BOOM in ZOOM – an update from the International Welcome Club

written by Grace Franklin 

Thanks to the use of technology – such as ZOOM – Wellington Church has seen an increase in the number of people spending time on our website. And thanks to Rebecca who has put her technical knowledge to the service of the church, that website is refreshed frequently with newsy, interesting and uplifting articles as well as a totally different – and very inspiring –  Sunday service.

The International Welcome Club launched into ZOOM – a video conference call system – early on.  Wednesday 15 April 2020 will be our fourth English Language Conversation Corner using this technology. These virtual meetings replace the happy couple of hours we have been spending in the Crypt Café every Wednesday in the year, for the past four years or more.

So far, we’ve had people zoom- ing in from Shanghai, S’ian, Hong Kong, Turkey, Kazakhstan and other places around the world.  The conversations range from virus to virtual reality, from  ‘shut in’ to ‘won’t shut up!’  But the organiser of each of the three Wednesday ZOOM sessions, now knows how to work the ‘pause’ button on their screen. This cuts off the speech from any or all of the participants as judged to be practical by the organiser.

Lai – who is the Club’s Friday assistant – and Team Leader, Liz Davidson – and I – are the organisers. What power there is in the ‘pause’ button!

It is clear to see that everyone wants to talk. Always, some are shy – especially if they are unfamiliar with the set-up or the other people on the screen in front of them. But the reality is that they are THERE! They are on screen and have made themselves available to be there even when they are in a totally different time zone. For example – a Chinese academic family who were in Glasgow and were regular and active members of the Club – tuned into the Conversation Corner Zoom session at 11.30pm their time.  Their 12 year old son had just finished his homework!  Along with almost all school children in China, he’s being taught on line during the day.  In the evening each child has a LOT of homework to do. When they’ve done their homework a parent has to text their teacher to say the work has been completed.

Jasper wears his mask
Luna’s son Jasper

That family – and many of the Chinese members of the Club in Glasgow right now – have advised us about masks. It is very important to wear one when you go out, they emphasise at every turn.  Luna who was one of the early Club assistants and who now lives in Scotland with her young son, has received a consignment  of masks from China and has supplied some to the Club to distribute to anyone who needs one. So if you need a mask, please let me know: grace@iwelcomeclub.com

You’ll get it through the post!  And what a blessing the postal system still operates. I’ve been so heartened by the little notes, letters and even bills! that come in the door of a morning.

 

My final thought is – life goes on and we are being given a golden opportunity to re-evaluate what we do and how we live our lives. There is time right now for quiet reflection and re-assessment indeed, time to seek God and feel his presence.

Grace's Courtyard
This is the flowering bush in the backcourt of my tenement building. People have responded to my appeal for beautiful pictures they’ve taken showing spring in all its finery. I’m also hoping that someone can respond to a request to find a bike for a Club member who has just been granted refugee status.


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