Church Without a Church: How Church Services Have Transitioned to Zoom

And why you shouldn’t be scared to take the plunge into live online services

During this time of quarantine and social distancing, the things we used to do in person have transitioned into going online through the video chatting service, Zoom. As you may have come accustomed to, Skyline’s classes have transitioned to the video platform, but people day after day have found new uses for it, such as birthday celebrations, virtual happy hours, and family game nights. Chances are if you have thought it, someone has probably done it through Zoom. 

One of the other big things people are using Zoom for is church services. If you watched the news during the season of Easter and Passover, you will know that the Pope famously live-streamed his usual Passover service on the Vatican’s Youtube channel. After that, many people celebrated their Passover meals over video-call. One writer for USA Today, David Oliver, gave his own personal experience during the Seder, an annual Passover tradition. 

“My aunt and uncle “hosted” the seder,” said Oliver. “By that I mean they set up the Zoom call and compiled Haggadahs (the book we use to chant prayers and follow the Passover story) and special prayers from a Rabbi to read as we celebrate Passover during the pandemic. We used one of my cousins’ college Zoom accounts to ensure we wouldn’t get kicked out of the room after 40 minutes or so, as is typical with free accounts.”

Even though Easter and Passover passed weeks ago, people of all religions have still gathered for services, just through Zoom. In an article from Biola University’s publication, The Biola University Chimes, the writer, Hannah Dilanchyan, said it perfectly. 

“Every Sunday morning, Christians across the nation have had to adjust to a new normal. Rather than jumping out of bed and driving to church, people now tune into the live stream while eating pancakes in their pajamas,” said Dilanchyan

This was all fine and good, but unfortunately, like all things, there were skeptics. In an article on the website Sojourners, writer Olga M. Segura said in an interview she had with Melissa Cedillo, who was talking about the holy week. “During our conversation”, said Segura. “Cedillo also expressed a sentiment shared by many Catholics I have talked with: ‘If the service doesn’t have that portion of taking communion and physically feeling it, it’s just not the same for me.” 

 So why does it matter how we are going to church in these times? In short, Zoom is our only source into the outside world in this time where social distancing is the standard. That applies to churches, and it shouldn’t matter how we worship, whether be in a building, or on a computer.