As United Methodist churches around the world are suspending Sunday worship due to the coronavirus outbreak, many churches are experimenting with online worship as an alternative to meeting in person. Readers are certainly encouraged to engage with their home congregations to keep those connections strong despite social distancing guidelines. But a transition to online church attendance also holds an opportunity to explore worship in new forms.
Thus, United Methodists in the United States may want to consider joining their European sisters and brothers for worship this weekend. Several churches or annual conferences across Europe are conducting some sort of online worship. And while time zone differences may make it difficult to participate in realtime, a number of those services can be viewed later in the day.
Many of these options happen via Facebook and YouTube. Both Facebook Live and YouTube allow viewers to see streaming videoes later after the live broadcast has ended. Also, Facebook includes a built-in translate feature that can allow you to decipher posts in captions in languages you do not read. Google Translate is also useful for navigating the web in foreign languages.
Among the possible ways to worship cross-culturally this weekend are the following:
Estonia: The Estonia Annual Conference has this list of five churches that will be holding worship via streaming on Facebook.
Macedonia: The UMC in Macedonia has promised a half-hour live broadcast of a message at 10am and 6pm local time this coming Sunday on their YouTube channel.
Austria: Here are links to a variety of sermons and services (some in English!) from several Austrian congregations for last Sunday, Mar. 15th. It is also worth checking in on the Austrian UMC's blog to see if fresh links have been posted for the 22nd.
Switzerland: The Swiss UMC is collaborating with the TV station musig24 to live stream a worship service this Sunday from 10-11am local time. It has also put together a page of links to live streams and sermon recordings from 10 local churches.
Germany: Several United Methodist churches in Germany will be live streaming their worship services, as listed at the end of this article.
Denmark: The UMC in Denmark has been posting daily prayer and worship services on their Facebook page.
Norway: The UMC in Norway will have a live-streamed worship service on its Facebook page this Sunday. Those who tune in live are invited to participate in communion, although the consecration of home elements only applies to those who watch in realtime.