THE Archbishop of
Canterbury will tweet a version of his Christmas Day sermon for the
first time ever this year, broadcasting to the ten million people
who use the social-media site that "Christmas starts with
He will be joined by his
successor- designate, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Justin
Welby, the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, and, it is hoped,
thousands of other clergy and congregations.
The Christmas Tweet
campaign, devised by Church House, Westminster, urges people to
condense the content of Christmas sermons into messages of 140
characters ending with the hashtag #ChristmasStartsWithChrist. If
enough people use the hashtag, it will "trend" - appearing to
millions of users of the site. Last year, #Christmas was the sixth
biggest trend, behind the pop stars Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and
the Jonas Brothers, football, and the National Basketball
"This is a brilliant
opportunity for parishes to take the good news of the first
Christmas out of churches and into people's lives and homes," said
the Director of Communications for the Archbishops' Council, the
Revd Arun Arora. "There are large numbers of social-media
enthusiasts to be found in pews and pulpits across the country.
This is an invitation for them to join together to celebrate the
joy of the Christ child coming into the world, taking the real
meaning of Christmas to a new digital audience."
The Vicar of St
Francis's, Luton, the Revd James Ogley, said on Tuesday that there
was "something of an art" to condensing the content of a sermon
into messages of 140 characters.
"You get the sound-bites,
which, in a sense, is appropriate for the medium," he said. "We
live in a sound-bite society to an extent, and Twitter feeds into
that, or feeds off it, more accurately. So you get little nuggets.
You may miss the two minutes of exegesis that got to the point, but
you get the point." He is planning to draft the key points of his
sermon into tweets that his wife can send out during the
"I hope it might lead to a greater appreciation of the
significance of the season," he said. "Even if the hashtag is all
that people see in their timeline, that is most important thing. .
. It's about the big picture of Christmas and Christ."
Comment: The Pope on Twitter