Today mark’s the 100th weekly video message from The Bishop of Hereford, The Rt Revd Richard Jackson.
The first message was recorded and broadcast to followers of the diocesan social media channels on 20 March 2020, just two years ago, right before the first lockdown across the UK.
The idea proposed initially by the diocesan communications team aimed to help the Bishop reach more people across the diocese using new media channels.
While every Bishop since 676 AD has preached to a congregation at either the Cathedral or one of the many parish churches of the diocese every Sunday, Bishop Richard is the first to be heard every week by video. He has built a loyal audience of several hundred followers who engage across social media channels and via the diocesan newsletter watching the video message each week.
Topics have ranged from the frustrations of life in lockdown, Easter celebration online to deeper issues covering Black Lives Matter, social justice, the common good, and more recently, discipleship and how we can respond to the crises in Ukraine.
The Bishop explains: “I have come to enjoy this task each week. It has become a bit of an opportunity to deliver an informal weekly sermon.
“I’m always pleasantly surprised and flattered by the number of people who tell me they have seen the video message, and some even write to me directly. If in some small way the message has helped people to take a moment to reflect and maybe to pray, then it’s achieved some good.”
Sarah Whitelock, Communications Director for the diocese, explains: “This has been a hugely successful communication tool and enabled Bishop Richard to reach more people virtually than he might have met in normal circumstances.
“Lockdown forced the situation, and we had to remotely teach him to record and then upload the video to a cloud dropbox for us to edit and publish. There were some early challenges amid the first lockdown while we awaited an upgrade to faster broadband connectivity at the Palace. We were very grateful for support from a neighbouring business who granted the Bishop permission to use their faster connection”.
The Bishop plans to carry on delivering his weekly message for the foreseeable future. The message is broadcast every Thursday afternoon between 3 – 4 pm on the Diocese of Hereford social media channels. A playlist of all 100 messages can be seen on the diocesan YouTube channel.