Christian New Media Awards 2012 – the history!

Posted: October 11, 2012 in Uncategorized
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At which Christian event would you see a Pentecostal pastor sitting with a Catholic priest, a young trendy man in a skinny tie chatting to a gentleman in a bow-tie, and a lady in an evening dress conversing with a Bishop from the Coptic Orthodox Church?  Yes, it’s the Christian New Media Awards ceremony!

This year on World Communications Day, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the importance of us embracing the world of new media as Christians rather than getting left behind:

“Attention should be paid to the various types of websites, applications and social networks which can help people today to find time for reflection and authentic questioning, as well as making space for silence and occasions for prayer, meditation or sharing of the word of God. In concise phrases, often no longer than a verse from the Bible, profound thoughts can be communicated, as long as those taking part in the conversation do not neglect to cultivate their own inner lives.”

Back in 2007 I stumbled across an underground world.  It was the year when Twitter was pretty much unknown in the UK and Facebook was in it’s infancy, predominantly being used by University students.  I had started writing a blog which mainly consisted of simple daily reflections from a faith perspective composed during the morning commute.  Writing the posts was not particularly life transforming but the people I met through it were.  My eyes were opened to a movement of Christians around the world who were encouraging, supporting and even counselling one another through the medium of the internet.  After several months I came to realise that there were a few Churches and Christian organisations who had a dominating presence online through use of blogs and websites – they knew the importance of using new media to reach young people and even unbelievers with the Gospel message.  However there were many who were stuck back in the 90’s with primative websites (if they had a site at all) and I was determined to do my bit to change that!

The original concept was to hold a ceremony at which those who were doing a great job in the digital world in the UK could be both encouraged and commended, mainly because no one was giving them any recognition.  The dream was that anyone who was lagging behind in the area would then be inspired to take advantage of the opportunity presented by new media, having seen the way that others were modelling it as a tool for witness or discipleship.  After a few months of working out the logistics the ‘Christian Blog and Web Awards’ were birthed (now the Christian New Media Awards).  The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, attended the first gathering along with around 100 other people for a three course meal complete with live music and an awards ceremony.  During his address the Bishop nicknamed the event ‘The Bloggies’, something which has stuck to this day!

Next Friday, 19th October 2012 marks the 6th awards ceremony at Skinner’s Hall in London where the entrance gate reads ‘To God only be all glory’!  I have seen the embargoed list of winners and runners up which I think contains a few surprises.  The judges have made their decisions but whether we agree with the outcome or not, hopefully greater unity between believers will occur as well as greater emphasis upon new media as a method of spreading the Gospel.

Only the finalists make it to the black tie event but a new addition in the last two years has been the Christian New Media Conference which takes place the day after the awards night, and anyone can attend that!  It’s an inspiring gathering for digitally minded believers who come together to share ideas, theology and more.  (You can book on here: www.christiannewmedia.com)

New media is a gift if used wisely.  We have the ability to influence thousands of people through a tweet or a video but may our aim be to point people to God and glorify Him rather than glorifying ourselves. “To God only be all glory!”

©Maria Rodrigues-Toth

p.s. Video from the awards and podcasts from the conference will be available online afterwards. Watch this space!

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Comments
  1. benleney says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog – and it’s cool to read more about the history of this. A great opportunity, as you say, for Christians of different stripes to meet together. I am very interested in the conference and will follow the online reports avidly!

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