Resources for parishes

Sermons you can use, our peer learning group, FAQs and funding help

These sermons from our bishops, archdeacons and associate archdeacons are for parishes to slot into their online services. We also have video resources and Come and See materials that can be used in online services and small groups.

Please note that sermons are for parish/benefice use only and provided 'as is'. The films must not be cut or edited in any way, except to trim the 'in' and 'out' points of each film so the movements to switch on and off the camera are not broadcast.

To view a sermon, click the link below and a player will open. To download the file, click 'download'. Sermon text is provided where available as a separate link.

If you get stuck, please email or post a message on the peer-learning Facebook group.

Come and See - The Lord's Prayer
Come and See - The Creed
Give Hope - COVID vaccine programme

We're helping to combat misinformation and bust myths by offering accurate information and advice about the vaccine as part of the Give Hope campaign. These downloadable short films are suitable in online services.

Living well in these times and care for creation films

The following films from Bishop Steven and Bishop Olivia can be used at any time.

  • A short film from Bishop Steven suitable as a pre- or post-service message:
    Watch | Download | Resource page

  • Four short films on the theology of care for creation from Bishop Olivia. Suitable for a teaching slot or small group use:
    Watch | Download One, Two, Three, Four

2021 sermons
  • Easter Day - The Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford
    Watch | Download | Text

  • Palm Sunday - 28 March - the Revd Canon Sally Lodge

  • Passiontide - 21 March - the Venerable Jonathan Chaffey, Archdeacon
    Watch | Download | Text

  • Lent 4 or Mothering Sunday - 14 March - Revd Liz Jackson, Associate Archdeacon
    Watch | Download | Text

  • Lent 3 - 7 March - the Venerable Judy French, Archdeacon
    Watch | Download | Text

  • Lent 2 - 28 February - Revd Chris Bull, Associate Archdeacon
    Watch | Download | Text

  • First Sunday of Lent - 21 February - the Venerable Jonathan Chaffey, Archdeacon
    Watch | Download | Text

  • Sunday before Lent - 14 February - Revd Chris Bull, Associate Archdeacon
    Watch | Download | Text 

  • Second Sunday before Lent - 7 February - Revd David Tyler, Associate Archdeacon
    Watch | Download | Text

  • Presentation of Christ in the Temple - 31 January - Revd Paul Cowan, chaplain to the Bishop of Oxford
    Watch | Download | Text

  • Epiphany 3 - 24 January - Revd Liz Jackson, Associate Archdeacon
    Watch | Download | Text

2020 sermons

The Church of England has put together this helpful beginners' guide to streaming.


Where should I start and what should I share?

For churches just getting started with film, perhaps start with a simple video of someone reading out this week’s prayers or readings. Maybe a message from the vicar to say hello and to explain how the church is continuing to function. Remember, online worship doesn’t just have to fall to the ordained clergy - the church needs everyone’s gifts to flourish, particularly at this time. Some more ideas include:

