Faith in the Community Wokingham Borough

Encouraging Christians in Wokingham Borough to Engage with their Communities

Month: May 2016

How to… YouTube


What is YouTube?

YouTube is a video sharing online platform.  Launched in May 2005, YouTube allows billions of people to discover, watch and share originally-created videos.   YouTube provides a forum for people to share, connect with and inspire others across the globe.  As part of the google organisation it is easy to upload videos and even easier to watch other peoples’.


social media speech bubble

What are the benefits of YouTube?


YouTube is the perfect place to share edited videos of events; catching the excitement and atmosphere to let others see and encourage them to get involved.


YouTube has made videos as advertising even more popular than they ever were before.  If you want more people to know about what you are doing, make a video; if you are looking for donations, make a video; if you want to spread the message, make a video.  It is the most popular form of social media for teenagers and children and many of them are getting involved by vlogging their lives.

Sharing Sermons

And for the more mainstream you can video your sermons, or perhaps just sections of them, get them onto YouTube and link them to your website and other social media platforms.



How to get onto YouTube

You shouldn’t be surprised to hear that YouTube have a range of videos to help you join, set up, upload and comment on videos.  Rather than try to do similar ourselves we suggest you click here for a step by step guide.


Online Mission

Online Mission: Would you like some training?
We are putting together a one day workshop to increase your confidence and use of social media. We are keeping the cost of as low as possible and expect it to be £25. This day will be entirely practical, allowing participants to learn from the experience of creating a video, uploading it to YouTube, Tweeting about it and sharing it on Facebook. Fill in the form below if you would like to be kept informed or have any questions about what the day.

How to… Facebook


What is Facebook?

Facebook is a community where people use their authentic identities.  A personal profile is for non-commercial use and represents an individual person.  The people in a church would have their own Facebook profiles which should reflect their lives closely; it is with these profiles that people interact with other people, pages and groups.  In order to start a Facebook page or group you must have an identity as yourself.


Facebook Pages

Pages are for organisations to share their stories and connect with people.  When you start a Facebook page for an organisation you are required to confirm that you are an approved representative of that organisation.   You customize Pages by publishing stories, hosting events and starting conversations. People who like your Page and their friends get updates from your Page in their News Feed.

Pages are predominantly about sharing information although some will include discussions, reviews and chats.  Facebook pages are used much like websites and should be kept current and encourage interaction and sharing of the posts onto individuals’ own timelines.


Facebook Groups

Groups are spaces where you can keep in touch with people by sharing updates, photos or documents.  In order to create a group you become the administrator.  Most groups will have at least two administrators and a number of other people who can ensure that the group is used appropriately and rules adhered to.  This is not a difficult thing to achieve until the size or activity of the group grows large.

Groups are places for discussion and sharing, depending on the type of group.  There are public, private, closed and secret groups.  Open groups can be read by anyone but you must be accepted as a group member before you can post or comment; closed groups can not be read by anyone except the members, who have to be approved to join; secret groups are not shown in any lists or searchable systems and members have to be invited to join.  It is important to choose which sort of group you might like; for example a prayer chain group would most likely be closed but a church chat group would be open.

Most churches will have several groups within their church, these might well be expected to be replicated on Facebook.  Identifying the groups and their admins and keeping these supported is an important thing for church leaders to undertake.


social media speech bubble

What are the benefits of Facebook?

Share Information
Facebook is a cross generational social media platform which appeals from teenagers through to the silver surfers in retirement.  It is often used by families to keep in touch and share news and photographs.  Facebook is used to share information both about personal lives and interests; for example people might share charity events they are involved in or campaigns they are supporting.  Individuals will share articles of interest onto their timeline so that their friends can see them; in this way news can spread rapidly.

Facebook events are an excellent way to tell people about something which is going to happen.  By creating an event for the community fun day and inviting all your contacts in that community you have immediately told them about the event.  You can also share events into community groups or ask people to share events with their friends or invite their friends.  This is free to use and extremely effective with those aged 30-60 who tend to be the most connected on Facebook.

