You are here

Evelyn Underhill Region communicators meet to share ideas

Evelyn Underhill communicators' gathering
Chris Whitaker

During a recent afternoon in June, more than a dozen communications professionals and clergy from the Evelyn Underhill Region of the diocese met to delve into a diverse array of communication topics relevant to their parishes. With no particular agenda, leaders from the six parishes participated in an open dialogue and shared ideas.

How do you make an Instagram reel? When is the best time to send a Christmas Card? How can we engage with people watching our worship services online? What information should be included on our website? These were just a few questions discussed during the lunch gathering held at Grace, Madison.

What was the big takeaway, though? It was the importance of communication as a ministry in our parishes – and the need to treat it as such.

Communication is ministry. Effective communication plays a crucial role in fostering understanding, engagement, and connection within our parishes. By disseminating information, sharing spiritual teachings, and promoting events, communicators contribute to the spiritual growth and involvement of congregants. The ministry of communication is not just about sharing information; it is about creating meaningful connections that reinforce the bonds of faith and fellowship.

The inaugural gathering of communicators in the Evelyn Underhill Region created an environment of collaboration, enabling each congregation to benefit from the collective wisdom and experience of others.

Some initial takeaways – and what you can do in your own parish today:

  1. Recognize that communication is a vital ministry. “How are we going to share this (event, story, etc.) with the wider community?” should be a question asked often.
  2. Develop a communication strategy. What are your mission and values you want to share? What is your brand and what makes your community unique? How do you want to share those with the wider world? Who are the audiences you are trying to reach?
  3. Self-audit your current means of communication. How do you communicate to your congregation (bulletins, spoken announcements, e-newsletter, etc.)? How do you communicate to those beyond your parish community (website, social media, etc.)? What’s working well and what can use more attention?
  4. Develop a Communication Team / Committee. Effective communication does not happen in a silo. It is important to identify lay leaders in your parish that can help tell the story of your church. This could mean taking photos, helping manage social media accounts, keeping websites up-to-date and much more. Who is going to help tell your story?
  5. Get inspired! Learn about what other churches in the diocese are doing: Like and follow them on social media, subscribe to their newsletter, visit their websites, etc. The diocese has put together detailed information about digital connections for parishes in each Regional Ministry Network here:

Chris Whitaker is Director of Communication, Outreach and Youth at Christ Church, Short Hills.