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Towards a Digital Diocese

We’re launching today our drive towards a Digital Diocese supported by a £250,000 award from Allchurches Trust. This will grow significantly how we connect with each other to support ministry and mission across the whole diocese.

We are a huge Diocese.  Unlike Dioceses in England, we cannot be connected physically on a day-to-day basis.  Digital does not replace the power of normal human contact but it can help to enable and expand it and enhance all we do both in community activity and in worship.  We knew this before a global Pandemic and have seen how a continent-wide lockdown requires us to connect and worship digitally. Our Digital Diocese project will be rolled out over 3 years and will deliver:

A new website:

We will replace our current website with a new one.  Currently, about half of our website users are regulars, and the other half are new visitors.  We need a website that is easier, cleaner and simpler to use, that will meet both the needs of people in the diocese and attract people beyond it.

New resources will be developed to enable chaplaincies significantly to improve their own web presence.

New, supported networks for ministry and mission:

We have a Diocesan Strategy Walking Together in Faith and the Bishop’s Council has identified four big priorities that flow from this strategy: 

1.    Better equip lay and ordained leaders.

2.    Present a green church.

3.    Develop ministry to young people and to children.

4.    Increase ministry to disadvantaged people, including migrants and asylum seekers.

That’s where and why new network building is essential for success against these outcomes, linking up chaplaincies and specific groups at every level across the diocese.  Our project will give specific support to these four priorities – as well as to the diocesan racial justice agenda and women’s ministry.

New digital content and better use of Social Platforms:

The programme will enable an increase in written and video content that can be shared across the continent.

For the first time the Diocese will be able to increase the expertise available to all.  This will grow our content on social media in particular and expand the reach and impact on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

We’re already building up news sharing from chaplaincies across the diocese.  We will add to this significantly with this project, linking and networking chaplaincies and target groups in new ways, with support and tools to develop their presence and outreach on the ground. This effort will support discipleship and growth locally and provide capacity to tell and share local stories with the whole diocese.

New training resources:

Digital Diocese will fund the publication of materials for a new Lay Discipleship course and training programme.

There will also be enhanced social media and digital communications training. Whether you need to know more about making YouTube videos, or are a more experienced Facebook user, there will be options geared to meet your needs.  The project will have a focus on sharing best practice.

Sharing beyond the diocese:

We will also make our Digital Diocese materials and products available to our ecumenical and faith partners, and also to parishes in the UK, as many seek to maintain contact with continental Europe in the aftermath of Brexit.    

Allchurches Trust

This project is all new work for the Diocese over and above its existing commitments.  It is only possible due to the funding from Allchurches Trust.

Allchurches Trust has a mission to “to equip and empower Christian organisations to have a positive and transformative impact on lives and communities.”   

The support they provide includes grants to equip Christian charities and churches to help the most vulnerable and tackle social issues, including homelessness, poverty, climate change and cultural cohesion; and they provide funding for projects that support church growth and leadership and share the Christian faith.

This is the first Allchurches Trust grant to the Diocese in Europe, and one of only a few such awards that provides support for projects outside the UK and Ireland.

Bishop Robert said:

“Covid-19 has shown how well our chaplaincies have responded to meet the acute challenges of being a church and being together in these times.  The Digital Diocese project generously supported by Allchurches Trust will help us do both.  Work towards achieving it will be both challenging and exciting. With the right blend of skills and resources, and vitally important engagement across chaplaincies and the groups it will support, I believe it promises to be a rewarding long-term effort for us, as disciples in a more fully networked Diocese.”

Jeremy Noles, Head of Grants and Relationships at Allchurches Trust added:

“These exciting plans to grow their digital capability will enable the Diocese in Europe to reach many more people with engaging content, equipping and empowering people across many countries to increase their digital outreach to their disciples and help their communities to feel more connected. The challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic have only accelerated the need for this work and we’re delighted that our funding will enable the Diocese of Europe to build on the learnings of the last year and be even more creative and diverse in their mission.”

There will be updates on the Digital Diocese project as it rolls out on the diocesan website, in e-News, European Anglicans magazine, and on our social media platforms and YouTube.

For more information contact:

Andrew Caspari

Chief Operating Officer                           

andrew.caspari@churchofengland.org    

Damian Thwaites

Director of Communications

damian.thwaites@churchofengland.org

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Story: Damian Thwaites

Gallery:  Amber Jackson - with grateful thanks to chaplaincies in the Diocese in Europe