WORSHIPPERS at St George’s, Waterlooville, in Hampshire, are to be joined by up to one hundred of its namesake churches around the world when its harvest festival is broadcast live on social media in October.
The thanksgiving service will be the last to be broadcast as part of the year-long Church of England initiative ChurchLive, which invited churches across the UK to record their Sunday services using a smartphone with the mobile app Periscope, allowing users to stream videos live online.
It was launched in October 2015 in an attempt to draw “global audiences” and introduce worship, preaching, and prayer to those “unfamiliar” with church. The technology, in partnership with Twitter, has also enabled those who are unable to attend church to take part in worship at home using their smartphone.
The press officer for St George’s, Waterlooville, Chris Gadd, said that he had contacted St George’s churches across the world to spread the word and join in the last broadcast online.
“We wanted to do something really special; so when I chanced across St George’s church in Singapore, I decided to invite churches from all around the world to join us,” he said. “The response has been phenomenal, and the service has now turned into a fantastic worldwide event.”
So far, more than 30 St George’s churches have responded, in countries including Singapore, Sydney, Phuket, Barcelona, Venice, and Paris; about 70 more are expected to join by the time of broadcast. The Archdeacon of the Gold Coast and parish priest at Tamborine Mountain church, in Queensland, Australia, the Ven. Valerie Hoare, said that the gathering was “a terrific thing to do”; and the Rector at St George’s Anglican church, in Ontario, Canada, the Revd Graham Bland, said that sharing the service so widely was “a marvellous effort”.
The Vicar of St George’s, Waterlooville, the Revd Michael Sheffield, said that he was delighted with the response. “It really seems to have captured the imagination of these churches around the world. I had better make sure I now deliver a good sermon.”
To watch the harvest thanksgiving service at 10 a.m. on 2 October, visit