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Month: June 2011

Rocking @ Greenbelt

I’m really excited to announce that Fr Simon from Blessed asked us to collaborate with their team for a service at Greenbelt.   It will be in the The Big Top on Friday night at 6pm. 

From the way things have progressed it will be a blending of Blessed with the live music aspects of The Rock Mass.  It is a really exciting thing to be involved with and I hope to see lots of you there.

One of the most startling things about this experience is how technology has allowed us to collaborate remotely.  Whilst we are of a similar mindset we are separated by a couple of hundred miles.  Skype, twitter, email and video hosting websites have made something possible that could not have easily happened even 5 years ago.

Social Media vs The Church(TM)

Bosco Peters has reproduced an article from a local newspaper that has some very interesting quotations from The Digital Nun, Sister Catherine Wybourne.  I’ve written previously about the autonomy of social networks and made the comparison between the digital revolution and the printing press so I won’t produce the article in full here.  However, there is one really interesting point that Sr Catherine makes:

“Being web-savvy should be a required skill for religious leaders in general”

This harks back to a conversation I had with a colleague about what professional expectations are made of those in positions of church leadership.  When I was an RE teacher there were expectations of my capability that extended beyond my ability as a theologian.  The government insisted that I must be able to pass a literacy test, a numeracy test and a computing (ICT) test before I would be allowed to enter the classroom.  The government decided that without those skills they consider essential or required, I would not be able to effectively discharge my duties as a classroom teacher.  People who trained in a previous era were given ongoing training to facilitate their careers and allow their cumulative years of wisdom to continue to guide and instruct the youth of this country.

So what are we doing about this level of aptitude as The Church(TM)?  Many of our church leaders move into positions of managerial responsibility but at what point do we train them for that task?  If we are fostering an online as well as offline presence in our communities, at which point are our leaders being equipped for that?  Before they are selected?  During training?  Continuing Ministerial Education?  I think I know the answer.

I need to ponder this one.  What do you guys think?

Weddings

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPVehvBWJdI&feature=channel_video_title]

David Mitchell shares his thoughts on the changing face of modern weddings.  The Church of England was accused in The Telegraph of ‘pouring misery’ upon the happy couple, profiteering and forcing the cost of a wedding up to an average of £20,000 (£321.50 is the basic fee for a wedding in the Church of England with no extras like bell ringers).  It is amazing how small the ‘wedding part’ of a ‘wedding’ actually is, both financially and as part of the proceedings.

It is interesting to see what someone who sits in the pews or the comfy chairs at a hotel thinks is actually going on with these increasingly extravagant events.

The Church and Social Media

Today, the Vernacular Curate has written an interesting post about the interaction between social media and the church.  I recommend reading the whole thing but here is an interesting quote:

98% of Christians, church-goers and other people of faith who will have no inkling about what this is all about. They have heard some of the names on the news, but will have cast them aside in the way that they would anything that held no apparent relevance, or that which had the feeling of fad or voodoo about it. I don’t blame them – but we have a situation where an increasing gulf is developing between social-media aware Christians, and those who are not.

Whilst this is anecdotal, it resonates with the experience of myself and many of my colleagues.  Some of my colleagues have even said that “there is no point engaging with Facebook/Twitter/Whatever as none of ‘our people’ are on it”.  I can understand why this seems to make sense.  In The Church(TM) the population is becoming increasingly elderly.  I can understand why it would seem to make no sense to engage with something that many (not all before you start writing letters to me in little green handwriting) elderly people do not engage with.

Any organisation that seeks relevance in this age must embrace that ages’s self-expression.

Earlier today I posted a blog about QR readers.  I wonder at what point The Church(TM) will notice that everyone else has been using them for years.  I suspect that we will have a training course in 2017 about how to use them.

Does it matter that a poster has something small and insignificant in the corner that “most of our people don’t understand”?  Who is to say who our promotional material is going to be seen by?  What does it matter that there is a convenient link to a social networking site secreted in the corner?  If people don’t know what it is, does it matter.  For those who do, who we freely admit are outside of the ingroup, “our people”, is it not an easy way of connecting in a relevant way with people?

I wonder what would happen if I printed a massive QR code the size of the outdoor notice board that linked to a Facebook Group.  Perhaps people would actually look at it and wonder what it is about.  I suspect that it may have more of an impact than: