20 alternative commandments for zoom worship services

After the proliferation and emergence of zoom worship services this weekend, I thought it would be appropriate to issue a set of guidelines for anyone who attends a zoom church service for the first time, just so that these service are appropriately respected for all.

  1. PDA (public displays of affection) is particularly awkward if you dont appear on the same screen, and the vicar can still see if you’re making extra glances at the person you fancy even if you’re not in the same room.
  2. The eucharist problem is now solved, agreed, whether it is the real blood or not, is less of an issue because you can now choose the drink of choice, so ribena, red wine, Bloody Mary, cranberry juice, whiskey with added raspberry, are all options, you can now choose.
  3. Yes you can sit in the same seat every week, its your couch.
  4. The welcoming team consists of the oldest son shaking hands with the whole family as they sit down on the couch
  5. alternatively type ‘welcome’ and ‘yes ive had a good week’ in the text box, as you sit on the couch- just to make it authentic.
  6. Commenting on the service needs to occur in text ‘private mode’ (preferably so that the vicar can’t see it) , mistakes here could be awkward, and rely on there grace of the vicar which at this time shouldn’t be tested.
  7. By all means when the vicar is preaching you can play your own background music, suggestions including comforting jazz or instrumentals are advisable, it is less so to use death metal or the eclectic somewhat underrated music of Eminem to accompany the exegesis of this weeks passage.
  8. During the grace, please all stand with your hands wide to look like we’re holding hands, then move your head to look around the room at no one in particular, dont ask why, but this is what we do during this.
  9. If going to the bathroom- please respectfully use the mute button.
  10. Please note; we can all still hear you snore.
  11. If you would like to wear provocative, suggestive or even no clothes; for the benefit of other parishioners, please select the ‘no video option’, you are all welcome to come as you are. Or do wear respectable upper clothing and select video, be mindful of the needing to get up and toilet option, and dont forget to select no video. The church, even on zoom, probably should not have to deal with that.
  12. Please no pets , we have some people, who even on zoom have allergies.
  13. Songs that require a round, please participate as your box turns yellow. Songs will soon be written for the requirement of zoom speaker view. So do join in, one screen at a time, maybe even take one line each. We are inclusive, and do sing loud at the back, give it your best. Family rounds will be the new thing.
  14. Please be mindful of the background that you decide to sit in front of, not everyone needs to see your drying laundry on a radiator, or the slightly awkward family photo on the book shelf. Sitting in the study is probably slightly too pretentious for many congregations, just a simple sofa in a conservatory overlooking a pond, and the birds, gives a perfect backdrop to worship it also mean the vicar who can see you all, has actually something interesting to see on the screen.
  15. During the talk, the children can especially take part in a range of activities on the kitchen table, and we do hope that they can show these pictures at the end of the service showing them to the screen, we would like all to use the reaction button to indicate whether you actually can tell what any of them are.
  16. Do turn up on time, although we do realise than even with one less car jounery some families will still struggle to get to the sofa on time, after all its always the nearest who are late, please refrain from marital argument on the couch, during the service, it was both of your fault that you were late, no, actually, both of your fault, no not the devil either, but both of you. If you cannot refrain, then zoom marital counselling can be offered, and please do indicate this using the ‘help me button’
  17. Do drink coffee, tea and eat snacks during the service, we would prefer that you have non noisy snack, so not crisps or nachos, preferably a soft roll with cheese, or meat, muffins, cakes, no noisier than a noise of a soft biscuit , such a Jaffa cake, or garibadi, but not a rich tea, or cream cracker- and be mindful that you may have sing soon and we do not like singing with your mouthful.
  18. There is no notice sheet during the service, so do check the website, but we realise for many of you the notice sheet acts as distraction from the sermon, so on this basis, feel free to instead of focussing on the sermon do click a link to the latest veggie tales instead .
  19. At the end of the service to replicate the movement of the church to the back, each person must stand synchronised, and then walk 5 times around the coffee table, as Mum waits at the front door, and thanks them all for coming as you all proceed out of the front door, and drive to the local coffee shop (take away only) – alternatively head back into the kitchen.
  20. After the service there will be a faith lunch, to take part all you need to is move the laptop or phone onto the kitchen table, where we will participate in zoom fellowship, zoom sharing of food, zoom quiche, zoom sausage roll ministry followed by zoom comparing who has made the best desert this time. Yes its often the pavlova do join in the chat , have a lovely time.

I am hopeful that adherence to these guidelines will significantly aid you in the ongoing worship during this difficult time for us all. This post is in no way to discourage zoom worship at all. Further reading on developing a Theology for Zoom is found in this piece..here

Author: James

Currently I work part time for both Frontier Youth Trust (www.fyt.org.uk) and Communities Together Durham (www.communitiestogetherdurham.org) , though this blog is my own personal views. I am also self employed and do various aspects of youthwork consultancy, including training, writing, lecturing, seminars and written pieces, including organisational consultancy, community profiling and detached/youthwork training. Please do get in touch if I can be of help to you in your church, project or organisation to develop your youth and community work. I have contributed to 'Here be Dragons (2013), and two recent articles in the youth and theology journal and 'ANVIL' the CMS online journal. My recent employment includes, working for FYT as a youthwork development adviser, being the centre director at Durham YFC, and before this I was known as 'Mr Sidewalk' as I was the project coordinator for the Sidewalk Project in Perth, where I facilitated the delivery of 5 years of detached youthwork on the streets, schools and communities to engage with young people , and support through alcohol misuse issues. In 2017 I completed an MA in Theology & Ministry at St John's College, Durham, and in 2008 graduated from ICC (now NTC Glasgow) with an honours degree in youth work with Applied theology.

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