A Trail church is embracing technology and going live with its message.
St. Andrew’s Anglican Church has adopted a range of Internet technology – such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter – along with a revamped website and a new landing pad site that gives people a taste of what the church has to offer.
“There is this impression that the church is just stuck in the past so we decided it was time to make an effort to show that’s not the case,” said Canon Neil Elliot, a self-descried technology geek. “The case is it isn’t boring and it’s fun and meaningful.”
Beyond tapping into social networking, St. Andrew’s has done a complete redesign of its website, adding a voice recording of Sunday’s sermon.
To highlight his will to provide some insight into the modern church, Elliot has also set up a new website (www.connectXhere.ca) to spread the word of a new three-part program next month that will allow newcomers to sample aspects of the church.
“It’s intended to give people a taste of what actually happens now, the good stuff that’s going on, without them having to be committed to coming along to an hour service that might involve things that they’re not sure they want to be involved in,” said Elliot.
Kicking the half-hour sessions off, participants can experience St. Andrew’s contemporary side on Sept. 13 at 7 p.m., get a feel for the church’s focus on kids and family on Sept. 14 at 3:15 p.m. and, lastly, enjoy a choir on Sept. 15 at noon.
On Sept. 18, St. Andrew’s will also put on a simplified service to further target those who are curious about what happens in the building of worship.
“One of the issues we are facing is that people are not coming along every week and we no longer think it’s appropriate to say that if you don’t come, we think it’s a sin of some kind,” he said.
“We’re saying, if you don’t come, we’ll miss you and you can check us out online.”
St. Andrew’s has about 200 people on its mailing list, generally gets about 100 people for mass but that number drops on some Sundays to around 60.
The push to connect with the community is meant to acknowledge that people live busy lives and sometimes church gets cut from one’s schedule but it no longer has to.
The connectXhere site is evocative – offering almost haiku-like condensed messages such as “home is not a place, home is belonging. Some stay and never find a home; some travel and are always home.”
The former electronic engineer is not out to make the Trail church virtual and understands that some will not favour the online approach.
“I don’t think people won’t like it so long as it’s not an either or, it has to be an and or as well,” he said. “I think there is always going to be a place for people to get together, shake hands with their neighbours to taste bread and wine and listen together to a person they can talk to afterwards about what they’re saying about God.”
St. Andrew’s can be followed on Facebook, Twitter, at www.standrewstrail.ca or at www.connectXhere.ca, tweet that.