I thought I would write a quick blog post just to say how I’m managing our online worship and share with you the rationale behind some of my decisions.
I’m doing everything with the following principles in mind:
- I want as many people to be able to access it as possible
- I want it to be as straightforward and easy for people to follow as possible
- I want to include everyone, not just those that use Facebook
- None of my online worship should turn into the ‘Bryony show’ – I suffer from ‘Look at Me’ syndrome and there is often the temptation when doing video to show off a bit – I’m trying to keep that to a minimum – especially where worship is concerned because it’s NOT ABOUT ME!
- We are not trying to replicate what happens in church online – we are trying to create new forms of worship that work online – which is why I’m prerecording my Sunday services in video format and including things I can’t normally include on a Sunday in our Church Building.
So this is what I am currently doing:
- A daily prayer podcast (with a poem every Friday) using Anchor: anchor.fm/bcjj
- A live streamed Said Eucharist every Thursday evening on Facebook (the PDF of the order of service is downloadable here).
- Live ‘notices’ on Facebook on Sunday mornings at 10am
- A prerecorded video of Sunday Spiritual Communion available every Sunday morning here
- An Mp3 recording of Sunday sermons which can be listened to via telephone: dial 01246 388487
Everything that is recorded (whether on Anchor, Youtube or Facebook) is put on the church website and I’m encouraging people to use the church website as a one stop shop – an iPlayer – for all our worship. This also means people who don’t use Facebook can still access everything.
I have now worked out how to embed a live stream video into our website (I watched this tutorial here). So people without Facebook can still watch my notices live (after the video has ended it remains on the website).
I have 2 churches in my benefice and they both have a Facebook Page. Initially I alternated the live notices between the two pages but this was getting confusing so now I am doing it all in our Facebook Group instead. Just sharing this for anyone else in a multi-parish benefice (or similar).
To improve engagement, I also for the first time this week did a ‘watch party’ on Facebook after doing my live notices. This meant I had to upload our Sunday Service video to Facebook (you can only do a ‘watch party’ with videos that are hosted on Facebook – you can’t do it with YouTube videos for example). This worked well (you can see who’s watching with you so it’s a way of us all praying together) and I shall continue to do that now with our prerecorded services.
I have decided, for now, not to use Zoom (which I know many other priests are using for services and bible study). Partly because we don’t do small groups in our parishes generally but also because I didn’t want to add something else unfamiliar to people in these unsettling times. I know Zoom is very easy to use and I may set this up in future, but for now I want to do a few things well rather than lots of things in a rush (and also what I am currently doing is taking all my time anyway!)
So that’s just a bit of a brain dump to record my decision making process for posterity! Feel free to ask me questions in the comments section below (but be kind!)