The Sacraments via Electronic Communication

One of the questions that I continue to consider as Pastor of Resurrection Online is how the sacraments are made available to those that worship online. I recently ran across one take on this subject from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Visit http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/innews/699.shtml and scroll down to find “The Sacraments via Electronic Communication.” I encourage you to read the entire article. Here is an excerpt:

“The Secretariat for the Liturgy has received several inquiries concerning the celebration of the sacraments via various types of electronic communication. The celebration of the Sacrament of Penance via telephone, participation in Mass via television or the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation via video conference have on occasion been proposed. However, electronic communication via telephone, television, video conference or internet is not sufficient for the celebration of the sacraments. The celebration of the sacraments requires the physical and geographic presence of both the gathered faithful and the bishop, priest, deacon or other presiding minister.”

This is a decision of a particular denomination in a particular location. What are your thoughts, feelings or opinions about sacraments via electronic communication?

Update: Amazon Kindle and UMPH

Last week I wrote about the Amazon Kindle and the UM Publishing House and the possibilities of offering the Book of Discipline, Resolutions, etc. in an electronic format that would be available via the Kindle.

I received an email from a staff member of the UMPH indicating that the Book of Discipline and the Book of Resolutions are now in the process of being readied for the Kindle. In addition, research is being done about the rights around the Book of Worship and making it available as well.

Well done, UMPH. Well done.

I believe that this is an action that is pointing in the right direction for the denomination. A good sign.

What else would be helpful from the denomination in terms of digital publishing, database publishing or other resources that might be offered?

Amazon Kindle and the UM Publishing House

I think that it is a no brainer for the denomination to offer resources on the Amazon Kindle. Imagine these available electronically and portably:

  • The Book of Discipline
  • The Book of Resolutions
  • The Book of Worship
  • The Pocket Book of Worship

I found myself wishing for this last weekend when I was at the bedside of a dying congregant. I did not have my pocket book of worship, but did have my iPhone via the Kindle App. I wished that I could have had those resources at my finger tips.

In addition, Kindle‘s could be given to General Conference participants and updates could be received electronically and in a way that is searchable – no need to print volumes of paper.

What might be preventing the United Methodist Publishing House from moving in this direction? How might I (or you) be helpful in making this possibility a reality?