Is This Christianity's Digital Future? London's Oldest Church Leaps Forward With 21st Century Technology

The Bishop of London Richard Chartres leads traditional but live-streamed eucharist at the City's oldest churchDiocese of London

The oldest church in the City of London has taken a leap into the future with the technology of the 21st century.

Bishop of London Richard Chartres, who is one of the most traditionalist of the Church of England's serving bishops, led a live-streamed Eucharist at the seventh-century church of All Hallows by the Tower, which pre-dates the Tower of London by 300 years.

Jessie Morgan, who is over 100 years old and who had been a Brownies' leader at All Hallows from the late 1920s, said she was "amazed" at the new technological developments available to churches.

She said she hoped it would allow more people to connect with a place which had been central to her Christian formation and her life.

One aim is that live-streaming services will allow house-bound people and others who can no longer get there to take part in a virtual sense.

All Hallows was founded by the Abbey of Barking in 675AD. The live stream service is part of Capital 2020 – the diocesan strategy for developing new and effective ways to serve the people of London.

A new local hotel, CitizenM and Société Générale, contributed funds to pay for the technology. Vicar Bertrand Olivier also ran the London Marathon and 11 other marathons to raise more than £100,000 for this and other good causes. All Hallows hosts the annual London Marathon Thanksgiving Service as well as many other civic and company services and events.

Olivier said: "We are very excited at this new development which will allow us to reach new audiences and connect with many people worldwide who have a spiritual attachment to All Hallows."

Also at the service were artist Jackie Binns, who recently designed a new altar frontal for the church, and Denise Bentley, chief executive of the FirstLoveFoundation who run the TowerHamlets Foodbank, one of many charitable projects supported by All Hallows.

During the visit the bishop also awarded parishioner Ken Marshall with the St Mellitus medal for his service to the parish. Marshall was married at All Hallows 54 years ago and has served the parish for decades, including the last 17 years as churchwarden.