The Crypt downstairs was a good place to hang out after the service, and its still hard to get in because of the crowds.
Was Church of Fools successful as a chat room ? ABSOLUTELY
But they are framing it as a church which raises eyebrows and generates news stories. You have probably already read of my experience and seen the videos, 1 and 2. For other stories, check out BBC, the church of fools account of the raptured minister, the Bishop's sermon "fabled ship on a cyber ocean", CNN, the times article and yahoo.
The Skinny on Cyberchurch?
1. I think there a 2 approaches to church in new media technology: representational and recapitulation. The cyberchurch approach is somewhat representational - it is shadowing the old structures and making them live again on the screen. this is cool and there is a place for it. England's i-church (just announced), is also bringing the old forms into new media. Others (eventually most of us) will follow the way of recapitulation - of seeing fresh ways of church happen within the newly formed structures and cultures that are native to new media. this is probably the realm that i hang out in and in which i am experiencing the dynamics of church. Another thing to remember is that new media does not replace, but enhances existing technology. And emerging culture sees new technologies as finding their place in the nested layers of the existing.
2. In a new media culture, modularity wins over singularity. New media people may have multiple expressions of church life, multiple commitments to multiple communities, all of which are either brought to the front of our priorities or sent to the back. Commitment in a new media church cannot expect old school membership to a singular institution. Tim Bednar, pastor of an E-church in USA, speaks of this in "Can you only attend a cyberchurch like E-Church?"As for Cyberchurch, lets add it to the way we church, knowing that it will never replace the assembling of ourselves in the flesh, and the smell of real coffee.
The Skinny on Cyberchurch 2.0 - coming soon