On March 1, 2020, few mainline congregations offered an online worship opportunity to their communities. By the end of March 2020, the majority of mainline congregations had found a way to provide an online presence for those seeking to continue to worship during the Covid shutdown. For the most part, we saw that online services were shorter, had less music, less time (if any) for communion, and some even had online coffee hour afterward. Services remained posted online and available for days, weeks or months after the original airing and continue to be viewed. Many leaders boasted of having people attend their online worship services from other states and even other countries. It was an unusual time for our country and for the Church.
The sense of crisis has passed and, from what we have learned, our attention to the online worship community has passed along with the crisis. As you can see from the Episcopal Pulse survey above, the majority of congregations continue to offer streaming but only 3% offer an online worship service that is actually designed for an online community. Instead, what we offer is the opportunity to observe other people worshiping, and that has really never been a draw for anyone except shut-ins who have had no other option.[Read more…]