For the faithful of the Church of England, it certainly seems their prayers have been answered for a way to join in prayers at a distance — through live-tweeted services.
This ingenious method of worship has been spearheaded by the historic Ripon Cathedral. worshipers everywhere can now join in the services — whether they be in the confines of a hospital bed, atthe office, or even on holiday. All they need do is log on to Twitter, follow Ripon Cathedral’s Twitter account, and follow the hashtag #Compline. With this, they can even respond to the tweets and send in their petitions to the account.
Ripon Cathedral also holds the honor of being the first ever cathedral to boost its prayerful public through social media means.
Sian Lawton, hailing from nearby Middleham, is assigned to oversee Ripon Cathedral’s online ministries. “Online prayer is an area we’re looking to develop,” she says, “so keep an eye out by following @riponcathedral on Twitter to see what happens.”
Canon Precentor Paul Greenwell, who is responsible for the music and worship of Ripon Cathedral, wholeheartedly agrees with this step to take the Church of England into the Age of Information. “We forget sometimes that even writing was cutting edge social media once,” he says. “Here we are in cyberspace, bringing the Word of God to people wherever they are. I’m sure that [St.] Wilfrid would approve.” He recalls a time when St. Wilfrid first laid the foundation for a stone church on the site in the 7th Century, and encouraged his monks to learn calligraphy when it was still relatively new.
“Our online ministry has grown enormously,” Dean of Ripon, Canon John Dobson, a senior clergy member, shares. “By getting the Cathedral out there on the internet, conversations with our local community, people throughout the region and around the world have been made possible. It has meant members of our own congregations can keep in touch throughout the week and keep conversations going between Sunday services.”
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