Outreach Volunteers Cream Tea – 12 May 2019
On a beautiful sunny Spring afternoon, around 80 Outreach Volunteers gathered together in St Gregory’s Hall at the invitation of Fr Michael for a delicious cream tea to thank them for all of their hard work before Easter. With wild flowers on the table and amidst beautiful vintage china teacups and saucers much clotted cream and jam was consumed on many, many home-made scones! There were dainty sandwiches aplenty and everyone ate and drank of their fill. As the afternoon drew to a close, Fr Michael thanked all the volunteers present for their individual contributions to our Outreach effort which he summarised as follows:
These are the parishioners who visit the homes of registered parishioners who live in their area twice per year – at Christmas and Easter. This Easter, 765 households were visited by over 100 visitors – an amazing effort. There are many, many stories that could be told of friendships made, support given and received and faith shared. This is a wonderful initiative that goes from strength to strength thanks to the dedication and commitment of these volunteers.
Our new initiative this Easter saw 11,000 cards delivered around our city. These cards were our invitation to the community of Salisbury to join us in our Easter celebrations and to proclaim Jesus Christ as The Way, the Truth and the Life. The card, which can be viewed here, contained details of our key Easter services and a website link which invited the recipient householder to visit our website and find out more. The website figures over the period spoke for themselves:
On a normal weekday, we expect to receive approximately 200 visits to our website with an increased number at weekends.
During the period of our deliveries, visits to our website (or 'hits' as they are known) each day were as follows:
Friday 12 April - 436 hits - as our volunteers got out onto the streets delivering, we watched the counter rise...
Saturday 13 April - 459 hits
Sunday 14 April (Palm Sunday) - 758 hits We normally experience a rise in visits on a Sunday but this was an exceptionally high number.
Monday 15 April - 432 hits This is twice the amount we would normally expect on a weekday
Tuesday 16 April - 405 hits
Wednesday 17 April - 384 hits
Holy Thursday 18 April - 731 hits
Good Friday 19 April - 583 hits Holy Saturday 20 April - 824 hits
Easter Sunday 21 April - 1021 hits - this was the busiest day ever on our website since its launch last year.
Those of you who are familiar with the website will have seen our 'Easter Welcome' page encouraging people to join us at church over Easter but, equally importantly, there is a tremendous amount of information, videos and podcasts about our faith and our community that we know visitors to the website also accessed. It is wonderful that we are actively taking up the call of Pope Francis to use IT and other modern media to spread the Gospel and to draw people to Jesus Christ and his Church. Fr Michael took a moment to give special mention and thanks to Tony Peters-Ennis, our webmaster, who works tirelessly to keep our website attractive, relevant and upto date at all times.
Fr Michael also reported to the volunteers present that this increase in visitors to our website was matched by an increase in attendees at all of our Triduum and Easter Services. We experienced very full churches on Easter Sunday - at one of the Masses there were around 400 people present and we had to use the Hall to allow those who simply couldn't fit into the church to 'join' with us on the large TV. Many, many children also took part in our Easter Egg hunts, much chocolate was consumed and there was such an authentic outbreak of Easter joy in all of our churches.
For the photo gallery of this event, click here.
Praise be to God for his blessing on our endeavours, let us pray that he will continue to bless the mission of our parishes.
Caroline Williams (Outreach)