Facebook discussions, debates and other chat are becoming increasingly popular and allow groups of people to share their interests and opinions as they might do in real life.  Many churches find that discussions about sermons continue through the week and that prayer support can be requested and provided without the need for a central point.  However this requires that administrators are active and watching out for any arguments or additional needs beyond that of Facebook.

Facebook has fostered networks and friendships across the world, taking on the role of discussion boards before it, enabling strong bonds to form.  It is a fact of our current society that people do not necessarily live near to people they wish to socialise with and Facebook enables these relationships to continue and develop.  Charities and Churches are able to receive and give support to members who are geographically displaced and this is an important aspect of an organisations’ life and mission.



How to get onto Facebook

If you don’t have a Facebook account, you can sign up for one in a few steps:

  1. Go to
  2. If you see the signup form, fill out your name, email address or phone number, password, birthday and gender. If you don’t see the form, click Sign Up, then fill out the form.
  3. Click Sign Up.
  4. Once you sign up, you’ll need to confirm your email address or phone number. They will send you either an email or a text message to help you confirm your account.
  5. Spend time connecting with people and pages and groups you know and learn as you go.  Most people are more than happy to help new users find their way if you ask for help.


Online Mission

Online Mission: Would you like some training?
We are putting together a one day workshop to increase your confidence and use of social media. We are keeping the cost of as low as possible and expect it to be £25. This day will be entirely practical, allowing participants to learn from the experience of creating a video, uploading it to YouTube, Tweeting about it and sharing it on Facebook. Fill in the form below if you would like to be kept informed or have any questions about what the day.

How to… Tweet


What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online social networking service for individuals and organisations to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent messages.   People post Tweets, which may contain photos, videos, links and up to 140 characters of text. These messages are posted to your profile, sent to your followers, and are searchable on Twitter search.  Registered users can read and post tweets, whilst those who are unregistered can only read them.

When you create an account you choose a username which becomes your twitter handle “@username”.  To find other twitter users you can search for people by name or @username and follow them. Twitter will suggest users who are similar to those you follow to help you make more connections.  Following a user means you have chosen to receive their new messages every time they post; these will scroll with time so you might need to search through your homepage to find tweets from specific users.

If someone chooses to follow your tweets then Twitter will notify you; if you decide that they are not someone you would like to read your updates then you can decide to block them but this is mostly used to prevent spam or problem behaviour.  Your twitter homepage shows your Following and Followers; you can also see these lists for every other user you are connected to.


social media speech bubble

What are the benefits of Tweeting?

People come to Twitter to discover what’s happening in the world right now, to share information instantly, and to connect with people and businesses around the globe.  It is a fluid place where discussions and debates flourish and where new ideas can be floated and experimented with.  Used effectively, Twitter allows you to follow and interact with people outside of your personal network to raise the profile of your organisation and build valuable connections.

Tweeters are interested in social justice and in championing causes; by being a part of these conversations you can better understand the issues and passions of those in your locality and engage with people you would never encounter in your normal life.



How to Tweet

The best way to learn how to tweet is to tweet; you can’t go wrong and you will learn skills as you experiment.  But the basics include three simple steps:

  1. Post 140 characters about your day, for example “writing a blog post for Faith in the Community about twitter”
  2. Reply to someone else’s tweet to enter into a conversation, for example “@FitCWokingham I am looking forward to reading your post”
  3. Retweet a tweet you like and want your followers to see, for example “RT @FitCWokingham have written a really useful post about twitter”


Online Mission

Online Mission: Would you like some training?
We are putting together a one day workshop to increase your confidence and use of social media.  We are keeping the cost of as low as possible and expect it to be £25.  This day will be entirely practical, allowing participants to learn from the experience of creating a video, uploading it to YouTube, Tweeting about it and sharing it on Facebook.  Fill in the form below if you would like to be kept informed or have any questions about what the day.

How To… Get Online

This is the first of a series of How To… guides about communicating the good news of your church, christian charity or project.  This guide is all about how you get online with a website.   But before we think about how; it is a good idea to think about why.

