A Burnley church has taken part in a ground-breaking, year-long pilot project allowing people to access live-streamed Church of England services on laptops or mobile devices.
St Catherine’s Church on Todmorden Road was one of 53 churches to have taken part in the broadcasting project, which streamed around 60 hours of worship using Twitter’s Periscope feature, attracting more than 40,000 viewers.
Along with streams from two other Lancastrian churches in Preston and Blackburn, the local services were viewed by more than 3,000 people, with the initiative drawing viewers from all over the world, including the USA, Israel, India, Puerto Rico, Nigeria, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia, and Australia.
“This is a great way of reaching many people who may be unable to get to church for some reason,” said St Catherine’s Father Roger Parker. “We are pleased to be part of the initiative.”
Ronnie Semley, Diocesan Communications Manager, said: “We have begun to embrace social media more as a Diocese, including Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Our success in launching and maintaining those channels means we now have the confidence to try other things, including Church Live.”
The project has shown the range of worship styles across the Church of England, with St Catherine’s broadcasting on Sunday, September 11th on the final day of the four-day Crossroads Mission involving the Archbishop of York and 25 other Bishops from across the north of England.
Alice Beverton Palmer from Twitter UK added: “It’s been fantastic to see people from across the world watching the Church Live broadcasts on Periscope. Platforms like Twitter and Periscope can really bring communities together, locally and globally.”
And the Rev. Arun Arora, Director of Communications for the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, commented: “We have been delighted by the way churches have embraced the opportunities offered by social media to proclaim the Gospel afresh and to reach new audiences.”