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Dial-a-Sermon: being church “wherever we are”

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In these days of self-isolation, when we are staying in our homes and not able to go to church services as normal, there has been a surge in the use of online streaming services to connect our communities together.

With so many people in Norfolk and Waveney living in rural areas where broadband signal is less reliable or who simply feel uncomfortable using the internet, however, live streaming is not the be-all and end-all of getting church services to all church members. In instances such as these, there is a need for an alternative that makes use of the available tools: like a phone.

The idea for the Dial-a-Sermon service at Cromer came when the vicar, Revd Will Warren, saw that another church was giving people the option to phone a local number and hear a pre-recorded sermon over the phone. This gave them the ability to reach vulnerable people who did not have access to the internet and bring them into the community of the church in its current form.

Before long, Licensed Lay Worker Simon Fenn had the system up and running; the sermon is live streamed on Sunday via their YouTube channel to those who wish to access it that way, then the recording of that sermon gets turned into a podcast by Simon and uploaded to the Dial-a-Sermon service. Anyone with the number can then hear the same service as their church community.

Simon Fenn said:

“We did it because we recognised people in our congregation who were vulnerable, being without internet in this time of isolation. It is really important to us that we can be church wherever we are. We wanted it so that people still felt connected to a community, to us, and to God.”

To listen to Cromer Church’s weekly Sunday services, call 01263 801991 from any landline or mobile – calls are charged at a local rate.

If your church is looking to branch out into this method of engaging people in the life of the church, the Diocese of Norwich have instructions on how to set it up and keep it running and are more than happy to help; you can get in contact via email.