Communications, press and the media
If you are a member of the press and you have an enquiry for the Diocese of Bristol, please contact Ben Evans in the first instance:
Phone: 0117 9060127
Mobile: 07821 733128
If you are a parish looking for communications support, then please see the advice, resources and guidance below. This has been provided to help parishes explore social media, use our corporate branding appropriately and to publicise an upcoming event. For further information and guidance, please contact Diocesan Communications Officer, Ben Evans.
In many ways, the Church is the original social network – it connects people and encourages them to participate and to reach out to others.
We can use social media and e-communications as a Church to enhance our identity and community, learning and communication, mission and ministry. But alongside these opportunities are also risks: social media increases and accelerates the positive and negative aspects of any communication.
If you would not
- say something in a public meeting or to someone’s face
- write something in a local newspaper or on headed notepaper
DO NOT put it online.
- Increases communications impact, scale, efficiency and immediacy
- Online and electronic communication enables you to communicate immediately with potentially large numbers of people. Technology makes it simple. There is no printing or mailing. You can share your message in powerful and effective ways and others can then share it and pass it on.
- Builds relationships and community
- Social media feels personal. It is interactive. It provides ways of connecting to other people in a communal way. It can be used to build the Body of Christ and include others. It is a great way for the Church to live out and extend its corporate life. As we express our life online, those outside the Church can observe its witness.
- Provides opportunities for participation, collaboration, feedback
- Social media is not purely broadcasting. It enables people to participate and collaborate together. There are great examples of how social media has been used for social change. It also provides an opportunity to get feedback.
- Reaches and connects with new groups where they are communicating
- Social media is a space where people who the Church struggles to connect with are communicating. And we can join them in that space. Social media presents ways in which we can engage in mission.
- Enhances learning and generates ideas
- New ideas and learning can be shared and explored through social media. Discipleship can be fostered and nurtured.
- Forming inappropriate relationships.
- It is perhaps easier to form inappropriate relationships using social media. Online banter and private messaging can both lead to a level of intimacy that you would naturally guard against.
- The professional distance that it is important for ministers to maintain can easily disappear when you are connected to someone – either at your instigation or at theirs. This is particularly important with members of the opposite sex, children and young people and the vulnerable. We must safeguard ourselves so that content could not be perceived as sexual grooming.
- Saying things you should not – with increased impact.
- Social media is public, permanent and has published status. However, people have a tendency online of being indiscrete about themselves, other people and, in our context, the Christian faith and Church. This can then be picked up and shared widely. There is a risk of illegal comments that could be seen as hate crimes, libellous, defamatory remarks etc.
- Our online behaviour and communication could be something that lets down the reputation of the church in the eyes of the community.
- Breach of confidentiality and gossip.
- As with saying things you should not, electronic and online communication can be used to breach confidentiality and spread gossip.
- Blurring of public ministry/private life boundaries
- The distinction between public ministry and private life is difficult to draw. This is no different online. There are risks associated with personal opinions being seen as public statements, a minister’s private life being invaded and the difficulties of detaching from their work.
- It is advised that ministers draw clear boundaries around their social media usage associated with their private life and use different social media for their public ministry (e.g. only use a Facebook page, Twitter or blogs for public ministry while keeping a Facebook profile for private life – see Social media tools).
- Bullying, harassment and malicious accusations.
- Social media can be used to bully and harass others and is a forum for malicious accusations. Young people are particularly vulnerable to this.
- Grooming and impersonation.
Publicising an event
If you have an upcoming event that you would like the Diocese to publicise, please contact the Diocesan Communications Officer, Ben Evans.
If your parish would like to discuss branding or managing corporate identity, please contact Ben Evans.
All Church of England dioceses and parishes can use the logos found below. Service sheets, news and notice sheets, web sites, stationery and external signage are all excellent places to make use of the artwork. External companies, or for copyright queries or to get hold of higher-resolution or vector artwork, please contact Ben Evans.
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