South Gillingham goes live

The parish of South Gillingham was inspired over Christmas to take their first steps into the world of live social media  broadcasting using Facebook Live. It's left them delighted with the result and keen to encourage others to have a go.

Facebook Live is a feature on the popular social media platform, which allows you broadcast live footage, straight to your followers and beyond.

It's become one of Facebook's most popular tools becuase at its simplest it needs no fancy equipment - just a smartphone, it needs no tricky editing afterwards, and watchers are more forgiving of shaky camera skills as they know it is live and happening there and then.

It's great for engaging people directly in an event or activity and giving them access to something they might otherwise not been able to see or experience.

Theresa Jane, website team member at St. Peter's, Bredhurst, says that the idea grew out of a Christmas planning session of those involved with the parish website and social media accounts.

"The meeting coincided with Lambeth Palace doing a live social media launch of their ‘Follow The Star’ Christmas campaign. What was going to be a straightforward Christmas planning meeting turned into a viewing event complete with mulled wine and Christmas cake!

"The Archbishop spoke about ‘making space’ during the festive period, so we thought we’d have a go at making some virtual space for people to reflect during what can become a frenetic period for many."

The result was two video plans: the first a series of 12 videos echoing the ‘Follow The Star’ reflections, each one a different person sharing that day’s reflection and then adding either a personal anecdote or thought.

The second was a Facebook Live of a guided meditative prayer walk at St Peter’s Church in Bredhurst; this was both a virtual and in-person event to make it open to all who wanted to take part, either live or as a replay in their own time.


Theresa says that both initiatives were firsts for the parish:

We've never tried either before but we've seen a real impact.

"According to our Facebook analytics, the number of people who saw our posts (the 'reach), increased by almost 200% during the month. Also, the number of people who liked, shared or commented on our posts in some way (the 'engagement'- increased by 136%.

She also says that people shared with them how much they had enjoyed the videos and the Facebook Live, and had become a daily habit for some:

"Personally, I found it such a privilege to film, because everyone who volunteered to take part really took care, time and effort in what they shared, they all added such value and created something meaningful to help people engage in the Christmas story."

The videos can be found at https://www.facebook.com/southgillinghamparish/.

The national Digital Team has just published it's online trends for 2020, outlining tools and ideas they they think churches should give a try as they explore their online mission this year.

If you would like any advice about using social media to further your church's mission and outreach, please contact the Communications Team on communications@rochester.anglican.org




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