URC training workshops praised

Revd Jenny Mills and Dr Sam Richards of the URC

Last Updated on 9 December 2021 by Catherine Kelliher

“The workshops were most helpful”, “I found the steep learning curve needed”, “lots of my questions were answered” are just some of the positive comments received about recent training workshops.

In collaboration with Education and Learning, the United Reformed Church (URC’s) Children’s and Youth Work offered a series of eight workshops over the summer and autumn, designed to build skills, confidence, and capacity in communications.

Topics included: creating and editing videos for beginners, beginners and improvers social media, how to write stories effectively, where to share stories, inclusive worship using signs and symbols, and hybrid (in person and online) church to name a few.

Participants were also able to apply for small grants, up to the value of £200 from the Carmichael Montgomery Bursary, to enable them to put what they’d learnt into practice. For instance, purchasing equipment, software or further training.

The Revd Allison Claxton, Minister of Peasley Cross URC, said: “As someone who ‘learns by doing’ I have found the steep learning curve needed to use new technology during lockdown interesting to say the least!

“We started lockdown with a cheap camera, tripod and a basic editing package that I could actually understand and off we went into the unknown. We used one camera for recording our Sunday Services and Messy Church videos, which were then uploaded onto our Facebook and YouTube channel for those who cannot attend in-person worship and for the wider community. Unfortunately, this limited us to a fixed position, so we could only have one view of what is happening in worship.

“The training that was offered via the URC Training workshops was most helpful as it answered a lot of my questions – even the ‘silly’ ones – and meant that I was more confident to experiment and try new things – even picture in picture!

“Attending the workshops meant that I was able to learn different ways of editing and putting the finished recording together.”

Martin Morris, a member of Grange URC, in Bebington, said: “Following on from the training workshops, our church has decided to look into livestreaming services.” Martin added that their grant application was for a new webcam, mixer-board and some longer wires.

Speaking about how pleased people found the series of workshops, Dr Sam Richards, Head of Children’s and Youth Work, said “We wanted to give people hands on help with new skills at the time they needed it – so we were delighted at the uptake of the sessions. We hope to run some more next year on using Makaton and Widget to increase the accessibility of worship.”

The Revd Jenny Mills, Secretary for Education and Learning, spoke about the future workshops URC Training hopes to run. “Those who attended our training sessions found a sense of community around learning. Alongside learning opportunities, we hope to offer space for reflection and a sharing of ideas; the sessions have offered inspiration and encouragement to those serving in our churches and we are delighted to continue to support them.”

Video recordings of all the recent workshops, on video editing, using social media, and sharing good news stories, can be found here.

To whet your appetite, here’s an introduction to video editing: