Exploring Digital: Follow-up event

Join Elliot Crippen, Ben Clowes and Rory Dalgliesh for an opportunity to drop-in and discuss more around the themes from the recent “Exploring Digital” online conference run by The Methodist Church (although it’s open to anyone, not just those who attended). We hope to offer practical steps you can take, beginner help, and where we go next within the context of our district. Focusing mostly on the themes covered in the conference: AI, Online Church, and Social Media. (watch a recording of the Conference on YouTube)

Monday 13th November
10am – 12pm
On Zoom (link below)

We’re aware that the time may not suit everyone, and we apologise – due to the nature of the open conversation, we will not be able to record the event, but would consider offering another opportunity for discussion at a different time if there was enough interest.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 970 3149 0291
Passcode: 957433

Our hope is that this session will offer some of the following, although we will be guided by those who drop-in and may not be able to cover everything within this conversation:

  • Capitalising on the momentum of the “Exploring Digital” conference to keep conversations around digital going
  • An attempt to disseminate some of the learning (to those who didn’t attend the conference)
  • Offering some follow-on and practical application / training opportunities (from our District Digital Enabler) that weren’t prominent during the conference.
  • Sharing a district vision on where we might be heading with digital in a Methodist and District Context – particularly with the online church and social media conversations. Some practical templates for what could be ‘next steps’.
  • Gathering those who are involved in digital in local churches around the district – those who “get it” – and offering support to those often isolated voices, spread around the district – finding ways we can support you.

Find more digital resources from our District Digital Enabler, Elliot Crippen, here:

Also note this follow on event from the Connexion:
Exploring Digital Lunchtime Learning – Wednesday 15th November



Following an Undergraduate Masters which looked at the role of hymnody within the 21st Century Methodist Church, our District Administrator, Naomi Prince, is continuing her studies by looking at the relationship between congregational singing and evangelism. 

In 2020, the Methodist Conference voted on the ‘God for All’ strategy, which is a 5 year strategy about evangelism within the Methodist Church. Although aspects of this strategy look at how the church can reach to those who are not already churched, but what about those already in the church. How do we empower those in the church to be evangelistic?

The starting base for this research is a section of the God for All strategy titled  ‘Making Beautiful Worship: Beautiful Worship within the Gathered Community of Faith’. It talks about worship needing to ‘connect people to God and transform them for mission within the world’ and ‘inspire [them] through worship to serve God in daily life’ so therefore one of the questions that I am asking is: How does congregational singing fit into all of this? 

Nidd Valley TED Talks – available to other churches

Nidd Valley Methodist Circuit continues to produce a short reflection online each Sunday – these mini “TED Talks” on a particular theme by members of the Circuit Team are done (mostly) in sets of three and are available on YouTube for other churches around the District to utilise.

(Do get in touch if your church/circuit has a particular resource that you’d like us to share more widely!)

History and Development of these online talks:
Since the beginning of lockdown, the Circuit provided weekly online pre-recorded services on Facebook and YouTube which were well-received by many people. As part of working out how these could help people grow as disciples of Christ, and also ease the pressure on staff and resources needed to create them, the circuit decided to change the format slightly from the beginning of January 2023. The videos no longer have music or hymns, were changed to 9am (not 10.30am), and moved to a TED talk style format. They are now short, informal but punchy talks. The preacher opens with a prayer, a short Bible reading, and then a talk of about 8-10 minutes finishing with a closing prayer. They are grouped together on YouTube into playlists so people can go back and listen to several successive talks on similar themes.

Here are the sermon series options so far available as playlists on YouTube (each with 3 videos on a theme) which you can link to, show, or use in your context:

The Infancy of Jesus” – by Revd Ruth Parry (Supernumerary)

“Eating with Jesus” – by Revd Moses

“Once upon a time” – a journey through Ruth (by Revd Ben Clowes – 4 videos)

Women of the Old Testament” – by Revd Lesley Taylor

Walking through the Book of Revelation” – by Clair Webster (Local Pastor)

Water” – by Revd Ruth Parry (Supernumerary)

Faces of Failure” – by Revd Moses

The Outrageous Grace of God” – by Revd Ben Clowes

Moses: Call, Conversation and Co-operation” – by Revd Lesley Taylor

Nidd Valley Methodist Circuit is very open to others being involved in this and offering a set of studies – so if you would like to contribute to this ongoing resource, do get in touch with Revd Ben Clowes (Superintendent Minister).

