In 2003 Linden Lab launched a virtual world called Second Life. At 1:12 p.m. on May 10, 2020 — just to pick an example — there were 55,244 persons logged in and actively engaged in doing everything one can do in the real world.
Some have thought of it as a game. It’s not. In fact, that is a sure way to make a Second Life resident very unhappy. For us it is not a game (although it can be a lot of fun!), it is a “second life.” And like life in the real world one can shop, play golf, attend a concert, visit a gallery, build a home and furnish it, get a job, and go to church.
Living in a virtual world is like living in the real world except that the body used in-world is an avatar that one designs exactly as preferred. It can interact with all the other avatars and it can walk, run, fly and instantly teleport from place to place.
The avatars are controlled by people from every conceivable walk of life and living anyplace on the planet where they can use a personal computer connected to the internet. Some of them work for major business organizations and receive their company-delivered training in-world. Some are pursuing a master’s degree at a major university. Others are simply looking for a way to meet people, share ideas or perhaps get some help. And some are looking for a way to find God. You will find more about the importance we place on helping people on their faith journey on our Theology Page.
Religious services are part of in-world life and the opportunities for exploring, learning and growing are limited only by the imagination. Perhaps especially important is the chance to connect with people who have felt marginalized and who have chosen Second Life as a means of getting some comfort that they have not found in real world settings. And for others, it is just convenient and fun!
There are even very practical uses for which an in-world presence is a great a benefit. Among those uses are meetings – either “formal” or ad hoc among friends. And you can visit at any hour of the day or night, right from home, and you don’t even have to get dressed up, or get in the car, or travel someplace, or find a place to park or… well you get the idea! And we have night clubs for dancing, too! Yes, fellowship opportunities are part of this ministry. If you’d like to see how a building takes shape, some pictures are here.
The “grammar” — the “how to use it” — of technology and social media has become commonplace and its use is growing everyday. We thought that the time is right to begin to utilize this incredible tool in the service of all who are looking for a wonderful way to connect. And so, this project has launched a place for people to gather, discuss, socialize, worship and ponder the gifts that God has given us, including the gift of technology!