One of the organisers, CTE’s Rev Dr Ben Aldous, reports on the webinar held on Thursday 22 April…
Whatever else the pandemic has taught us it certainly been a catalyst for recognising the deep need to work together. To that end HOPE Together, Evangelical Alliance and CTE made a commitment to work together more closely at the beginning of 2021 believing that no one unity movement can do the work of bringing churches and Christian’s together alone.
Sensing that many church leaders from across the denominational spectrum were struggling with the challenge of meeting both online and in actual buildings we devised a webinar bringing together church leaders with a variety of experiences and practical skills. What are the ways we can explore being a hybrid church?
322 people tuned into the Zoom room to be with us.
Jo Cox Darling, Methodist minister at Trinity Church in Codsall, Staffordshire and co-author of the recent Hybrid Church from Grove Books suggested that Hybrid Church is about finding ways to be radically inclusive to those who are socially isolated, physically distanced, living with chronic or acute illness – in essence to meet with Jesus. She grounded her theological reflections with fantastic examples of the messiness of trying to balance in person and online church. Finishing with helpful ideas that
- Hybrid church extends our practice and understand of church to the missional margins and beyond
- Hybrid church is about radical inclusivity
- Hybrid church is about enabling people to be embodied and connected, in ways that they have been prevented from doing – especially (but not exclusively) in a pandemic
Matt Smith the Online and Resource Development Pastor from Bent Tree church in Texas also shared Lessons Learnt from 10+ years of Hybrid Church especially in the context of a larger multi-site church setting. He suggested that Hybrid church was more than just people turning up in their pajamas and that the church needed to see that this was a genuine missional opportunity to connect with people who just don’t do church in normal circumstances.
Finally, Adrian Semerene a Baptist minister from Gamlingay a rural setting between Bedford and Cambridge shared very practically on this journey into live streaming his services from the first week of the initial lockdown.
A recording of the webinar is now available to watch on YouTube
Part 2 – the second webinar
The next Edging in to Hybrid Church webinar is set for Thursday 20 May 2021, from 2-3.30pm. It will include speakers from a rural context multi-church benefice with places where there is no power and no wifi and a practitioner based in London working with digital natives.
Book a place for 20 May webinar