THE Church of England's Buildings Division has backed a plan to
fit all of the C of E's 16,000 churches with WiFi internet
The director of the Cathedral and Churches Buildings Division,
Janet Gough, said in a statement on Tuesday that the Church was
ideally placed to build up a national network.
"We will be talking with those involved to explore how to build
on the existing projects, such as the diocese of Norwich's WiSpire
programme, and the provision of free WiFi for all visitors at
individual cathedrals such as Chester, Canterbury, Ely, and
Liverpool, to link up and expand WiFi coverage countrywide."
The idea was first floated by Lord Lloyd-Webber in an interview
with The Mail on Sunday. He said that connecting churches
to the internet would make them the centres of their communities
His father, William Lloyd Webber, was an organist, composer, and
choirmaster at All Saints', Margaret Street, in central London,
before becoming musical director at Methodist Central Hall.
"They should go back to the medieval traditions, which is that
the nave of the church is always used for local businesses," Lord
Lloyd-Webber told the newspaper. He said he would help fund the
plan himself, but also hoped that the Government would contribute
Lord Lloyd-Webber, who sit as a Conservative peer in the House
of Lords, said that he had already begun discussing the scheme with
One church in London has already embraced technology in an
effort to reconnect with young people in its community. St Peter De
Beauvoir, Hackney, has allowed a team of researchers from
University College, London, to install a number of digital
experiments inside the 170-year-old church.
A WiFi-enabled prayer candle system allows visitors and
parishioners to type a prayer for someone and see a virtual candle
lit for them on a screen. A motion-sensor-activated font lets
people inscribe their worries or sins on to a touchscreen and see
them symbolically disintegrate into the waters (photo, page
Prayers can also be projected on to the floor, and the academics
are looking into fitting interactive lighting or even talking
The Vicar, the Revd Julia Porter-Pryce, said: "This is a unique
opportunity for the congregation and the community to be involved
in cutting-edge research and to consider questions about what it
means to be human in a digital age.
"St Peter's hopes it will help the church to develop deeper ways
of communicating digitally and that the project will engage many
more people than those who take part in Sunday and weekday