Holy Trinity Church in Boston is a thriving town church with a usual Sunday attendance of 150-200 adults and children, with a strong proportion of people from a black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background.

In addition to the well-attended services it has a very busy schedule of outreach work with the church centre running a pre-school club; a thriving ‘Trinity Tots’ group on Wednesdays; a busy café on Thursdays, and a new initiative – the ‘Milk Shake Shack’ for families to drop into after school.   They have a Pastoral Outreach Worker who runs a monthly community lunch and services in local care homes, as well as a Youth and Children’s worker, aided by an amazing team of talented individuals, who run the youth groups and links with local schools.   All these activities are made possible by the church’s dedicated, skilled and creative volunteers.

Revd Lis Ward, Vicar at Holy Trinity said: “When the coronavirus started to spread we were amazed how quickly life changed - within two weeks we had gone from discussions about hand-washing and suspending the common cup to total lockdown of church buildings.  From then we had to decide what were we going to do to allow worship to continue despite the lockdown, and how were we going to continue to care pastorally for those we could not see, and for our local community, so we had much to think about.  

“Just switching to live streaming wasn’t going to be an option available for us as the vicarage and a few other nearby houses are in a broadband black hole so we had to think of an alternative. Our way around this was to record our Mothering Sunday all age service, then get to grips with a video editing package - the end result was ‘Worship Together’ which is available on YouTube and Facebook, as well as via the church website. 

“As time has gone on and people have become more confident using the various technologies available, other people have started sending contributions to their parts of the service and we are now including more members of the church family as they have learnt how to record, video and Zoom their contributions. For music we purchased an extension to our CCL licence so we can use hymns and other music and our latest initiative has been the ‘Trinity choir’ with some of our singers recording their voices to a backing track each week so that has been a lovely addition to our services.” 

Wanting to ensure that children and young people still had access to appropriate worship, the Children and Youth Team, led by Esther, quickly set about making a video for family worship.

The team, consisting of several volunteers as well as Esther, create scripts and prepare activity sheets for the children to use after watching the video.

At Esther’s disposal is a cast of puppets including Poppy, Jake and the infamous Perry the polar bear. Messy Science also features in the services and the children enjoy waiting to see what is going to explode or take off next.  The Friday night youth group has Zoom meetings and CYFA (for those in years 8-13) can meet online with leaders on Sunday night for Bible study and discussion. 

Esther said: “On our YouTube Channel we have a different video each week that a family can sit down together and watch and do church together. As well as teaching children the good news about Jesus there are crafts and other resources available. For older children we have a youth club complete with virtual tuck shop, virtual pool and we even played musical statues one night. These have all been designed to stay in touch with our children and young people during lockdown and are also a place where they can chat and chill out and we can give support. It’s all part of being part of the church family and we welcome everyone to join us.”

Like many churches Holy Trinity is also enjoying reaching out to new people with their videos being sent onto the family and friends of worshippers as far away as Canada and New Zealand. “People are following us who would not usually attend any church service, never mind finding their way to Boston on a Sunday morning” said Lis.  She continued: “Technology has really enabled us to think about what we can offer people and our revitalised website and Facebook page has received some very positive comments. We are about to start running our next Alpha course online which we are all very pleased about.” 

In addition to looking after its worshippers, volunteers and the team at the church have been reaching out pastorally to others in the local community.   Prescriptions, shopping and other needs are being delivered, especially to those without internet access.   When essential, people are being helped to get to urgent hospital appointments.  Trinity now has a ‘Give and Take’ box outside the church where people can leave surplus dry groceries or find what they need if they are struggling. 

Lis said: “Our pastoral outreach worker and many others are phoning, texting and emailing to stay in touch and encourage those who are lonely and self-isolating, or vulnerable because they are keyworkers.  We also have some people who bake cakes and scones for those unable to get out, or in need of a reminder that they are loved and remembered.    

“Along with everyone else we are unsure what the future will bring but we feel that God has placed us all in this place for ‘such a time as this’ to work as a team and continue to share the good news of Jesus with others.  We are thinking about what to do when we are able to enter our church buildings again and how we can continue to reach those who may be unable to join us for many more months.  We want to continue to involve as many people as possible in our worship in the future.  We are trusting that there will continue to be many new and exciting ways of joining in with God’s plans and purposes in the weeks and months to come.”

This story was published on Wednesday 27th May 2020.