Category: Communications

HOWTO send email to large groups

gold letter y on black background

Sending email on behalf of the church is different to sending email in a personal capacity as it needs to be done within the church’s Privacy Policy. As a general rule of thumb you can assume Trustees, staff and perhaps one or two other acknowledged roles have email addresses, phone numbers and other personal information that is public knowledge. The most obvious example is that Eddie’s name is on the board fixed to the side of the church building.

In all other cases, or in case of doubt, send the email to yourself and BCC the actual recipients. This means that anyone may sign-up to receive information without fear of having their personal information revealed to others. It can be a particularly grey area when someone has provided you their contact details in a personal capacity but may not have intended it to be shared with the whole church let alone the wider world. Unless we have explicit permission for information to be included in the church directory it should not be shared to anyone else including by writing an email to several people, which anyone may then reply to.

It’s also worth noting that we should never write email addresses or phone numbers on public sites such as; facebook etc. Best practice is to refer to people by first name only and that contact may be made through a contact page or the church office.

Now that we’re ready to write an email, I offer the template below to provide both a simple branding and the necessary opportunity to decline further contact.

Corsham Baptist Church

Dear …

We think you are part of our CBC family because you have provided this address to us in the past for the church directory. If that is no longer true or you want to update what we contact you about please accept our apologies and update us here. (Please note it will take us a short while to action your update)

Step 4 arrangements from 19 July 2021

Important Information from our Oversight Team:

“Our STRIPE considered the latest Government announcement on Step 4 of the roadmap out of lockdown and the impact on our activities at CBC. The following are key points that were foundational in guiding us in coming up with what we believe is a balanced approach to opening up, along of course with much prayer!

  1. To expand the work and impact of the Gospel
  2. To remain at all times within the law
  3. To take note of the Government’s advisory recommendations as well as the legal requirements
  4. To act responsibly in taking care of our brothers and sisters as far as possible, commensurate with 1, 2 and 3 above
  5. To have regard to the conflicting levels of concern and anxiety expressed by different members of the fellowship and to try to steer a course which will allow as many people as possible to re engage with Church in person and to benefit from meeting together and engaging in corporate worship and other group meetings.
  6. To take account of the impact on Worship leaders and other members who facilitate our in person meetings
  7. For these measures to remain in force until the autumn when a full review will take place or of course in the event of a change in Government legislation

For the main worship services, the following will take effect from Sunday 25th July

  1. No more requirement to book places via Eventbrite
  2. A request that all attendees are either double vaccinated or have taken a lateral flow test within 24 hours of attending and are negative for COVID 19. This allows for a more “normal” worship service including the removal of masks and allowing singing with greater confidence by minimising the risk of infections being passed on or causing mass isolations!
  3. We will take a register of attendees who will sign themselves in for track and trace in the short term ( until 16th August) and to enable us to advise people of any positive cases in the period until the next review
  4. Two zones in Church – Step 3 Zone in the balcony will require the wearing of face masks and there will be no singing – much like the current worship service, Step 4 zone – the ground floor – no masks required and singing encouraged. Slightly greater spacing between rows of chairs
  5. The option to wear a colour coded badge to indicate your attitude to close contact with others. This is to provide clarity and avoid embarrassment.
  6. Live music, prayers etc
  7. Junior Church will be provided at one service only over the summer due to holidays etc but will take place as now in the garden – parents drop off at the beginning of the service
  8. There will be no 9.15 service until September when 9.15 congregational leaders will review the logistics and a further decision will be made about resumption of that service
  9. These measures apply specifically to Priory Street and a further notice will be sent to Church on the Green members detailing the arrangements for Rudloe. However, similar principles will apply

For other meetings – Life and small Groups, men’s and women’s ministries, etc

  1. These can proceed in person once again without formal restrictions such as the rule of six but should follow the general guidance above on mitigation actions.
  2. The use of Eventbrite will be left to the discretion of the ministry leader. It can be a useful tool to promote the event or track attendees but compulsory use will no longer apply
  3. We would advise liaising with your group on how they feel about resuming in person meetings and aiming to include as many as possible by taking appropriate measures to mitigate risk. This may include lateral flow testing where not all members of the group are fully vaccinated, meeting outdoors if weather permits, using well ventilated spaces and avoiding over crowded rooms.
  4. For outreach events, please seek further specific guidance from the STRIPE team. Because these events will include people from our wider community, we want to take particular care and proposals with planned mitigation measures should be submitted to STRIPE for approval until further notice please.

