Get your Church Social-Media-Savvy

ReNew St Albans are pleased to host Amaris Cole, the Digital Communications Manager from the Church of England’s Communications team for a training session on how we might optimise the use of Social Media and other digital platforms.

All are welcome.  This is an event for clergy, PCC members and anyone with an interest in using digital technology to promote their church’s mission.

This session will be an introduction to the digital platforms your church can use to reach new people in your community and encourage growth in your church through digital evangelism, discipleship and promotion of the common good.  We will look at Facebook and how churches should use this platform, think about your audiences online and how to write for them and introduce safeguarding considerations.  We will also look at A Church Near You and show churches how either to use this platform as a free, secure church website or as a signpost to their own site.

Refreshments will be served.

Please book via email to Dave via the address on the image.

The Baptist and the Martyr

Reflection, Business & Upcoming events…

Reflection

What do you do when the nearest weekend to your Patronal Festival is also the nearest weekend to the annual Diocesan celebrations – when all across the Diocese, people are talking about St Alban (feast day 22nd June) and you feel the responsibility of doing something special for your church, marking the feast of St John the Baptist (24th June)?

It’s tricky. If your corporate energies are limited so you are unable to do both, do you plump for undertaking something local because you see your mission as primarily to the people God has chosen to give you as neighbours and friends, or do you take advantage of the rare opportunity to rejoice with brothers and sisters in the fellowship that comes by virtue of being part of a far bigger church?

Whether your church is dedicated to the Baptist or not, we all have choices to make as to how much we work our own patch and how much we come together with other workers for mutual encouragement in our common task. My guess would be that we’re all more conditioned to the former, and that under the pressure of trying to keep everything going in our own churches, the latter may well feel like a luxury we can ill afford.

Our Deanery Mission Action Plan has been written with the local mission of each parish at its heart – we want our churches to be flourishing Christ-centred communities, not floundering centrally-controlled meetings. Fundamentally, it is a plan through which the resources of the wider church can be harnessed to facilitate mission in our geographical parishes and other relational networks. It’s about churches being informed about the plans their neighbouring churches have drawn up and being prepared to help one another so that Jesus’ mission goes forward everywhere.

So Baptist or Martyr? Clearly both … We obviously have to engage with things that connect with the people in our community, but we would also do well to nurture relationships with our wider family, which is both a source of comfort and support to us and a rich context into which we can minister by offering our experience, gifts and talents.

Business

The draft minutes from our last Synod meeting have been circulated and are also posted in the members area of the site. The most recent meeting of the Standing/Pastoral Committee had to be cancelled, but the key agenda issues are still being addressed.

I would ask you to take note of the Diocesan Parish Share reports (related to our MAP Goal 1.1) – these indicate that a number of parishes are behind with their Share payments. Please encourage your PCCs to pay in full and on time and to ask for help early if this is not possible.

Upcoming Events

The Synod social for all who have booked tickets is this Wednesday, 10th July. Information has been circulated to all attendees. The clergy Chapter is meeting on 25th July to consider our Deanery’s response to the rising problem of homelessness.

Members might also be interested to know that there are some more dates on the calendar – notably a training session on using Social Media and other Digital Communication technology (Get Your Church Social-Media-Savvy, 18th July) and, if you’re a lover of popular music and fancy an evening’s entertainment, a concert in Wareside, put on by the Assistant Rural Dean and his band (#vicargig 21st July).

Do share your events and let us know if there are ways the Deanery can help your parish, whether through training or other support…

Communication is God’s Business

Our forefathers made it theirs, too.

And so it should be ours.

The writer of the letter to the Hebrews summarises God’s efforts absolutely beautifully:

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…

In his determination to make himself known to us, not only did he speak to the prophets … he came amongst us – truly speaking our “language” by sharing our humanity.

The Reformers campaigned and even died to bring the message of the Bible into the common tongue of the people, and Christians have often taught people to read so that they might meet Christ Jesus as he “walks off the pages of Scripture.”

So what are we doing to bring Jesus to our generation?

God was prepared to humble himself and become both a newborn baby and a dying man.  The Reformers were willing to die to put an English Bible in the hands of the common man.  What boundaries are we going to cross to ensure that our friends, families and neighbours get to hear about Jesus?

In our tech-savvy world, we need the gospel on social media.  We also need it in hard-copy print in our parish magazines; on our lips as we converse with our friends and colleagues; and in all our actions day by day.

Communication is God’s business.  And it should be ours.  Let’s keep God’s message alive and fresh and pass it on in any way we can.