Spotlight on digital
Barcamp Church online 2018 in Cologne – a photo story
Example 1: Snapshots from a session on voice search
and computer scientist Ralf Peter Reimann is internet officer for the
Evangelical Church in the Rhineland and has brought along Amazon’s virtual
assistant Alexa to explore the topic of voice search.
So, here it goes: “Alexa, when is the next worship service?”
But Alexa’s response doesn’t make sense – she explains what information she has found on Wikipedia about the magazine Worship Service.
When asked about the hymn “A Mighty Fortress”, the device reacts with: “That is difficult. I found no song with the text ‘a mighty fortress is our God’.”
Voice search – whether with Alexa, Siri or
Google Assistant – is becoming more and more popular.
Forget typing; by 2020 experts expect half of all searches to be steered by voice commands. A pity, then, if virtual assistants cannot find the Church.
That’s why the Rhineland Church is planning a pilot project. What is needed is so-called “structural data” in order to get meaningful search results.
The participants know that virtual assistants are a part of many households by now.
Alexa, Siri and other smart-home devices is one of the session topics at the Barcamp Church online in Cologne.
Barcamp works like this: Session topics are varied – hate speech, chatbots, WhatsApp features. Virtual church, podcasts, the new EU data protection regulations and vlogs, to name just a few more examples. How does the program come together? To start, participants suggest topics in a plenary session. The level of interest for each topic is assessed to establish a general framework and, finally, the different sessions are laid out in a schedule. In other words: Barcamp is not your usual conference format.
Horstmann greets participants on behalf of the Melanchthon Academy in Cologne,
host of the Cologne Barcamp.
Plenary: Planning the sessions
Participants introduce themselves.
Jan Ehlert, pastor and social media specialist, moderates as possible topics are collected.
People take the mic to suggest ideas, which are
then are submitted in old-fashioned style – on paper.
The bulletin board fills up with topics.
When, what, where? The last details of the schedule are discussed around the bulletin board.
There are serious topics and less heavy fare. Questions of principle are up for discussion. Sharing experiences.
Time’s up! Ready, set, go!
Example 2: Snapshots from a session on gaming
"I’m a Christian and I game; it’s not a contradiction in terms.” Daniel Schmidt – 26, studying education in Bielefeld – leads Gamechurch in Germany, a Christian ministry to gamers. Nerd culture is a missionary field, he says.
Everything is turned topsy-turvy. Their Christmas 2017 church service: heavy metal music, mosh pit, sermon in the form of poetry slam. It was “a bit provocative,” says Daniel Schmidt.
Churches, Daniel Schmidt has the impression, don’t find all this “really relevant”. But here in the session, people are all ears. Amazement at the numbers. Thanks for the look behind the scenes, says one person.
Example 3: Snapshots from a session on faith and digitalization
Sauer, Catholic theologian, promotes the idea of walking – online as well –
with people in their spiritual journeys. Yes, agrees one participant, but not
“buddying up”. That’s why it’s not helpful just to launch any old digital
project for youth.
He himself doesn’t use “we, you, Jesus” language when online. Instead, he tells stories from his own life. An example: the story of his grandma’s death – “My heroes never die.” In a nutshell: not naming his hope in the resurrection explicitly but conveying it in part.
Barcamp Church online is sponsored by: