Diocesan Secretary, John Preston, has held his first online house group. He shares his experience.
Although church is changing, some things can stay the same. I've just finished meeting with my house group, like any other Wednesday evening. Only this time it was different.
Eight of us met tonight using Zoom - a video-conferencing app that enabled us to see and hear one another despite each of us being in our own homes.
We drank coffee together, we prayed together and we studied Psalm 103 together, each in our own homes. Psalm 103 spoke to us of who God is, of who we are, and his relationship with us - a God who loves us as a Father loves his children, who is compassionate and gracious. And in the midst of a pandemic that makes us realise our own frailty and mortality, we can seek out a God who is bigger than any of this. It was good to be able to carry on our fellowship together, despite the restrictions on us meeting.
It's a tool that's free to use (for groups, the free version only works up to 40 minutes, but you can start again straight away - see it as a match with two halves!) and can be downloaded onto a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Our group is a mixed group, with some who are happy with technology, but also the much less tech savvy. But we were all able to get it up and running - and everyone was able to participate. (There are lots of tutorials on the Zoom website to help you).
It worked for us - and we're "meeting" again next Wednesday.
You can sign up to Zoom for free at https://www.zoom.us/