Why do you need a website?
We have all heard about how “a website is your presence online” or “your website is a window into your community” and possibly ignored everything else which followed.  But there is truth in these words and you really might be considered, at best old fashioned and at worst, invisible if you are not online.

If you are not part of the growing proportion of society who are digitally connected then this can be hard to understand, but even those who were nervous about the internet now use their smart phones or computers to find their next holiday or directions to a family wedding.  Imagine these people thinking about finding a church to visit or a community to join or a charity to support; it is likely that one of the first places they would look to find information is the internet.  Without a website you will not even be in the running for consideration.  In the UK over 20% of churches do not have a website, let’s make sure that number is the smallest it can be in Wokingham Borough.


What does a website need to include?
A website at its most simplest is a church noticeboard online; a place which tells people what you are doing and how to get in contact. It should be easy to read on all forms of browser, including mobile browsers for smart phones.  A website is for those who are not currently involved with your church or charity and it is important to remember this when you are deciding what to focus on.  It should provide:
– address
– contact details
– details of your services and activities
– a photo, preferably with people at the centre
– a clear invitation for people to come and visit you
– links to any social media you use eg Twitter and Facebook (there will be a further How To… guide about this in the coming weeks)

If you are a growing church or charity then it is important to broadcast what you are doing, what your aims are and how people can join in with the excitement and community you are building.  The more information your website can provide, the more chance there is that people are likely to want to come and get involved.  This is your chance to show off; to broadcast your kids and youth work, your community outreach and the good news you are sharing.  You can even have a link for donations, after all you never know who might wish to donate anonymously to your mission.

And do not forget that a website is not a one off project to be created; it should be alive and regularly updated.  But fear not, it does not need to be a terrifying prospect.

how to website

How do you create a website?
There are three broad types of website production depending on your experience and resources.

  1. Free Templates
    You can create a clear and easily accessible website within a few hours by using a template such as those provided by WordPress.  There are free templates and others with more functionality which are very good value.  This website uses a WordPress template which has a low monthly fee and is really straightforward to set up and use.  It does take some prior knowledge but you might be surprised how many people in your community have a blog and could help you set one up.
  2.  Website Builders
    If you would like more support in building your website then you can use an online website builder and there are ones specifically for churches including ChurchEdit and ChurchInsight.  These tools are easy to use if you are familiar with using a computer and have lots of options for you to choose from including discussion boards and interactive tools.
  3. Designed Website
    There are many hundreds of companies and individuals who design websites and if you are looking for something different then this might be the option for you if you have the budget for it.  Or perhaps you have a website designer in your community and they would be happy to help you out, you never know until you ask.


scared egg

Still Not Sure?
It is OK to feel out of your depth with this, but you can not afford to not get online.  Speak to your leadership team, speak to your members, speak to your friends.  You might well know someone who has the skills and time to help you set up a simple website or people who are willing to help fund it happening or perhaps a young person who wants to work in this field and would appreciate some experience.

And if none of that bears fruit, get in contact with us at Faith in the Community, we want to encourage you to share the good news in every way you can.

Thy Kingdom Come week of prayer across Wokingham Borough

Jesus Christ calls every person to follow him. As Christians it’s our duty and joy to share that invitation. That’s why the Archbishops of Canterbury and York invited every church in England to join a week of prayer this Pentecost for every Christian to receive new confidence and joy in sharing this life-transforming faith. Many churches across Wokingham Borough seized this opportunity to hold prayer events in their churches and communities; here are just a few examples.


St Paul’s Wokingham had prayer stations set up in the church for people to come and use in their personal prayer through the week.

4b10a5f6-20cf-45a9-adfd-2ada9550bbf5 30e6b3c1-8c7b-40ef-8437-4113d2189fe5 038133e8-82d4-43e8-b9e7-33b3386636ec b06506c0-29b0-4f76-9e3c-0ce6a6c2fa92

All Saints Wokingham encouraged church members to use the prayer booklet “Conversations at the Crossroads” Nine Days of Prayer. They then ended the week with a service combining the celebration of Pentecost with the start of Christian Aid Week.

