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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Helping older people avoid being 'left behind' tech-wise

How can churches help people without internet access on their phone or at home keep abreast of what's happening let alone reach some basic services and amenities? Churches can do much more is the thrust of a Christianity Today article.

It is available to read online - no, the irony is not lost on me- (writes Debbie Thrower) and the journalist, Revd Peter Crumpler, includes a quote from me as the Pioneer of Anna Chaplaincy for Older People discussing the problem.

He is highlighting the ways in which some churches may be failing, inadvertently, many of the older members of their congregations:

'Debbie Thrower, founder and pioneer of the UK's Anna Chaplaincy movement that provides spiritual support to older people, told me: "Many churches are involved in ministry to older people in a range of ways, from drop-ins to lunch clubs and much more.
"But some have a 'blind spot' when it comes to their communications and ministry to older people. Many churches have moved their communications online, without thinking of those who are 'left behind' and feel thoroughly left out when this happens."'

Three out of the six top tips, for example, are:

Always provide a phone alternative for people who want to enquire about a church service or activity but have no internet access. A weblink or QR code is no use to anyone who is not online or would struggle to use or read a smartphone.

Have hard copies available of any communications put out via email. These include letters from the leadership, annual reports and papers for committee meetings.

Remember that some people who may have a smartphone do not understand software like ChurchSuite or WhatsApp or are unable to print documents. Many older people find reading documents on any screen large or small to be difficult – and this can include worship songs during services.

Read the piece in full here.


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