Should Churches use e-mail, or indeed, blogging?

Posted: 17 Jan 2013 12:17 AM PST – (from “Whats’ in Kelvin’s Head’)

Yesterday’s post about the internet and what we can learn from the demise of HMV didn’t raise that many comments but it certainly did the rounds, being more shared on Facebook than anything that I’ve written in months. It was picked up as a conversation topic by the Anglican Church of Canada’s The Conversation too. I think The Conversation is a private social network which that church runs. I’m interested in that in itself but I’m going to leave learning about that for another day.

Today I want to pick up on something that was said in the comments. This came in from Bosco:

I’m not as convinced as you about the value of email. Convince me. I suspect it is a dying medium – but we should still hop on while it is still alive, conscious that young people don’t use it. It is still-useful last millennium technology.

I know what Bosco is talking about. The use of email is often said to be falling and falling much faster amongst the young than the old.  (Oops, I mean younger and older, don’t I?).

I’ve a feeling that email is not going away quite that fast. More that it is changing. It seems to me that as people are getting more and more ways of communicating then they naturally choose the most appropriate for what it is they want to communicate.

If you want to meet up with friends, it is much easier to plan things on a social network than by email. However, that presumes that you are all on the same system.

Ubiquity is the thing here. Most people I know are on Facebook. However just about everyone I want to communicate with has an email account.

Email is good for some things. Twitter for others. Facebook for others.

Depends on audience, urgency and what I’m trying to say.

As a sideline, I’d say that I’m seeing a decline in blogging. And paradoxically a continued rise in the importance of blogging.

It seems to me that there are fewer blog posts being written. Quite a number of people who have tried the blogging lark are finding it a bit of a bind and giving up. After all, social networks beat blogging as a way of letting your mates know what is in your head every minute during the day and that was what a lot of people were using blogs for.

The blogs that are lasting are, unsurprisingly, those where the author has a clear idea of what they are trying to communicate. I think I’m like a number of people who are keeping up the stream of consciousness on twitter whilst saving blog posts for more substantial posts. Fewer blog posts – better quality. What’s not to like?

I think that I primarily use blogging to perform and converse, email to inform and converse and preaching and social networks to beguile and converse. However that may just be me. The primary thing is that they are all about conversation.

Some of the choices that people make about their choice of online communication medium are all about tone. Email has become a relatively formal way of communicating. My guess is that it is still the case that most people communicate more by using email than social networks when they are working whilst the opposite may be true when they are not working.

Am I right about that?


Kelvin’s blog, quoted here, ask the question that many of us have struggled with for some time now. Ever since I began commenting on the early web-site of ‘Global South Anglican’, some years ago after the Ordination of Bishop Gene Robinson in The American Episcopal Church, I have continued to participate in commenting on the activities of that conservative weblog – as well as raising up my own site, when encouraged to do so by ‘Bosco’, whom Kelvin mentions here in his article.

It was not easy for someone of my age and provenance to get into the world of both email and blogging, but it has continued to the give me an outlet for my pursuit of justice and liberality within the world-wide Anglican Communion.

I therefore do believe that weblogs and the propagation of the Gospel can go hand in hand – provided that the conversations are open and  informed by a serious intention of forwarding the ‘Good News’ of the love of God for all humanity – as expressed in the life and work of Jesus Christ

Emails, on the other hand, for me, have been the most efficient way of keeping up with MY friends – but on an individual and deeply personal basis. I have been involved in “Face-Book‘ but, frankly, it seems to have become quite invasive of people’s personal space, not the best way of communicating one’s personal faith, and certainly not very useful for an ageing retired cleric. Therefore, I shall continue to use both email and the excellent resource for this weblog.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand


About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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2 Responses to Should Churches use e-mail, or indeed, blogging?

  1. Totally agree Fr Ron. I stopped using Facebook after a nasty message appeared and much prefer to use email for family and close friends. I do appreciate hearing their good news/bad news direct without my prayers being confused with trivia. It is all too easy in a moment of tiredness or ill judged passion to have problems with Facebook or any public forum. I have many friends who would never consider using Facebook because of the possibility of the ‘invasion of personal space’ as you point out. Is this an age or wisdom perspective? Just had some delightful news from one of my son’s and I would have been miffed if I spotted it first on Facebook as does happen in some families. Some relationships ought to be too precious for public only first point of contact.

    I am also pleased that there is more education offered to young people as to positive and safe use of all the various forms of communication as God is concerned for more than clerics and our endless opinions!. However, from an educational and spiritually informative point of view I have found yours and other sites extremely helpful and they do enable ‘joined up’ prayer when engaging with truth and justice issues yet to be revealed. What lies at the heart of the key tapper can be more quickly discerned which must be good for those who are striving for some measure of maturity of thought and understanding. It is, nevertheless, wise to have a healthy fear if only to temper our own excesses, especially when angry.

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