The Reverend Mark Brown stepped down this weekend from his leadership in the Anglicans in Second Life group, the Residents responsible for the Anglican Cathedral in Second Life on Epiphany Island. Father Mark, ordained a priest in the Anglican Church in New Zealand, was the head of the leadership team within the group, and also offered services in the English Gothic cathedral build, timed for parishioners in the Pacific region time zones.
In his Saturday farewell message, Mark (known in world as Arkin Ariantho) thanked the parish for their support of him, and recalled the work the group has done since early 2007 in building the cathedral and shaping this ministry of the Anglican Communion in a virtual world. He noted that this kind of gathering of co-religionists from around the Real World, using the power of the Internet, has an ability to bring the Church through the times of controversy and tough decisions. From a highlights video at the Cathedral blog:
…When someone comes up to you…and argues that this cannot be a real ministry, each of you are proof and evidence to the contrary. Here we are, assembled from around the world; here we are through the power of the Internet, and we can worship together. I genuinely believe that, as our church struggles with theological difference, with cultural difference…, this platform of the Internet is one way the Church will be drawn closer into unity…. (I)t may take many years, but that is my offering to you as a thought for the future….
…As I finish up today, again I want to thank each of you for how you’ve been involved. In finishing up, this ministry will not finish up. It will continue, I am certain, to grow from strength to strength, from a quirky idea to deeply relevant; from something on the fringes, to something that will transform the very center of our Church….
The ministry continues in the hands of the Leadership Committee, which organizes regular prayer services and discussion groups on Epiphany.
Best wishes to Father Mark as he moves on to new aspects of his vocation. He will remain in world, just not directly involved with the organizational matters of the Cathedral. You can follow his writings at his personal blog.