St Mark’s United Reformed Church in Wythenshawe, Manchester is marking Holy Week in a variety of innovative ways designed to get as many people as possible – not just its congregation and community – engaged with the story of Jesus this Holy Week.
St Mark’s is blogging and tweeting its attempts to spread the good news of Easter as far and wide as possible. The Revd Kate Gray, St Mark’s’ minister, has signed up to Easter (Live) on Twitter and is telling the story in a series of 140-character tweets. She says: “It’s really interesting, not to say challenging, to script something like this and share the Easter story with hundreds of people.”
Ms Gray adds: “I love the opportunity for online evangelism that Easter (Live) gives ... sharing Jesus’ love and offering a fresh start for everyone ... I'm hoping it will connect our church with new people locally. Social media is an amazing blessing and tool for evangelism which I really hope URCs grasp – something going beyond static media and much more interactive –humanising technology by the Holy Spirit!”
To date, almost 48,000 people are following the 147 tweeters telling the stories of Holy Week on Easter (Live). Find out more here: http://eliv.es/revkategray
St Mark’s is also using its church blog to feature YouTube Holy Week film clips and daily reflections (all written by local people in Manchester and Salford). Join St Mark’s online community here: www.breadbreaker.blogspot.com
Alongside the technology and social media innovations are more traditional activities. On Monday the congregation held a “Palm Monday prayer event” at the Tree of Life centre, where the church building is based. Ms Gray explains: “Volunteers made paper palm leaves and went around the community cafe and shop, asking staff, volunteers and customers if we could pray with or for them. Prayers were written or drawn on the palm leaves and used to create one giant palm prayer tree – we all prayed for just about everything including the healing of cancer, relationships within families, employment for neighbours and friends, peace, and for new babies.”