The multimedia fresh expression of church started in December 2011 and has grown beyond all expectations. Elaine Lindridge explains more.
d-church offers a monthly, online, 'service' in real time and its members interact with one another via Facebook, Twitter and a blog to explore spirituality and create community in a digital world.
The original idea came from lay worker Chris Stephens of the Sunderland Methodist Circuit and a team of five of us now oversee its work. Our Facebook page has been 'liked' by 320 people and this gives them regular access to the online monthly service. The largest group of people using this are in the 35-44 age range.
An example of the project's outreach comes from one of the online gatherings. During the time of prayer, 18 people contributed something to the prayer wall, 155 accessed the prayers and at least 215 saw them. On occasion the outreach extends to several hundred people at a time. The most popular post was a quote from John Wesley which was used as a blessing; it reached over 2,636 people virally. The team is particularly delighted to have made contact with several people who are on the edge of church or faith.
d-church has also become a regular 'meeting' place for some Christians for whom gathered worship is not always easily accessible. While it was always intended to be a virtual meeting, the team have now developed this project in the 'real' world with 'd-church@' gatherings.
Questions as to the meaning of the letter 'd' are frequent and our response is deliberately vague. Does it mean digital? disciple? or even ‘de’ (as in those who once were part of church but are no longer)?
However people see it, we seek to encourage an online community gathering that is a safe place to discuss life and faith. It is for those who profess faith, seek faith and who doubt faith. It's for those who love the church and those who struggle with the church. Wherever you are, you are welcome to comment on the items, make prayer requests etc. We leave the contributions online for others to look at and comment on.
We try to follow the d-church 10 commandments:
- do put God as number one
- do remember to worship God and God alone
- do blog about others in a way you would have them blog about you
- do treat the feelings of others with kindness (no bad language please)
- do walk in honesty, it's the best way to be
- do express your thoughts and views even if you think they may challenge the views of others
- do respect each other's views
- do remember love is patient (especially if uploads fail)
- do blog your own ideas (no copying without permission and also acknowledge source)
- do have fun