With ‘Pastoral care of the Web’ it will be possible to speak or write confidentially to a minister at home on the couch or when you are waiting for the bus. (Photo: Roar Pedersen)
Posted 27 August 2016
By Dorthe Wolff (Translated)
Are you ill, do you feel a loss of something, are you in sorrow, or do you have other reasons why you need someone to talk to?
For some, a pastoral conversation with the local priest may be an unusual experience. However, in addition to the traditional pastoral conversation, from next year the Church of Denmark will be making it possible to talk or chat with a priest directly from a smartphone or computer through the initiative, ‘Pastoral care of the Web’.
Those who use the service will be able to find support at even the most odd times of the day – and the target is not limited to people in deep crisis. ‘Pastoral care of the Web’ is for everyone in need of conversation.
‘Pastoral care of the Web’ will make it easy to find support via chat, voice and video.
But is it possible to achieve the degree of presence online that is necessary in a pastoral conversation? Digital trend analyst at Elektronista Media and expert in new technologies, digital lifestyle and the relationship between technology and people, Christiane Vejlø, does not see a digital obstacle:
“I firmly believe that one can achieve the same depth in a digital conversation as in a traditional pastoral conversation. In fact, I also believe that sometimes you can go a little deeper.”
The term ‘pastoral care’ covers a free, confidential conversation with a priest about anything and everything. It is an opportunity to talk to another person about exactly what one is grappling with.
The launch of ‘Pastoral care of the Web’ is scheduled for 1st January 2017.
Bishop of Aalborg Henning Toft Bro is president of the project, which will draw on the successful experience in Sweden and Finland, where online pastoral care is practised. [Church of Denmark news]