At last St Stephen’s Church has a Facebook page. Do check it out - ‘St Stephen’s Church Hightown’ should find it on Facebook. We have recently appointed a Social Media and Publicity Officer, Catherine Marshall (thank you Catherine for taking this on!), and one of her roles is to keep our Facebook page up to date with photographs and news. In the UK two-thirds of all adults, and almost everyone between 16 and 24 use Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or one their rivals. There’s lots of positives to using social media; my children are in touch with their friends from school, even though they live around the world.
However, it can also isolate people from the real world, damage vulnerable young minds, feed loneliness, foster self-harm and give bullies a platform. Can I recommend the organisation PAPAYA (Parents against phone addiction in young adolescents) if you or someone in your family has concerns.
Social media can help us to practise our faith, and faith does need practising - in the ups and downs of this life we need a deep relationship with God to guide us, especially in these doubting times.
Using media to aid faith is not new. I’ve met many older people who don’t go to church but have watched ‘Songs of Praise’ religiously down the years and this helps them keep their faith alive. Because I lead worship on Sundays so can’t attend church myself, I use social media to help me worship. I listen to podcast sermons from Southwark Cathedral (the Dean there gives the best sermons ever) and ‘Time to Pray’, a wonderful 10-minute worship time which includes a Bible reading and prayers. ‘GodPod’ is worth a listen too - it is helpful in learning about faith and the Bible. I also listen to Nomad podcasts and BBC Wales’ ‘All Things Considered’. All are available free of charge and I recommend them.
- Revd. Jan Ashton
Vicar of Hightown, Liverpool