Continuing in prayer and service
During this time, as we all face the challenge of the Coronavirus, churches are stepping up to help thousands of worshippers and the many others who looking for spiritual, practical and emotional support.
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.
- Church Support Online - a resource hub launched to support churches at this time
- Praying in a Pandemic - a resource for prayer for those who are unable to meet together
- Guidance on Spiritual Communion and Coronavirus from the Church of England
- Guidance on mental health for ministers and others who are offering pastoral support
- 'Together Apart': A rural church response to coronavirus - a resource from Arthur Rank Centre
- A very basic step-by-step guide to Skype calls for the non-technical (written for a Swindon church)
BBC Daily Service and Sunday Worship
During this time, the BBC will be running special services of worship each day. You can see a full programme and schedule details by clicking on the link.
Pray As You Go App
A wonderful 10 minute led daily prayer meditation, with music, scripture, space to pray and reflect.
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!
A network resourcing churches to love their neighbours during this time
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.
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.
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.
During Lent, a wide range of resources and reflections for the season are available online and in print.
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.
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
The Kitchen Table Project
A message from KTP to church leaders about how they can support families in their churches can be found here. Resources for families are gathered on the Diocese of Bristol website here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Space to Breathe
Space to Breathe works with the arts and spirituality to start conversations about wellbeing and mental health. It has released some resources for wellbeing at this time which can be found here. It is also running a support group for those who run small businesses here.
Mental health charity MIND has launched an online wellbeing resource.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Is your church live streaming content? Do you have a good idea for keeping your church connected to God, each other and their community? Please do share these with email@example.com and we will seek to share these with others as we remain connected to each other.
And if you are live streaming, please don't forget to add this tag to your A Church Near You site.
- Church Support Online - a resource hub launched to support churches during this time
- Church of England Safeguarding advice during Covid-19
- Advice for video conferencing with young people From Worcester Diocese
- Practical tips for working with young people during this period From Ely Diocese
- YFC Youthwork online resources
- Youthscape: an online blog of resources
- OneWay UK Ministries online resources centre
- Support for children and young people who may be grieving
- A simple reflection at home on the day of a funeral you can’t attend
- Resources for supporting family faith at home