Church leaders are navigating new digital waters, with some hilarious results.
Megan Castellan has been livestreaming morning prayer from home every day through the coronavirus pandemic for her parishioners at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ithaca, New York.
But Thursday’s prayer (March 26) was an “epic disaster,” Castellan told her followers on Twitter.
Both the rector’s dog and cat decided to participate in the Facebook Live video, hovering over her shoulders on the couch.
Offscreen, her husband, forgetting Castellan was on camera, made a loud phone call, then motioned to her that he was going to go get tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Castellan, also briefly forgetting she was on camera, responded by miming sticking a swab up her nose, part of the testing process.
Then a “mysterious loud noise” sent her dog leaping off the couch to investigate, returning in time to lick the rector’s hand enthusiastically through the final prayer.
Castellan briefly considered recording the video over again, she told Religion News Service, but then she realized that as lives have been upended by the pandemic, maybe somebody else needed to hear that everything was awful this morning and that everything that could go wrong, did.
"We don't want to fail in public, but I also think that one of the things that has restrained the church in doing online things is we don't want to seem ridiculous and we don't want to fail,” she said.
"The truth is, if you look at a lot of what we do, it is inherently ridiculous, especially to an outsider. And so we just need to sort of lean into that and let it go a little bit."
Clergy across the globe are learning similar lessons as they turn to the internet to offer encouragement to congregants …