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Livestreaming in West Downland

As lockdown restrictions eased and churches started to hold more on-site services, those who were still housebound or apprehensive about getting straight back to normal missed out on joining in worship and church services when they weren’t available to stream online.

tripod with camera set up for recording church service and young female sat with a Laptop preparing a live streamIn the West Downland Benefice, with six parishes and eight churches, they felt it was a shame that not all those who wanted could be part of the church services. So, they sought to find a way of offering services live online for the longer term.  

With a £1,000 grant from the diocese and a small pot of their own funds, the benefice was able to purchase a laptop, recording equipment and a 4G router providing transportable internet connectivity in seven out of its eight churches.

Streaming services online meant many people could join in worship more regularly than usual, including those who can find it difficult to access church and those whose participation is limited when in person due to their physical limitations.

The Revd Miri Keen, Rector of the Benefice, shared her optimism about the new internet connectivity:

“During the lockdowns, like most churches, we moved our services online. We discovered that people who were living further away and couldn’t visit their families were joining us online so they could be at church together. In the colder months of the year, some of the elderly members of our congregations come to church a lot less but having online services made a huge difference to their participation and they have continued to join us several times a week. We gain so much from the wisdom of this generation, and it has been such a privilege to have them be part of regular worship.

“The grant has enabled us to have internet access in almost all of our churches should we need it, and we are excited by the new possibilities it offers us to expand our mission and ministry in our communities. One of our young people helps with live streaming, through the pandemic she has blossomed in her role supporting the church in this way which is a joy to see.

“Our Christmas Day service at St Mary’s Great Shefford was the first service we streamed online using the new equipment and those who were self-isolating in their homes worshipped with us and their family members from different parts of the country.

“We also include a time before and after each service so that those who are at home can engage with coffee time and chat with one another and with those attending the service in person. This is a key element of our worship together during lockdowns and has enabled us to build up our community life and deepen our fellowship. Online church has created an equality of participation, people see and hear one another in a new way.”

Teenage girl setting up camera on a tripod in a churchWould your church benefit from a digital grant?

Thanks to a generous private donation, the diocese is able to provide grants of up to £1,000 for churches for investing in introducing internet connectivity/Wi-Fi into their church building for live streaming. The diocese is also able to provide funds for churches wishing to purchase a livestreaming kit. 

Find out more and apply for a grant on the Capital Fundraising page of our website.

Page last updated: Monday 7th March 2022 3:52 PM
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