Hope church Wirral is technically very savvy. We are active on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and whatever else is available. Since the epidemic we have been socialising on zoom. It has become apparent that social media and zoom in particular are very difficult for some people but especially older people to come to terms with. In fact they can make isolation feel worse.
We wanted to find a way that people who are having these difficulties could communicate with us easily. We also wanted to reach the local community in a way that was non threatening and allowed them to be in control.
We found a provider called text local that reasonably cheaply would offer a text and automated reply service that we could use.
We are shortly going to be taking a Christmas card around all the houses locally which will have an insert inviting people to use this service – see image at the top of this post.
The rationale is that almost everybody can text nowadays and all they have to remember is 66777 and the keyword PRAYNOW. The system automatically responds with a text saying that we will contact them shortly. Of course if they have disabled caller ID on their phone that won’t work but we live in hope.
The system has only just been set up and the publicity has not yet gone out, neither have we added the details to our social media yet.
We are hoping and praying that it enables all members of the community to feel connected in a way that they may not through ordinary social media. We pray that it enables the community to reach out to us in a non threatening way so that we can begin to develop a relationship with them by respond to their current needs. Time will tell.
The wider prayer team at Hope church have offered to field the calls and can call on the wider leadership team if necessary for assistance. There is of course no guarantee that all texts will be local and if it becomes popular then we could be inundated. That would be a great problem to have!
Julie Woods is a longstanding Partnership company member, as well as being a member of Hope Church, Wirrall.