Online church ‘finding whole new audience’

A BALLINAMALLARD minister has encouraged local people to keep up the good work when it comes to social distancing outlining that “the sacrifices we are making are for the good of others” remarking that this requires “patience, perseverance and courage”.
Archdeacon Brian Harper was speaking this week following the departure of the Clogher Diocese bishop John McDowell who has moved to take up post as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all-Ireland. During the vacancy Archdeacon Harper is responsible for managing the daily affairs of the diocese.
He began by thanking the former bishop of Clogher John McDowell for his pastoral care of the diocese over the past nine years. An impromptu Zoom meeting of clerics took place to mark his departure with Archdeacon Harper adding that it is hoped that the diocese will be able to mark John McDowell’s ministry here at a later date.
Referring to the how the diocese is meeting the challenges presented by Covid-19 Archdeacon Harper said, “As we continue through this lockdown period in the diocese of Clogher we need to hold a very steady path. The sacrifices we are making are for the good others, for the lives of others and it requires on our part patience, perseverance and courage and we must be in no rush to get back to normal.
“The Church I believe has very quickly adapted to this new way of living. As well as closing our doors we have opened our hearts and our minds to new ideas and I believe a kinder way of living. I find that when I am out for my walk people are stopping to talk to each other.
“They may well be talking from one side of the road to the other but they are still talking. People will smile and greet each other as they steer a wide berth while on passing.”
The Ballinamallard minister like many clerics across all denominations has turned to social media to keep in touch with his congregation at a time when public services are cancelled.
“Sunday worship across the diocese is being conducted online.
It is a very new and strange way of doing things it’s either live or pre-recorded. Many clergy and lay people have embraced this and the Church has found a whole new audience of people. It has touched hearts of faith in people who may have found church attendance difficult either for practical reasons or emotional reasons.”

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