The Church of England has created free virtual greeting cards which can be sent on with a personalized message to any of the seven million active users in the UK registered on Facebook. Recipients will be able to follow web links from the ‘application’ homepage to find information about their local churches and explore more about the Christian faith.
Created by a leading London web design company, the "designs feature colorful animations representing key elements of the nativity story, including the journey of the wise men to see the ‘new born King’."
The Rt Revd Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden, comments: “I think this is a brilliant idea. Like a number of my clergy and hundreds of their parishioners, I’ve got a page on Facebook. It’s a quick and easy way for people to stay in touch and the Church needs to use websites like this to reach out to as many people as possible.
“Christmas gives us the perfect opportunity to get the Christian message across even to those who think religion is scary, outmoded or pointless. These virtual cards are a simple idea but I hope they capture the imaginations of Christians across the country who want to spread the life-changing message of their faith among their friends.”
The idea for the Facebook application follows last year’s Church of England online Advent calendar, which received wide media coverage and around 1,000 unique visitors each day during December. The virtual calendar, also developed by Rechord, shared real life stories behind each window of what Christmas means to people across the country - from a paramedic in Carlisle, to an expectant mum in Wigan, to an estate agent in Tunbridge Wells.
Dave Walker over at Cartoon Church says:
The good thing about this is that Facebook is a good place for the church to be, as it is where a lot of the people are. It will also provide a means by which people can find out about going to their local church via the A Church Near You site, which is a splendid idea (by the way, if your church isn’t on there it is worth adding it if you can).
The slightly not so good thing is that receivers of cards will need to add the application, which they may not wish to do. Adding Facebook applications is of course a bit of a privacy risk as you are giving your information to a third party (the creator of the application) about whom you know nothing. I am of course willing to give the Church of England my information, but not everyone will be.
The result is that not all of the people you send these Christmas cards to will get them, whereas if you send them a wall post or a message they will get them. Of course if you are a real luddite you could send them an actual card made out of card in the style of yesteryear.
Facebook users can access the application (when logged in to the site) here or can search for 'Real Christmas Cards' within the Facebook website.
Read: The Church of England: Church hands out virtual cards for Facebook friends to share Christmas message
Hat tip to Cartoon Church.