Yorkshire North & East successfully launch podcast for non-Christian parents

“Don’t wake the baby!” is a new venture by Yorkshire North & East Methodist District. It is hosted by (and the creation of) Emma and Elliot Crippen, in partnership with The Kairos Movement. It is a digital “New Place for New People” (a fresh expression of church) to reach unaffiliated people and has received support and seed-funding from the district. It has also received exploratory funding to ‘enable exploratory work for digital pioneers’ from The Methodist Church (Connextion).

“Don’t wake the baby!” is a podcast that also has a visual crafting element on YouTube. It is aimed at millennial parents or those with preschool-age children. In each episode, Emma and Elliot chat about a parenting topic, share their experiences, and explore how parenting has changed since the 90s. It has a purposeful “made at home” and authentic feel and has a strong focus on humour, laughter and having fun. The podcast encourages engagement through YouTube and Instagram, and has a steadily growing community of parents on Facebook.

The aim of the podcast is to reach and build relationships with young parents outside the church in a “grace space” that is relevant to their lives. Looking and feeling more like the secular content they are used to, rather than looking like ‘church’ or typical ‘online worship’. Offering connection and mutual support to isolated parents. Parenting can be lonely, and many don’t have time to meet up physically, so this provides an opportunity to connect and support one another.

Here’s how the podcast describes itself:
Unwind on sleepless nights to a wholesome mix of parenting, humour, and crafting. A fun, honest and unscripted conversation between Emma and Elliot on non-judgemental parenting and millennial-based topics, as we relax in the blanket fort with a craft or creative activity.

Find out more, or listen to the podcast, here: www.kairosmovement.org.uk/dontwakethebaby

What is a podcast?

The term “podcasting” was first used in February 2004. A podcast is like a radio show that you can listen to on demand. You subscribe to it on your smartphone and listen to it whenever you like. They can be any length, from a 1 minute news snippet, to a 3 hour in-depth interview. They can be any frequency, from daily to monthly. They can be any format, from simple solo shows up to multi-person audio dramas. Each episode is normally run by one or two regular presenters, talking about that subject. A lot of podcasts are really simple, just a few friends chatting about something that they’re all really passionate about.

What about faith?

Emma and Elliot are open on the podcast about being Christians but the main topics focus on parenting. They are following the Fresh Expression pathway of initially “loving and serving” and “building community” first and in time more elements of “church” will take shape. In many episodes Emma and Elliot share the work, vision and values of The Kairos Movement – exposing it to a larger audience outside the church (also offering follow-on opportunities for those wanting to connect or explore more). They also occasionally share small snippets of their faith journey, however, they keep it very ‘light’ and non-preachy. Emma and Elliot are the face of the project (hoping to showcase Christians as “normal” people who can have liberal views), and listeners feel they are relating to them as individuals, not to a church.

Has it been a success?

The podcast launched in July 2023 and produced 10 episodes over the summer plus a bonus outtake episode.

There have been over 1,000 Listens* of the podcast so far, and an engaged audience of 30-40 people who tune in each week. A real community is forming.

More importantly are the stories that emerge from those tuning in, with some comments including:

“You’ve got to keep making these as they’re what gets me to sleep on a night now.”

Non-church goer

“I listened to the first one and it was great. You and your other half really work so well together … Seriously I’ll be recommending it to all the parents I know.”

Non-church goer

“Just watched the intro! Looking forward to it. …. You need to do some more! For when I’m up in the night.”

non-church goer

“I’ve actually been listening to it, I must confess that I love it! I’ve listened to every episode apart from the multi births ep. I find it very relaxing (idea of it being hosted in a blanket/cover fort is very calming) … Yes, please keep the content coming!”

non-church goer

“I have been enjoying listening along!! We have a 5 yr old and another on the way in a month or so… So hearing your baby stories and survival tips were at the right time … it has been good to hear another couples parenting and birth experiences! Thanks for sharing your stories (and crafts… I am a big artsy fan!)”

Kairos Listener

“Just wanted to get in touch and say I’ve been listening to your podcast and really enjoying it – looking forward to catching up with the other episodes very soon! … Keep going!”

Lucy Rycroft, currently hosts the “Parenting for Faith” podcast by BRF, and runs “The Hope-Filled Family” parenting blog

How can your church use this resource to engage with parents?

