By ACNS staff
An Anglican Communion communicator has raised the possibilty of forming a digital province where evangelism and faith formation would be a priority.
Jan Butter, Director for Communications at the Anglican Communion Office proposed the idea of a 'digital missionary province' in the latest edition of Anglican World magazine.
"It has been said the Anglican Communion, like Social Media, is based on relationships and meeting, on conversation and sharing things in common," he wrote. "We are blessed to have a spirit-filled community of believers both in the physical and digital world.
"This has got a few... communicators around the Communion wondering whether the Internet could ever be a province of the Anglican Communion."
Speaking to ACNS, Mr Butter stressed the idea was currently nothing more than "blue sky thinking", just brainstorming between communicators excited at the potential of the Internet for building God's Kingdom.
He said, however, that there were clear parallels between physical-world missionary bishops sent out to establish a worshipping community in an unreached area, and Christians who are using their presence on the web to share God's good news.
"Around 2.4 billion people regularly use the Internet, and that's worldwide," he said. "Many church efforts to evangelise online, equip Anglicans for outreach, and strengthen Christian community are largely independent and unconnected.
"If fewer people are going to church and more are going online via smartphones, tablets and laptops, shouldn't the Churches of the Anglican Communion be more intentional and integrated in their approach to carrying out God's mission online?"
He added that a group of communicators based around the world certainly thinks so and have started discussing some of the theological, ecclesiological and sacramental challenges associated with the concept of a digital Anglican Communion province.
"There's already an Anglican cathedral in Second Life," he said. "Perhaps that means the first digital diocese already exists..."
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