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Episode Info: What can online faith communities teach us about people’s need for interaction and authentic relationships? In this episode we speak with Heidi Campbell, who has studied online churches since the early days of the internet. She shares key learnings emerging from the experience of so many churches that moved worship online during the pandemic. Transcript Announcer: Leading Ideas Talks is brought to you by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. Subscribe free to our weekly newsletter, Leading Ideas, at churchleadership.com/leadingideas. Leading Ideas Talks is also brought to you by Changes Congregations Face. This adult leadership study curriculum from the Lewis Center is an ideal conversation starter for your small groups, especially for congregations evaluating their own ministries or engaging in planning for the future. Changes Congregations Face is only $3.99 at churchleadership.com/studies. What can online faith communities teach us about people’s need for interaction and authentic relationships? In this episode we speak with Heidi Campbell, who has studied online churches since the early days of the internet. She shares learnings emerging from the experience of so many churches that moved worship online during the pandemic. Doug Powe: Welcome to Leading Ideas Talks a podcast featuring thought leaders and innovative practitioners. I’m Douglas Powe the director of the Lewis Center and your host for this talk. Joining me is the Reverend Dr. Heidi Campbell, Professor of Communications at Texas A&M. She just edited a free e-book entitled The Distanced Church: Reflections on Doing Church Online. Our focus for this podcast is rethinking virtual community. Heidi’s work is at the cross-section of religion, theology and communication, and in particular digital communication. Her first book was Exploring the Religious Community Online. I share this with you all so you can get a sense of how long she’s been thinking about the digital community. Heidi thank you for joining us and for your work in this area over a number of years. Heidi Campbell: Thank you for having me. Doug Powe: I would like to begin our conversation by asking, can you share the background on how the latest e-book, the free resource The Distanced Church came into being? And why you wanted to get this free resource out to individuals? Heidi Campbell: So I’ve been studying the intersection between new media, religion and digital culture for almost 25 years. So it’s always on the forefront of my mind, you know, what’s happening especially with the church in technology. And in February/March, I found myself in Germany working at a research institute while I was on my sabbatical. And so we started hearing about the pandemic. And I have a lot of people that I follow on Facebook. And I kind of like to tune in every once in a while to my Facebook feed on a Sunday and just see how people are doing online church services. So ...
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