Do YouTube sermons feed the hungry?

Opinion comments in The Church Times by The Rev'd Alice Whalley, Vicar of St John’s, Brownswood Park, in London diocese, UK.

by The Rev'd Alice Whalley

ON 18 March, I promised my congregation and the local community three things: that we were not closed; that we would not allow anyone to go hungry; and that Christ would rise on Easter Day.

I reported in my YouTube sermon on 12 April that one third of those things had happened (a triumph that I can hardly take credit for). I also reported that, during Holy Week, we had opened a foodbank, given out 36 parcels, and served 32 hot meals. I told my online worshippers that we had raised nearly £3000 to support the mutual-aid group that had grown up, and that we were right in the middle of a network of 250 volunteers who had stepped forward to help their community.


The church was very much alive and open (even though the building was shut), and we had kept our promise, and stopped people going hungry. This was all supposed to be a good-news story to tell the viewers about how the church had risen to the challenges of COVID-19, and been there for people when they felt that so many had given up on them. And yet I feel like a failure.


  1. Doug Woods on 27 April 2020 at 11:26 AM

    You’re right, but there may still be hope. I do get it, though. We have the same situation at our church. MANY of our people either don’t have internet access or just don’t know how to use it—or are not in the habit of using it, even if they have it. The PHONE is the instrument of choice; if you can’t be there, it’s the next best choice for many. At least you can hear their voice. It’s time-consuming, you say? Well, what else are you doing during your isolation?

    But there’s another thing I’ve found out, myself, making use of Facebook. “Like” is cheap. People may “like” your post—but not enough to actually get involved by, say, leaving a comment. So there’s an awful lot of verbiage out there on the internet, but not much conversation. Well, you can take comfort in this much at least: those people who “liked” your post have at least seen it. It’s in a mind—or a heart—out there—slowly working. Be patient. It may yet bear fruit.

    • Father Glenn on 27 April 2020 at 7:54 PM

      Very well-stated, Doug.

      Many thanks for your interaction and engagement.

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