Alina Delp can attest to that.
A former flight attendant who traveled across the country for years and loved to skydive, since 2010 she has been mostly confined to her home in Olympia, Washington, due to a rare neurovascular condition called erythromelalgia.
She wept the first time she attended a VR Church service, knowing immediately that she had found a home. Delp was taken by the community’s judgment-free ethos and focus on “God’s love rather than fear.” She began to volunteer with small groups, and eventually became a pastor.
“I was given a life. … It’s the difference between endless time of sleep and television versus my ability to be productive,” she said.
Soto baptized her in a metaverse ceremony in 2018, submerging her purple robot avatar in a pool as relatives and friends cheered her on virtually. While even many VR proponents believe such sacraments should be offered only in a physical space, to Delp it felt like a real blessing.
“Jesus is who baptized me. Jesus is who changes me,” she said. “The water, or lack thereof … doesn’t have the power to change me.”
AP journalists Jessie Wardarski and Mae Anderson contributed to this report.
Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely responsible for this content.
This article originally appeared here.