Many churches, whilst providing great community groups for babies, toddlers and families, often struggle to offer anything to engage with the parents who bring their children. Initiatives like Messy Church and Stay-and-Play toddler groups often attract many non-church goers (unaffiliated) from the community, but the only follow-on opportunities are by inviting them to church on a Sunday morning. This is not likely to work for busy parents (outside of whether your Sunday service is suitable for millennials). This is where a digital initiative (online church or “grace space”) is ideally suited.

As a district, we recognised that local churches and circuits were unlikely to have the time, skills or resources to create something like this but that we could create a district-wide project that could be used by all.

If you have Church baby/toddler groups, Messy Churches, or anything aimed at families… Then here’s how you could utilise the podcast:

Support the parents you are in contact with by sharing the podcast with them

Send Elliot details of your (Yorkshire) CYF groups to be shared with podcast listeners

Use the themes and topics of the podcast as ideas for talking points or even a discussion group at your local church

Learn from the podcast what the issues and life experience is of young parents in order to cater your family ministry or Sunday service to be more relevant to their lives

An example of what “online church” / Grace space could look like. A template for how to pioneer something new online.

Elliot says:
We want to free you up so you can minister to children while we minister to the parents. Remember we are all working together to grow God’s kingdom. Our aim shouldn’t be to get these parents to come to your church on a Sunday – and it doesn’t matter where they get their spiritual belonging or discipleship from. It may be online, it may be in person. It may be at your church midweek, it may be at a different church, it may be through a podcast, it may be talking with other parents, or it may be within The Kairos Movement.

Let’s work together!


*Podcasts are usually measured in “Downloads”, however, this figure is a combined total of YouTube views and podcast downloads.

Elliot works for Yorkshire North and East Methodist District as Digital Enabler
Emma has the volunteer role of Synod Secretary in the District

Both are members of The Kairos Movement (a pioneering, non-geographical circuit/church) and also attend Starbeck Methodist Church in the Nidd Valley Circuit.

September Synod

District Synod is a twice-yearly event for those in local churches around Yorkshire North and East. An opportunity for us to gather to worship, learn and share stories. Everyone is welcome to attend – connect with others from all around the district in learning, sharing experiences, challenges, and discussions.

Our upcoming Synod is on Saturday 9th September 2023 and the theme is “Many parts, one body” as we celebrate and reflect upon various parts of the diverse ministry and mission within the District and the wider Connexion.

As part of our carbon commitment, this Synod is going to be in a hybrid format: on-site at Acomb Methodist Church in York, and online via Zoom.

For more details, including how to let us know numbers for those attending at Acomb, see our webpage: https://www.yorkshirenemethodist.org/district/synods/

New podcast for parents

Do you have a toddler group, Messy Church, or engage with families in your church?

“Don’t wake the baby!” is a newly launched podcast by Elliot and Emma Crippen for parents of under 5s with the aim of building community around Yorkshire to offer mutual support. The pilot series is being released during July and August 2023 with new episodes each week on YouTube and podcasting platforms. Parents can unwind to a wholesome mix of parenting, humour and crafting – sharing experiences with each other and exploring how parenting has changed.

This is a digital ‘New Place for New People’ being sponsored by Yorkshire North and East Methodist District, and being held within The Kairos Movement

Find out more here: www.kairosmovement.org.uk/dontwakethebaby/

Do share with parents you’re in contact with – it’s ideal for those on the fringes of church. Maybe you could use it as a way to keep families engaged while you take a break over the summer. Or maybe you want to publicise it to parents when your children’s groups restart in September.

If you run something that attracts parents or families, do let Elliot know – we can provide you with some leaflets about the podcast. And we can publicise your group to our listeners! digital@yorkshirenemethodist.org

Methodist Summer Spaces – join in on social media

As part of our weekly “sharing church stories” posts in our District Facebook Group, we are encouraging churches to share online how they are providing for their community by creating a #MethodistSummerSpaces post. Try this easy, engaging content idea for your church’s social media this summer.

What is it all about?

Many Methodist Churches offer community spaces and activities throughout the week: holiday clubs, messy church, coffee mornings, cafes, food banks, uniform recycling, warm (or cool) spaces, tech hubs, lunch clubs, youth groups, tabletop sales, and much more.

To raise awareness of the great work Methodists do, and to share church stories with others, whether they are churchgoers or not, we invite you to share a picture or video of one of your church spaces (church hall, cafe, lounge, room, garden or other) along with some text to share about the community activities you’re offering this summer. This can be done through commenting on our weekly post in the District Facebook Group – sharing church stories – but we hope also an opportunity to use it as an engaging post on your church’s social media.

