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Church Commissioners

Volume 617: debated on Thursday 24 November 2016

The right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked—

Christmas

8. What steps the Church of England is taking to use technology to promote its values and beliefs over the Christmas period. (907452)

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his timely question as we prepare for the arrival of Advent this weekend. The Church of England will launch a new website—www.achristmasnearyou.org—on 1 December to help the 2.7 million members of the public who attend church over Advent, and the 2.5 million people who attend at Christmas, find their nearest church service or celebration.

How are churches being encouraged to use social media to share the message of Christmas, and what is the take-up of social media by churches in constituencies such as mine?

Some 23,000 services have been added to the website by more than 5,000 parishes. It might interest hon. Members to know that it has filters, so, for example, disabled parishioners can find out how easily they can access a church, and there is a filter for those who wish to know whether mince pies and mulled wine will be served. The social media campaign also includes a video in which Mr Speaker’s very own chaplain makes her important contribution under the hashtag #joytotheworld. I recommend that we all watch that.

That is very good news, because she is an excellent woman, as everybody in the House can testify, and, if I say so myself, a fine appointment by me.