Age has been no barrier

Published on: 19 August 2020

St Luke’s Church, on Aylsham Road, Norwich has been running both a Sunday morning service and a virtual coffee morning every week since the middle of April, using Zoom.

A member of the church commented, “having started using Zoom for our Sunday services, we quickly realised how much people valued the opportunity to socialise at the beginning and end of the service so decided to create another space where fellowship became the focus.”

One of St Luke’s AWAs paid for Zoom pro (£11.99/month) which allows for up to 100 participants and means there is a 24-hour limit on a meeting (though neither the service nor the coffee morning last that long!). She ‘hosts’ the coffee, participants then download the Zoom app onto their PC, tablet or phone and join via a link on the Facebook page or website.

However, it’s not all been plain sailing. One of the leadership team notes, “while Zoom provides a useful platform to host events like this, with lots of people involved it can easily become quite chaotic and it takes some management to ensure that everyone is included in the conversation.” They went on to say, “age hasn’t necessarily been a barrier – our eldest participant is 91! However, some of our less technologically aware folk have needed some help to be able to join.” Fortunately, we have a number of people in the congregation who have been able to provide the necessary IT support.

The virtual coffee mornings run every Saturday morning from 11am-12noon and people join for some or all of the hour. Among other topics, participants enjoy sharing jokes (both good and not so good), comparing the size of sunflowers planted as part of a Lenten challenge and swapping recipe ideas. One congregation member says, “I miss my church family so it is a very special time, full of giggles and coffee. I enjoy it!”

The coffee mornings have also gained an international flavour as using Zoom has enabled members of the wider church family based in the Philippines and Uganda to join in too.

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