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Twittering Vicar makes the news

A photo of the notice giving church wifi

I was interested to see the news cycle today includes the story of Rev Andrew Alden who is, apparently, Britain’s first ‘Twitter Vicar’ – according to Sky.

I find this story interesting on two levels.

The press’ fascination with quirky Vicars

It seems that, every now and again, you can pretty much guarantee that the press will fall over themselves when clergy adopt new technology. Read more

Hands-free worship

Book jacket image for Hands-free worship by David Green
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

I am very pleased to announce that I have self-published my first book ‘Hands-free worship’.

What is it about? Well, the snappy sub-title gives you a clue: the ‘pastoral, theological and missiological dimensions of digital projection and computer technology in worship’.

In essence, I started researching and writing because, while I was aware of various books out there that look at the practical dimensions of what happens when churches use projection technology to worship, I felt that no-one was writing about what happens pastorally and theologically when projection is utilized. Furthermore, I felt it was influencing mission and I wanted to think about and address those issues.

I am a fan of projection, but I’ve also seen it used badly and in the book I try to Read more

Hands-free worship

A book jacket image for Hands-free worship

If you have been following this blog, you will know that (for what seems like an eternity), I’ve been trying to finish a Masters degree in Pastoral Theology by writing a dissertation about the implications of using digital projection in worship. Because of ill-health at college and then the demands of ministry (particularly covering an Interregnum) it just never got done.

Well, at long last, it got done.

The dissertation is handed in, finito, complete and over.

Furthermore, various people have expressed interest along the way in the subject matter and so it has long been in my mind to re-hash the content into a book form and self-publish with Print-on-Demand.

At the present time, I am in negotiations with the university to make sure that I am free to do this without any problems and so I can’t promise at this stage if it will see the light of day soon (if at all), but I hope to tell you more in due course including (if you’re interested) where you can get hold of a copy.

I couldn’t resist showing you the mocked-up jacket though! I know it’s vanity publishing in one sense but its done with a purpose since the material has intrigued a good few friends in discussion and I’d like to share my research and ideas with others if they are interested to read the work. There’s far too much poor use of projection in church to sit on this and not share it, I think.

What’s it about? Well, my basic premise is that using digital projection in church worship changes more than just the practical dynamics. Subtly, I think it shifts aspects of pastoral care, theology (both in terms of how we speak of God and think about human beings) and also how we do mission. I am a supporter of projection but I advocate judicious and wise use and sometimes being willing to switch it off and not use projection when its not appropriate to do so. Ultimately, what I try to promote is a ‘harder way’ that asks leaders and computer operators to think a bit more carefully in pursuit of use of the technology that seeks God’s glory and the encouragement of the faith community.

Thamus and Theuth and the digital age

Statue of an Egyptian scribe, ca. 2500 BC

In the midst of my MA study leave, I am pondering this famous old parable and its implications for the digital age.

“Now the king of all Egypt at that time was Thamus… To him came Theuth to show his inventions, saying that they ought to be imparted to the other Egyptians… When it came to writing, Theuth declared: “… I have discovered a sure receipt for memory and for wisdom.” To this, Thamus replied, “O most expert Theuth, one man can give birth to the elements of an art, but only another can judge how they can benefit or harm those who will use them. And now, since you are the father of writing, your affection for it has made you describe its effects as the opposite of what they really are. Those who acquire it will cease to exercise their memory and become forgetful… What you have discovered is a receipt for recollection, not for memory. And as for wisdom, you provide your students with the appearance of wisdom, not with its reality: they will receive a quantity of information without being properly taught, and they will imagine that they have come to know much while for the most part they will know nothing… And because they are filled with the conceit of wisdom instead of real wisdom they will be a burden to society.”

Phaedrus and the Seventh and Eighth Letters

Lament for the Church and Internet

Given my own recent focus on the Church of England website, I was interested to read Brian Reid’s Richard’s lament for the state of the Anglican Church’s engagement with the Internet worldwide (rather than just focussing on England) over at Anglicans Online.

Anglicans Online, as a website, is the grand-daddy. Around since the early nineties and way ahead of the curve in seeing what was happening and what needed to happen in terms of church engagement with the web. It remains one of the best places to go for information.

Sad to say, I don’t think they are wrong when they bemoan how some church’s are just not getting it with the Internet and are allowing web presences to lapse or remain in ruins:

In some instances, 20%-50% of a given diocese’s parishes have abandoned the use of the internet for informational or evangelical [sic?] purposes. This means that it would have been much easier a year ago for you to use the internet to learn about a church and its service times.

The whole article is worth a read as Brian Richard makes a call for consistent, determined, thoughtful and united working to communicate our faith, of which the Internet remains a vital part.

CofE Website Launch 3: A review

Screengrab from the Church of England website, 10 January 2011

In the fullness of time, the problems of this weekend’s Church of England website relaunch will be forgotten.

In the fullness of time, people will forget the fact that there is a cringeworthy video introduction to the Church of England on the website. After all, how many times do you need an introduction? The powers-that-be may even remove it anyway given the general reaction that there has been. At least, we can hope and pray that they remove it.

However, the website will remain and really that is what is important going forward. So what is it like? Is it any good? Does it mark a major step forward from the previous version?

Well, the answer is both yes and no. Read more

CofE website launch 2: The Youtube video part 2 (mission)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pFnPBtuX3I[/youtube]

In my earlier post today, I wrote about the spelling and grammar errors contained in the new video on the Church of England website: ‘An introduction to the Church of England’. You can watch the whole thing by using the embedded link above. In this post, I’d like to talk more about the content.

Basically, the video (in my opinion) is awful. The music is horrific, it sounds like something you might play at a funeral or a really bad amateur wedding video soundtrack, and it plays into all the stereotypical images of the Church of England that you could imagine. Read more

CofE website launch 2: The Youtube video part 1 (spelling)

I will get on to a proper review of the new Church of England website in due course (and I want to play with it for a while to do that), but I have to draw attention to the YouTube video that has also been unveiled as part of this new website launch for the Church of England. Last night, most of the social media attention and twittering was not about the 500 errors that I ran into but about Read more

CofE website launch: FAIL

Screengrab from the Church of England website showing an error message.

I got an excited text from a fellow Curate this afternoon who knows I’m into these things. “There’s a new Church of England website” he said. I had heard sometime ago via back-channels that something was happening so it didn’t come as a total surprise that a new website was being launched.

However, my first thought was this: ‘what are they doing launching on a Friday? You never launch a website on a Friday’. As Stephen Ward makes abundantly clear in his recent article, it’s always a bad idea. People are out of the office, you can’t deal with any immediate feedback and, despite the best testing in the world, there are always glitches and problems when something new is launched. You want to be there to nurse it through those first days… not abandon it to the weekend.

So what do I find when I log on this evening? Read more