Diocese of Oxford launches web church

Oxford diocese has launched an INTERNET church or i-church as part of their Cutting Edge programme of new expressions of church.

The i-church , is intended to be a Christian community of the Church of England based in the Diocese of Oxford under the pastoral care of the Bishop of Oxford.

The project has been three years in the planning. The Revd Richard Thomas, its originator, said that research had identified a group of people who were not interested in membership of a church, but wanted to resource their own spiritual journey from the internet. "If the Church of England is serious about serving all people within the community, this is no longer just a geographical thing," he said on Monday.

Organised through an active web site (http://www.i-church.org/) , and led by an ordained or lay 'web pastor', its purpose will be:
-to provide a focus of Christian community for those who wish to explore Christian discipleship but who are not able, or do not wish, to be participant members of a local congregation.
-to provide an additional means of support to those who do not find all that they need within their own worshipping community
-to provide continuing connectivity with Christians who travel, either through their work or in their life-style, and who are not able to maintain relationships with a geographical Christian community.

Membership of the community provides the core level of commitment to i-church , and is open to anyone willing to make that commitment, regardless of doctrinal allegiance.

The spirituality of the community will be based on that of one of the religious communities of the Diocese, reflecting a commitment to prayer, study and social action, and the design and content of the site will reinforce this spirituality.

To reflect this spirituality, community members will be invited to make a rule of life commitment to prayer, study and action. The nature and level of this commitment is up to the individual to decide in consultation with the pastor of i-church .

Community members and visitors will be encouraged to submit articles for discussion and debate. Learning from one another is a key element of our understanding of i-church .