CAPTION: Rev'd Ruth Frampton led a Sunday service over the phone

Home service a hit as more than 80 dial in for telephone church

Posted: 24th March, 2020

Like many church leaders the Reverend Ruth Frampton has had to quickly work out how to ‘do church’ differently after public worship was suspended by the Church of England in a bid to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

While some churches have been using social media and live-streaming technology to reach their congregations, Ruth, who is Priest-in-Charge of the Teign Valley and Haldon Mission Community, decided the humble telephone was a better fit for her parishioners.

On Mothering Sunday she led a simple service of ‘telephone worship’ using a conference call facility with more than 80 people taking part from as far afield as Gloucestershire.

Ruth said: “The demographic here means that many in our congregations do not have access to streaming facilities and the majority fall into the vulnerable category: over-70 and often with underlying health concerns.

“We are here as Mother Church to try to spread God’s love and support people’s spiritual needs.”

“The coming weeks and months will be difficult for those who have to self-isolate.

“Whilst many will tune in to the national church services streamed on TV or radio there is a sense of loss that we cannot join together as a local community.

“Corporate worship is a challenge since the only “modern technology” common to all is the landline telephone.”

On Mothering Sunday Ruth led a simple service of ‘telephone worship’ using a conference call facility with more than 80 people taking part from as far afield as Gloucestershire.

Order of service online

The service took the form of prayer and thanksgiving, with an order of service available online for those who had internet access.

Those taking part were not charged for the telephone call and Ruth said she hoped to continue weekly worship in this way for as long as public worship is suspended.

“The Home Support that we have set up in partnership with other local organisations in each of the parishes will help supply physical needs.

“We are here as Mother Church to try to spread God’s love and support people’s spiritual need.”

Update 30/3/2020

  • Ruth has done a brilliant national radio interview, covering why and how she developed ‘landline ministry’, its successes, and ongoing plans for weekly 30 minute services. She also talks more widely about some positives in this most challenging time: a learning time “to learn different ways of being with each other and with God”, how we meet, shop, travel, and help each other in our communities. Listen here.
  • Rev Peter Churcher (Coast and Combe Mission Community, N.Devon) has kindly put together a very helpful instructions document on registering and leading a free telephone conference (for either services or meetings) – see here.

 

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