How We Do Virtual Community

The idea of virtual community is a new one in the history of the world. Never before have people been able to form the type of daily and personal friendships we see happening all around the world with people they have never met face to face. To all the generations who came before us the mystery and potential of social media and other online resources would be nothing short of a magical realm, something from the tales of wizards and fairy folk.

This uncharted territory is what we are currently exploring and our community is constantly growing, adapting, and finding new ways to make the best of this magnificent and endless space. This article explains how we are currently living out our faith together and gives some tips as to how to navigate this new and wonderful way of being church together.

New Eden Ministry has a few different aspects to it. Each one will be laid out below, the titles are clickable and will take you directly to what you’re looking for. Whether you’re new to the community or a long time friend, we hope this article will help to explain to you how everything works. It is pinned to the top of The Virtual Chapel if you ever need to find it again and we will keep it updated as things inevitably change and adapt.

The Website

The website serves as the central hub of everything that we do. You’re reading this on our website right now. If you’re on your computer there will be a row of headings underneath the title at the top of this page, if you’re on your phone it will show as a drop down menu instead. We hope you will take the time to explore all that our website has to offer.

We have a new blog post every Sunday morning (think of it like our version of a Sunday sermon) and you can scroll back through them all. The first Sunday of every month is a guest post. We like to highlight what other contemplative and/or Celtic Christians are doing and teaching around the world.

The Virtual Chapel

The Virtual Chapel is a private Facebook group. It is where most of our community activity happens. On top of all the things listed below we also have a weekly “face to face” get together using Zoom every Monday at 4:30 pm EST. The details are always posted in The Chapel and you can learn more about it here.

There are several moderators who work together to keep the community healthy and engage with people’s questions and comments. The moderators also approve new posts to make sure that we are able to stay focused and that nothing inappropriate is posted.

We ask that when you post in The Chapel you keep in mind the following guidelines:

1. Comment more than you post. The best conversations happen when a dialogue can grow in a single post. Try to keep new posts to 1 per day.

2. When you make a new post, please have it be something which can start a discussion. If you’re sharing a meme you found, write a short explanation of why you like it and ask an engaging question to go with it.

3. Ask yourself if The Chapel is the right place for what you’re sharing. Are you also sharing to a bunch of other groups? Is it a resource better suited to The Contemplative Library (more details below)? How will it help people deepen their spiritual life?

4. Ask lots of questions. It can mean the whole world to someone when a person expresses interest in what they have to say. We all have the ability to be a shining light in someone else’s dark day and that’s a big part of what we’re here for.

5. Don’t be afraid to speak up. You don’t have to have it all figured out to be part of the conversation. We are all fumbling through faith and we want you to feel you have a space to be heard. Even though some of these guidelines feel restrictive, they are actually meant to give space for your longings and questions to be heard.

Here is our weekly schedule for how the admin share things in The Chapel:

Sunday: New blog post from Justin Coutts
Monday: Our weekly get together
Tuesday: Discussion question
Wednesday: New blog post from Michael Petrow
Thursday: Discussion question
Friday: Invitation to hear from people taking the retreat
Saturday: Discussion question

The Contemplative Library

The Contemplative Library is also a Facebook group, but with a different purpose. Rather than being a place for discussion and community, it is a reserved for content. Blog posts, podcasts, YouTube videos, and any other relevant resource can be shared there. It is a public group, which means that anyone can see and share what is posted.

We re-share one of our old blog posts there everyday and encourage others to share their writing as well. If you are a blogger looking to promote your own content, this is the place to do it. To learn more about how to promote your content in The Library click HERE

The Virtual Retreat

We currently offer one online learning resource. Because of the time, effort, and money involved in putting it together, it is the only part of what we do which people have to pay to access. It is also how we cover our overhead expenses. If you can’t afford to enroll, we do have scholarships available. You can reach out to Justin on Facebook or by email at justin@newedenministry.com

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