  • A sermon with an opportunity for discussion afterwards;
  • A thought for the day from the vicar or a member of the church;
  • A daily prayer;
  • An update or a good news story;
  • Read out the week’s notices and ask everyone to share their own news in the comments.
When should I livestream?
You may wish to livestream if you want to interact with viewers in real time - for example, a discussion period after a sermon or a Q&A with a guest speaker. This can help nurture a sense of community and involvement.
Livestreaming can also be quicker and may feel more authentic - when editing a prerecorded service, it can be tempting to edit for hours to reach 'perfection.'
Livestreaming is also useful for time-sensitive or special events - for example, a minute's silence together.
When should I use pre-recorded video?
The safer alternative to livestreaming - particularly for churches that are new to making videos - is to prerecord your worship/prayers/reflection and to upload your video in your own time. This offers a more inclusive opportunity to add subtitles to your video, making it more accessible for many more viewers.
It also means you can make edits. You can trim out the beginning section where you are recording but nothing is happening on screen, and it gives you an opportunity to troubleshoot as you go.
How can I keep people interested?
Crucially with online video, we know that people need to be interested within three seconds to decide whether they will keep watching. If all they see is an empty chair, while someone fiddles with the angle of the camera, it’s unlikely they will stick with you!
Another feature on Facebook and YouTube is the option to Premiere your video. If you choose this, the video will produce a post to let your followers know when the video will be premiering and then it will be published ‘as live’ and people can follow along with your service in real time.
Can I team up with another parish?
It’s important not to rush into putting a video online if you’ve never done it before, or feel pressure to do so. While this is an excellent time to experiment and see what your phone is capable of, be aware that too much poor-quality content from your church’s account could lead to you losing followers, rather than gaining and nourishing them.
There is so much content out there already. We encourage churches to ‘buddy up’ with another parish doing live and prerecorded video well and ask to share their worship and prayer videos until they are ready to share videos themselves. Perhaps this will lead to the fruitful sharing of resources between churches in the future!
How do I use music mode in Zoom (aka original sound)?
The Rama Vocal centre in Denmark has produced a short film about the benefits of switching to original sound in Zoom.
The setting removes speech codecs and the difference it makes to the quality of audio for worship is incredible.
How do I create a Zoom choir?
Have you listened to the online Hallejulah Chorus from St Nicholas Taplow? It was fantastic - as are these recordings from Taplow. So churchwarden Tony Bridge has put together these guidelines for how to do it.
It was a bit of a journey getting the video done – I'm a professional sound editor, so I'm very used to audio software, but a novice at video and it was a steep learning curve! Plus, I was up against the deadline of Easter Sunday – so there's a lot of rough edges, which I'm sure will get smoother over the coming weeks!
First, you need your backing track, which your singers will play on their phone, using earpieces, as we want to record just their voices at this point. If you're doing an a cappella thing, then I guess a piano guide track is going to be useful. The singers record their video onto a second device with a camera, could be a laptop or iPad, singing along to the track. What comes out is just their voice, with no track.
Then everyone sends that video to the person who will put the videos together (see later for methods of transmission), syncing them all up to the original piano track. What I use for video editing is Cyberlink's PowerDirector (around £100) and Adobe Premiere Pro (£20 per month) on PC. If you have a Mac, the one to go for is Final Cut Pro. The main thing for the video editor to concentrate on at the start is planning.
First, get everyone to record in the same orientation, either landscape or portrait, but they should be the same. In the Hallelujah, I didn't think of that until later. The screen looks a bit random and haphazard now, with everyone at different sizes. I prefer landscape; it's easier to make a nice layout with that.
In all these video editors, you can use a convenient grid, so that you can place each video neatly. Look for the parameters scale (to shrink each video down in size) and position (to place each video around the screen). You might also want to use crop.
Video is very resource-intensive. Although these programs promise up to 100 video tracks, this will depend on the power of your computer. Late in the process, I realised that I should make up the video in small chunks, sopranos only, make a finished video of just those, then move on to the altos, finalise them, and so on. Finally, bring all those chunks together as finished videos, and the computer will find it much easier to cope. This is where the planning comes in because you have to make sure that all the videos will be visible in the final assembly, not covering each other up!
Then there's the sound! Because everyone is on their own, singing in front of their PC/iPad, the final result will have all the voices coming out of the middle, and the sound will be muddled up. PowerDirector is weak in the sound department and doesn't let you 'spread' the sound out (though they also make a companion program called AudioDirector, which does).
I ended up stripping the audio from each video and treating the music in my audio editing software (which cost several thousand pounds a few years ago) and sending that back to PowerDirector. It's still not ideal, but now you can hear individual voices coming from different 'places'. Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro are much more powerful in mixing audio, as in other departments.
Then you've got to get everyone comfortable with working with (which is the easiest for novice tech-users - simply go to the website and upload your file...), Dropbox or Google Drive. Video files will be too 'heavy' to send via normal emailing, and you'll need these solutions to receive all the files. I found some people just gave up because of all the technical faff, and I spent several hours on the phone coaxing them along and easing them through the processes involved. Phew!
Sorry to go off on a geek rant, you've probably gone to sleep by now! But I wish someone had told me before I started about some of the pitfalls. But if you can work through all this, it's great when the final result comes out! I'm already working on the next one. Once you've got an idea of some of the pitfalls (I'm sure there will be more ahead!) things become more fun and rewarding.

Funding for internet connection and livestreaming kits

With more and more churches livestreaming services from within the church building, the need for internet connectivity and wifi is greater than ever before.

We have recently received a generous donation from a private donor to offer grants of up to £1,000 for churches investing in bringing internet into their church building in preparation for livestreaming.

We are also able to provide funds for churches wishing to purchase a livestreaming kit. Please see our fundraising page for more information.

Other resources

The Church of England's A Church Near You hub has lots of helpful resources too, from hymns and stock photography to editable church graphics.

Page last updated: Monday 21st March 2022 3:37 PM
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