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A thriving Christian presence online

by Michael Ford last modified 24 Apr, 2020 07:16 PM

As coronavirus leaves our church pews empty, Church has moved online and with it we are seeing numbers grow.

Far from dampening our Diocesan vision of 'Renewing Hope Pray Serve Grow', these virtual services, prayers and daily reflections are attracting not just regular church goers, but the occasional church goers, the curious and those simply seeking spirituality and meaning at this unprecedented time.

The Church threshold that has proved a barrier for some is not a problem, and clergy and services are now being streamed into living rooms, kitchens and gardens. Church has become relevant and relational on a different level.

The Revd Lydia Cook, Rector of the Okeford Benefice in Dorset, shares her experience, one that is mirrored across our Diocese.

"Our benefice has used Zoom for worship and group gathering rather than live-streaming. We have met Tuesday to Friday for Morning Prayer, Sundays for worship, we’ve had coffee mornings, weekly Bible study, and we plan a quiz night.

"Attendance at Morning Prayer has averaged 14 where it would normally be 3. About 2/3rds of these are people who would normally have come to pray with me as I go round each village.

"But we have gained new people - often those who have been housebound. To see them being able to reconnect with their church family and be once more part of a working church has been wonderful.

"I’ve sent out audio sermons each week which have had a far greater reach then they ever did when I preached them in a church building. I know that many clergy have connected with their villages through support networks - so in some ways we have been very missional in the last few weeks.

"From a multi parish perspective through Zoom worship we have, in a stroke, overcome the geographical issues which have plagued our expression of church ever since the formation of benefices and we will certainly be looking at carrying on virtual worship in some form.

"We’ve kept in contact with our children through a page on our website with new material each week and offered a learning page too."

Lydia reflects that our Church has changed - that it is:

"Different, odd, but busy and fruitful in new ways."

Are you growing? We would love to hear how you are encouraging a thriving Christian presence through social media or in any other ways. Do .

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