Continuing in prayer and service

The resources on this page are here to help you discover different ways that you and your church can offer practical help to those in need.

They include links showing ways of keeping your church family connected, advice on live streaming and advice for youth and children's workers. There are also some great examples from across the Diocese of ways many of you are already going above and beyond.

These resources will continue to be updated to support churches as we continue in prayer and service during this time of distancing.

Resources and guidance

Ideas and resources to support people to continue in prayer and service

Prayer and Care Chain
Set up a number of daily telephone prayer chains. Each day a bible verse is passed down the chain with each person asking if the other is ok and offering to pray for them that day. This could also be achieved through a WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger group.

A finger labyrinth
Download and share a personal finger labyrinth resource!

Church online
St Peter's Filton have moved church online; Morning Prayer, the toddler group, the KS1/2 Kids Club and Sunday services are all now on Facebook. Tea with the vicar, the youth group and socialising at the 'pub' are all taking place on Zoom.

Here to help
St Michael's Stoke Gifford wanted to reach out to people right across the parish, to let them know they were here for them. They distributed these postcards to homes in the parish and had some really encouraging responses. From people asking for practical help, to those who did not realise the church was livestreaming services, and were thankful to be able to join in. The church building may be closed, but the church is open.

Church by phone
Wroughton Parish Church are conducting their Sunday Communion Service via telephone conferencing (various free and '03' number services are available). The generic order of service has been sent to people and each week people can dial-in. This has worked especially well for those who are not connected digitally.

Zoom by telephone
If you are live streaming an act of worship as a webinar using a Zoom Pro account, then people can telephone into this Zoom event and hear the content live too. Find out how here.

Online toddler 'Praise and Play'
Yate Parish Church has begun an online toddler group on its Facebook page. Check out session one here.

Sunday Club Crafts
St Oswald Church Sunday Club leaders have been posting a faith based craft activity video on Instagram each week. They are gathering many ideas from Pinterest and encouraging other families from the Sunday Club to join in too. Example videos can be found here and here.

Stations of the Cross
Download and share a Stations of the Cross resource which can be used at home.

Daily Prayer App
Invite people to use the daily prayer app to follow Morning, Evening and Night Prayer. Prayers are also available through the Alexa Church of England skill.

During Lent, a wide range of resources and reflections for the season are available online and in print.

Church Online
St Michael's Stoke Gifford shared that it has run Alpha using Google Hangouts, maintaining contact with the congregation through ChurchSuite software. As a result, it has seen a large number of people engage with Morning Prayer streamed via Facebook, far more than would normally attend when it is said in the church building. 

Posting notes
In Southmead notes were posted through 60 doors on a street and a WhatsApp group setup to enable neighbours to help support each other. People responded by doing bits of shopping for elderly neighbours and those self isolating. It has generating an enhanced community spirit – which it is hoped will be a lasting legacy

Crafty Celebration
In Kingswood the church is already planning a celebration to be held at the end of this confinement period at which people can share the craft projects they have been working on during distancing and isolation.

Virtual gatherings
Cotham Parish Church is holding a Daily Virtual Gathering at 8pm. This is an invitation to all to pause together for 15 minutes to engage in prayer, or silence, or meditation in quiet loving solidarity with each other. A Virtual Book Group, Virtual Coffee Mornings and a Virtual Art Group are also being developed.

Spiritual Communion
Kingsway Benefice have shared this resource for praying through a communion service when you are not able to attend. They have also sent a morning prayer liturgy to their congregation and have created a regular telephone connection to the congregation.

Christ Church Swindon
Have created two unique Easter sculptures on the green outside the front of the church. Titled Easter Regeneration 2020, The Crucifixion Recycled and Resurrection, they have been created as modern regeneration pieces to prompt the community to think about the meaning of Easter.

Keeping contact
At All Hallows, members of the church are sending prayers, a thought for the day, a meditation, home worship resources and homilies regularly to those who are part of the church and particularly focusing on keeping in contact with the elderly members.

Zoom Alpha
Pattern Church ran its morning Alpha course on Zoom. It shared that it was really fun with lots of belly laughs as it began, followed by brilliant conversations in Zoom's "Breakout Rooms" function for the small groups time. The church repeated this for its evening Alpha group too.

Zoom Messy Church
Christ Church Downend hosted a midweek Messy Church session on Zoom for all those who are normally part of their Messy Church congregation.

Invitational Coaching
Remote coaching is still available for all church leaders from Michael Harvey; founder of the National Weekend of Invitation. Why not access these one-to-one sessions to think through what invitation looks like now and in the future.

Christian Action Bristol
CAB is coordinating a churches response in Bristol. You can find out more about its emergency appeal and opportunities to support practical action on its website.

Compassionate Swindon
In Swindon, opportunities for taking action are being coordinated by Voluntary Action Swindon (VAS), which the churches of Swindon have agreed to support.

Please check back again soon for more ideas.
Our full 101-ideas database can be 
found here.

Keeping a church connected digitally during this time of distancing (including live streaming advice)

The Church of England is offering advice and a series of webinars exploring how churches can use digital communications, including live streaming, to keep connected with those who attend church services and events, as well as reaching out and caring for those in your local community.

Click here for full guidance from the Church of England on live streaming at this time.

Click here to find out more about the webinars.

The Diocese of Bristol will also be releasing regular video messages from Bishop Viv as well as homilies to share every Sunday on our YouTube page.

Advice and information about providing church services online can be found here.

Zoom Video conferencing tool.
Church Service Planner This neat little tool allows you to really easily create a service running order of text and videos (including a YouTube livestream) and then email that service to people to see. Example service here.
FaithOnline Is a service that can provide hardware for livestreaming and a solution for streaming video online alongisde sending the audio feed to a dedicated telephone number.
Church Online Platform Free software which enables you to send out a pre-recorded service and facilitate live chat. 

You can find some guidance on producing video content for online in our 'How to...' guide here.
Here is a really helpful video, from the Diocese of Manchester about how to make great videos for online worship.

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