Faith.Online at St Wulstan's

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Published: 14th July 2020

The vicar of St Wulstan’s Church in Warndon, Worcester, Sarah Northall has been using Faith.Online as a way of keeping in touch with members of her congregation during lockdown. The service allows her to record prayers, readings and reflections which congregation members can access through a local-rate phone number.

“The service was set up by a team of people who found they weren’t working at the start of lockdown and wanted to give something back,” said Sarah. “It’s very simple to use – you record your sound clips and then drag them into the menu structure set out on the website. The site also offers a month’s free trial, so we thought we’d give it a go and see how we got on.”

When you sign up via the Faith.Online website, you include your telephone exchange and are given a list of local numbers from which to choose. This can then be passed on to those accessing the service by phone. When they call, they can, for example, press 1 for a ‘thought for the day’, 2 for prayers etc. Sarah aims to upload new content each Sunday and asks a range of people to record different items to make it a more interesting listen. It is also possible live stream using the phone line and the team are working on ways to link it to Facebook and YouTube.

“We don’t have a particularly big congregation, so we don’t get huge numbers of people calling in, but it’s definitely valued by those who use it,” continued Sarah. “I received one letter from a parishioner saying how lovely it was because it wasn’t scary – she already knew how to use the phone! It’s now costing us £16 a month so I included a question on a recent survey to check if people were happy to use funds in this way and feedback was overwhelmingly positive.  I can see that it’s something that we’ll continue to use in different ways in the longer term.”

“Using Faith.Online is a really good way to be more inclusive. The content mirrors what is on the website and sometimes I’ll include unique content on the phone line with a teaser on the website to encourage people to call! Both our website and phone line are definitely allowing people to be more missional – when they know that something they’ve recorded will be featured, they’ll encourage their friends and family to listen in!”

The phone service is one of St Wulstan’s ‘five ‘ons’’ strategy – on paper, on the phone, online, on site and on the go.

“Alongside making sure the church is ready to welcome people back for worship when appropriate, we’re hoping to put together a ‘thanks track’ around the parish, which people can walk and offer thanks and prayers for different places – helping to remind them that they can pray anywhere, it doesn’t have to be in church,” said Sarah.

Find out more about the Faith.online phone line at: https://faith.online/


Page last updated: 15th July 2020 9:25 AM
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