Christmas Day sermons via Twitter

Clergy across England are tweeting their Christmas sermons today as part of a Church of England campaign to share the good news with even more people.

Among the clergy taking part is the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Right Reverend Christopher Forster, who is preaching his sermon at Portsmouth Cathedral at 11:15am and has made arrangements for extracts of his sermon to go out via Twitter at that time (@CofEPortsmouth).

The joint project between the Church of England and Twitter has seen hundreds of churches share the Christmas story on Twitter with the hashtag #ChristmasStartsWithChrist

The Archbishop of Canterbury (@lambethpalace), the Archbishop of York (@johnsentamu) and the Archbishop Designate Justin Welby (@bishopofdurham) will also be tweeting their Christmas Day sermons for the first time.

Clergy and congregations have been encouraged to get out their smartphones and live tweet the joy and meaning of Christmas during Christmas services and festivities.

"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," said the Reverend Arun Arora (@RevArun), director of communications at the Archbishops' Council.

"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. Churches from all denominations will be invited to broadcast their services via Twitter."

A Twitter spokesperson said: "Twitter brings you closer to the things you are passionate about - and for millions of people across the globe that is faith. It is fantastic to see the Church of England embracing Twitter and using it to share their Christmas message with new audiences."