For sometime now, we at St. Andrew have been describing our current moment as “Where the Digital Meets the Divine.” In response to restrictions on physical gatherings, churches everywhere have been exploring new ways to use technology to extend their reach as the body of Christ.
The phrase itself comes from DeEtte Decker (https://deettedecker.com), Storyteller + Social Media Strategist for the Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination. Through videos (like the one below), Facebook groups, and zoom webinars, DeEtte has been encouraging and training mainline churches in how to use new technologies as ministry tools and service opportunities.
We have been so impressed with DeEtte’s work that St. Andrew joined forces with the Presbytery of East Iowa to invite her to Iowa City to share in-person more of her practical thoughts and theological insights.
On Saturday Oct. 23 and Sunday Oct. 24, St. Andrew and the Presbytery of East Iowa hosted a Workshop + Retreat in which we explored the intersection between the Digital + the Divine that has opened in our COVID + Post-COVID world.
Throughout the morning sessions, DeEtte led us through conversations on the complexities of our current moment. During her discussions, she was joined by the Rev. Dr. Jan Schnell, a professor of liturgics at Wartburg Theological Seminary, and other voices. After lunch is provided, she will focus on a broader discussion of how technology can be both freeingly fun and frustratingly finicky.
The conversation then continued on Sunday morning, when DeEtte spoke in St. Andrew's 8:30 and 11 a.m. worship services. In between, she made herself available for more informal discussions about the role of the church both in-person and online.