‘Our church in Bude was shut, but we reached more people than ever before’
As lockdown stopped church gatherings across the Country, for Oceans Church in Bude, it opened a brand new chapter.
A bowling and soft play centre might feel like a strange location for a church to meet, but for Oceans Church in Bude, they call it their home. When the doors shut last year due to the Covid pandemic, many churches across the UK were left with empty chairs and pews. For Oceans Church, however, it resulted in them reaching thousands of people in a different way. Pastor Steve Ellerington at Oceans Church told us ‘We were stumped and we didn’t know what to do, but we worked hard to set up online streaming and launched community videos on social media and didn’t expect the positive response we got’.
Online services were watched by hundreds of people each week and many of the community videos on facebook were watched by over 30,000 people. Steve told us ‘During the pandemic people were more fearful about their own mortality and more people were questioning the meaning of life and exploring whether there really was a God. In fact, Google reported that it was the most searched subject during 2020. We gave people who couldn’t travel to our town a little bit of Bude, with a short talk and some stunning drone footage of our area. We were delighted to see people connect with it all on their journey of faith’.
Oceans Church is now meeting again, but it is continuing to stream online after building up an online following. The contemporary modern church, with a surprising ‘surfy theme’ inside, has bands playing each Sunday and it attracts many young families as well as older members of the community. It also regularly runs an online Alpha Course offering people the opportunity to explore the Christian faith from the comfort of their own homes. Pastor Steve said ‘We’re here for our Bude community as well as our online audience. We’re informal in the way we do church and welcome everyone. We’re pretty chilled and love being part of our town’.
For more information on Oceans Church visit www.oceanschurch.org.uk or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.