Photo Credit: Lambeth Palace
[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will take part in an online question and answer session using the social media platform Twitter on Monday (5 September). The event will be the first time Archbishop Welby has hosted a public Q&A session on Twitter – and he has chosen the subject of prayer as the theme.
People are being invited to ask questions using the hashtag #AskJustinWelby; and the Archbishop will post answers to selected questions from 12.15 pm GMT on Monday.
Twitter users have already begun posting questions; although some – as could be expected with the nature of social media – aren’t treating the exercise seriously.
Twitter user Andy Millington asked “Does the Lord ever get prayers asking if he was in an accident with in the last 5 years?” in reference to adverts by “ambulance chasing” solicitors and claims management firms. And user Ivan Jelical asked: “If I pray more than 3 times in a day will the good Lord think I'm being needy?”
Others, however, were treating the exercise properly. Among the serious questions asked so far, Christine Grew wants to know: “What counts as prayer? If I think of someone, say, doing an exam, and hope it's going well for them, does that have power?”
Rachel Eslicker asked: “why do we pray for Saints who have passed?” And Charlotte Houlder asked for “some simple advice on how to [pray] out loud in a group?”
Some were theologically complex: Random noise asked: “Prayers of intercession imply expecting transcendent intervention. But God refuses that in the name of free will. Why?” And others asked Archbishop Welby for details of his own prayer life, including Colin Cameron, who asked: “How long do you pray for each day? What is your routine (daily offices v. quiet contemplation, etc)?”
While this is the first time Archbishop Justin has hosted a Q&A session on Twitter – where he has almost 95,000 followers – it isn’t the first time he has used social media to interact with members of the public. In recent months he has used the new live video facility on Facebook – where his public page has almost 130,000 likes – to host a live interactive Bible study seen by more than 895,000 people; and a Q&A with Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, that was seen by almost 253,000 people.
Twitter users who want to take part in Monday’s Q&A can post their questions using the hashtag #AskJustinWelby.