A church is trialing the use of a live voting smartphone app during sermons to help engage its congregation.
Worshippers at Aylsham Parish Church in Norfolk, England, are asked to take their phones to services and use their handsets to answer questions which are displayed behind the vicar on a projector screen.
They can also rate hymns they like or dislike to help make future services more enjoyable, and the app has also been used to display a “word cloud” of things the congregation is praying for.
A ‘word cloud’ displays things the congregation at Aylsham Parish Church in Norfolk is praying for (Mentimeter/PA)
The more people type a particular word, the larger that word is displayed on the screen.
Reverend Canon Andrew Beane said:
“[It] has given us an opportunity to be much more interactive in our worship”.
Read more about our interactive worship using the wonderful app @Mentimeter to engage different generations in #Church https://t.co/eeIAm61ErV@DioceseNorwich@DeliberatePR #labslearning https://t.co/17NdjVK1wU
— Aylsham Church (@aylshamchurch) December 4, 2018
“I would like to think it’s pioneering. We’re holding on to the traditional but embracing new technology to make it more relevant to society today.”
A member of the congregation at Aylsham Parish Church uses the live voting smartphone app (Mentimeter/ PA)
The church already offers its congregation free internet access through a scheme called WiSpire, and has TripAdvisor, Facebook and Twitter pages.
It has used the voting app, developed by Swedish company Mentimeter, in three services to date and plans do so at future special events.
Reverend Beane said:
“Sometimes you can ask a question and people are shy, but by using the app, everybody joins in.”
Aylsham Parish Church in Norfolk (Mentimeter/ PA)
He said it had not brought extra people into the church, but encouraged greater interaction between older and younger members of the congregation.
Aylsham churchgoers use app to rate hymns https://t.co/NyuRaOTxNk
— BBC Look East (@BBCLookEast) December 4, 2018
He added that the congregation are “very generous in what they embrace”.
The app is more commonly used in business meetings.
Reverend Beane said he is considering asking his congregation “How was my vicaring?” via the app.
“Sometimes people will say ‘Oh, thank you, vicar’ and you don’t always get that honest opinion. This time people can say ‘I found that really challenging or difficult’.”
He said he has already had inquiries from other churches about the technology.
A version of this article originally appeared on Press Association.