HPUMC Online featured in PBS Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly
Written by Alex Johnston
Several members of the HPUMC Online community, as well as Senior Minister, Rev Paul Rasmussen, were recently interviewed for an episode of the PBS show, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. The report focused on how more and more churches are beginning to broadcast worship services online.
HPUMC has been offering people in Dallas, and around the world, an online option for traditional and contemporary worship for several years through its internet campus at HPUMCOnline.org.
In the episode, correspondent Dan Lothian talks to 98 year-old Paul Harris and his wife Clara. Because they are now physically unable to attend church, the couple joins their HPUMC community in worship from their senior living apartment in Dallas.
Lothian also caught up with the Williams family, who joined HPUMC in Christmas Eve worship while vacationing in Israel with their daughters.
“We were some of the only Christians actually staying in the hotel at the time and we wanted to be respectful of our environment and so we closed ourselves off in the business office and snuck to watch our Christmas service back here,” describes Cammy Wynne-Williams.
HPUMC members, Paul and Jennifer Deramo were also featured in the episode. Both are doctors and spend incredible amounts of time at their respective hospitals. HPUMC Online gives them the ability to worship together, even when on separate shifts at different hospitals.
"Rev. Rasmussen adds, “People can engage in dialogue and real time discussion of the sermon far easier online than they can even in the house."
Virtual Worship Presents Both Challenges & Opportunities
Rev. Rasmussen also had the opportunity to weigh in on some of the more poignant questions surrounding online worship, including how to incorporate people in sacraments like Holy Communion.
Despite the challenges, online worship gives people all around the world a chance to engage with a church community in meaningful ways."
“It’s not just a passive experience," said Lothian. "Both in the U.S. and across the pond church leaders are finding creative ways to get online members more connected.”
“Streaming by far beats nothing. Not going at all, not having anything. I can sit here and stay with my church,” adds Paul Harris.
HPUMC would like to extend a special thank you to Dan Lothian and the team at the PBS Religion & Ethics show, along with Clara & Paul Harris, The Williams family, and Jennifer & Paul Deramo. Our HPUMC Online team would also like to extend a special thank you to DJ Chuang and numerous churches that paved the way in streaming worship services online for us to learn from.