Long before lockdown, Karen O’Donnell from Sarum College’s Centre for Contemporary Spirituality had begun to write a book due to be published next year that considers the church in a virtual space. The past weeks of closed churches and social distancing have brought that research into sharp focus.
In worship, where not just colour, sound, the written word and gesture are highly symbolic and touch, smell and joint enterprise are also significant elements, remote worship has presented great challenges. Does the idea of sharing together in “one bread” and “the cup of blessing”, an essential feature of the Lord’s Supper really work remotely? Without the opportunity to lay on hands, are moments in worship diminished?
Salisbury Cathedral’s Precentor Canon Anna Macham, who oversees all worship at the Cathedral and Karen O’Donnell discuss the challenges and sense of loss clergy and worshipers alike have felt being separated from each other and from their sacred spaces, but explore whether there is something to be learnt from worshipping online?