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Churches Go Online!
27/03/20
St Mark's, Coventry go online!

After churches were instructed to put public worship meetings on hold last week to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, many churches have taken to meeting online instead.

St Mark's, Coventry went live for the first time last Sunday. Curate, Tom Eagles says:

"On Sunday 22nd, St Mark’s broadcast its first ever live stream. A small team comprising hosts, a small band and a production team gathered in an otherwise empty building. We streamed the gathering via YouTube and Facebook live. We invited our church to send in photos of themselves watching the stream, allowing us to interact and to stay a little better connected than a pre-recording would allow. Live comments also flooded in, and by the end of the day, over 700 people had watched the gathering. It was a great test of what is possible using the technologies that we have at our disposal, reaching some who would otherwise not be able to come to St Mark’s; we know of some who were watching from Germany and the Netherlands! We are looking forward to trying new things this coming weekend!"

Another church that used livestream was St Paul's Leamington Spa. Senior Lay Minister, Jan Pringle says:

"Last Sunday, we were keen to get behind the Day of Prayer so we had a 10am live stream message from Jonathan, our Vicar.  People were able to watch this live on Facebook, Twitter or on Youtube and it was lovely watching and seeing other people join us as time went by. It felt great to be connected in this way. Other people watched it later and we had lots of positive feedback.

Later in the day Adam, our Curate, and his wife, did a short live stream from their home as they lit their candle in the window.  They prayed and sang a song together and, again, it was lovely to be able to join them for this.  

On future Sundays, our plan is to livestream a children's slot at 10 am and follow this with an adult message at 10.30 am.  

It's been a steep learning curve this week as we've been learning new skills in order to be able to connect in this way but it's been well worth it."

Also, St Mary's Church in Warwick went live on Facebook. Curate, Alycia Timmis says:

"It was an unusual experience preaching to a virtual congregation rather than a real one. At first it was slightly unnerving but we got into it as we went along and afterwards we were pleased to see that over 3000 people had tuned in. It was a real privilege to be able to reach so many people in these uncertain times.

Although our main focus was keeping in touch with our usual congregation, our livestream reached many who do not go to church or are on the edges of church. One person who does not normally go to church told me that she did not realise that church was missing in her life until the churches were closed and St Mary's livestream really helped her connect to the church and to God."

Many churches will be going online again this Sunday, however a bit differently to keep inline with current government guidance. Coventry Cathedral will be live on Facebook at 9.15am, St Mark's Coventry will be live on YouTube at 10.30am, and St Paul's Leamington will be live on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter at 10am.

If your church is going live, let us know! Email Anna Laycock on anna.laycock@covcofe.org

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