We’re sharing the stories of ministries in congregations around the diocese, celebrating the incredible work being done on the local level. In this local ministry profile, the Rev. Deacon Keith Dorwick of St. Andrew’s, Port Angeles speaks about “Pray for the World.”
“Pray for the World” is an online service in Zoom which was not moved to virtual space due to or in response to COVID-19; instead, it was created for people who, for any reason, did not feel comfortable worshipping face to face. We will maintain this service (only one month old, at this point!) for as long as there is need; it also gathers worshippers who are unable to attend church real time, those with no transportation, for instance.
As deacon, I have struggled through a 50 year ordination process—that’s not a typo. I was 17 the first time I asked about ordination and am now newly ordained at 64, having been a chancel prancer for a long, long time before that. While part of that time was waiting on the church to figure out what deacons were and who should be a deacon, most of it was waiting for the church to realize that LGBTQIA+ folks such as myself should have access to such rites as ordination and marriage.
While it is new to St. Andrew’s, Port Angeles and St. Swithin’s, Forks, many of the folks involved have been praying Evening Prayer and variants from the BCP together for about two years now. It has been enriching for us to be able to stay connected.
We like the fact that work out of town, or other travel, or illness does not slow us down at all—we are still able to gather together. However, I would say the person most touched is a woman who is a long time member of the parish, but does not have access to funds for transportation (she now lives out of state but hasn’t connected to a home parish in her new location that I know of), but still attends and gets to see her friends.
What are our dreams for the future of this ministry? To continue to grow it—we’re up to 11 which, considering our main service, Rite II at 10:00am, usually has around 40 souls worshipping, is quite healthy, but I would like to get the word out to more people, and especially to help them understand that Zoom doesn’t need a computer. A good old landline will work. And I wish clergy in the diocese would drop in and see, especially those planning to shut down all online worship ASAP. A Zoom service connects people with each other in ways as deep as, but very different from, face to face worship. It’s a different kind of embodiment. Faces matter. Voices matter. Music matters, and though we are not able to sing together in Zoom space, we do get to listen to glorious music from the world’s great tradition of Christian music using YouTube and Spotify.
What support or resources do we currently need? Honestly, some small funds from the diocese would help, especially for publicity. I would love to have small cards to hand out at appropriate ventures, for instance, with the Zoom invite info. We use a short URL included below. Letting more of the outside community know would be great. I’m a firm believer in “Church Without Walls,” as well as “Church Within Walls.” Both are needed in today’s world.
If there was one thing that I really wanted others to know – not just in the diocese, but everyone – it would be this: If you have a landline phone or better, you can join a Zoom service. To the diocese, I’d add that you can visit us if you’re curious. I would love to see Zoom services recognized not just as a stop gap measure, but as another way of joining the Reign of God! This is the invite we send out weekly:
Come join us for this newest service as well as for our face to face services. Contact Deacon Keith (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further info.
Dial-in: +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
Meeting ID: 835 6102 8092
If you would like to share the story of your church’s ministry, let us know by contacting us at email@example.com.