Weigh in on "Catch the Buzz"

Two members of the saint benedict’s table community – Jamie Howison and Dan Draper – are currently acting as delegates to the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, which is meeting in Halifax from June 3 through 11. From time to time over the week, we’ll be posting brief updates and reflections from the gathering.


esterday the delegates at our General Synod were shown a new video produced by the Anglican Church of Canada, and I wanted to get a sense from the folks who log into this site as to how this bit of new media strikes you. Titled “Catch the Buzz,” you can watch this three and a half minute video on YouTube, and then weigh in with own opinion through the comment feature at the bottom of this post.

What does the video communicate to you? For people who have attended worship at saint ben’s, do you have a sense that “Catch the Buzz” reflects who and what we are in our context? And if you haven’t come to saint ben’s (and particularly if you don’t regularly worship in an Anglican context…), would this lead you to consider giving this church a second look?

While this is by no means an official polling, it would be really interesting to get your feedback…

Jamie Howison

10 Responses to Weigh in on "Catch the Buzz"

  1. Tim says:

    Context matters. I can imagine this video working well in the context of many faith communities. That said, I don’t imagine that broadly being the case at st ben’s. The piece overall has too much of the sense of a hired-out attempt at “hip-ness”, and hangs its collective hat on the idea of “buzz”, which it then promptly looses touch with, until it cycles back to the concept with some literal buzzing at the end. (Could it be that “buzz” as a cultural idea lacks the necessary heft to carry the reality of Christian mission?)

    I know that producing a piece like this is an almost “no win” situation for those involved, and want to affirm the considerable effort made. However, I can’t help but resonate with Byron’s thought that st ben’s (and maybe many local faith communities) could make offerings that inspired mission much more organically and effectively than a piece like this one.


  2. byron says:

    Even one visit to St. B’s showed me what I felt to be a unique combination of the iconic and the near iconoclastic. A reverence for tradition is combined gracefully with the realities of today. In the video the connection between modernism and tradition seemed terribly forced. I did carry one strong thought back to this page with me. I believe that St. B’s could produce a far more impactful video than this one.

  3. john says:

    Good reaction so far…that covers the ground well.

    General reaction…a good video that will resonate well within the larger Anglican community. And as these things go it has moments that are good. So kudos to those who produced it.

    More to your “what does the video communicate to you?” It reaches for inspiriation and does that at times…but the “buzz” line and the leap to seem relevant (tweets and facebook)work against the effort (really do). The marks of mission were good but felt tacked on at the end of a video that was trying to be more hip than substantive (and thats not to say it can’t be both, but this wasn’t).

    As for the next question about “people who have attended worship at saint ben’s, do you have a sense that Catch the Buzz reflects who and what we are…”. This is about personality…and a video produced for a general broad audience will have a difficult time reflecting the personalities of it’s constitute communities. And not only that, it just can’t speak to all the various age groups within those communities. That’s a pretty tall order … so, short answer…no.

    For what it is and for who it is primarily for (i’m assuming here that it is an insider thing for the larger Anglican Church) it is a good start …

  4. Sharon says:

    I’m trying to work on a diplomatic response to your questions, but I’m struggling … here goes:

    “What does the video communicate to you?” Toughest question by far, since it doesn’t really communicate much of substance. I appreciate the effort, but quite honestly it comes across as a clichéd effort to be relevant that places the Anglican Church smack in the middle of a Christian media ghetto.

    “For people who have attended worship at saint ben’s, do you have a sense that “Catch the Buzz” reflects who and what we are in our context? And if you haven’t come to saint ben’s (and particularly if you don’t regularly worship in an Anglican context…), would this lead you to consider giving this church a second look?” Nope, and nope. I believe ‘lame’ was the word that came out of the mouth of the teenager sitting beside me watching it.

    The intent is good. The concept is commendable but weak. The creative is inadequate to the task. Again, the intent is good, but good intentions do not make effective strategy.

  5. Bramwell Ryan says:

    What a great video. Lots of innovation, creative juxtapositions and ideas. The opening sequence was packed with neat stuff and well constructed.

    While I laud the effort there are a few areas where I think it could have worked better. We could have skipped the section of the people talking – most of them were obviously responding to specific questions or were speaking within a context which was key to what they were saying. That context wasn’t the context of the video and as a result most sounded out of place. They didn’t add anything to the piece.

    I realize people paid to create a video need to honour those who write the cheques (we never call it propaganda when it’s a church effort) but why is the call to action only for Anglicans. What’s the unique value-added Anglicans bring to the task of spreading the good news as opposed to anyone of faith who is excited, energized, vibrant and alive?

    Finally, the video starts out with a interesting look at how Jesus would communicate if he were on earth today (WWJT – what would Jesus text/tweet?). What a fascinating query – in our fractured, depersonalized world how would Christ reach out with a message of hope, love, forgiveness and acceptance? At the end of the piece, when we get the five commandments, how sad that none of them encourage us (Anglicans and others) to experiment and innovate in new ways/more effective ways to fulfill the great commission through various communication channels. Why did we start with thoughts on how Jesus would act in a wireless, digitized, instant, always-on world and end with ‘thou shalts’?

    My carping aside, I commend those who commissioned and those who produced this piece. I hope it’s the first of many efforts to engage and inspire Anglicans and others and not just the usual conference artifact that starts to ossify once the event is over.

  6. Catherine Pate says:

    “How many Anglican will it take to change the world?” answer:”None.” God will change the world, in spite of us. Thank GOD! And…God will probably use a lot of folks, a few of them Anglicans, to do it. “Anglicans, more than ever before say yes to Jesus.” Why have we suddenly said yes to Jesus? What changed? Did people stop coming to worship or something? Hmmmm….And, just because we can throw around terms like “Facebook” and “Tweet” doesn’t make us relevant. Okay, well, perhaps it’s a cynical day. I agree Rachel, I’m not convinced Jesus would tweet either. And why is that an important point anyway?

  7. Rachel Twigg says:

    I have a pretty low standard for videos such as this – if they don’t embarass me, I’m happy.

    This didn’t embarass me – but it also didn’t inspire me to forward it to everyone I know.

    The ideas presented are good ones and if this video encourages Anglican communitiesto begin to try and live them out – way to go. But that’s all a video can do – inspires us to action, a video itself can’t change the world.

    Oh, and I’m not convinced that Jesus would tweet…

  8. Helen Manfield says:

    It is very global in it’s look, and I wonder about changing my neighbourhood first, or maybe even challenging me to start living out these marks of mission. This video begins very contextually based in this era, I liked the touchstone references to tweets and FB then I kinda lost it, until the light bulb.

  9. Steve Bell says:

    Wow… didn’t expect that. Very well done. Inspiring, and essential. Makes me want to be an Anglican. Wait…

    Honestly, we have no future but that which is laid out with such elegant simplicity here.

  10. Larry says:

    There were some interesting facts and some thought-provoking ideas. Every time I see something like this, however, I think of the many evangelism strategies from the past.

    It seems to me that a better way to go (if at all) would be to have leaders in the church motivated to foster a church environment where it’s members are facilitated and encouraged to know God better through what we know of Jesus and his teaching (some things suggested in the video). We should be taught and encouraged on a local level to care for and act in love toward one another.

    The video is fine but I’m not convinced it’s a good use of the Anglican church’s energy.

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