Archbishops use Twitter to help spread the word

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The archbishops of Canterbury and York tweeted their sermons for the first time yesterday to “bring the meaning of Christmas to a new digital audience”.

Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu delivered their Christmas Day messages simultaneously from their pulpits and over the micro-blogging site.

Their words were “live tweeted” to the UK’s ten million Twitter users as part of a campaign to reach out to social networkers across the country.

The Rev Arun Arora, director of communications at the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for parishes to take the good news of the first Christmas out of churches and into people’s lives and homes.

“It is the first time that the joy and excitement of Christmas will have been broadcast widely on Twitter. There are large numbers of social media enthusiasts to be found in pews and pulpits across the country.

“This is an invitation for them to join together to celebrate the joy of the Christ Child coming into the world, taking the real meaning of Christmas to a new digital audience.”

Tweets were being fed out from carol, crib and midnight services on Christmas Eve, as churches from all denominations were encouraged to broadcast their messages online.

A Twitter spokesman said: “It is fantastic to see the Church of England embracing Twitter and using it to share their Christmas message with new audiences.”

Dr Williams has previously branded the site a potentially “poisonous” and destructive tool. But he has also spoken of its power when used to do good.