Can the ‘reality’ of the Eucharist be maintained online?
Author C. Andrew Doyle, in a well-researched and thoughtful study of both virtual reality and liturgy, argues that the Eucharist is not a formulaic rehearsal of words and rituals but an embodied and lived experience. This requires a shared place and presence. While the church should not shy away from virtual ministry, we should be wary of using the technological realm for the celebration of the Eucharist, an act that is an outward and visible sign of our spiritual union with God and one another. It brings us closer to friend and stranger for the transformation of individuals into unity in Christ. The context of the ritual–with people, objects, words, and all sorts of nuance–creates intimacy with God and each other.
This unique book is especially timely and will be of interest to scholars, liturgists, and those interested in sacramental theology in the digital age.
Read an excerpt
“Andy Doyle approaches the question of virtual Eucharist with the same dignity and care to which he calls any who would dare to engage in deeper conversation about this complex and at times emotionally charged topic. This book is one that undoubtedly will be an important resource for years to come.”
—The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church and author of Love Is the Way: Holding On to Hope in Troubling Times
“Bishop Andy Doyle has brought the full compass of contemporary thought to bear on the controverted question of virtual Eucharist. This is the generous intellectual landscape that is needed for the theological questions bearing down on the Church in this time of pandemic.”
—The Rev. Dr. Kate Sonderegger, William Meade Chair in Systematic Theology at Virginia Theological Seminary
“The scope of the argument is breathtaking. With a theological depth, deep insight, and engagement with the true breath of what it means to be a person, Andy Doyle creates a compelling argument that presence and place are at the core of the celebration of the Eucharist. The exercise could not have been done better: this is a landmark text in Anglican eucharistic theology.”
—The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, PhD, Dean of Virginia Theological Seminary
“I found much to ponder in this slim yet weighty volume. . . . leaders and laypeople in any Christian tradition will find a lot that is relevant and valuable here. Be aware, however, that this text is best with some prior grounding in philosophical and phenomenological writing; it is not a quick, easy read, but it amply rewards the time spent with it.”
—Neil R. Coulter, Global Forum on Arts and Christian Faith