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Dial S for Service

by Michael Ford last modified 09 Apr, 2020 11:17 AM

Everyone seems to be talking about video live-streaming, but what about those members of our churches that have no internet access or are wary of going online?

The Parish of Whitton is offering a dial-in service by phone.

The Revd Rhona Floate, the Rural Field Officer for Wilts, takes up the story:

"We wanted to bridge the gap for those who have no internet access. Several of our Lay Worship Leaders have considerable experience using telephone conferencing in the workplace, and had begun to use it for home group meetings.

"As people dialled in on Passion Sunday, a bleep indicated when someone had come through the virtual church door and just before 10am there was a flurry of arrivals, and there was a real sense of us gathering together.

"We had 41 callers from across our 6 churches and some of these calls will have represented more than one person. The Revd Karen Rizzello and several lay worship leaders guided the congregation through a said service, with the words of couple of hymns read. The service lasted around 30 minutes and for most worshippers should have cost them little or nothing at all.

"The feedback has been fantastic!

• Thank you for today’s service. I was so grateful for the opportunity to be led in worship.
• I have just participated in today's service online. Thoughtful, comforting and challenging. Thank you to you all for amazingly easy ways to feel enfolded into the church family.
• Thank you for this morning's service. Apart from the occasional line cut out I think it went very well. It was certainly thought provoking, and easy to follow - and it was good to feel some kind of fellowship.
• Many thanks to you and those who were involved with the service yesterday. It must have been quite difficult with the 4 of you in separate places to plan it and make it happen. There may have been a few sound transmission problems, but I think those of us who listened in appreciated the effort to make us all feel part of the Whitton Team. Well done!
• We both feel that it was a beautiful service and very fitting for the present time... Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

"We also email out a copy of the service to a growing list of people and it can be downloaded from our website. This version includes live links to hymns available online, so it can be used at other times to suit the worshipper.

"We’ve used several different platforms, all of them in their free versions so far, but it helps to use one that enables the meeting host to mute those calling in to reduce background noise.

"We will be venturing into video and live-streaming in the days ahead, but feel strongly that the telephone-conference-style service is an important part of what we will be offering."

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