Rural church boasts viral fame as it attracts viewers from Wiltshire beauty spots


A rural benefice has used YouTube explanatory videos on Christianity filmed in beauty spots to encourage people in their faith during lockdown.
The vicar records his surface on his iPhone

The viral fame – which has seen more than 10 000 views in just a few months – has come as a surprise to those in the Benefice of Broughton Gifford, Great Chalfield and Holt in Wiltshire who are behind the project.

The benefice decided to use the name ‘Faith In Our Village’ when they moved to an online-only mode of worship due to Covid-19 restrictions.

With a growing audience for their online service, Rector, Canon Andrew Evans decided to launch a discipleship course including information on how to become a Christian.

Films, shot using scenic local landmarks such as Wiltshire Packhorse Bridge, resonated with audiences far and wide, with at least two people reaching out to the benefice directly to say they had made a commitment to Jesus after watching the video

Other areas of outstanding natural beauty used in the group’s videos include Heaven’s Gate which overlooks Longleat House. Canon Andrew Evans, however, confirmed he was not interrupted in his filming by the historic landmark’s famous meerkats.

He said: ‘We are in such strange times, and as a church must ensure we get the Gospel out. I feel an unspoken Gospel is no Gospel at all.’

Adding: ‘We are trying to get people to be Christ-like disciples who make Christ-like disciples.’

The success of the initiative has seen viewers watch over 1800 hours’ worth of video content.

Canon Andrew Evans quipped: ‘I never thought I’d own a selfie stick, but I have one now. It’s all just been done by a smartphone.’

Now, however, with the help of online tutorials, the team behind the films have grown and deepened their knowledge of the necessary technology.

The group’s use of YouTube has also developed. At the start of lockdown there was just one long video of the whole offering for the week, but now the group are using playlists of short, shareable, videos.

The congregation have also been ‘mobilised’ to share clips with people who may not be Christians or regular churchgoers.

All the hard work is now paying off, with people reaching out to explore more deeply both the content in the videos and their own faith.

The digital series continues on the group’s YouTube and on their website.