Phil Davies is Partnership’s Regional Coordinator for South Wales, Counties Evangelist and a leader in Dunvant Christian Fellowship. His brother Mark, is GLO’s training Director, a leader at Highgate International Centre and a Partnership Trustee
I would emphasise the need for honesty, realism and yet a balance here also . Some churches I read today are insisting they meet and seem to be delighting in standing against the government (don’t know where they fit in Romans 13 :1). We streamed last Sunday but are wondering if we can or will next Sunday. We are conscious that even 4 cars outside the church building is not the best witness when the authorities are really trying to get us to stay at home. I felt David Robertson’s blog was very good – maybe worth bouncing on even though a week out of date
Ok some ways we are working:
- Our church WhatsApp group is one of the main ways people are connecting – 96 people connected on that platform. We are using this also to let the folk know when the materials below are produced and all the links to dropbox etc
- Daily email (we spent the first day of the crisis just phoning people and getting numbers and discovered 95% of church have an email). We print off and drop off the text to those who don’t have email.
- Daily videoed thought for the day – at present it’s from me but we’re now getting others to do them – link to Facebook and then on email link to dropbox. Martin Erwin also doing one daily on Facebook.
- Our Lifegroups joined online on Facebook live – it was very special as people knew in advance the songs and sang along with me and pauses for prayer were filled with messages coming through which everyone could see on the live link
- We are using Zoom this week among our life groups – a number of churches have found this perfect for that sized group
- Sunday – We debated recording a whole service on Sunday (recording being made and putting them together using this web site https://churchonlineplatform – worked well for Parklands Church Swansea but a lot of hard work needed before – very interactive for prayer and comments though) to live links etc. We went this past week with a live service at our usual time of 11:00am with videoing / recording happening simultaneously on facetime live (internal church group) and YouTube live). We will have 6-8 in the Gospel Hall (2m apart 😊) and do a slighter shorter service. Like others we had mixed results as our YouTube platform wasn’t set up properly. This coming Sunday is likely to be in lock down as so we have experimented with Zoom and having a speaker preach live from his home and also worship from another home etc. The key thing will be helping the 80-100 perhaps to mute their mics! 😊 [the meeting host can mute all – ed]. We also provided in our daily email on the Saturday afternoon links for the Sunday to children’s activities and videos and also for youth. Martin Erwin’s church went live from his family home with his whole family involved in various aspects of the service – worth checking out on Facebook.
- We planned this week on following Mark on Highgate in this, and also the Anglican churches – Church building open between 10:00am & 4:00pm every day for members and the community to pop in and have access to a coffee, internet (with a laptop) available) and building an impromptu food bank for emergencies with the members dropping through with tins etc (all handled hygienically) to use for needs we become aware of and to give to an official food bank if not. This of course may change by Wednesday this week
- We produced a flier which will be available from the church so that folk can offer the help from the church and also themselves in their street. Bought a pay as you go phone to be passed between volunteers etc
- We are phoning our isolated and over 70’s daily between us as leaders as well.
Hope that helps – it is ever evolving
Brother Mark adds:
I’ve noted that Anglicans have, today I think, closed their buildings in London. Given that these bits are not (yet) legislated, there is leeway to use common sense in terms of minimising social contact (so if a building is open then strict protocols on hand washing and space etc) and availability to provide any essential services or contact.
As we are in London, we are having one of us in the building but not overly advertising that the building is open. It is essentially as a point of contact not regular use. Businesses are still generally open around here apart from pubs, cafes, gyms, etc.
We used Zoom on Sunday – it worked well, and in our context we had a larger than average attendance! So we’ll stick with Zoom. We did it in the hall, though we could do it from our house if there is a tightening of lock down.