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Posts Tagged ‘services’

So today was the day of the Vicarage getting up to speed with tech. The Vicar and I are  already fairly comfortable with technology – we both blog and tweet and have Facebook accounts. We’ve uploaded videos online before and we can populate a website. Perhaps the advantage of our backgrounds in engineering – we’re not scared by machinery.

Because now church is going mostly online – there will be no Sunday services or midweek meetings for the foreseeable future. And so we’ve had a big day of pretty fast learning. We had to get a church YouTube account, we’ve been drafting blog pages and we’ve been getting our heads round Zoom and finding out about Facebook Live.

The plan is also to record and broadcast a daily prayer service at the times we’d usually host our Open Church. So people will be able to connect when they might normally come in for tea and toast. And we’re going to broadcast a morning service live on Sundays. And we’re hoping to run youth Bible studies and prayer meetings and maybe even some toddler and kids work over the internet too.

We’ve also found a telephone service which is accessed through dialling in, so people who don’t have the internet will be able to listen to a short message or a sermon over the phone. And we’re going to deliver leaflets with details around the parish and service sheets to those we think would like to join in with the services. And of course we’re making lists and aiming to phone people up and contact them individually throughout the week too.

Phew.

And I’ve been having to remind myself that this Sunday is just the start of an extended time of doing things differently. So we can adjust and improve as time goes on, but hopefully start in some sort of helpful way.

The old joke made to vicars is that they only work one day a week. And now of course the joke will be that they don’t have anything to do at all. But actually what is happening is that the week long work is changing and there are steep learning curves being climbed by gospel ministers here in the UK and all over the world as they develop ways of pastoring through this pandemic. Pray for us – for videographic mercies, for photocopying grace and for our bandwidths on Sunday morning.

 

exponential learning

Graph of time vs clergy competence in tech since last week

 

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This advice on keeping a church safe from visitors was especially devised for Back to Church Sunday, which has just passed, but is useful for every Sunday.

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So it seems we all love our mince pies and some of us really go to town and drink champers at our festive services. If we’ve not had to cancel them because of all the snow and ice. Sigh. Actually, we’ve had a very encouraging time here with our festive services. And are hoping that the most recent dump of snow followed by freezing conditions won’t dampen the enthusiasm of parishioners for our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services.

I hope this shows the main results okay for you – I’m trying a new way of displaying them which involves far less typing. As always, the ‘other’ category gave some fun and interesting answers. I think some of these answers locate the church – I’m guessing that the samosas aren’t on offer in a rural parish…

  • Stollen
  • Samosas
  • Sloe gin, apple juice, nuts, crisps etc
  • Fresh baked cookies
  • Yule log – we’re BIG fans!!

A single sad ‘other’ answer was that no refreshments were being served. I just hope that this was only because the respondent was thinking about the Midnight Communion service. Christmas is such a great time for God’s people to show expansive hospitality that I shudder when I think of churches who might not be taking up that opportunity.

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A good headline, don’tcha think? Well, it’s not totally true, but my Twitter stream is already reporting a smattering of cancelled Sunday services. The Vicar is about to call round and cancel our 9am service which is mainly attended by elderly folk. The snow here is a good 6″ deep, and still falling and once it’s frozen overnight it will be even more hazardous for our more senior members.

Most sadly of all, live nativities have been hit by non-delivery of donkeys. The one we were going to attend at our old church in Wolverhampton today was cancelled as both the donkey (coming from Shropshire) and baby Jesus (coming from Tipton) were unable to make an appearance because of the snowfall.

I’m just praying that attendance our Nativity Service tomorrow morning and the Carol Service in the evening isn’t drastically depleted. Some of our church (and Christmas choir) members live outside the parish (and up steep hills), so they may well struggle to get in. It’s such a special time of year for churches and it would be very sad to miss all the fun and celebrations and the opportunity to share  Christmas joy with folk who don’t often join us.

 

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So, I imagine you’re all keen to see the proper results for last week’s poll. I have had a lot of fun looking at these. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

As you can see, the main concerns are about others in the congregation – their presence or absence and whether you need to speak them later. A good thing I think, as church is a family and we need to look out for one another. I obviously missed out a major category, as many of the ‘other’ comments indicated that people worry about their children in church. This is certainly true for me. I mean, how many times do I have to tell the Joker that drumming his feet is not helpful? And is there any chance that the Queen will actually be in the church building at the start of the service? I think concerns over children also count as concern for others – both the kids themselves and those who might be distracted by them.

Answer Votes Percentage
Who is there/missing and why
32
21%
Other
25
17%
Who you have to speak to after the service
21
14%
Music
16
11%
God
14
9%
What people are wearing
13
9%
What you are rostered for & whether you’re prepared for it
12
8%
The Sunday lunch
10
7%
Nothing at all
4
3%
Sport
2
1%
How you’re going to catch the Vicar before he leaves for lunch
1
1%

And here are the ‘other’ answers, categorised (vaguely):

Children

  • How many breadsticks it is safe to feed a toddler during one service
  • Sometimes thigs my adult children wil be doing at their churches….pray 4 them.
  • How to keep my kids quiet
  • Keeping our kids under control (why do we always sit at the front)
  • Where’s my son gone?
  • wait, only 6 kids today?
  • how much longer the children will behave themselves for ! 🙂
  • how to stop my baby crawling on the altar!
  • What my children are getting up to
  • is my young son behaving/keeping him happy until the peace which is his fave bit
  • The baby (feeding/sleeping/keeping quiet etc)
  • work, children, visiting parents later

Thoughts about the service

  • Additional comments on sermon to make to husband/vicar later
  • wishing there was more silence before the start of a service!
  • Numbers of communicants!
  • What is this song supposed to mean?
  • Will the songpro and sound desk work this week?
  • Wow, such and such is here again, praise God.
  • How amazing churches are and the astounding effort that went into building them

The Week Ahead

planning what I’m going to shop for this wk?
To do list
Work

Away with the Fairies

  • the bird table outside the church window!
  • Daydreaming

Thanks all for participating. Next week’s poll – best ways to keep children quiet in church 🙂

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