An Anglican Parish Church has joined with voice-to-text company SpinVox to change the way they reach their community: by delivering sermons directly to parishioners’ email inboxes, live.
The world’s first voice-to-text Sunday service will take place Sunday November, 30th the first Advent. It will be given by the Reverend John Kronenberg, Vicar of Hinchley Wood, Esher, Surrey, at St Christopher’s Church.
As he delivers his sermon to the congregation seated in the Church, his words will be automatically converted by SpinVox and sent directly to subscribers’ inboxes, in a matter of moments. 100 members of St Christopher’s church will receive the sermon this Sunday.
"There are many reasons why people may not be able to make it to Church on a Sunday; they may have to work, or visit families far away, some may have trouble leaving the house if they are elderly or ill and some families can only get to church a couple of times a month because of other commitments, but they still want to keep in touch," Rev. Kronenberg said.
"We have a website with RSS feeds and a Facebook page and regularly contact the community via email, but this is a bold next step in reaching people in a new and relevant way: one which helps them feel part of our weekly worship and community life whatever their circumstances. Hopefully it will also attract the interest of younger people in the Church, as we communicate with them using a cutting edge way."
Rev. Mark Rudall, the director of communications for Diocese of Guildford said, "Not only will they be able to follow the sermon simultaneously, but will have a written record of what was said which they can re-visit and re-consider at any time they like. It’s entirely appropriate that those who proclaim the Gospel should use cutting edge technology where they can; after all, two thousand years ago the Church was instrumental in developing the book format we know today! In the 21st Century, the message remains the same, but SpinVox is providing yet another way of sharing it."
The next SpinVox-enabled service will take place on December 21st. The young children of St Christopher’s will perform a nativity play on the 7th, and a carol service on the 14th, which will also be SpinVoxed.
One parishioner says she won’t be able to attend the live mass because she’s been ill for the last 6 weeks and unable to leave her home. "I’m all set up with my daughter’s email and will be waiting to receive John’s sermon on Sunday morning. I have really missed not being able to get to church and see other members of the congregation while I’ve been ill and although I’m much better now, I can’t be there on Advent Sunday, but at least this way I’ll feel that I’ve still been a part of the service."
SpinVox is offering a free trial of its services to the parish. SpinVox is also free to anyone wishing to use the service to update their blog or social network.
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