Telling stories is a central part of the teaching of Jesus and it’s still a great way of sharing the gospel today. As part of HOPE 2018, Rochester Arts in Mission is creating a series of films to celebrate ‘Stories That Need To Be Told’. This is the story so far…
We all love stories. We read them in books and watch them unfold in plays and on the screen. We also tell them ourselves around camp fires and dinner tables, at weddings and funerals, and every time we meet together with our friends and family. Stories make us laugh and cry; they inspire us and challenge us too. Storytelling is the way we remember what is important to us and what it means to be human.
HOPE 2018 is a year long project encouraging churches everywhere to share the good news of Jesus Christ with their communities through word and action. HOPE 2018 is based on a few simple principles:
- Demonstrating God’s love as local churches work together, meeting needs in our communities;
- Continuing to love and serve people whatever they choose to believe;
- Inviting people to go further in their spiritual journey by sharing the Gospel with words in culturally relevant ways;
- Giving people opportunities to respond to the Gospel then connecting people who do respond into Church life.
HOPE will provide resources to help churches to plan mission, especially with people in mind who wouldn’t normally come to Church. It’s about building friendships, intentionally making Jesus known, listening to the questions people have and then inviting them to find out more. HOPE 2018 is about growing the Church and inspiring it with fresh hope, using community engagements, campaigns, social action, events and projects and the rhythm of the Church year. The short film below outlines the heart of HOPE 2018.
In our digital world telling a story on-line has enabled information to reach a large audience quicker than anyone would have dreamed of years ago. When a story goes ‘viral’ it has the capacity to carry real influence and change perceptions. It is not surprising that churches have recognised the importance of this type of communication in sharing the message of Jesus Christ.
Making films, uploading them and sharing them on-line provides a more egalitarian approach to publicity too. It readjusts the balance from the ‘bad news’ slant often presented, to the ‘good news’ that needs to be celebrated. Churches no longer have to wait for their story to be picked up by the media. Instead, they can proclaim how they are making Christ known in the community themselves. They can also show their partnership with local agencies and how they are caring for those in need. It’s not to aggrandise the Church itself, but to point to the reason behind the action: wanting to share the love of Jesus with others.
Below are five short films in the series of ‘Stories That Need To Be Told’.
When the last remaining shop in Sevenoaks Weald closed down, the community came together to create their own shop and cafe. This is their story.
Living Well Bromley at Holy Trinity Beckenham Church in Penge shows how whole person care is shown in practical and Christ-centred ways.
Christ Church Chislehurst wanted to do something for those with dementia and their carers and so they started a monthly Dementia Café. (The musician featured is Revd. Tim Boniface, an Anglican curate and jazz musician and there is a spotlight interview with him on this website).
The fourth film is part of the campaign to stop illegal money lending. The film not only gives information about how loan sharks operate, it provides alternatives to using them, and gives a Christian viewpoint.
Now, just in time for Christmas, there is a new addition to the HOPE 2018 film library: the Strood Christmas Hamper Project. This film is not just about community engagement and bringing hope to vulnerable families at Christmas, it’s about church partnerships. St. Francis, Strood, and St. George’s, Weald, are situated in very different parts of our diocese. They have joined together to form a link where they can share their experience, gifts, outlooks and resources with each other. It is a great way for churches to encourage one another and to see the practical outworking of the Gospel in different contexts.
Other films will follow once HOPE 2018 gets underway. Also we will shortly be posting a blog on ‘So you want to … make short films for social media’ to encourage more churches to start making their own and posting them on-line.
If you have a community project that is transforming lives which could be included in the ‘Stories That Need To Be Told’ series then please contact the AIM Co-ordinator to discuss: firstname.lastname@example.org
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE FROM ROCHESTER ARTS IN MISSION!