Monday 29 December 2014

Tweeting BCP Evening Prayer

For a while, I have been musing on the nature of the daily Evensong in which I sing being an enforced (but not in any bad sense) sacred space in my life. Apart from being a part of a centuries’ old tradition and therefore being made to feel somewhat insignificant in the grand scheme of things, part of this is inevitably down to the fact that technology – and its concomitant connectivity – are banished to pockets for the duration of the service.

This led me to think about the extent to which our connectedness through social media is preventing us from having that quiet personal time and space for religion, reflection or relaxation, as even when simply watching television or listening to the radio, we are being told to email or tweet with comments and feedback meaning that, without a great deal of self-discipline, our escape is never possible

If our connectedness is inescapable – my thinking went – I wondered how such a space could be created in our online connected world. The inevitable answer is ironic and I duly contacted a priest fried of mine and asked if he would like to lead an online Evensong with me tweeting as I do regularly on behalf of Lichfield Cathedral Choir. His enthusiasm for the idea led me to think that it was not quite as foolish as it felt.

Although this creates a lot of work for those taking part, one of the beauties of Evensong is knowing that it is happening in cathedrals up and down the country on a daily basis and while there are some people who attend regularly, there are plenty of others who just drop in for a single service or are there for just some of a single service. Another beauty of Evensong, from the congregation’s point of view, is that the majority of it is said (or sung) on their behalf by the priest and the choir, so they are able to partake as passively as they wish.

My idea of an online service is an attempt to create exactly the same thing. It will happen tomorrow – 30th December – at 5.30pm GMT whether or not people are reading the tweets. People can choose to follow us for as much or as little as they like. The text will all be delivered in tweet-size chunks: there will be the full psalms and readings for the day, along with prayers and an anthem text to read.

The Twitter accounts to follow will be @WealandsBell, @LichfieldChoir, and @RevRichardColes.

To the best of my knowledge, there has not been a tweeted act of worship before. There are online churches and religious communities but, as far as I can tell, they do not – or have not – offered something like this before.

It is an experiment. It will happen. I am sure there will be some people who see it as a waste of time and a foolish endeavour; however, I do hope that people will find the time to take out of their day to drop in on the event, and I do hope our efforts will be appreciated by someone somewhere in the world.

If details change, I will update this post and I welcome any comments, suggestions and feedback, but I look forward to my next post being a reflection of how the first tweeted service went.

UPDATE 16:27: Having enlisted a Dean and a Bishop to help us, please also follow @CatherineOgle, and @b2dac

UPDATE 31/12: After the event I compiled all the feedback I received and it can be read, with comments, at

No comments:

Post a Comment