From 1st Presbyterian Church of Second Life
Members of 1PCSL gathered on Wednesday, December 30th, 2009 to assess our progress for the past year, and discuss plans and ideas for the coming year. In attendance were members Aeldyn Belfire, JoySophia Northman, Malachi Hissop, MB Deed, Menchor Barbosa, Miguelski Simsider, Neill Loxingly, Roodman Larsson, and visiting guest Draconis Burns.
While discussion was (as usual) far-reaching and fast-paced, it generally centered around our statement of purpose to "explore ministry that is uniquely Presbyterian, but also unique to the culture and nature of Second Life" and to ultimately "incorporate service, evangelism, education, and worship into our activities."
We are committed to continuing our relationship with Goodland Academy in Oklahoma, and supporting their ministry both financially and through giving our own individual answers to the theological questions raised by the Goodland Boys. A member who was not present at the meeting, JoySophia Northmann, had previously indicated a willingness to help reinvigorate our efforts in this area, which was subsequently endorsed by those present at the gathering.
The consensus in this area was that most people coming into our community are already connected to RL churches, but that our sister ministries--Church of the Dawntreader, Koinonia Congregational Church, and Within the Vine, are all on the "front lines" of evangelism in their outreach to those who are outside of, or on the fringes of, the church. As there is much overlap in participation within our communities, we see our most effective role as supporting their existing efforts, and helping to connect Presbyterians just arriving in Second Life with these ministries so that they can learn about, experience, and participate in real evangelism within a virtual world.
The following three areas of importance were agreed upon in our discussion about education:
- The need to instruct people newly arriving in Second Life in basic skills for navigating and interacting in virtual worlds.
- The need to educate people in our community and in Second Life about our Presbyterian heritage and various issues of importance to Presbyterians and Christians in the world today, with representation from the diverse voices within our Presbyterian community.
- The need to educate those in our denomination and the larger church about our own ministry, and the tremendous opportunity and potential for ministry and evangelism in virtual worlds.
To this end, the following educational events were proposed:
- Continuation of monthly Orientation to Second Life class. Neill volunteered to continue leadership of this project.
- Addition of a Monthly Roundtable Discussion on specific topics. This event will be more structured than the weekly conversation group, moderated by a community member, and will seek to include guests with expertise or unique perspective on the topic at hand. Roodman Larsson agreed to look into potential sponsorship of these events with a seminary, and continued exploration development for this event. Depending upon its success, the event may eventually form the basis for a conference on ministry in virtual reality.
- 1PCSL Presence at 2010 General Assembly. There was much energy and many ideas surrounding this idea, but the general consensus is that we would like to pursue a presence at GA, most likely in the form of computer space at a booth (probably Office of Evangelism & Growth) during the event. This would give GA participants a chance to see and experience Second Life, and participate in 1PCSL prayer and/or guided tours of SL religious and charitable sites. It would also give those unable to physically attend GA an opportunity to interact with those who are attending.
As part of our organizing goals, we are continuing to explore how to do meaningful worship in a virtual environment. There was a consensus that our exploration in this area has been successful, especially as realized in our Sunday night Prayer Service, and is one of our community's strengths. There was general interest in exploring aspects of worship in Second Life that are not merely "duplicating" what is done in offline worship services, although the desire to remain "uniquely Presbyterian" was also emphasized. Menchor offered some ideas for making the worship service more interactive. Consensus was also reached to explore the feasibility of adding a weekly "morning" prayer service to our gatherings, and Neill agreed to work on this.
Sunday night prayer services seem to be working fine for everyone and will remain as scheduled. Wednesday nights were discussed at length, with the final consensus that the conversation group will continue to meet Wednesday nights but with a revised time from 7pm SLT to whenever people have to leave, moving on the first Wednesday of each month to our sister ministry, Within the Vine, for a "Reformed" theme night.
Corrections, Additions, and Discussion
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