It’s 10:50 am on Sunday morning at the Hallmark retirement center, and Evelyn Howell is greeting her fellow residents as they enter the community room. Each one has picked up a pew sheet from the table outside the door. After warm greetings, they take their seats. A member of the staff turns on the TV and queues up the live stream of the 11:00 am service from St. John the Divine. The prelude starts, and church begins.

Evelyn has been a parishioner at St. John the Divine since moving to Houston in 1973. “I had the distinct pleasure and honor of being the first lady senior warden and have been very active in the church,” she recalls. “Of course, it’s hard not to be able to go. I’m just so very grateful that Clay had the wonderful thought of having us live stream the services here. I’m so glad that we’re seeing what this incredible technology can make possible for us.”

On this Sunday morning, 12 residents have gathered to watch St. John’s live stream. They sing the hymns, say the prayers, and read the responses together. After the service, many stay to hear the organ postlude. Evelyn is expecting this church family to grow. 

“We put notices up to tell people about it,” she explains. “As more and more people learn about it, and as more of us become disabled and unable to go and participate at our home church where we’ve gone for so many years, I think even more people will come. We are able to have church right here. One of the women who was here today had already been to the service at her church, but she wanted to come and see our live stream.”

“We have fellowship all the time,” she says, “but it certainly is very special to be able to go to church together. It’s such a blessing,” she says. “It really, really helps so much.”

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