03 June 2004

Over 5000 people log on for the first ever Methodist online sermon

In the first century, God-seekers had to travel across the known world to gather in Jerusalem and celebrate the festival of Pentecost. Last Sunday they merely had to log-on.

In his Pentecost Day sermon, Revd Jonathan Kerry, Co-ordinating Secretary for Worship and Learning, chose to deliver his sermon in cyber space, in the online Church of Fools - and over 5000 logged-on to listen.

Mr Kerry said: "It was very appropriate to celebrate Pentecost in a web-based Church, because the Christian Pentecost is a festival of communication: it celebrates God's gift of communication and God's mission to communicate"

He continued: "In the Church of Fools we can begin to share our faith with an international audience in ways that are perhaps as astonishing as the experience of those apostles and crowds in the first century. For them as for us, the challenge was to seize the opportunity of an audience curious to hear what God has to say, and to learn what motivates the followers of Jesus."

It was not, however, the marvel of technology that was celebrated. As Mr Kerry noted in his sermon: "For the first apostles, and still for us, the message is the Gospel of God - the creator of all, who offers us unconditional, self-giving love and eternal life through Jesus his Son.

And the same Spirit of God, poured out at the first Christian Pentecost, gives this Church, and each of us, the mission to communicate that message in cyber-space and in the world of flesh and blood."

The Methodist Church is primary sponsor of the Church of Fools, a three-month experiment in online church launched by www.shipoffools.com.

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