Norfolk church offers bite-size services
2006: We have fast food and speed dating - and now a church near Norwich has tried fast services.
Hethersett Methodist Church held its first "bite-size service" on Sunday September 3, 2006, aimed at people with busy lives who want to learn more about Christianity.
Out are going the traditional hymns and sermons and in will come PowerPoint presentations and happy songs in a bid to boost congregations.
The idea was put forward by a member of the regular congregation at the church, which numbers between 70 and 80.
Rev Derek Grimshaw, Methodist minister for Hethersett, said: "It seems such a struggle to get people to church these days and it was a case of trying to think of something a little bit different. Some people have this illusion that church is all about half a dozen hymns and long prayers; we want to try to make it fit more with people's lives."
He added: "The idea is to try to do things like use modern technology in the talk; using something like PowerPoint to try to illustrate the talk rather than just have someone standing at the front."
The topic for the first talk was Can You Believe in God These Days? Other services will cover How Do You Find Abundant Wealth? and Why do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
If the concept takes off, the church plans to hold more of these services in the future.
Mr Grimshaw said they had sent out leaflets around Hethersett to encourage people to pay them a visit.
"We hope that people will spare half an hour to attend one of the bite-size services," he said.
"They will be under no pressure to come again, but it is an opportunity to see that church really can be enjoyable, whatever your age. And who knows, the bite-size concept might be the start of something big."
Jan McFarlane, spokeswoman for the Diocese of Norwich, said the Church of England was also looking at the way it engaged with people, having launched an initiative called Fresh Expressions of Church. She said: "Our numbers for the whole diocese are pretty stable year on year, but at the same time we are aware of thinking of new ways of bringing people in.
"At St Catherine's at Mile Cross they use PowerPoint at every Sunday morning service and they have a band as well as the organ and their numbers have been increasing. At Ditchingham they started something called a Café Church, where they meet in the school every month and sit around tables as if they were in a café. We are exploring these kinds of things."
Pictured above is Rev Derek Grimshaw.
Article courtesy of eveningnews24.co.uk
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