In his Easter Day sermon at the Washington National Cathedral, our Presiding Bishop reminded us that Easter has come, even if we can't see it! At this time, when we live into the meaning of the resurrection of our Lord, we also enter into a new "virtual" normal. In her book "The Virtual Body of Christ in a Suffering World," Dr. Deanna A. Thompson, shares her "conversion" to the value and benefits of "virtual reality." Diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, she comes to appreciate the prayers and comfort provided to her by a new global interfaith virtual community. As someone suspicious and doubtful about the applicability of "virtuality" to community, Thompson comes to appreciate "ministry through new virtual spaces."
On Saturday in Easter Week instructors and students came together in virtual classrooms to continue our academic formation program. Six postulants for Holy Orders and ten lay scholars attended ten virtual courses taught by eight instructors with the support of the Mercer School staff. Twenty members of our community were present at Morning Prayer. And things went smoothly – much better than the preceding class in March, when we had to scramble on short notice to move our program online!
Religious Formation leader John Westerhoff once suggested that we begin our church year on Easter Day, as a celebration of the beginning of new life! Fifty days of Easter as the beginning of our "new normal": what will this be like? Well, we won't discard our liturgical calendar. But as we plan ways to bring physical interaction back into our institutional life, we are exploring new ways to fulfill our ministry of education and formation. Easter is here! Come celebrate with us!