What CBC will do for you:

  1. Offer live worship, prayers and sermon which will also be live streamed for those who are still uncomfortable with in person meetings. The aim is not to have pre-recorded aspects of the service.
  2. Tell you if someone at an event tests positive.
  3. For in person events, we will have 2 zones; one for those wishing to adhere to Step 3 restrictions (before 19 July) and another for those wishing to adhere to Step 4 restrictions (after 19 July).
  4. Offer hand washing or sanitisation facilities to use on entering the building
  5. Have disposable masks available in case the building becomes crowded
  6. Keep meeting spaces well ventilated where reasonable to do so
  7. Offer red/yellow/green stickers to help you bear with those who have a different view of risk to you.
  8. Refreshments will not be provided until the Autumn at the earliest.
  9. Hold junior church outside for the whole duration of the service, at Stage 4 restrictions only. We will keep a register of attendance.
  10. Space the rows downstairs in the sanctuary to allow 1m spacing

What you must do because the law requires it:

  1. Continue to act carefully and remain cautious.

2. Self-isolate if you develop Covid-19 symptoms, test positive for Covid-19 or NHS Track and trace contact you.

What we ask you to do because the Government recommend it:

  1. Limit the close contact you have with those you do not usually live with
  2. Meet outdoors where possible and maintain good ventilation in meeting rooms (responsibility of ministry leader)
  3. Government expects and recommends that you wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport, or if the meeting room is at capacity, ie. more than 1 person per seat.
  4. Where possible, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  5. Cover your mouth and nose with disposable tissues when you cough or sneeze. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not into your hand. Dispose of tissues into a rubbish bag and immediately wash your hands.
  6. Tell the Church office if you test positive for Covid-19 within 10 days of attending a CBC event – office (at)
  7. We invite and encourage adults attending church to register on arrival and indicate that they are either double vaccinated or have had a negative Lateral Flow Test within the past 24 hours.

Please pray

  • For everyone to show kindness and grace towards each other as we navigate these difficult times, understanding that everyone has different levels of concern about their health and the wellbeing of their families
  • For everyone to support and positively engage with the carefully considered measures we are putting in place for the time being to care for our Church family
  • For continued patience as we gradually return to more “normal” Church life but recognising there is still further to go!
  • Pray for us as leaders as we feel the responsibility of fulfilling our Lord’s commission to us to care in the way that he does for his precious family “Be shepherds of the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood.”
  • To be encouraged that  “The LORD himself goes before us and will be with us; he will never leave us nor forsake us. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

HOWTO stream a service

Going forward we plan to stream at least one service on a Sunday as well as having people in the building so this is a checklist of what is entailed. This is deliberately a summary rather than exhaustive instructions, if you would like to serve in this ministry please contact us and we’ll provide dedicated training.

We have found it works best to have 3 people to staff this activity

Sound tech

  1. Turn on a) PA switch b) Lights switch c) socket labelled PC
  2. Turn on Sound desk (large red button)
  3. Check all muted
  4. Check that any recorded components of the service can be played in the room as well as streaming (This is a function not only of the channels, mix and mute settings on the desk but also the recording format! Running recordings through YouTube transcoding gives the best chance for something that will work)
  5. Perform a sound check ahead of the service so you know if anything is particularly quiet or loud.
  6. During the service, adjust the gain and volume to try to keep all components roughly the same level.
  7. As the sermon starts, press record on the small handheld recorder (this is just a backup).
  8. Get further advice from someone who knows what needs to be checked!

