An adventure of the spontaneous on zoom

Meeting for worship at Woodbrooke(UK), Pendle Hill (Penn. USA), Ben Lomond (Californa, USA) Quaker Centres

Image by mark2112 from Pixabay Pendle Hill, Lancs, the English one

After my experiences on Zoom taking me outside of England, I thought I should perhaps check out what we are doing. Woodbrooke appears to be the centre of online Quaker meetings in the UK and Europe. The link below will show that they are running daily meetings except for Saturdays and often twice a day.

The Monday meeting is at 9 30 in the morning whereas Tuesday and Wednesdays are at 7 00 am. I was thinking that the later start on Mondays may indicate that many of us struggle to get going as we start another week but rest assured the Brits are back to business by 7 00 am Tuesday.

There were around 30 folks online. It lasted for 30 minutes and was almost silent throughout. People from other parts of the world are also joining.

I can see that daily online meeting will probably remain as having done this collective jump into zoom many of us have accepted it as now part of our culture. I have joked that since zoom Quakers have become like Anglicans at morning and evening prayer. There is no building to go to, there is no traffic to drive in just , if you want it, flip open your laptop press a few buttons and rather than sit in silence alone you have however many people with you and you with them.

It was a Bank Holiday in the UK so I had a bit more unfilled space than usual and so I took the opportunity to join Pendle Hill meeting in Wallingford, Pennsylvania.

It was 8 30 Eastern Time, 13 30 hours here in England. Zoom has the effect that you may think you are only one of a handful of people when you enter and then you quickly discover, as I did yesterday, that you were one of over 150. This was by the far the largest zoom meeting I had participated so I was curious how it would work. I am beginning to feel that zoom works well for Quakers as we are mostly a silent people, our default is listening rather than speaking. I recall 3 vocal ministries in the 30 minutes we had. At the end, they allowed 10 minutes for people to share any joy and sorrows. New visitors were welcomed.

So was there something different between UK friends at Woodbrooke and US friends at Pendle Hill? Yes. The enthusiasm by which the US friends wished each other a great day, so many voices you could only have a great day whereas back in the UK we quietly waved and sloped off.

At 15 30 hours UK time 7 30 am local time Ben Lomond Quaker Centre in Northern California offers a Meeting for Worship via a chat room.

It doesn’t give the live presence of zoom but it provides less distraction for those taking part simply signing in and typing ministry if they are so moved.

I joined our local St Albans daily catch up at 17 15 hours and shared my experience of gallivanting on zoom. One wondered may I have needed a ‘Travelling minute’ . For me it was an adventure of the spontaneous and I hadn’t even considered it in zoomworld.

Best day,

g

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Gordie Jackson

Speaks with a Northern Irish accent, lives in Hertfordshire, England.