Year of the Word: Acts of the Apostles in lockdown

With our improving grasp of technology, the Bible Study group has resumed virtually after an Easter break to share the treasure of Acts. Two chapters at a time (we are currently at chapters 5/6), this adventure book is providing us with an undeniably timely opportunity to discuss what it means to be church.

We discovered that many of us, in the past, had intended to read the whole book, but had never succeeded. The first chapters, then, are very familiar, as they are to anyone who would normally be attending Mass at this time of year. The conversations, however, are new, as we listen to the God who Speaks, here and now, to a small group of us who feel a bit lost. We have started a journey with a small group of people, witnesses to the resurrection, who used to be a community built around Jesus in his full humanity. As we read what happened when their focal point changed, we are considering what has happened and will happen to our own community as a result of the current change of focus. And it is so good to be able to do this together. We have shared our experiences, positive and frustrating, of attending Mass online and considered the application of what we have termed the ‘template’ of the church at the end of chapters 2 and 4 to our current situation.

Our group are using Zoom. We have no particular knowledge or expertise in this, but it is working for us. There are 8 participants, connected through 5 devices. We have found this a manageable number for discussion, now that we have learned to pause differently to allow others to speak. I have been to meetings with more participants, which have been more difficult and really require an active chairperson. It is also not possible to pray together, due to the delay from various devices, though I have attended an excellent interactive Mass from CAFOD, which was run more like a webinar.

For me, this has been an enriching experience, which is why I share it. Perhaps others have different ideas which could also be shared? I wonder if a network of groups would allow us to re-establish our connections and move us forward in a space where social distancing seems set to continue for a while. It would be great to hear other views. If anyone wants to know more about what we have done, feel free to email me on cmdanaher66@gmail.com

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