Can YouTube sermons feed the hungry?

Opinion comments in The Church Times by The Rev'd Alice Whalley, Vicar of St John's, Brownswood Park, in London diocese, UK.

by The Rev'd Alice Whalley

ON 18 March, I promised my congregation and the local community three things: that we were not closed; that we would not allow anyone to go hungry; and that Christ would rise on Easter Day.

I reported in my YouTube sermon on 12 April that one third of those things had happened (a triumph that I can hardly take credit for). I also reported that, during Holy Week, we had opened a foodbank, given out 36 parcels, and served 32 hot meals. I told my online worshippers that we had raised nearly £3000 to support the mutual-aid group that had grown up, and that we were right in the middle of a network of 250 volunteers who had stepped forward to help their community.

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The church was very much alive and open (even though the building was shut), and we had kept our promise, and stopped people going hungry. This was all supposed to be a good-news story to tell the viewers about how the church had risen to the challenges of COVID-19, and been there for people when they felt that so many had given up on them. And yet I feel like a failure.

4 Comments

  1. Olive Walduck on 26 April 2020 at 5:42 PM

    April 26 2020 5.30pm.
    Rev’d Glenn
    WOW! What an amazing lady Rev’d Whalley,
    We are fortunate in our wee Parish that we have Food Share and Hot Meals for the elderly also twice a week
    at Foodland Comm. Care picks up shopping for our seniors.
    We are Blessed for our Comm. Care, and volunteers in Buckhorn.
    I also enjoy our services and messages from the Bishop on line.

    • Father Glenn on 26 April 2020 at 6:10 PM

      Hi Olive,

      I’ve been wondering how you are doing. You’re right, we are blessed to live in a genuinely caring community. I imagine — but I’m not sure — Rev’d Whalley is in an inner-city parish.

      Great to hear you find the website content helpful. And great that you check-in here.

      Blessings,

      Glenn

  2. Nancy on 26 April 2020 at 3:29 PM

    Wow, I don’t know what to think at the moment. Certainly food for thought. It would be fodder for an open discussion perhaps after a sermon by you Rev. Glenn.

    • Father Glenn on 26 April 2020 at 3:42 PM

      Hi Nancy,

      Yes, some food for thought indeed given the fact that, in spite of considerable effort and good intentions, online church stuff quite often reaches only relatively few folks. Thanks to you always as, I believe, our MOST faithful online visitor. You are one of a select few who take advantage of our online presence 🙂 I think that is part of the point made in the ‘Church Times’ op ed. I hope you and Derry are faring well. Blessings to you both, Glenn

      PS. And… Thanks for checking the website regularly, by the way. I wonder how we can encourage others to do the same.

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