We hope this is an easy way for your church to show off its wonderful community work to the online world, in a different way to the usual church poster and invite. If church life in your circuit is ‘quieter’ over the summer, due to holidays, you may need some fresh ideas for social media posts during July and August. You may also be looking for ways to engage with people in the community who don’t go to church at the moment. In either case, taking part in #MethodistSummerSpaces could help you.

How can my church get involved?

> Pick a “space” in your church (church hall, cafe, lounge, room, garden or other) and take the best picture you can (or maybe do a video!)

> Write some text about what activities are taking place in the space this summer for those in the community. Think about midweek and community-focused events (not church-focused events like Sunday worship, bible studies, or prayer groups). And consider how you might tell the story of the work your church does – this isn’t about inviting people or getting them to come along. It’s about raising awareness and sharing the great work you do for the community.

> Finally, include the hashtag #MethodistSummerSpaces

Post your picture and text on social media (personal or church account – maybe in a local community Facebook Group?) or in the comments of our weekly “Sharing Church Stories” post in our District Facebook Group

Create your #MethodistSummerSpaces post today, or anytime that suits you during July and August. We can’t wait to see your posts!

Top tips

  • Use the social media platform that is engaged with the most by your local community.
  • Keep your caption as short and sharp as possible, making use of paragraphs to space text out. 
  • Choose whether to take the picture portrait or landscape, depending upon the platform you are wishing to share it on. Generally speaking, portrait works well on Facebook and Instagram, and landscape on Twitter.
  • If shooting a video, think about light, sound and stability. Make sure the camera is as still as possible. Make sure the speaker is well lit. If they are stood directly in front of a window, they may become silhouetted, making it hard for the viewer to see. Standing them just to one side may be better. Finally, try and record the video with as few people around as possible to cut out any unwanted noise. 

This idea was created by our District Digital EnablerElliot Crippen. Inspired by the CofE summer campaign: #StainedGlassSummer

Find more digital resources for churches by Elliot over in our Digital Resources Hub

New District Net-Zero Officer

Welcome Tim O’Brien – Our District Net-Zero Officer!

We are delighted to announce that Tim is joining the District Staff Team from May 2023, Tim’s 3-year role, which is fully funded by the Benefact Trust, is to support churches and circuits continue to join in with the district-wide commitment for the Methodist Church in Yorkshire North and East to be net-zero by 2040.

Reflecting on the role Tim says: 

‘Being interviewed for this Net Zero Officer role was my first experience of being interviewed for a job I actually really want to do!

The District’s realistic, determined commitment to achieving important Net Zero targets is impressive and a crucial aspect of how we live out our calling as people of good news in this generation. I am genuinely honoured to be given the opportunity to help Methodist churches and people play our part in bringing about the creation care agenda shared by so many individuals and communities in ‘God’s Own Country’.

We live near Harrogate and for the last fifteen years or so, my wife, Sam, and I have been part of the Pateley Bridge Circuit and we are now increasingly involved in the District’s Kairos group.

I have enjoyed a varied career in the UK and further afield, working for some or the world’s largest corporations. However, as I mentioned to Sam during the recruitment process for this role, this was my first experience of being interviewed for a job I actually really want to do’!

You can contact Tim by email at netzero@yorkshirenemethodist.org

Worship Resources for Flourish Sunday

Kindly produced and complied by the Nidd Valley Methodist Circuit for other churches and circuits to use on Sunday 16th April when many will be at Flourish, our district weekend, in Scarborough. This service is offered as a resource for those churches making ‘local arrangements’ over the ‘Flourish’ weekend (April 14-16 2023) and provides material which can be adapted as required to suit your church and its needs.

  • A written service, including sermon, hymns and prayers (can be used in full or in part)
  • Full video service for use online or in church buildings
  • Sermon / talks from the above service as separate files

Find the online service to watch or share on our District YouTube Channel

Download Resources

Or download any of the above for local use from our Flourish Resources Folder

Flourish Volunteers

The Flourish Planning Team are looking for a team of willing volunteers to help make the weekend happen!

These roles will range from Car Park Duty (yes, this will mean wearing a hi-vis vest!) to stewarding on the doors and helping make sure everyone is welcome.

You will need a ticket but will receive some food/drink vouchers for the spa facilities

If you are interested in helping out, please register your interest here https://forms.office.com/e/8hvxLpvHQL Thank you!