Churches are sacred and beautiful spaces in the eye of the believer in situ or res digita. Churches may capitalize on the full physical reality of their churches: and how sorry it is to hear the empty reverberations of an empty church in a recorded sermon. Human bodies are meant to absorb the words of the reverend both in mind and literally in body. How can we manifest the physical church meaningfully in a virtual space?
This may seem like and afterthought, but how do we manage membership and congregation in such an on-line world? The American Church officially conditions membership on physical location according to its bylaws, but allows some exception. The AFCU -- the alumni association and quasi-denomination of the American Churches in Paris, Berlin and Vienna -- is already designated having a world-wide parish. Does the American Church wish to still be a church within Paris and the immediate area, radiating outwards in some respects through mission? When pastors, staff or lay leaders from the American Church participate from the church immediate geographical parish in ministry beyond the church by online meetings, do we consider that the church is also also extending its sanctuary in the home of the guest to that distant screen?
In some ways the virtual meeting becomes more intimate. Each party is both host and guest. In some ways, we get to know one another better.