Thursday, February 15, 2007

More About FUUCSL

Yesterday I wrote about the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Second Life. It turns out that I'm not the only one. (No surprise there!) A colleague of mine, the Rev. Christine Robinson, who serves the First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque, has written a lot about this virtual congregation in her blog, iMinister. One of her recent posts goes into a fair amount of detail.

Today I also received an e-mail from the (one of the?) founder(s) of FUUCSL in which he wrote:
There is going to be an article published in USA Today next week about the church!!! One of the issues that the reporter, Cathy Grossman, Religion and Spirituality Correspondent, is going to cover is whether a virtual church can serve real spiritual needs. I can assure you that it does and Cathy interviewed several people from our church besides myself, including the Reverend Christine Robinson from Albuquerque and one of our members who is disabled and homebound and who has been able to reconnect to her spirituality through our church and who feels a calling to help others in her situation through online ministry.

Our oldest member of the church is 74 years old and he is an active participant. Many of our other members are in their 40s and 50s. Technology is certainly involved, but it is not so great that it cannot be overcome, as has been demonstrated by the multitude of people who show up at our virtual church who can barely figure out how to walk or sit down, but they do and they stay because of the welcoming, calming and spiritual atmosphere that we provide.

What rich potential there is in this new technology. There's potential for problems, of course, and much has been written and discussed about the danger of this kind of "virtual" community, about how it could lead to even further isolation and alienation, yet people report that they are finding real community there. And if people are going to spend hours upon hours in these virtual worlds, shouldn't we establish outposts of sane and salvific community?

By the way, in terms of stats: the FUUCSL has been in existence for about six months. In that time it has gained 180 members, it has well over 50 people who regularly attend worship , and its membership has doubled in the last two months. FUUCSL is already the second largest church in Second Life. It would be interesting to see how many of these folks are already UUs, or now seek out a brick and mortar UU church, and how many make this their only church home.

in gassho,

RevWik Print this post

1 comment:

Kitty L said...

Interesting! It's nice to see an example of a supportive and welcoming online community. :-)