Interested in getting more involved with the Virtual Abbey community? Contact us via Twitter or by email: info@the virtualabbey.com.
Although we're moving into our third year on Twitter, it has only been one year since we officially reconstituted ourselves as The Virtual Abbey! Since then, lots has happened.
In my previous post I reviewed the "technical stuff of virtual community." Here, I want to highlight more personal dimensions of our community. And other than hailing the arrival of #3 Hale, I won't be putting names to events!
What I do want visitors and observers to know is that like members of any other faith community, we experienced the full range of human events in 2010 ─ illnesses; death of loved ones; job changes and job losses; interstate moves.
During times of what seemed to be spiritual weariness, we supported one another via the back channel (i.e., direct messages) of Twitter as well as by email and phone, all of which served to build and strengthen our community.
2010 was the year more of us met IRL (in real life) and discovered how praying the Daily Office together via Twitter made it possible to create durable bonds despite geographical and time zone differences.
Whenever we needed help, we were blessed to have people pitch in by tweeting prayer for a season, providing blog content, helping our transition to another blogging platform (coming soon, like maybe next week!), and advising us about new ways to reach out.
We also had f*u*n, some of which showed up in our public stream during prayer as horsing around and after prayer as fellowship complete with virtual coffee, cookies and clean-up.
And I absolutely cannot let this review end without mentioning how in August, we noted with delight, the arrival of @UnvirtuousAbbey on the Twitter scene.
We were promptly mini-barraged with direct messages, some asking if we'd set up a parallel universe and others asking if we were "offended." Our answer to both questions was, "no." Wasn't it clear that we were already capable of having irreverent fun within our own community?
In reality ─ we neither know nor need to know who runs @UnvirtuousAbbey IRL. What we do know is that bonds of true affection and mutual delight have emerged during the past five months. Again, much of this has happened via the back channel and has not been generally visible. What's clear to me is that @Virtual_Abbey and @UnvirtuousAbbey share a commitment to engage people in prayer.
There's more, of course. There always is when community is involved and no doubt about it, the Virtual Abbey is a community. Thanks be to God!