Video tech

  1. Turn on PC (small button on rear of box) and monitor
  2. Login to PC and start OBS Studio and Firefox
  3. Sign in to YouTube using your manager account and navigate to ‘Your videos’
  4. Download all pre-recorded media (e.g. worship / prayer / communion videos, notices etc.) and in OBS select the appropriate Scene, then the Source and browse for the relevant file.
  5. Navigate to ‘Live’ tab where you should find 2 ‘upcoming’ streams, one production (Public) and one test (Unlisted)
  6. Click the ‘Options’ menu of the test stream and then ‘Get shareable link’. Post this link to chat group for those at home to provide feedback
  7. Open the test stream by clicking on the ‘Live control room (((-)))’ icon and copy the stream key
  8. Back in OBS paste this stream key into Settings > Stream > Key and then click ‘OK’
  9. In OBS click ‘Start streaming’, which will also activate ‘Start recording’.
  10. Then in YouTube click ‘Go live’ (top right). It can take a minute or so for YouTube to enable this after you start streaming from OBS
  11. Monitor the stream through own headphones on a second device
  12. TROUBLESHOOTING: For audio in the building there are several settings on the sound desk as well as on the PC. In OBS the key one is to right click in the graphic equaliser, choose Advanced Audio Properties and ensure ‘Monitor and Output’ is selected. Also ensure in the Windows tray that the Audio Output is set to ‘Speakers (USB Audio Codec)’
  13. In OBS, transition to each scene to check sound and video (esp. resolution) are all working
  14. Perform live camera lip-sync and sound check. If audio arrives before picture increase the number in Sync offset within Advanced Audio Properties
  15. Stop test stream, in both OBS and YouTube
  16. Connect live stream key to OBS and repeat as above.
  17. Turn on the projector
  18. Start the stream a few minutes before scheduled start time (T).
  19. Right click in the right-hand studio monitor and select Full screen projector > 27E1 to display the stream for the people in the room.
  20. Transition through each part of the service in turn providing warnings to the live person in the room when taking over from pre-recorded elements at 30sec, 10sec, 3,2,1 to any live components. Speak each of these loudly except the 1, which can be signed with a thumbs up or similar.
  21. At the end of each live component notify participants clearly when the stream has transitioned.
  22. At the end of the service, remember the stream lags by as much as a minute. Check it has displayed the post-screen for at least a few seconds before ending the stream.

Service co-ordinator

  1. Be responsible for Covid-secure procedures (see here for latest updates)
  2. Support and advise techs as appropriate to their experience and confidence
  3. Keep to time
    • T-60 minutes: open up
    • T-10 mins: pray for team and congregation
    • T-2 mins: start stream at ‘pre-live’ screen
    • T: start countdown
  4. Monitor chat group for feedback from the wider team
  5. Exude calm

HOWTO publish notices

In summary:

  1. Open this website and click the Login button top right
  2. Click on ‘Corsham Baptist Church’ in the top (black) bar and select ‘Dashboard’
  3. Select ‘Posts’ in the left sidebar
  4. Find the most recent notices and mouse-over it to see several options including ‘Copy’ appear. Click ‘Copy’.
  5. This will place you in the a new Post filled with last week’s info. This can be dangerous but I prefer it to starting completely from scratch.
  6. Edit as necessary
  7. When you’re done, click ‘Preview’ top right and then ‘Preview in new tab’
  8. Proof-read and check you’re happy.
  9. Return to the first tab and click Publish.
  10. Return to the Posts list, select the Quick Edit for last week’s notices and remove the ‘Make this post sticky’. Finally, turn it on for this week’s.

Emailing the Notices

This is now handled automatically by the Email Subscribers plugin. This plugin contains:

  • Audience: Email addresses of all those subscribed to any list.
    • Currently we have an ‘All‘ list and a ‘Test‘ list. All is everyone we know of who has consented to receive notices, including some who have not consented to be in the Church Directory. Test is a very narrow list as it sounds.
  • Campaigns: Rules for what to send to whom.
    • Principally at the moment this sends any post in the ‘Notices’ category to the ‘All’ list.
    • However, Broadcast campaigns are also possible that send specific emails to specific lists (i.e. similar to service like MailChimp)

HOWTO post resources to our Junior Church page

Cathy and I have experimented this week and put together a new children page on the CBC site as well as a new link from the homepage.

