Like many parishes, Grace Church on-the-Hill, Toronto, seeks to equip our parishioners to practice their faith outside Sunday morning. For the past several years, we have used our weekly enewsletter, blogs, podcasts and social media to build relationships with a highly mobile, active parish community.
We received a $12,000 grant from Our Faith-Our Hope to produce a mobile app, the next logical step in our communications strategy. We launched “Grace Matters” for both Apple and Android devices on Sept. 7, 2014. Since then, it has been downloaded more than 1,000 times by users in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.
The app is divided into several sections, such as an introduction to Sunday readings, readings for morning and evening prayer, and upcoming events. The core features, however, are the resources provided to individuals and families for cultivating faith practices at home. This includes, for example, simple blessings that can be said at the table, as well as videos and resources gathered from across the Internet with the goal of bridging the gap between church and “everyday” life. Online Bible study tools give users the opportunity to access scripture on the go, in any number of translations. More importantly, the app includes links to a number of video resources that bring many popular Bible stories to life for children. We hope the app will help connect our congregation to some of the great material being produced throughout the church, such as the national church’s Community blog and the new Spirit of Invitation videos produced in our own diocese.
One of our major goals is to keep the app up to date with the current liturgical season. So far, the most popular aspects of the app are the introduction to the Sunday readings and the various Grace media collected under the “Watch and Listen” category.
Many aspects of the app are not exclusive to Grace Church. We hope that we can offer the app as a resource to be used by Anglicans throughout the diocese and beyond. We are grateful to the Our Faith-Our Hope campaign for giving us this new opportunity for the building up of God’s church.