Pokémon Go players: How the CofE aims to catch 'em all
Church of England parishes are being encouraged to welcome Pokémon Go players with drinks, snacks and access to wifi.
The CofE has issued advice to its parishes about the game craze, which has seen gamers are turning up on the doorsteps of churches that feature in the game, which uses GPS positioning alongside virtual gaming as players find animated creatures to catch, train and battle with.
The game has become an overnight sensation, with millions of players around the world.
Many churches feature as 'Pokéstops', buildings players have to visit to acquire items they need to play, or a 'Gym', where players can battle their Pokémon.
The CofE said Pokémon Go was "giving churches around the country a great opportunity to meet people from their area who might not normally come to church".
It says churches can "Place welcome signs outside: encourage them to come inside and offer them drinks and snacks. The game also uses a lot of battery so why not create a battery charging station? If you've got it, let them connect to the church's wifi."
It also advises church members to "Speak to players about the game: learn how to play it yourself, it's a good way to start a conversation that may lead on to other things."
Churches can also hold a 'Poképarty' like Christ Church Stone, which has invited gamers to a barbecue with wifi and charging points.
A Methodist Church in Birmingham was identified as one of the UK's first known Pokéstops after players started turning up. The City Road church has now posted new signs advertising its 11am Sunday service: "Pokémon Go Gym, you are welcome – Jesus Cares About Pokémon Gamers". Other churches are also advertising their services on social media like Twitter.
Cirencester Baptist Church is a #Pokestop for #PokemonGo. Tell us if you find it. pic.twitter.com/AZnb6VuI6r— Cirencester Baptist (@CirenBaptists) July 14, 2016