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Church Of England Hashtag Revolution For Easter


The Church of England is embracing the social media revolution with zeal, nay fervour. Hooray! Not perhaps in the vanguard of the revolution, but just in time for it not to be said that the Church has missed it altogether.

The Church’s Communications office recently gathered together a group of Christian tweeters and bloggers, in itself a small step you might think, but it represents a giant leap forward. (Lay Anglicana was pleasantly surprised to be included in the gathering!).

It may, or may not, be a coincidence that this followed immediately on the assumption of office of a new Archbishop of Canterbury. Post hoc is not always propter hoc. But sometimes it is.

One of the results of this meeting was an agreed hashtag campaign for Easter: #EverythingChanges.

This is the press release from the Communications office:


“Good News in a nutshell, Cosmos in a Hashtag”
#EverythingChanges as Church Twitter campaign reaches 5.8 million at Easter

Almost 6 million people were reached by the Church of England’s (@c_of_e) Easter 2013 twitter campaign according to figures released today. Official figures from Twitter showed a cumulative reach of 5.8m users from the 8,527 tweets sent over the Easter period, from Good Friday to Easter Day, using the hashtag #EverythingChanges.

Devised by the Church of England’s Communications office with a group of Christian tweeters and bloggers, the aim of the campaign sought to highlight the Christian meaning of Easter on the social media network. Tweets were sent from across the country with a marked tone of solemnity and sorrow in tweets on Good Friday and peaking on Easter Day with tweets celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Vicky Beeching (@vickybeeching) – Research Fellow in Internet ethics at the University of Durham said: “The #everythingchanges hashtag was another great example of the Church engaging proactively with the digital sphere. To get a new ‘digital generation’ to feel welcome in Church and to hear the Christian message, using social media is crucial. Social media is a medium where all of life is lived; meaningful messages can be communicated and the Church is boldly embracing the digital world in these campaigns.”

The Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt. Revd Paul Butler (@BishopPaulB) – one of a number of Bishops who took part in the campaign – said: “#everythingchanges caught the imagination of people across the county. Since we seek to share the joy of the risen Jesus that’s good news.” The Bishop of Worcester, the Rt. Revd. Dr John Inge (@BishopWorcester) added: “I’m delighted to have been able to be one of those tweeting the wonderful good news which we celebrate in the resurrection – that love wins.”

Tweets were sent from across the country from both those in the pews and those in pulpits. Trainee Vicar Liz Clutterbuck (@LizClutterbuck) said: “The #EverythingChanges hashtag encapsulated the true meaning of the Easter season and it was hugely encouraging to watch it spread across Twitter from Good Friday onwards. Young and old embraced it and used it to demonstrate to their followers of all faiths and non what the resurrection means for all.” The Revd Peter Ould (@PeterOuld) added: “#everythingchanges demonstrated the way social media can, not just help bring faith communities together, but also enable them to reach out beyond their boundaries in innovative and modern ways. In an increasingly technologically grounded generation this is the way forward for the Church of England to communicate.”

The Bishop of Hertford, the Rt. Revd Paul Bayes (@paulbayes) who also tweeted, said : “You can share good news in any medium. Twitter is no exception. It’s great that we could share the best news of all – the resurrection of Jesus Christ – in 140 characters or less, at Eastertime this year. Because of Easter #everythingchanges, for the better, forever.” The Rt. Revd Dr. Graham Kings, Bishop of Sherborne (@BishopSherborne) said: “#everythingchanges focuses the vast scope of the cross and resurrection. It is more than Jesus being killed and raised, or my whole life being changed. It is as big as the whole universe beginning to be transformed. Good news in a nutshell. Cosmos in a hashtag.”

NEWS from the Church of England
PR 77.13
17/4/2013 (embargoed until 22 April)

The illustration is copyright: bloomua via Shutterstock

3 comments on this post:

Phil Groom said...

Splendid, as far as it goes … but if I, as a Christian and a social media junkie, missed it — and I did — then I wonder how far it went beyond the C of E itself? Did anyone outside the C of E notice? And if it’s true that #EverythingChanges at Easter, how come the C of E’s attitude to LGBT people is still stuck in the dark ages? And how come we haven’t got a measure for women bishops through Synod yet? Seems like empty words to me: as J said, “By their fruit shall you know them” — and the C of E is dropping too many rotten apples these days…

22 April 2013 07:57
Lay Anglicana said...

I don’t disagree with you but hey, that’s what you and I are here for!

22 April 2013 08:35
Pam Smith said...

I would be interested to see comments from people who it affected as well as people who did it! Ie what/where are the fruits – always a difficult question to answer with mission in any context and maybe particularly so in social media.

23 April 2013 11:31

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