?
I promise my constructive criticism from the sidelines, like the following sacramental reservation:
One of the biggest concerns that I have would be a sacramental one. The signs of Baptism and Holy Communion ought to be tangible. In order to be a real mainline church you ought to be able to abide by ecumenical agreements on Eucharist and Baptism where the elements play a role that cannot be accomplished without physically touching them. I’m not saying an online church needs to be put on hold until beaming is invented but the body of Christ must be tangible at times.

In what ways do you currently participate in geographically dispersed online communities?
Groups on major social networks that have very narrow purposes.

How would you participate in Extravagance UCC?
As a bystander

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  • Rachel

    Pastor, I have attended church online many times–yours included. :D I have been very thankful to those who have taken the time to put their sermons online. As for the sacraments, some of those we can do ourselves. You’re forgetting about shut-ins, people in prison, people who live far from church, and shift workers. Online church can be a huge blessing!