Waterlooville church turns its harvest service into a global attraction

St George's Church, Waterlooville
St George's Church, Waterlooville

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A CHURCH is hoping to form a global congregation for a live broadcast of one of its services.

St George’s in Waterlooville came up with the idea of inviting every St George’s church in the world to join in by watching its harvest service online on October 2.

The service is being streamed live via the video app Periscope as part of the Church of England’s ChurchLive initiative.

When Waterlooville’s parish stepped up to air its sermons to the world, press officer Chris Gadd came up with the idea.

‘As I was Googling our church, I chanced across St George’s Church in Singapore and that gave me the idea to invite churches from all around the world to join us.’

Chris got to work compiling a list of St George’s from Paris to Phuket and Leeds to Las Vegas.

More than 60 churches have accepted their invite from the church on Hambledon Road, but Chris aspires to enlist as many as 100 global congregations for the live broadcast.

Chris said: ‘The response has been phenomenal and it means that what was initially going to be local has now turned into a fantastic worldwide event.

‘We feel very blessed that people are so enthused.’

The church’s parish priest, Father Mike Sheffield, told of his delight at the response to the venture.

He said: ‘It seems to have captured the imagination of these churches around the world.

‘I’d better make sure I now deliver a good sermon!’

Graham Bland, of St George’s in Owen’s Point, Canada has called Chris’s pledge a ‘wonderful effort’.

Valerie Hoare, parish priest at Tamborine Mountain Church in Queensland Australia, said: ‘What a terrific thing to do.

‘My blessings for their planning and for their community’s worship and mission.’

The year-long ChurchLive project was rolled out in October 2015 by the Archbishop’s office to open services to a wider audience.

St George’s is the last new church to take part in the initiative.

Tallie Proud, digital media officer for the Archbishops’ Council, said: ‘The project has been a great success, encouraging more churches around the country to live broadcast their services.’

To watch the service this Sunday from 10am, go to periscope.tv/ChurchLive or download the Periscope app on your smartphone.