I’m sure many people saw the news item last week about drones being used to deliver packages and thought they were living in an episode of Tomorrow’s World. The prospect of my daughter’s monthly subscription of nappies and bubble bath dropping out of the sky did seem just too daft to be real! My amusement increased with a cartoon showing a drone taking off with part of a church spire attached to it, with the caption ‘Amazon, we have a problem’ illustrating an article about whether church towers and spires could be used as re-charging/docking stations for a fleet of drones. After my initial giggles, I did start to think whether this might be a real opportunity for churches.
Now just to clarify: I don’t plan to advocate church towers and spires starting to look like tech versions of bees buzzing around a hive, and clearly any risk of a drone taking off with part of a spire attached to it is very bad thing. However, if we can find a way of making this work successfully, just as there are successful ways of installing broadband transmitters and mobile phone aerials on and inside church towers, this has the potential to be a real good news story.
Churches have always been at the heart of their communities, often operating a wide range of functions far beyond worship. This must continue into the future and though I don’t doubt there may be a few raised eyebrows about whether drones are appropriate, and whether the combination of something so hi-tech in such a historic location is harmful, we must challenge preconceptions, be brave and think more creatively about how our churches can benefit our local communities.
Whether or not the idea of drones takes off (please excuse the awful pun), there will continue to be new and unusual opportunities for our churches in the future and I just hope we will have the courage to pursue them.
By Natalie Fenner, Churches Officer