[ACNS] The Church of England has broadcast a church service live over the internet in what was the first in a new series of weekly broadcasts in partnership with the microblogging site Twitter.
The new service, ChurchLive, was created in conjunction with Twitter UK as a way of showcasing a broad range of live church services to global audiences simply and accessibly through use of a smartphone and the live streaming app Periscope.
The C of E says that ChurchLive could be the first taste of Church for those unfamiliar with church services and an introduction to the best of worship, preaching and prayer.
ChurchLive is also expected to enable people to rediscover church in a new way or for those in other countries to learn more about Church of England services.
“This is a project designed to bring Church of England services from Malton to Miami, Middlesbrough to Milan and Manchester to Mumbai,” the Revd Arun Arora, communications director the Archbishops' Council said. “Those who may not make it to church on a Sunday for all sorts of reasons will have the opportunity to be part of a service.
“The ability to join in worship shouldn't be restricted to geographical constraint. We know that Periscope users are a global audience and we expect that there will be as many watching services broadcast via Periscope as are physically present at the services themselves.”
Earlier this year parishioners at one village church, St Radegund’s Church in Grayingham, in the Diocese of Lincoln, were joined by another 350 people around the world for their regular traditional Sunday service after becoming the first to experiment with Periscope.
“Periscope gives people and communities the opportunity to live broadcast everything from on-the-spot breaking news through to individual reflections,” said Julia White from Twitter UK. “It’s great to see the Church of England taking the best of what they have to offer and using Periscope to show it live across the world.”
Tallie Proud, the C of E’s digital communications officer, said that viewers of ChurchLive could be “someone too ill to attend, a family who want to attend even when on holiday, or someone who just wants to know what the church is like before they make the sometimes scary step of walking into the building for the first time.”
The first service broadcast as part of the ChurchLive service yesterday came from The Point, a Fresh Expressions church in West Sussex. It featured a contribution from the “Vicar of Baghdad”, the Revd Canon Andrew White. Future transmissions will come from St Martin in the Fields in London and Beverley Minster in Yorkshire.