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Tenerife: Virtual Church on the road

 

Returning from the UK in March to a church already a week into lockdown, Rachel and Paul Ganney from Tenerife wanted to do something to help the people of God continue to worship.   They tell us more in this story ...

An essential feature of their ministry together has always been to involve as many people as possible in leading worship. Using a variety of technologies, they set up a virtual service with the contributors either pre-recording segments or presenting live via Zoom and with the congregation on around 200 joining via YouTube and Facebook.

The service is typically led by between 2 and 17 people and the contributors are international, most from the Canary Islands or the UK. Readers, intercessors, preachers, singers and musicians have all got involved as well as artists and poets for the Thy Kingdom Come project. 

An early collaboration with Rev’d Ron Corne from All Saints, Tenerife North has led to the service coming under his aegis. 

Following the purchase of some new equipment, a lot of the previously used items (stage lighting and video projector) were no longer required and so the idea of going “on the road” became feasible.

Since March, it had been relatively easy to keep their focus on the 'Virtual Church'. Even when All Saints reopened in July, Ron was present, so Rachel was still largely free to continue to be live online. When Ron booked a much deserved month's holiday Rachel & Paul were faced with three options:

1. Pre-record Virtual Church so that they could be present at All Saints (but worshipping together live has been an important part of the service for the congregation)

2. Keep Virtual Church live (but leave All Saints without a priest for a month)

3. Do something different!

On September 6th, Rachel and Paul packed all the equipment required for the Virtual Church into the car and took the service on the road! The purpose was to be able to fulfil two needs at the same time: to provide a Communion service for the people of All Saints while continuing to enable the virtual congregation to worship together live. Once there and connected to the Parsonage’s Internet connection (the only thing they couldn’t transport), they started the pre-service stream. Rachel said, “Taking Virtual Church on the road has offered us some challenges, but it has been worth it to enable us to continue to serve God’s people both in person and remotely”.

Having proved that it is possible in All Saints, they now see no reason why it couldn’t work almost anywhere, freeing them up to assist other churches while still tending to the online congregation.

If you would like to know more, visit their website http://www.tenerifevirtual.church/ or you can get in touch at rachel@tenerifevirtual.church