As the Advent Season approaches this weekend, The Church of England in Lancashire is participating in an exciting new digital campaign to maximise attendance at churches in the region and across the country this Christmas.
Last year the #JoyToTheWorld initiative was a fantastic success – it has gone on to win several awards – and this year the national Christmas campaign is #GodWithUs
Speaking today, Diocesan Bishop, Rt Rev Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn, said: “There was such positive involvement and engagement from churches in our Diocese and across other dioceses last year, reaching 1.5 million people. The aim in 2017 is to repeat, and hopefully exceed, that figure."
“There will be a targeted social media campaign from the national Church communications team in Westminster to drive increases in attendance and engagement online; and in our Diocese, our Diocesan Communications Manager Ronnie Semley will play a key role in amplifying all of the information generated."
“I encourage all of our parishes to get involved and to retweet, share, like and follow the social media posts and online material as appropriate; as well as ordering the printed resources which are also available.”
This year’s digital campaign has three key elements:
- Three videos that tell the story of the joy of going to your local church at Christmas, which will be released throughout December on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. They will feature on the Diocesan YouTube channel as well as nationally – search online for ‘YouTube’ and ‘Blackburn Diocese’.
- The new-look ‘A Church Near You’ (the national Anglican church-finder website which relaunches shortly) will point people to a Christmas service or event taking place in one of the 16,500 CofE churches, including churches across Lancashire.
- Your Christmas Journey, a series of short reflections throughout December and into early January 2018, introduced by Archbishop Justin Welby. The reflections have been written for people who are new to faith. People can receive the messages as texts, emails, on social media and Church House Publishing have produced a booklet which would be ideal for churches to give to those attending Advent and Christmas services. For more on this visit: www.churchofengland.org/christmas
So, how can you and your church get involved? Here are five simple ways:
- Access church Christmas resources (including posters) by going to www.churchofengland.org/christmas
- Share the content posted on social media throughout December using #GodWithUs
- Order copies of the Your Christmas Journey reflections from Church House Publishing to give out to those attending an event or service at your church during Advent and Christmas. More than 20,000 copies have been ordered already!
- Sign up and get your friends and family to join the Your Christmas Journey reflections by texting ‘GodWithUs’ to 88802.
- And if you are an editor on A Church Near You, the national church finder that receives 13 million page views per year, make sure you update your page with the latest Christmas service information.
Ronnie Semley, Diocesan Communications Manager, added: “We’re hoping to see a record number of people visit a Church of England church this Christmas and our prayer is that the #GodWithUs campaign will help play its part in achieving this.”