General Synod July 2019 Digital and Church House Publishing update


On the Saturday and Sunday of July General Synod we ran a series of fringe meetings and spoke to members about:

  • Recent campaigns including Alexa, LentPilgrim and EasterPilgrim and Thy Kingdom Come
  • Major updates to A Church Near You
  • Advent and Christmas 2019 with #FollowTheStar
  • The Church’s new social media guidelines and charter.

A copy of the full presentation can be downloaded here.

Adrian Harris speaking at the Digital fringe session held at General Synod in July 2019.

How can your church prepare for Advent and Christmas 2019?

One of the major themes was on how churches can prepare for Advent and Christmas 2019. Due to extensive feedback we are using #FollowTheStar again this year. We are thrilled that we reached nearly 8 million people and the positive engagement across print, digital, broadcast and in the media.

Brand new Christmas reflections, videos, a social media campaign, an online shop and more content in Advent will sit at the heart of this year’s campaign.

There are five things we’re asking churches to do:

  1. Update your A Church Near You pages with local services & events
  2. Order the booklets, download posters, logos and other resources from Church House Publishing
  3. Put a star on your church building from the start of Advent – and tag this on A Church Near You
  4. Share the Christmas videos and social media posts through your accounts and use the new customisable video tool
  5. Encourage people to download the free #FollowTheStar app.

Sign up to be the first to hear about when the reflections and church resources such as bookmarks, posters, prayer cards are available to order.

What else did we talk about in the session?

We updated members on significant improvements to A Church Near You including benefice home pages, changes to events, page ordering functionality and the new diocesan dashboard. Read more on the changes in this blog.

The recent LentPilgrim and EasterPilgrim campaigns were reviewed. The campaigns had a reach of more than 6.9 million and 93 per cent of people found the print and digital resources helpful, very helpful or extremely helpful in bringing them closer to God.

In addition, Church House Publishing’s Daily Prayer for Thy Kingdom Come was positively received, particularly the eight hours of specially recorded audio. Overall, the CofE’s Thy Kingdom Come resources were seen nearly one million times on social media and we have exciting plans to do more with daily services audio content in 2020 – more to follow!

We looked back to the recent press coverage on our Alexa skill being asked more than 75,000 questions in the first year and the positive launch of the Church’s new social media guidelines and digital charter.

Do take a look at the full presentation and get in touch if you have any comments or questions.


Church of England Communications team