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No priest doesn't mean no outreach

by Michael Ford last modified 26 Mar, 2020 11:12 PM

Being in an interregnum (and therefore without a parish priest) and having a congregation that isn't all tech-savvy, hasn't prevented one Wiltshire church harnessing new technology to reach out to their community - and it is working.

Gillian Newton, the Licensed Lay Minister at Bemerton Parish, explains how collaborative leadership is working really well in this crisis:

"We have set up a church WhatsApp group, with those who have avoided social media till now being talked through - over the phone - how to join in, by the more tech-savvy church members.

"A few people are already meeting online via Zoom to say compline together during Lent and we plan to have a full service every Sunday morning with individual people reading, leading intercessions, preaching, playing guitar and liturgy and song words visible on screen as well as us all seeing and hearing each other.

"This Sunday will be the pilot for us after a planning meeting with 11 of us logged in, but we hope to have a fair number of the congregation with ZOOM installed on their devices by then, and draw others in as we go forward.

"We are still discovering how to have everyone visible, or just the person who is speaking or song words, but excited about the possibilities."

Robyn Golden-Hann from St Michael's Bemerton said:

"I think that video-church such as via Zoom could have great missional implications for the future, as the potential for inviting people to join in such services is vast: all one needs do is copy and paste the meeting invite from the host server onto whatever social media platform desired (or embed into an email), and then all the participant needs do is click and follow the link.

"I’ve found Zoom to be particularly easy to use, quite intuitive, more so to my mind than Adobe Connect or even Skype.

"These are potentially exciting times when church can become creative and imaginative in the way it reaches out to people. In these strange times, the Kingdom will find new ways of breaking though to shine light into our darkness!"

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