Communications

The Communications team is here to support parishes in communicating with each other and their community as well as looking after diocesan communications channels such as the prayer diary, mailing, websites, social media and the sermon podcasts.

Below is lots of information on different elements of communications. Please do ask us if you need any specific advice - we are always happy to help with speaking to the media, writing press releases, developing websites and social media pages or putting together a general communications strategy.  

We'd also love to hear from you if you have a good news story to share with us! Contact the team 

Prayer Diary

Daily prayers will be published on the homepage of the website and our social media channels. Download the montly PDF here.


Subsribe to the Diocesan Mailing


 

Crisis Communications

There may be times when your parish is in the news for more difficult reasons or the church leadership is called upon to offer comments on high-profile local or national issues. 

In these situations, Communications Officer, Sam Setchell, can offer support and advice. She can be contacted at any time on ssetchell@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 07852 302516.

If your church is holding a high-profile or celebrity wedding or funeral and you are expecting press, photographers and/or TV crews, you can contact Sam for help and support.

Parish Magazines

Parish magazines are a great way for churches to reach out to their local communities. Many churches deliver them through doors across their parishes as a way of promoting events, spreading the Good News and showing that the Church is alive and thriving! 

There are some useful tips to follow when producing a parish magazine:

Keep it simple and avoid all jargon (check out any 'churchy' words with someone who isn't a regular churchgoer).

Make it as professional as possible (it could be the first impression people have of your church).

Think about images as well as the words.

Talk to other nearby parishes who have magazines to find out what works well for them.

A monthly email is sent out with articles and ideas for your parish magazine. If you'd like to sign up for this or would like any more information about putting together a parish magazine, contact Sam Setchell.

Or have a look for the latest articles we're recommending by following this link.

Working with your local media

There's a real opportunity for churches to build great relationships with their local newspapers and radio stations so don't forget to tell them what you're doing. 

Local papers love good news community stories with a human interest angle and those kind of stories are happening in churches across the Diocese every week! 

If you've got something happening, give your local paper a call in advance, or take photos of your event and send it to them with a report afterwards.

Below are links to the contact details of the main newspaper outlets throughout the Diocese as well as some tips on writing press releases. If you'd like any more help, please do contact Sam Setchell in Communications.

Tips for press release writing

Make sure it’s really new and relevant

Tailor the release for local press 

Ensure that when, what and why is high in the release 

Link to current issues

Make sure the key point is up front

No point in setting the scene – do that at the end. 

Most important point in 1st line, not 1st paragraph

Essential to say what this story actually means for the reader: think about how you would explain it to someone if you were talking to them

Avoid jargon

Will it grab attention?

The title/ headline is important

The paper needs to see ‘at a glance’ what the story is

Always remember that you will be competing with others

Keep it as concise as possible

Think about the photo opportunity

Use examples and realistic quotes

Short, colloquial quotes are more likely to be printed.

Use examples, so the reader can identify with what you’re telling them

Consistency / Corporate style – enables journalists to recognise your press release

Build up contacts with the press – talk to them about what works well/ tell them what’s happening

Provide a clear point of contact in the press release.

Diocesan logos

Parishes and schools are welcome to download and use these logos but only on the basis that it is clear on the publication that they themselves own the publicaiton and not the Diocese of Worcester.

Diocesan logo (colour)

Diocesan logo (black & white)

Kingdom People

Church of England logos can be downloaded from their website.

Christmas poster templates

Christmas poster templates

 

In this digital age where communities are forming online, we need to be part of the conversation and we would urge churches to look at ways to use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Social media offers a great number of opportunities for the church, but there are also risks involved. 

Social media guidelines

Communication that demands a new way of thinking

Social media is immediate, interactive, conversational and open-ended. This sets it apart from other forms of communication and demands a new way of thinking. As well as the many opportunities, users should also be aware of (though not put off by) the associated risks. 

