As you've seen in Parts One and Two of this entry, I think St Matt's can be seen as living with challenges on both sides. One the one hand, those that don't want us, and on the other hand, er, those that don't want us.
But I think there's a Part Three to "The Challenging Nature of St Matt's in Second Life, and that is that we ourselves are a challenge in ourselves to both the opposing challenges we live with.
Here's some ways in which I think we've met the "Church" side of the challenge:
1) We have survived for going on 2 1/2 years now, despite starting as a ragtag group of refugee outcasts. Incredible longevity for Second Life, especially with us having such a sudden, unplanned start!
|St Matt's Jan 2012|
3) Finances are rock-solid.
4) We have avoided any nonsense dispute about religious points of debate (yuck.) I (Chaz) personally think it's because we follow the Anglican tradition of, other than the basic creeds of the Church, enjoying a plurality of viewpoints and not being afraid to think and be challenged to think. We orient our identity around prayer, and focus our energy on what healing we can help those that the Church has damaged find.
5) We actually put into practice the Porvoo Agreement (and in Canada, the Waterloo Declaration) of being in full communion with the Lutheran Church. In fact, if it weren't for a Lutheran, we wouldn't be here.
6) We don't play church.
Here's some ways in which I think we've met the challenge of being there for those damaged by the Church:
1) People who were afraid of the Anglican Epiphany Cathedral, or never knew about it, have found their way to us and joined us;
2) People who were battered and rejected by church in general have found their way to us and joined us.
3) Members of the broader Anglican community are increasingly turning to us for their more practical, everyday needs. In January 2012 (shown below), we were asked to hold the in-world funeral for Cathedral member Illendel Foulsbane, who passed away in RL.
This is the end of my three-part post on what I (Chaz) feel is the challenging nature of St Matt's in Second Life. Opinions expressed are of course my own, and not necessarily those of others in the group.