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Hallo again to all.

For almost 20 years we have been Anglicans Online. Our founding purpose was to be an example for the Anglican Communion that online communication was not only useful but vital. We will publish our twentieth anniversary issue in a few weeks, and as we start getting ready for that milestone, we have been reflecting on the chaotic incursion of digital communications into church life over the last two decades.

This morning there was a baptism at the service we attended. Being able to participate in it and share the family's joy was (as always) sublime and wonderful. It got us to thinking about the Matters Anglican that can never be online, no matter how hard we push.

The photograph below shows Lida Cardozo Kindersley updating the headstone that was planted in 2008 to mark the grave of former AO staff member Frederic McFarland. It was photographed by Hallam Kindersley at our request because an emergency prevented us from being there to watch. He masterfully captured the essence of writing not for email or Twitter or Facebook but for the ages.

While talking to Lida on the telephone to plan the logistics of updating the stone after Frederic's wife Cynthia joined him earlier this year, we found several layers of mirth in Lida's crack 'Make sure you get all of the information correct, because it really is carved in stone.' We suspect that she says that to all of her customers, but we're glad she said it to us because it really helped us think about the balance between the eternal and the ephemeral. The image will be gone from your screen in minutes. The server computer that delivered it to you will be in a rubbish heap in a decade. Frederic and Cynthia's stone will still be there in a thousand years. It will take a skilled reference librarian to answer the question 'Who are those people?' should someone in the year 3014 want to know. But the stone itself, with its beautifully-carved inscription, will still be there, a forgotten memorial.

We like that. We like social media, we like chat and email and all that. But there is nothing like stone, and never will be.

See you next week. And the week after that, and the next one.


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All of us at Anglicans Online

9 November 2014

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