Church Conference via Skype

Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBase

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As Pastor of Resurrection Online, I hope to help build a Christian community online where non religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians. A key to this purpose is building community. There has been a good deal of conversation about whether there can be authentic Christian community online, so how about a bit different question.

The 2008 Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church indicates that “The members present and voting at any duly announced meeting shall constitute a quorum.” (¶246.6) If Resurrection live streamed our church conference, had a member login and people could vote, would that count? Is that even the right question?

I go back and forth about my own response to this question. Will you please share your thoughts, feelings or opinions about this topic?

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10 thoughts on “Church Conference via Skype

  1. My first thought was that as long as there was a secure log-in, you could easily do this. But the one disadvantage of such a meeting as compared to a real-time, in-place meeting is that you can always verify the identity of the individual logging in.

    This is going to have be clearly delineated as to what can and cannot be done if on-line churches are to be a “reality”.

    • Tony – Identity confirmation is something that is important to confirm. This is something that is necessary for online giving and many other kinds of online transactions. I believe that it could be done.

  2. I meet weekly with two other clergywomen via skype for a “covenant of joy” that has been going for over a year. We have found a way to pray for one another over Skype and be “present” to one another from a distance. There are some disadvantages – when one member of our group was sick I actually called the UMC in her town and they graciously baked a casserole for her on my behalf since that isn’t something I could send through the mail and it was what she really needed that week!

    But, I certainly see how using technology would allow for committees to meet without a lot of travel – I would love to see a combination of skype and in person meetings for the regular church. We have so many commuters that are up early and home late that we could arrange meeting times for them at the end of their work day before they leave the office and avoid sitting in rush hour traffic!

    • Rev. Sarah – Thanks for sharing your story of connection with other clergywomen via skype. I am encouraged by your connection in that way and hope that it will continue to be helpful for you. I may look at something similar in the year ahead. As far as regular committee participation, I agree – It may be really good.

  3. Yes – I believe its simple Tele-Presence. Its easy enough to simply re-define the word presence to include computer mediated presence. Like anything new absent legislation from General Conference, its up to each church to interpret unless and until it is ruled upon by the Judicial Council. Every concern mentioned about security of persons voting, and guarantee of voting eligibility etc is also present at a physical gathering, especially one our size. There is no way to police 1000 physically present people unless we set up some kind of ID based check in in the sanctuary and give out some sort of coded materials to identify members and non-members. Those are my thoughts.

  4. Yes – I believe its simple Tele-Presence. Its easy enough to simply re-define the word presence to include computer mediated presence. Like anything new absent legislation from General Conference, its up to each church to interpret unless and until it is ruled upon by the Judicial Council. Every concern mentioned about security of persons voting, and guarantee of voting eligibility etc is also present at a physical gathering, especially one our size. There is no way to police 1000 physically present people unless we set up some kind of ID based check in in the sanctuary and give out some sort of coded materials to identify members and non-members. Those are my thoughts.

  5. I just know that for the 2010 Gathering, I was home w/ a fever but was present via on-line. If I would have had the opportunity to register my presence, I would’ve been honored to have been able to participate in voting.

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