Reflections on Wednesday Meeting with Chaplain John Wilkinson

By Jacob Vlaanderen

For this week’s Wednesday online meeting, our guest was Chaplain John Wilkinson from Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral in Brussels. Like always, the diverse group of participants makes these meetings interesting. The Anglican church in Brussels is a large and diverse community in the capital of the European Union. They normally provide four Sunday services in different languages, starting with a small early morning prayer group, and continuing with a larger, traditional Anglican morning service. Later in the day is a special African afternoon service, and Sunday evening ends with a service aimed at young people using contemporary music.

As with everywhere, Covid has profoundly changed life in Brussels. The church has invested a lot in good technical equipment, and tried to think of the zoom meetings as a “new friend”, although certain aspects such as Holy Communion simply cannot be replaced. Chaplain John did mention some things that can help people to upgrade the Zoom experience, like putting your computer or phone in a more intimate spot of the house, physically taking out your copy of the bible, and lighting a candle. They also believe that Zoom has now taken a definitive place in church life. It has made the church more accessible for a wider community, but they are very happy to slowly reopen now in the Lent season.

They are currently holding hybrid services through Lent up to Holy Week, which is normally an important time for the church. One particularly big event is a live performance of one of the Bach passions of Good Friday, which has been postponed for a second year now. They also normally do an event in the church called Stations of the Passion, which is visualized by art. This year they plan to move it outdoors around the church, which visitors and passersby can safely enjoy. A lot of activities are still going on, such as the Online Seniors Spring Tea Party. For a list of all activities, you can visit their website: www.holytrinity.be

One thing that they have learned is that using PowerPoint presentations for the liturgy instead of using a songbook gives more flexibility. Also, everybody can now find them online. So in the post-COVID time, a lot of their positive changes will stay. Some people even like the “Zoom church” more than the physical church. Thanks again to everyone who participated in this fruitful discussion!

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