This is a bit of a learning curve for us all but we think we can achieve the basic goal of being quickly and easily able to share something you’ve found useful yourself with other parents.

Please note that this will be immediately and publicly visible on both the website and social media. So we do need to ask you to be wise in what is shared and only to allow official Junior Church teachers to post (as they have received safeguarding training and provided a DBS certificate).

Here is how it works

  1. Address your email to the special address (ask Tim S or Cathy D)
  2. Write the title of your post in the subject of the email
  3. Provide a photo of your activity
  4. Write a warm and friendly introduction to the activity. Write in simple words and short sentences that young children will understand if read to them or perhaps even be able to read themselves at the upper age range.
  5. Include links to the original resources you used. Please be especially careful not to include copyright material directly. For example, if you used some colouring page that is copyright then link to where you found it rather than attach it to the email. If you’re reading stories the performance is your copyright and linking to 10 of those or somewhere people could buy the book will be appreciated by the copyright holder and, I hope, avoid complaints.
  6. Include category information in square brackets, i.e. one of the following.
    1. [category children,baking]
    2. [category children,craft]
    3. [category children,stories]
    4. [category children,worship]
  7. Don’t include anyone’s full name or email address (not even your own). If you want to invite replies ask people to look up in the church directory or use the contact form on the site.
  8. To attribute your post please include your username, which is typically in the form first name last initial, as follows (with your own name not mine!).
        [author tims]
  9. You may use other shortcodes than simply category if you like as described here.

A note about videos. Videos are obviously very engaging. If you want to link to videos that’s best done as mp4. If your phone does not record mp4 please send it to me (Tim S) and I will convert it. 

If you have any questions or would like some help let me know. We can either have a training session or you can copy emails to me and I will provide hints and suggestions.

God bless this endeavour

Responses about the future of in person meetings

Thank you to all who have completed our survey over the summer. As the Baptist Union warned us people have differing views based on their situations and experience as well as their perception of their own risk and those near to them. No question resulted in a clear consensus, which I believe indicates we need to pursue a range of options. I’m conscious we must not turn church into a consumer product but supporting a range of situations probably needs a range of options.

The first headline is that many people are not yet ready to return to in person meetings but a significant minority (about a third) are ready right now (or even back in July).

38% say they are ready to return to church right now.

The greatest majority came in response to whether we should wait for a vaccine before returning to meeting in person. Just 20% thought “Yes, we should wait”. However, this should be read in the context of the majority also responding “Not yet”.

80% of respondents thought we should wait for a vaccine before returning to church.

To my surprise, the majority did not see going without sung worship as a show-stopper, but around a third did.

65% would attend a service even without being able to have sung worship.

I think the question about how to deal with limiting people in the building – rationing that space if you like – was tricky to answer with a Yes or No but I think this response sums up what others were also saying:

I would like to see the plans for church pre-vaccine focus on those who are most struggling/lonely/vulnerable and I’m not part of that group, so if only 20 people could come to church I would feel comfortable doing so but I probably wouldn’t come, because others would benefit more from the physical presence in church.

Probably it is not surprising that smaller groups have more support than full services.

75% would be ready to attend small groups such as prayer meetings or Bible studies.

And finally, a good number of people see this as an opportunity to ‘do church’ differently. Of course it does not mean all these people share a common vision of what to do differently but a common theme supported continuing the online services. For example:

We feel that streaming is likely to be the only effective way of maintaining effective corporate teaching for some while to come.

I think it will be important to continue church both in the building and online.

We have managed to utilise technology in a way completely new to church and it would be right to assess what could form part of our ministry going forward.

Now that the holiday peak is past, Oversight will be getting to work this week on how to best respond and I know Eddie is keen to share some concrete plans as soon as possible. More details soon.

Survey about future of in-person meetings

Dear church,

The past four months have been a challenge but now we have some more freedom and choice so we wanted to canvas you to see what activities we should prioritise.

