General Seminary is working with the Office of Communication of the Episcopal Church on a new education program called Digital Formation.
The goal is to help clergy and lay leaders throughout the Episcopal Church appreciate the importance of understanding the use and effects of social media in the church as well as its theological foundations and implications, according to a seminary press release.
The program begins with a series of webinars, each centering on a different topic related to social media. The first hour-long webinar starts at 1:00 pm EST on Feb. 17. Interested persons may register here. The program includes 45 minutes of content and a 15 minute question-and-answer session. The topics include:
Feb. 17: introduction to the church and social media;
March 2: social media as hospitality;
March 16: what to tweet about;
March 30: Foursquare and evangelism;
April 20: mobile apps for churches;
May 4: QR Codes in and around church.
“The exponential growth of phenomena like Facebook, Twitter, and the use of various mobile devices challenge us to take not just a practical ‘how to’ approach but also to develop a serious theology of social media,” Colin Chapman who, along the Rev. Joseph P. Mathews, have guided the creation of the program, said in the release. Both are GTS students.
“Formation is a part of our name because we hope to address not just technology, but also how we are shaped into the image of Christ, how we embody our Baptismal Covenant,” added Mathews.
In an interview with Episcopal News Service, both Chapman and Matthews said they bring their faith online with them and it has served as a chance for them to evangelize in the world of social media.
“I think what happens, particularly with people who are maybe somewhat newer to the Internet and social media, is that you can cheapen what happens online as not personal or less than personal,” Chapman said.
More information is at the General Theological Seminary website.