Churches implement a “No Cellphone Use” rule during service to give people solemnity as they worship and praise God. Mobile phones are either put in Silent mode or turned off so as not to interrupt the service.
A German pastor does otherwise. Pastor Ralf Peter Reimann of the Walloon Reformed Church of St. Augustine in Magdeburg, Germany does not only allow, he promotes the use of social media in the church, NPR reports.
If you use social media, it’s not only the pastor communicating on behalf of the church, but Christians communicating among each other.
~Pastor Ralf Peter Reimann
The cleric knows that there is a decline in the number of churchgoers, with people busy with work or their families. For those who have little time to worship, he turns to Twitter in the hope of inspiring others to spend time with the Lord.
Instead of switching off phones, Pastor Ralf’s congregation of about 40 is tweeting about the liturgy and sharing their prayers online.
“There are lots of people who live online,” he said. “We want to include these people and offer them to participate in a way that’s comfortable to them.”
Parishioners are tweeting about the pastor’s sermon in real-time. In front of the altar is a large screen displaying a hash-tagged feed showing tweets from parishioners and from around Germany.
“If you use social media, it’s not only the pastor communicating on behalf of the church, but Christians communicating among each other,” explained Pastor Ralf.
Some churchgoers actively participate in the Twitter service posting encouraging messages and personal prayers. Some are not so thrilled about the pastor’s initiative, especially the older generation who prefers the traditional service.
Meantime, a priest in Italy had enough of the interruptions caused by mobile phones. Upon the approval of the local police, Father Michele Madonna had a jamming device installed inside the Santa Maria di Montesanto church in Naples, The Daily Mail reports.
Father Madonna said he had signs plastered inside the church reminding people to switch off their phones during service. When cell phones continued ringing and buzzing, he decided to use a $50 device.
“What really annoyed me is that when it first started people would switch off their phones in embarrassment now they are cupping their hands over the receiver and carrying on talking,” he claimed.