— How a Harvard UU Seminarian Found More God in a Google Hangout Than in Church

May 21, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Posted in Online Ministry | Leave a comment

Sean Neil-Barron, a Harvard UU Seminarian, not only listens to those around him in the pews when he’s in church, but he pays attention to his personal reaction, his feelings, to how a greeter made him feel the week of the Boston Marathon. He writes about them in the post, “Two Different Churches, Two Different Feelings, One Realization” of his Spark Within blog.

He explores how a momentary indiscretion deeply affected him. Although it was the behavior of one person, Sean experienced first hand the feelings that a newcomer can have to a UU church, and he compares it to another worship service he attended during that time – one in which he found “more God” than the in-the-flesh church. The service was held in an online Google Hangout, which is a video chat that accommodates many participants at once. All of them can see and hear each other in real-time.

Here’s an excerpt from his blog, which I recommend you read in full.

“I found God more in a Hangout than in flesh and blood church last week.

“I found more connection from singing awkwardly in my living room than singing with hundreds of fellow UUs in a historic church.

“I found more relief from seeing my friends’ faces than listening to a great sermon in a community that seemed to pass me by.

“Church is more than community. It’s more than a message. It’s more than a welcome. It’s more than just living out your values together. But when one of these things isn’t there, no matter how good the rest of it is, I know I won’t be staying.”

Thank you Sean for sharing your experiences and practicing digital ministry while in seminary.

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