BBC Airs Virtual Church Mass

The BBC Radio 4 is planning to broadcast Sunday's Worship from a virtual church to help worshippers who are unable to attend church sermons.

BBC Airs Virtual Church Mass

The BBC Radio 4 is planning to broadcast Sunday's Worship from a virtual church to help worshippers who are unable to attend church sermons, the Guardian reported on Thursday, April 12.

"It's quite a breakthrough," said Mark Howe, a Christian evangelist in France who will lead the pioneering cyber-service.

"We hope to show how technology and spirituality can interact at every stage online."

The Church of St Pixels is a full 3D project that draws 600 visitors daily and has a congregation of 1,500.

"We are accessible for those who cannot leave home due to infirmity or young children," he said.

"It's also convenient for people whose working life does not fit with local church services - or who live far from a physical church."

The virtual church allows visitors to talk to each other, enter different rooms, take part in worship or Bible study and listen to a sermon illustrated by pictures.

"Members take part in discussions, pray for each other and play games - as well as worshipping together," said Howe.

"Many travel considerable distances to meet 'in real life'."

Like the church, St Pixel is an imaginary character with no place between SS Pius X and Polycarp in the encyclopedia of saints.

First

This will be the first time for the BBC to run the traditional broadcast at 8.10am from a virtual church.

"Sunday Worship on Radio 4 has a basic format which we will observe, including hymns and a sermon," said Stephen Goddard, a programmer at the virtual church.

They have borrowed a real church in south Manchester for the 40-minute broadcast.

"It will be a delicate occasion because we are not sure how many St Pixelites will turn up, beyond a definite core of about 30 of us," said Goddard.

"Everyone adopts a character online to participate in the services, and there are definitely some who do not want to 'uncloak'.

"The anonymity of our worship is important to them," he added.

It is not yet known how the virtual church can make its members sing, with hymns online played by computers.

As failsafe, it booked the Manchester Chamber Choir to make sure that BBC listeners get their usual Sunday breakfast helping of church music.

Sunday Worship has previously been broadcast from a boat to celebrate St Columba's journey to the Scottish island of Iona.

There was also open-air hymns broadcast in Kashmir.

Christian groups have welcomed Sunday's live BBC broadcast of the virtual church sermon.

"Christians are increasingly creating churches in many different forms, from traditional ways through to things as yet unimagined," said Rev Jonathan Kerry, the Methodists' central coordinator for worship and learning.

"St Pixels is one of these and we hope it will thrive as a place for all traditions to meet."

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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