By ACNS staff
The Anglican Communion Office and the monks of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE) have been astounded and delighted by the response to their invitation to create a crowdsourced, global Advent calendar on Social Media.
In November an invitation went out to the worldwide Anglican family to sign up for a daily email from SSJE during Advent with a word and short meditation for people to reflect on and pray about.
Br. Geoffrey Tristram, Superior of SSJE said, "We also asked people to respond to the meditation with an image of their own taken on their smartphone and posted on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook with the hashtag #Adventword and the word of the day. All the resultant images have combined to create the Communion's first ever global advent calendar on the Anglican Communion website www.aco.org/adventword.cfm.
"We have been amazed at the response," he said. "Watching the calendar is watching global prayer unfolding before your eyes.”
Director for Communications at the Anglican Communion Office Jan Butter said, "In just 10 days, the Global Advent Calendar has crowdsourced more than 7,000 images posted by upward of 1,500 people worldwide. 18,000 people have signed up to receive the daily emails.
"The Advent calendar has had more than 30,000 views and posts with the #adventword hashtag across Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook have had more than 1m views.
"While many are from North America, posts have been coming in from right around the world. This demonstrates that the Internet is truly a space where members of the Anglican Communion enjoy fellowshipping, praying and expressing their faith regardless of their location or cultural background.
"It's also exciting to learn that Christians from other traditions have been taking part."
#AdventWord is an initiative developed with the ideas and support of the Anglican Communion Office, The Episcopal Diocese of Texas, the Office of Communication of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican/Episcopal monks of the Massachusetts based Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE). #Adventword is an expansion of SSJE's daily meditation "Brother, Give Us a Word".
SSJE posts a new day's meditation on #AdventWord at 8am New Zealand time every day. The emails that go out with the seed meditation from the SSJE Brothers are "time warped" so they arrive at 5am local time all over the world.
The success of this initiative in such a short space of time has prompted the project team to consider how this might be repeated next year with even greater involvement from Member Churches right across the Anglican Communion.