2016-05-15 10.16.58

St Nicolas Earley encouraged their community to come and place a prayer on their prayer board, light a candle or pray the prayers on the Sunday Sheet.  They started the week by facilitating a prayer zone in Loddon Primary School on the Monday and completed it with a celebration of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

20160509_132911-1 13226786_1086021268125054_4378799743078919736_n 13217597_1086019924791855_5169648160908398090_ocalming-bottle-no-text1


The congregation at St James Woodley were thinking about their preschool and praying for the youngest children in their community.


If your church joined in with Thy Kingdom Come then get in touch, let’s celebrate the active prayer presence throughout our communities.

Encourage Newsletter May 2016

Welcome to Encourage; the first monthly Faith in the Community Wokingham Borough newsletter. Each month we will be sharing projects, groups and support systems provided by Christians across the Borough. This is your resource; to tell the community what you are doing and to find out what might be useful for people you are supporting. Share this on your website, within your own communications and across the social media networks AND keep sending us your good news.

Each month Encourage will have focus on one area of need being tackled in our community. This month… Loneliness

encourage may16 image

Loneliness and social isolation is in the news headlines almost every week, yet it is a growing problem and is often suffered in silence. Thankfully Christians across Wokingham Borough are recognising the need for simple missional actions based on friendship and growing community across the generations………


Wokingham Borough Faith Action Audit

Churches and faith groups from across Wokingham Borough produced a powerful new report in May 2015 in association with UK charity Cinnamon Network, providing clear evidence of the large scale social action impact and economic value these groups are having in the local community.

Among other crucial statistics, the survey reveals that the time alone given by churches and other faith groups through social action projects in the area was worth over £2.6 million impacting 87,000 people. On a national level this puts time given by UK faith groups into their communities at over £3 billion a year, supporting 48 million beneficiaries.


Local organisation – Faith in the Community (Wokingham Borough) – invited all faith groups who meet a wide range of social needs to take part in the audit in February and 84% of these groups took part. They included those involved in addressing debt, social isolation, and community projects supporting residents of all ages.

The report highlighted that in the borough, over 3,000 volunteers invest over 250,000 hours each year, and over 200 paid staff work over 81,000 hours each year to benefit local neighbourhoods. The total financial value of this engagement is almost £2.8 million.

Jeremy Sharpe, who coordinated the research through Faith in the Community, was very encouraged by the results and explains ‘We have always been aware that faith groups across Wokingham Borough contribute a significant amount to the well-being of individuals and to wider community cohesion, and much of this taking place ‘under the radar’. This report provides tangible evidence of this and the figures help to paint a picture of the human and financial value of faith group’s involvement in the lives of local communities.

The report was officially launched during an event at Lower Earley Baptist Church on Monday 28th September. “It was a privilege to have so many of the churches and faith groups who took part in this audit, members of the police, Wokingham Borough Council, local agencies and the Borough Mayor – Cllr Parry Batth – join us today as we launched this exciting new report”

Cinnamon Network’s aim in undertaking the Cinnamon Faith Action Audit nationally was to take a pragmatic approach and  recognise that the government will face a challenge in reducing the deficit. At a time when budget cuts, changes to benefits and rising housing costs are affecting people in most cities and towns across the UK statutory provision looks set to be increasingly limited for the foreseeable future, creating widening gaps in services. Cinnamon Network’s vision is to see local churches and other groups respond to this growing issue and build stronger relationships with local authorities, the police and other agencies.

Download a copy of the Faith Action Audit  Wokingham_Faith_Action_Audit_Results_May_2015



Faith in the Community (FitC) encourages Christians across Wokingham Borough to engage with their local communities by supporting those with a dream or vision through advice, encouragement and sometimes seed funding to make their dream a reality.

This website is the place where FitC collects and disseminates the community development and social action good news between Wokingham Borough Churches and Christian Agencies in order to develop the engagement within and between those organisations and others in the area.