News about a Digital Award from Manchester Diocese for the Turton Tech Club ‘Drop In’ by Nikki Barlow

While our Team Rector has been away, his team has been winning awards and rocking Manchester!

In the last few years, there has been massive digital growth in our churches. The pandemic pushed us to share our worship in different ways, digitally, online and using new platforms.  A learning curve for us all.  Worship evolved and we were forced to develop new ways of keeping in touch with people.  Not just to worship God but to offer pastoral support and tackle the issue of social isolation. Discipleship groups have met online and churches have reached out to their communities via Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and much more. This has deepened some relationships and shown that the church is there for everyone.

We at Turton Parish were lucky, we already had a website, Facebook page and e-news, and we had the communication tools ready and waiting to hit buttons, so to speak.  For many Parishes, it was the start of digital communication and huge challenges.  For many people, it was the start of learning curves that none of us expected to stick around.

Although we had the tools readily available to communicate, few interacted before Covid, and many were scared to engage in the change; as we once knew it – The Mission Action Plan.  Lockdown hit and boom we were pushed to the limits offering everything and anything we could from a prayer text system to online services.  I think we all expected digital offerings to be temporary but many have engaged so much that it’s just not viable not to keep on offering worship in digital ways.

We then had a need, many needed help and support to keep up with technology.  Churches needed to satisfy that need.  The Turton Tech Club was born, jumping into action to help and support, offering and benefitting many in our Parish, Team and wider Mission Community.

We have trained, we have learned, we have shared, we have grown and what a journey it’s been so far.  Across the team, we have given tuition, set up digital giving, created spreadsheets, advised on new technology, supported safeguarding training and so much more. We have also been supported by the entire Team from Revd Hannah and her Android skillset to Dawn and her extremely delicious catering.  We can’t wait to grow some more and offer our support to the wider community.  I hereby announce that ‘Turton Tech Club is Going on Tour!’  Watch out for details coming soon.  No one should be left behind. We are here, we are growing, come grow with us…

It was really nice to be celebrated and appreciated by the Diocese on Wednesday evening.  It was our pleasure to sit and socialise with the other 8 award-winning Parishes that have fabulous stories of true dedication and support of their Churches.  And it’s always nice to see our Bishops too!

Below are snippets from the Bishops…
The Bishop of Bolton, Mark Ashcroft, said: “We have been hugely impressed by the innovation shown by many of our churches over the past two years as they have found new ways to support their communities, offer different forms of worship online and deepen relationships with people using a variety of technologies.”

The Bishop of Middleton, Mark Davies, said: “We are proud of the way churches have adapted and developed new skills, while remaining true to their priorities of growing, nurturing and serving.  We hope that by sharing their ideas with one another our churches will be encouraged to try new things that have been shown to work well in different contexts.”

As a result of the awards evening, Revd Hannah will be speaking on Radio Manchester at 7.45am on Sunday 30 October – we will have a celebrity Vicar in the Team!  

Note from Dawn Hitchen:

We are thrilled that the Turton Team ‘Digital Drop In’ was recognised with an award from @DioManchester #ChurchForADifferentWorld                                                               

The digital help sessions are held on the 4th Saturday from midday til 2pm at St.Anne’s, Turton. Next session will be at 12 noon on Saturday 26 November at St. Anne’s Church in the  Broadhead Room.