Paper surveys will be distributed to those who receive the sermon transcripts each week. For anyone else needing a paper copy, please leave a message with your name and address on the church office telephone: 01249 701078

    HOWTO post to the CBC YouTube channel

    This is a short checklist to follow to post on the CBC YouTube channel. If you encounter any issues please contact the site admin.

    • Shoot video (e.g. with camera, Zoom, mobile phone)
    • (optionally) Stitch separate videos together or make minor edits (using iMovie, OpenShot etc.). In general, less is more, so subtle ‘fade’ or ‘wipe’ transitions are sufficient and avoid detracting from the content. If you are editing, please add this end screen containing CBC details for at least 10 secs.
    • Upload to CBC YouTube channel here. You can set some of the following properties within the upload wizard but not all. Therefore, I accept defaults in the wizard and set them afterwards. If this is your first time you may need to request access, again the site admin will be able to help you here.
    • Once uploaded, please provide settings as follows on the ‘Basic’ tab:
      • Title: typically this will be ‘Sunday service for <date>’ for services or ‘Series name – part X’ for midweek posts.
      • Description: We have been using ‘Worship by <name>, preaching by <name>. The next in our series on <series>. We are holders of CCLI streaming licence no: 48626. If possible, especially on mid-week posts, it helps to add a short teaser sentence. The simplest way to do this is by posing a question answered within the video.
      • Thumbnail: Each series has its own thumbnail, branded with the CBC or CotG logo. For example:
      • Is this video Made for Kids? No
    • On the ‘More options’ tab, provide these:
      • Recording date: Use the actual date in case some large event happens between recording and broadcast.
      • Location: Corsham (typically). Don’t be more specific, such as for example “Eddie’s house”.
      • Licence: Creative Commons if available, or otherwise Standard YouTube. If worship is included this typically precludes Creative Commons because the music is copyright.
      • Distribution: Everywhere
      • Category: People and blogs
      • Original language: English (United Kingdom)
      • Caption certification: None
      • Comments: Hold all comments for review
      • Visibility: Schedule as Premiere. Using schedule encourages as many as possible to meet at the same time even if apart. Using Premiere allows you to copy the URL and share it ahead of release (for example on the CBC website) and also provides a countdown, which is a ‘soft start’ allowing people a moment to settle.
      • Playlists, End screen and Cards: Not currently used.

    HOWTO access the CBC Shared Drive

    The ‘shared drive’ is a place for accessing all policies, minutes and other documents of CBC in one place. This prevents the need to merge together different changes or ask ‘is this the latest version’ when looking at a document. It is also a key part of our Data Protection Policy. It is provided by Google and if you’ve ever used a Google Drive this is almost identical, except it has a little CBC logo in the top left, hopefully to avoid confusion.

    Each folder and document has its own security settings (termed ‘Sharing’ settings by Google) but to avoid accidents we will generally create a folder for documents shared with the same people, so for example the Leadership Team Minutes are all in one folder since they are always shared with the same people. These are the key security settings in use:

    • You may find yourself sent a link that does not require any login: that would be appropriate for documents such as approved policies that ought to be open to everyone.
    • You may also find you need to login to access restricted documents (anything containing personal information or as yet unapproved)
    • Finally if you need to create your own document or want to browse or search for a particular thing you need to login.

    Without further ado, here’s how to do it…

    Accessing the drive

    Either go to where you will be presented with a login screen (possibly you will have to click ‘Go to Google Drive’ to get past the advertsiing screen, this tends to be only on your first visit)

    Or if you don’t remember that address go to the Corsham Baptists site ( and in the bottom right corner you will find a link labelled Shared Drive. Here too, you may have to navigate through the marketing screen.

    Screeshot of Link to CBC shared drive

    Logging in

    If you have not received an account and need a secure place to keep CBC materials, especially if that includes personal data, please get in touch using this form.

    Step 1: Email (Username)

    Your username may be an existing email address in which case it will need to be linked to Google (unless it’s a Gmail account) or it may be a dedicated address.

