First UCC News

First Baptism in Virtual Reality and Real Life

1st UCC Worship Center, Second life -- First UCC Second Life added another first to our history of first time in virtual reality events with the baptism of Jonni Connor on Sunday, January 7, 2018.  The date was Gun Violence Posterchosen to coincide with the liturgical calendar date established to commemorate the Baptism of Christ.  The baptism was done as part of the regular Sunday evening worship service so that it could be done in community.  Recognizing that the feeling associated with real water is an important part of this once in a lifetime event, a member of Jonni's family sprinkled water on Jonni at the same time the baptism was done in the First UCC Second Life baptistry.  The liturgy also recognized the significance of not baptizing an avatar, but rather the actual person behind the avatar.  Jonni's real life name was used during the ceremony.

The event was joyfully witnessed by a record worship attendance.  Jonni has been a part of the First UCC Second Life community for over two years and was asked to be part of the lay staff.  Jonni serves as a "Guide," the First UCC Second Life equivalent of a real life usher.  In that capacity Jonni has welcomed visitors to the virtual island campus.  His association with the church prompted him to ask to be baptized and Pastor Kris began investigating how that might be done.  Her research and consultation with an expert colleague led to the baptism liturgy, an adaptation of the UCC Book of Worship liturgy, used in this first-of-the-kind event.  The sacrament of Holy Communion is also celebrated at First UCC Second Life and was included in the service.

The picture was taken by a member of the congregation during the service and presented to Jonni as a gift commemorating the occasion of his baptism in both the real and virtual worlds.  Other pictures of the service are here.

First UCC SL Joins Gun Violence Nationwide Events

Gun Violence Poster

1st UCC Campus, Second Life -- In a world plagued with gun violence and the agony associated with the shootings that seem constantly in the news, First UCC Second Life will participate in the 2017 Nationwide Vigils and Events to End Gun Violence.  Since the tragedy at Sandy Hook a half million Americans have been injured or killed by guns. 

Rev. Christine Ng (Kris Metcalfng in Second Life) is coordinating planned observances for our worship services on December 14, 16 and 17.  A schedule of worship services is available on the calendar page.  First UCC Second Life regularly offers worship or special events to address crisis situations.

Sponsoring organizations for the nationwide effort include The Newtown Foundation, Newtown Action Alliance, Brady Campaign  to Prevent Gun Violence, Everytown Survivor Network, Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Organizing for Action, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, St. Marks Episcopal Church and Women's March.

Pirates Invade First UCC Second Life  

1st UCC Campus, Second Life -- The November themed dance party found members and friends invited to "party like a pirate." Partying Like a Pirate Event coordinator Marie Fairport did the decorating and her husband Kiva Fairport was DJ for the evening.  Speaking of the music played during the two-hour event, one party-goer remarked, "I never knew there were this many pirate songs!" 

A different themed dance event is held each month on First UCC's virtual campus.  Most events are held in the Club Diversity Ballroom on the top floor of the Worship Center building.  Those attending use the campus teleport system to get to the club.

Some of the planned events celebrate a particular time of year.  The December event will be the annual Christmas Party.  In February party-goers will dress up for the Snow Ball.  All social and worship events are listed on the campus events display on the main landing.  The church website calendar page also includes a complete events listing.