“If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” (Philippians 2:1-2, NRSV)
Last Friday night Ann and I had dinner out. The weather was perfect, and so we were seated outside to enjoy the night air. We enjoy long dinners with lots of conversation about a variety of topics. In our busy lives, it’s one of the times that we can have each other’s undivided attention. At a table not too far from ours, there was another couple. They weren’t talking. They were both looking at their phones. I wish I had timed how long it was before any eye-to-eye dialogue took place. It would have been minutes at least.
Connectivity is one of the convenient features of our culture. No matter where you go, you can stay connected to work, to home (even your refrigerator!), to friends and family all over the world. Some argue that this connectivity has come with a cost. The more electronically connected we’ve become, the less personal interaction that takes place. It may be that we have replaced fewer intimate connections with an increase in the number of superficial relationships we have. Loneliness is still prevalent in our connected culture.
As a church, we are working on increasing connection through human interaction. Our recent Block Party was a way for us to connect with each other but also to connect to our neighbors around the church. We have some similar activities already on the books for later this year where we will invite our community to experience Canterbury in a non-threatening activity. Keep asking your friends to Wednesday night dinners, to Sunday mornings for worship or Sunday School, to your small group meeting, or to your United Methodist Women’s Circle meeting. People need human interaction to develop fully.
At the same time, Canterbury has to operate within a digital culture. Our live streaming of the worship services this summer has gone well. People are logging in to view the worship service in real time even though they’re not participating on campus. We’ve already unveiled our new website that is simpler and easier to navigate—not to mention visually stunning! You may have noticed this week we rebranded the Canterburian Express as the Canterbury Connection. The goal is a straightforward and easy-to-use tool for finding what you need. The live stream, the website, and the Connection are intended to be tools to help us connect and not a substitute.
We will continue to tweak our communications to help you find your way to greater connections at Canterbury. Being connected is vital to our health as a congregation, and that’s why communication is such an important part. The Apostle Paul used physical letters that were hand-delivered. Letters were the best technology for communicating over long distances in his day. In one of those letters, Paul tells the Philippians that being on the same page is a key to finding joy. His letters were intended to bring people together around the main thing—our hope in Jesus Christ. It is my prayer that our new communication tools will do the same. Blessings!
Rev. Dale Cohen
Senior Pastor of Canterbury United Methodist Church