Sunday, April 5, 2015

The ALM Cyberchurch (Feb 2010)


The following was originally published in Second Life Newspaper in February 2010

I recently came across a church in Second Life, the ALM Cyber Church. The church is in the appropriately  named Truth sim. Porting there automatically takes one to the sim entry circle at (124, 118, 26). In front of the newly arrived visitor will be a structure full of stained-glass windows, with a steeple on top. Near the church is a three-cross structure. There are some nearby places. Behind the sim entrance is a community center. Further away is a garden area, and some residential quarters.

The church holds two regular events a week. One is the Ladies’ Bible Study on Tuesdays at 1:30 PM SL time. And of course there is the Sunday Service at 11:00 AM SL time. Services are conducted by pastors Rev. Benjamin and Mariposa Psaltery. The chapel is constructed much like that of a real church, with ample seating in the pews and a second floor available. Behind the pulpit are a piano and an electronic organ. Near the doors is a collections plate for Lindens.

The Sunday I showed up, attendance was small at first, but gradually grew. At one point there were 36 people around, both furred and normal human, and a tiny. Above Benjamin was a tag showing a proverb from the Bible. At a couple times, the pastors would sing, some of the congregation getting up with their arms up in the air, swinging:

Bless the Lord O my soul
     and all that is within me
     bless His holy name

For he has done great things
     He has done great things
     He has done great things
He's so good to me

He saved my soul
     He saved my soul
     He saved my soul
He's so good to me

He is coming soon
     He is coming soon
     He is coming soon
Bless his holy name

The sermon was around the passage Romans 13: 1-4 in the Bible, concerning submission to earthy authority, “It’s too easy to speak evil of others ... of our leaders. But we will not be blessed unless we speak good ... He who rebels against authority rebels against what God has established. ... It’s best to examine our own lives. ... Spreading gossip? Stop it! Speaking evil of our leaders? Stop it.”

There were some signs that a few in the audience seemed to be missing the point, one typing, “unrealistic RP.” Then floating, joking that he had been healed. Following the service, when some went up to the altar to pray, a few began being disruptive. After plenty of fair warning, they were finally banned from the sim.

Presumably that grefing was a rare event in this church in Second Life.

Bixyl Shuftan

*Addition* The church is still around, located in Pieup (16, 28, 63). Sunday services are still at 11 AM

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