*** DEBUG END ***

Liturgical use of the iPad

15 January 2016


Your answers


I have noticed priests using iPads to read the Offices, services, and also the Gospel at the eucharist. Is raising the iPad after the reading and kissing it now an accepted norm?


Whereas an increasing number of priests happily take advantage of an iPad for the recitation of the Daily Offices, far fewer of them would want to introduce this way of conducting the Ministry of the Word at the eucharist, particularly the reading of the Gospel.

Semi-private use of an iPad at the Offices is entirely acceptable, but at the eucharist the Gospel is and always has been a high point in the liturgy, the dignity of which is customarily marked. Ceremonial surrounding the Gospel may be simple or elaborate. The congregation stand to listen, and turn towards the place from which the Gospel is read. In many places, a procession, with the book of the Gospels (often richly bound and embossed with the symbols of Evangelists), is accompanied by lights and maybe incense, and at the end of the reading the minister offers a ritual kiss on the book in honour of the words of the Gospel, before he or she raises it above the people with the acclamation “This is the Gospel of the Lord.”

Traditionally, the book of the Gospels has been regarded as a symbol of Jesus Christ the Living Word, and is treated with dignity and reverence, and, in view of this way of doing things in both cathedrals and parish churches, it is an unwarranted assumption that the substitution and kissing of iPads has become an accepted norm, even within the diversity of Anglican liturgical practice.

Only in exceptional circumstances may its use be justified and acceptable — as, for instance, when ministering at a bedside in a hospital ward or at home communions when a Gospel reading is welcomed.

(Canon) Terry Palmer, Magor, Monmouthshire


. . . Maybe I am unhappy with the Kindlisation of the Word because there is something stable about the printed word in contrast with the ephemeral nature of the text on electronic devices. Such media flatten everything out, so that intemperate, expletive-ridden blogs and inane or irascible comments have the same validity as holy writ or poetry, all at the touch of a button. . .

(Canon) R. H. W. Arguile, Wells next the Sea, Norfolk


Of course, the iPad (Mini, in my case) should be kissed and raised after the Gospel is read. We are honouring not the book, but the proclaiming of the Gospel, to which people are listening (intently, it is to be hoped). We do not believe the Bible is the Word (it has the words of God): Jesus is the Word, and it is hearing Jesus speak to us (via the Gospel) which is being celebrated.

(The Revd) Jan Ashton, Kidderminster, Worcestershire


. . . The medium from which the Gospel has been proclaimed should be kissed by the deacon, with the words “May the words of the Gospel wipe away our sins.” Caution should be exercised, however, as an unevenly distributed kiss may cause the capacitive screen of the iPad to skip a few pages, and may result in premature arrival at the Dismissal. The subsequent act of de-smudging of the screen with an anti-static wipe is a practical measure of no theological significance and is best performed by a sidesperson.

(The Revd) Oliver Coss (Liturgical Adviser to the DAC), Birmingham


Out of the Question, Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.


Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite


Thu 20 Apr @ 16:08
The Archbishop of Canterbury has received the specially commissioned King James Bible that will be presented to Kin… https://t.co/u8LMnSFcfV

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)