These good practice guidelines have been compiled to help clergy, office-holders and staff already active on social media (or thinking about it!) fulfil, with confidence, their role as online ambassadors for their local parish, the wider Church and our Christian faith. 

All are based on principles of common sense and good judgement. Essentially, you should participate online in the same way as you would in any other public forum. Your actions should be consistent with your work and Christian values and you are responsible for the things you do, say or write. 

1. Don’t rush in

The immediacy of social media is one of its benefits – we can respond quickly to questions, correct misunderstandings, give our perspective about a breaking story in the news media. Responding quickly doesn’t mean doing so without due consideration. 

Before posting always think: 

Is this my story to share?

Could this be 'Fake News'?

Would I want my mum to read this?

Would I want God to read this?

Would I want this on the front page of a newspaper? 

This point applies even before you start posting your own content. Spend a while listening to others, getting a feel for the tone in that particular forum, giving thought to how you might participate.

2. Transient yet permanent

Social media updates are immediate and will outdate quickly BUT they can have a more lasting impact and you should assume that anything you post is permanent. 

Even if you delete it later on, it may have been seen and re-published or referred to elsewhere. 

3. You’re an ambassador

Like it or not, if you are ordained, lead in or are employed by the Church, others will see you in your public role as a representative of the Church. 

If talking about a church matter, make it clear that these are your personal opinions and not those of the Church of England or the Diocese. 

4. Don’t hide

Anonymity and ‘hiding’ behind aliases when using social media is frowned upon. It’s also at odds with what we consider the main reason for using social media networks. How can anyone really connect with an alias? 

On any social media platform, if you choose a username or profile different to your real name, include brief personal details in the about section. When the account is a shared one, for example, a Facebook page for your parish, ensure people can easily find out who is responsible for the content. 

5. Blurring of public/private life boundaries

In everyday ministry, the distinction between public duties and private life is difficult to draw. It is no different online. There are risks associated with personal opinions being seen as public statements, a minister’s private life being invaded and the difficulties of detaching from work. 

Consider setting up different accounts for ministry and personal use to help set definite boundaries. Use privacy settings wisely. 

6. Safeguarding

The informality that social media encourages can mean that it might be harder to maintain a professional distance that is required when working with children, young people and the vulnerable. 

Communicating directly online with someone, for example with private messaging, is like meeting them in private. You’re advised to send messages to groups, rather than individuals, or share them publicly.

Be on your guard about fake friend requests and phishing scams. 

7. Sharing photos

There's nothing wrong with sharing photos online and it's the best way to show off your church and what you do. You just need to make sure you have permission from anybody who features in the image before sharing, especially parental permission for children (ideally written permission). Be ready to remove an image as quickly as possible if requested.

8. Stay within the legal framework

Whilst sharing thoughts and reflections with friends or followers via social media can seem personal and private, it is not. By law, if one or more people can access it, content is classed as published, in the public domain and subject to legislation around libel, defamation, copyright and data protection. 

If you wouldn’t say something in a public meeting or to someone’s face or write it in a newspaper or on headed paper – don’t say it online.

9. Confidentiality

Use of social media does not change the Church’s understanding of confidentiality. Within the life of the Church there are private meetings and conversations, particularly in terms of pastoral work. 

Breaking confidentiality is as wrong as it would be in any other context. Arguably, it is worse as via social media a broken confidence could spread rapidly and be impossible to retract. 

Remember: Is this story mine to share? If in doubt, don’t. 

10. Be mindful of your own security

Don’t overshare personal information. Never publish detailed personal information such as your address or telephone number, unless in a private message to someone you know and trust.

11. Get in touch

If you have any questions or issues with using social media, feel free to get in touch with the Diocesan Communications team.

Social Media Safety Centres

A nod to Bath & Wells diocese, who originally posted these guidelines on their website.


Digital Church
Resources for connecting with congregations and community when church is unable to meet.
Open Digital Church

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