Date: February 26, 2021
I am more and more persuaded that the pandemic is going to have a massive social impact on the country and the world. We might be seeing the end of the commute. Trendy downtown will be less popular than the suburbs. Certain industries are facing major challenges – theaters, movies, hotels, and planes. And, given this virus is likely to linger for decades and become a more deadly version of the seasonal flu, many of us will walk the world with more anxiety than we did in 2019.
For the church, this moment could be catastrophic. Doing church in your pajamas, drinking coffee, and without the hassle of dressing up is attractive. As a Seminary, we need to look ahead. How do you do hybrid church – where some people can watch a recording and others are present? How do you persuade people that presence and proximity are worth the hassle? For too many people, church is boring. Boring church will not survive this moment.
Do monitor yourselves in this season. Dr. Norris and I are teaching “Contemporary Witness of the Church”. You can either come to a face-to-face class or zoom in. We have a group of students who are quite comfortable enjoying the company of others in the Flamingo, but would rather return to their dorm room to participate in the class. So, why is this? Why is the zoom experience preferable to the face-to-face experience? Answer this question, then you will understand why we need to be much more imaginative as we think about Church going forward.
The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
Dean and President