Online Evening Prayer

I will be conducting Evening Prayer in a Google+ hangout at 5 pm today. Will be accepting people into the hangout from 4.50 pm. (4.45 pm for those who were there last week). There are 10 places. I will supply the liturgy. You need a webcam and google+ membership, which is free. You need to search google+for me (Kelvin Holdsworth) and add me to one of your circles.

Check back to this blog for more details of the liturgy later.

Here is the liturgy:EP Anticipation Saturday – for internet

If you intend to join in, please leave a comment for me on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, this blog post or anywhere else you think I’ll be looking.

Here’s what I’ve said at the start of the liturgy for tonight:

Welcome to Evening Prayer from St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow which will be shared in cyberspace in a Google+ Hangout.

This is the second service that has been held in this way and we are still experimenting with it. One limitation is the number of people who can join in, which is currently limited to 10 people. It is believed that Google will soon enable people subsequent to the first 10 in the system to watch but not participate. It may be that if more than 10 people want to join in we need to split into two groups.

One of the things which causes some difficulty is the slight time lag between the different people speaking. This makes reciting something together a bit of a challenge and the delays would make singing something together impossible.

As an experiment, the service this evening will be lead by 2 people – the leader and responder. These two people will keep their microphones on throughout. Everyone else is asked to click the mute button in their Google Hangout window for the first part of the service. Please unmute your microphone so that we can say the Magnificat and the Lord’s Prayer together and so that you can contribute an intercession if you want to do so. Please join in aloud with all the prayers in bold, saying them with the responder.

The number of people attending will be recorded in the service book at St Mary’s.

The service will begin at 1700 GMT. The hangout will be open to those who joined in last week from 1645 GMT. It will open to anyone else from 1650.

If you want to test the system, look out for Kelvin Holdsworth hanging out in Google+ during the afternoon.

Oh, and if you have headphones, please use them. It cuts down the extra noise.

Evensong of the World

Do you remember the good people of St Eucalyptus and St Anaglypta? It was a conundrum that I spun a while ago to encourage people to think about the Reserved Sacrament and how we exercise ministry in remote places.

Well, today brought a new way of celebrating Evening Prayer that is intriguing and needs quite a lot of thought. It is related to St Eucalyptus and St Anaglypta but doesn’t involved the Eucharist and so probably less problematic.

I let it be known earlier in the day that I was planning on saying Evening Prayer at 5 pm using the video hangouts feature of Google Plus. Sure enough, I was joined by four other folk and Evening Prayer was said. We had Cliff up in Forres who is the Dean of all he surveys, Freda in Dalmally representing those who worship in Presbyterian tabernacles, Eric who is a member of the Vestry of a very fine high church outfit in the Far East (Edinburgh) and Beth who is a server and a member of St Mary’s.

Here’s what I learned

  • There is a lot of potential in this and it would be possible to do it better than we did it today though it was not bad for a first attempt.
  • There were expressions of interest from as far afield as Sri Lanka, East Coast USA and Falkirk. Who are we as we do this? I’m putting it in the Cathedral service book as Evening Prayer (Online) with five participants.
  • Latency issues are a trouble when trying to all speak together. I think it would be better if all but two leading people muted their microphones for the first part of the liturgy but turned them on again so that we could say the canticle, intercessions and Lord’s Prayer together.
  • It came to life when different people did the Bible Readings from different parts of the country.
  • There is also a lot of potential for Bible study, teaching and fellowship groups using this technology.
  • This resolves some inclusion issues – tonight’s group of people would not have met otherwise, however there are new issues of exclusion due to technology and rural bandwidth issues etc.
  • The potential advantages of this are so strong that it is worth experimenting further.
  • The experience is improved for everyone if people use headphones plugged into their computers.
  • There was something both comic and wonderful that when a small cute dog barked in Dalmally someone in Forres looked round to see what the noise was.
  • Google Plus allows 10 people in a hangout at once. Presumably once you get to 10 you spin-off into two groups. And so on. Etc.  Forever and ever, Amen. (cell church anyone?)
  • I feel I’ve said Evening Prayer this evening in a Christian community.

If you want to join in, you need a webcam and a google plus account which is free. You also need fairly stable broadband connection. You are welcome to find me on google plus and send me a message saying you are interested. I’m not using google plus for anything else. So far as I am concerned, google need to get rid of all the social networking stuff on there and concentrate on the video stuff.

Very happen to hear feedback, comments and ideas about this.