The Church of England has released a new app to help more people to follow Sunday services using their mobile devices.
Some will say that this is the church moving into a new era of communication. Others will suggest that it represents a desire to stem the continuing drift away from institutional religion among younger people, in particular.
Proponents of the new approach say that it is intended to complement rather than replace traditional church attendance.
'Sunday Worship' (a new app for iPad/iPhone) presents the full Bible readings for the main Sunday service, together with the Collect [a gathering prayer] and post Communion prayers for the week "in a simple and elegant way, using the award-winning Common Worship design", the Church of England press office says.
This follows two other apps published to support congregations in their devotional lives.
For those seeking a daily pattern of Bible reading, prayer and inspiration, Reflections for Daily Prayer was also launched on Friday 28 November 2013 and is available on the Google Play Store for Android devices, after seeing over 50,000 downloads since its launch for iPad/iPhone.
The Lectionary - a key tool for clergy and worship leaders, providing them with the Bible readings for every service and full details of feast days and other information - is also available this year for the first time as an iPad/iPhone app, Kindle ebook or as a printed booklet.
The apps have been developed by Church House Publishing (the official publisher of the Church of England) with Aimer Media, a Brighton-based developer that has developed acclaimed apps for a number of other religious publishers among many others.
Thomas Allain-Chapman, Publishing Manager for Church House Publishing commented: "The new digital resources we are offering this year will, I hope, make this new Church year just a little bit easier for clergy and parishes. Sunday Worship is designed to make it simple for anyone to find out what's coming up in church this Sunday, to prepare well for taking part in worship and perhaps also revisit the Bible readings and prayers during the rest of the week, too."
Adrian Driscoll, Commercial Director of Aimer Media, adds: "We've had great feedback from ministers about how our apps make Bible reading and service planning that bit easier - and we're excited to open up these benefits to even more people through the Android version."
All three Church House Publishing/Aimer Media iPad/iPhone apps - Sunday Worship, The Common Worship Lectionary and Reflections for Daily Prayer - are all available now on iTunes and details can be found at:
Reflections for Daily Prayer is also available from Google Play Store for Android devices.