LAUNCHED IN NOVEMBER 2012, congregations and clergy in the 12,500 parishes of the Church of England were encouraged to get out their smartphones and livetweet the joy and meaning of Christmas in a series of 140 character messages to the 10 million people who make up the UKâ€™s â€˜Twitteratiâ€™.
Churches from across the country took part in the campaign, tweeting their sermons using the hashtag â€œ#ChristmasStartsWithChristâ€ to share their Christmas messages. Figures revealed today show almost 9,000 tweets sent using the hashtags â€œ#ChristmasStartsWithChristâ€ and â€œ#CSWCâ€ with peak traffic occurring on Christmas Day at around 11am (GMT) and a smaller peak on Christmas Eve at 11pm (GMT).
Taken over a 24 hour period from 11pm on Christmas Eve to 11am on Christmas Day these figures represent an average of 370 tweets per hour, 6 per minute or 1 every 10 seconds.
The cumulative reach for the 8,878 tweets using the hashtags was 9.6 million twitter users.
In addition to sermons from the UK, tweets were also sent from services in churches as far away as Brisbane, South India and Basel.
Led by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams (@lambethpalace), the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu (@johnsentamu) and Archbishop Designate Justin Welby (@bishopofdurham), churches took to the twittersphere to communicate the good news of Christ coming into the world.
Revd Arun Arora (@RevArun), Director of Communications at the Archbishopsâ€™ Council, said: â€œThis was the first time the Church of England has adopted Twitter for a Christmas initiative and we are delighted with the results.
â€œChristmas is one of those times when the Church is at its best, proclaiming with joy and song the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. To see so many people communicating the joy of Christmas with a shared message of #ChristmasStartsWithChrist was a cause for rejoicing.
â€œWe are already looking at using twitter for our Lent campaign, LoveLifeLiveLent (@LiveLent).
â€œThis was a real team effort with Archbishops and Bishops, clergy and laity, on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, all joining in to proclaim the good news. As with the rest of society, there are many social media enthusiasts in our pews and it is each of them we have to thank for making this happen.â€