    Step 2: Password

    Screenshot of Google Drive sign in - Password

    Finding your way around

    You should now see something a little like this:

    Screenshot of Google Drive

    Things you might like to explore include:

    1. Click ‘Shared with me’ to see documents produced by others ;
    2. Click ‘My Drive’ to see things you’ve created yourself ;
    3. If you can’t remember where something is Search for key words and you’ll see a list of suggestions ;
    4. Once you have more than a half dozen items on the screen you may well want to show a list rather than tiles.This is also useful to read files with longer names.

    HOWTO write a post

    A feather pen sitting in an inkwell on a beautifully polished desk

    Here is a reference is a short guide to how to write a ‘post’ in WordPress (the tool we use to manage our CBC site). ‘Post’ is the term WordPress uses for your regular commentary and is usually time-sensitive such as notices or material that compliments events in our community.

    WordPress can be a little esoteric, requiring you to jump to different parts of the screen, seemingly at random, but the numbers on the screenshots below will help guide you as well as a reference for the future.


    There is a login in the top right of the home page, or you can bookmark this:

    WordPress login screen
    WordPress login screen
    1. Your username or email address. This was assigned when you registered.
    2. Your password. If you ever forget it, you can set a new one by clicking the ‘Lost your password?’ link below.
    3. Sometimes, but not always, WordPress will ask a simple sum. It’s just a precaution to try to stop malicious ‘bots’ breaking into the site.
    4. To save time in future you can click ‘Remember me’ but general advice is to only do this on a computer you do not share and which does not leave the house.
    5. Let’s go! Click Login.

    The Dashboard

    From here you can manage all aspects of the site.

    WordPress Dashboard
    WordPress Dashboard
    1. Click Posts (you can also hover over it which will bring up a sub-menu where you can click ‘Add Post’ and therefore skip the next step.

    Post List

    Here you can see various recent posts. Depending on your account it is very likely to be filtered to just your own posts.

    How to add a new Post
    How to add a new Post
    1. Click to create a new Post
    2. Alternate way to create a new Post
    3. A somewhat advanced feature that allows changing several posts at once, say to change their category.
    4. Filter the list if you’re looking for a particular post you already made
    5. Search for a post, try using key words from its name or one of its tags

    Write your Post

    Now to business…

    Screenshot of WordPress editor numbering to match guidance in text
    The Post Editor
    1. Your post’s title. Just like headline writing that I recall from school you have to give the reader a reason to carry on to the rest of the post. This can be informative, provocative or something else according to your style but it should be engaging.
    2. The main area of your post. You can use the buttons above to perform basic formatting such as italicising text for emphasis. Less formatting is generally better as the site will already format things like links and paragraphs.
      1. Please format sub-headings as heading 2, 3, etc. rather than simply making them capitalised or bold. Always start with heading 2 (your title will be heading 1 and there should only be one per post). Then progress to heading 3 and beyond if you need further sub-headings just like newspaper because both search engines and screen readers will assume higher numbered headings are more detailed parts of the post.
      2. You can also add media (generally images) into the post. If you upload images of your own please be sure you have permission to do so, many sites offer royalty free images such as and Sometimes they require that you name the artist. Please specify the source in the ‘description’ so that we can be sure we honour these requirements. Don’t be put off from using images, they dramatically improve the attractiveness of your post.
      3. Don’t mention anyone by full name (not even yourself) but rather refer to people by first name only or first name and last initial.
      4. Never post your email address or phone number. If you want people to respond say ‘my details are in the church directory’ or ‘use our contact form‘.
    3. Always set a category. Please choose from those available rather than creating others as this correspond to the main areas of the CBC site.
    4. Specify whatever other keywords your post is about as ‘tags’. Like the title these help people know whether this is for them or not. Examples include organisations such as AIM, topics such as ‘anxiety’ and ‘one-anothering’, authors or books of the Bible.
    5. Ideally every post would have a featured image. Just like a headline this attracts people in.
    6. Preview allows you to see what the post looks like ‘for real’; what you see within the editor is not what you will see on the site.
    7. You can schedule posts for later publication or just publish right away.
    8. Once you’re ready, click Publish. Remember that when you click this, that is what will go to Facebook and Twitter so Preview before Publish 😉