Member Churches across the country celebrated the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (WPCU) between 18 and 25 January this year. Even though the England was in a national lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, groups enthusiastically embraced online tools to ‘gather’…
Churches Together in Cornwall (CTC) reported that going online led to an at least ten-fold increase in the numbers they able to reach during WPCU. Missioner Roger Mills shared that “An integrated programme of daily services at Noon, daily podcasts from local church and community leaders, a 24/7 Prayer Chain and accompanying Prayer Board, coupled with daily social media posts on themes and actions of the day together with Sunday services from local Churches Together groups resulted in well over 1000 engagements.”
The CTC podcasts were a new initiative. These were daily reflections from local church and community leaders on the theme of the service for that day. Published at 6am, these were widely distributed on Twitter, Facebook and Spotify. CTC have caught the ‘pod-casting bug’ and are now planning more editions for future events including Racial Justice Sunday and Fairtrade Fortnight.
Churches Together in Reading, like many local groups, held a joint service on Zoom. Members of eight different denominations took part. The Ecumenical Officer for Churches Together in Berkshire, David Hare, reports that it was so popular that latecomers were not able to join as the limit of 100 attendees had been reached. Those who missed the event were however able to catch up on YouTube later.
David was also on BBC Radio Berkshire explaining the idea behind unity and the week of prayer (listen from 1h 21min in).
Churches Together in Lancashire were joined for their zoom service by the Deputy General Secretary for CTBI, Peter Colwell. Churches Together in Britain and Ireland coordinate the WPCU and commissioned this year’s resources on the theme Abiding in Christ from the ecumenical Monastic Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland.