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World News

New 24/7 online café launched for church leaders as pressure mounts on pastors

by Tola Mbakwe

There's a new online café that runs 24/7 to provide church leaders worldwide with an opportunity to share their experiences during the coronavirus crisis.

Christian charities World Vision and Alpha International came up with the idea so church leaders can support one another. 

Ruth Tormey, senior lead of Christian influence and engagement at World Vision, told Premier they realised the need for the café soon after the UK started distancing measures came in. 

"Since we started lockdown we were calling pastors to see how we can support them and pray for them… and we quickly realised that church leaders needed somewhere to pop in to have a chat. Not another Zoom call with content. Just a place to share what they're doing, learn from others and to get and give some prayer."

The cafe is in its pilot stage and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on Zoom. It will last for two weeks and is hosted by staff from the New Zealand, UK and USA offices of both Alpha and World Vision.

As of Monday, Toremy said there had been church leaders from 23 countries that had joined so far. She said the engagement shows just how much such a space is needed. 

"There's a huge amount of pressure on pastors", she said. "We've been speaking to church leaders in the UK who are hosting eight funerals a week. They're having to push themselves and test their abilities. Just having somewhere you can share that…it's a safe space. You can come in, relax and offload."

Alpha International head of global marketing, Laura Bradford said, "We are living in unprecedented times and at Alpha we want to support church leaders in any way we can. Currently church leaders are having to wear multiple hats - pastor, producer, social media expert. We wanted to create a safe place to share, learn and support each other in this time of uncertainty. 

Church leaders who want to take part can click here to sign up. 

Listen to the full interview with Ruth Tormey here: 

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