Churches sharing services online this Christmas

Couple watching video
Church services can now be enjoyed live while they happen on tablets and mobile devices

A growing number of churches are using new technology to share their services online this Christmas. With storms threatening to disrupt travel arrangements across the country there’s been growing interest in steps congregations are taking to provide for members who may find it difficult to attend. However, streaming services live on the internet is becoming a regular occurrence throughout the year and offers real benefits for people who find themselves unable to get about or away from the area for work or travel.

Rev Derek Hughes, from Motherwell Dalziel St Andrew’s, says he’s delighted at the impact he’s seen since they began sharing their service online.

"We have been live-streaming our services via our website for more than four years. In that time, we have had more than 72,000 views at our dedicated Church YouTube channel, and reached over 100 distinct nations around the world. In May, 2016, we extended our provision to a second live stream, which is aimed at people who are deaf and hard of hearing.This involves an interpreter for British Sign Language and an Electronic Notetaker every Sunday.This has been very well received.

When we started this venture, some folk were concerned that it would give people an excuse to be lazy and not come out to worship on Sunday mornings, but stay at home and tune in. In fact, our live streaming has actually helped increase our attending congregation, and has also aided us in lowering the age range in attendance.Often, we hear comments from young families, who say that they have viewed our services online before coming along in person.

It also serves to assist those who are elderly and infirm (many of whom watch on their tablet or laptop), and couples with young families, one of whom may be ill and unable to come out on a particular Sunday. We have had prayer requests from individuals who are in Hospital, and watch from the ward, and there is a nursing home locally, where the residents gather to join in worship at their lounge every Sunday."

Here are links to some of the church websites where you can join in the service live as it happens every Sunday, and watch or listen to a recording afterwards. Churches are using a range of different ways to share their content and each church is responsible for its own live feed.

Crieff Parish Church with Rev Andrew Philip at 10am

East Kilbride Claremont with Rev Gordon Palmer at 1030am

St Andrew’s Bo’ness with Rev Graham Astles at 1030am

West Kilbride Church with Rev James McNay at 1030am

Arbroath St Andrew’s with Rev Martin Fair at 11am

Falkirk Trinity with Rev Robert Allan at 11am

Motherwell Dalziel St Andrew’s with Rev Derek Hughes at 11am

Other congregations may also offer this service, and many more offer recordings which can be downloaded after the service is finished, such as Kemnay parish church and Banchory West church.

Most Sundays Lanark Greyfriars streams it's service at 11am but they are spending their Christmas servicewith another congregation this year.

Glasgow Cathedral also regularly streams its choral evensong and makes previous recordings available.

The Sanctuary First website also offers live events and links with church congregations.

Watch Rev Robert Allan from Falkirk Trinity on BBC Reporting Scotland explaining how people affected by the winter weather can join his congregation's Christmas service online.