A REFLECTION on COMMUNICATION from our Team Rector, Reverend Peter Reiss

Our newsletter goes round to people across our parishes and further to those who have signed up to keep in touch. Some read quickly in case it might be interesting, and hopefully some read it more fully. I hope people check what is happening in the sections below the newsletter. It appears on an email or on the website, or via a Facebook link, all things that were unknown 30 years ago. Our world of communication has changed so rapidly – some love surfing the wave of each new idea and invention, and some feel that the waves are crashing over them, unless they get out of the way – since the gentler slower days of the Parish Magazine delivered to the door.

Some will remember the Gestetner machine – if you were lucky they were electric, but we had a hand cranked one in Malawi. You typed your letter on a typewriter and used a special “paper” which cut the letters into it; then the letter was transferred to a roller which was liberally covered in glutinous ink, and if you were lucky the ink squeezed through the letter slits and you got a printed newsletter without too many ink splodges. If you made a mistake typing, you could cover it over with a foul-smelling red liquid. The advantage was that it did not require an internet connection nor even electricity – just the paper, the ink and the special forms you put in the typewriter. I suspect there are many who were teachers who will remember either Gestetner or the Banda machines, while younger people will have no idea what we are about. But please read on!

We need your help to ensure that as a church we do not just communicate but we connect. There are those who cannot get to church – either poor health or other commitments – and some have and enjoy Facebook which is a great way for us to share the online service. But it is one-way communication – it is not a conversation. Others hear about the online “stuff” but because they are not online themselves, or find it very stressful, they miss out. They would prefer a Gestetner printed (photocopied is fine!) newsletter or service sheet delivered to them.

Those who have busy lives are probably content with being able to access the online service at a time convenient to them, to look at and reflect on the online prayers each day on Facebook. We live life at very different paces, and we want all to feel included; we need information to be shared, but we also want to feel connected – conversations with others, not just information drops.

In a world where we are blessed by this wonderful technology – I am so glad I am not typing for a Gestetner, but can choose a font, correct mistakes, edit, adapt etc – in this world we can share our information but miss out on conversation, especially face-to-face. Please let us know what you would like, and please share what there is with others, with phone calls, visits to neighbours, conversations in the street. Jesus did not use email, or Facebook but shared his life with those around him; Paul wrote letters that were delivered around the local churches by messengers. We have so much faster forms of communication, but without a human voice and face in them, they may not bring life and hope as they might. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us – God did not ping an update to our screen!