Premier Christian Media organizes a Media Conference in London
The fourth annual Christian New Media Conference and Award distributing event was organised by Premier Christian Media at The Brewery Central London on November 09, 2013. About 500 Christians were gathered and encouraged to reimagine Church by engaging in social media. The 36 speakers at the day conference included Archbishop of Canterbury's daughter, Katharine Welby and others presented 32 seminars on topics including 'Podcasting Without Tears', 'Raising Funds Online' and 'Apologetics Online: The Good The Bad & The Ugly'. Reverend Dave Gilpin from Hope City Church in London opened the conference with the words: "There's a lot of boffins in the room, a lot of nerds, a lot of geeks”.
Bishop of London, Right Reverend Richard Chartres
The Bishop of London, Right Reverend Richard Chartres in his address argued for a better partnership between local churches and the worldwide web and said cyberspace was the new town square. The bishop praised the YesHeIs.com as a "remarkable site" that had reached 42 million for the gospel. Six streams of seminars titled Theology, Beginner, Communication, Nuts & Bolts, Church & Charity and Networking ran throughout the day.
The afternoon main session heard from Reverend Kate Bottley, who was catapulted to fame after the video of her leading a flash mob at a wedding went viral. She spoke on the abuse she had received from Christians who found the video offensive.
Katharine Welby, whose Twitter followers jumped from 40 to 4,000 after her father became Archbishop of Canterbury, also gave a speech. Speaking of her own struggle with depression, which sparked controversy in the mainstream media, Welby encouraged people to write down their attitudes to mental health, then read them back and "reflect".
In a discussion session 'The Future of Social', Bryony Taylor predicted the "slow death" of email, as social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter increase in popularity. She cited Prezi, a virtual whiteboard company which stopped sending emails this year because "you're probably not reading them".
Rachel Barach, General Manager of Bible Gateway revealed in her short talk that 400,000,000 hours were spent reading the Bible digitally in 2012 and 41% of Americans read the Bible online this year. But she also warned: "Don't substitute a status update for engaging in a relationship…Don't just broadcast when you can disciple."
Sheridan Voysey shared his experiences of creating a Christian radio station in Australia that reaches out to those outside the church. Explaining his four values of being missional, credible, holistic and hospitable, he encouraged Christians to be more outward-looking in reaching the secular world.
The evening saw an awards ceremony during which websites including iBenedictines (Blogger of the Year), The Bridge (Multi-author Blog of the Year) and The Salvation Army International (Accessibility Award) were recognised for their achievements.
The conference's closing reflection was given by David Adabale from New Life Church who shared, "We have all been equipped today for an assignment," before praying: "Father help us as we go from here to publish the good news, there are people out there who are waiting for an answer that you have."
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