By Stuart Mann
The diocese’s Back to Church Sunday working group is holding a video contest, with a new iPad as the top prize.
“We want people to send in their videos, showing why people should come back to church,” says the Rev. Stephanie Douglas-Bowman, chair of the group and the associate priest at Christ Church, Brampton.
She hopes the contest will generate excitement in parishes and get people thinking about inviting their friends and family members to church. “What we’re trying to do is change the DNA in parishes, so that we really become an inviting people.”
The contest is open to any person, group or church in the diocese. Videos may be up to 60 seconds long and sent in by Aug. 1. In addition to winning an iPad, the top entry will be posted on the diocese’s YouTube channel and shared through its Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Ms. Douglas-Bowman says the iPad is the perfect prize for the contest. “We’re asking people to produce something for use in social media, and the iPad is a coveted tool, especially for young people.”
The version that the group is giving away is a 32GB iPad with 4G and costs $750. It includes many features, including an ultra-sharp screen and a camera that records high-definition video and still images.
Ms. Douglas-Bowman says the working group hopes the contest will remove some of the fear that Anglicans have about asking their friends to church. “We hope people have fun making the videos. There are lots of really good stories out there. We’re encouraging people to be creative.”
She says inviting people to church goes right back to the first disciples of Jesus Christ. “It has been part of our Christian practice right from the very beginning. It’s one of the easiest forms of evangelism. Anglicans are usually terrified of the word evangelism, but inviting people back to church can come pretty naturally.”
The diocese has been holding Back to Church Sunday for the past three years, and more than 4,500 people have come back to church as a result of an invitation. This year, it will be held on Sept. 30.