Woodstock — No need to pray for longer battery life when phone charging options are more accessible than ever. The St. John’s Baptist Church in Woodstock announced during service on Sunday that they will be installing USB ports in their pews so that parishioners can charge their phones while hearing the Good Word.
Pastor John Fretters explained that with people bringing their phones everywhere, the church is showing that they’re relevant and accepting of modern times. He added that with declining numbers of people attending church, the faith should take advantage of new ways to retain and attract parishioners.
“Younger generations have a short attention span. We know they aren’t going to want to sit through a whole hour-long sermon, especially if their phone could die halfway through. We think this just might keep them here.”
Fretters added that their church, which already offers free Wi-Fi, will also be releasing an app for all smartphone operating systems that allows attendees to sing along with hymns visible on their devices, view pictures of classic religious paintings relevant to the sermon, and “check in” online to show their friends that they are attending service. They will be encouraged to live-tweet and capture photos of said service with the hashtag #woodstockserviceselfies.
Not all St. John’s Baptist Church members are pleased with this technological addition. Jessica Merriweather has been a devout member of the church’s community for 46 years and said that it’s unnecessary sacrilege.
“We should be discouraging device use altogether during service. This is a house of worship, not some classroom where you stare at your phone under the desk instead of listening,” she declared to a group of like-minded members meeting in the church basement while the local Scouts held their own gathering a few feet away.
Interestingly, the announcement alone has already gathered excitement on social media, with many Woodstock residents who previously did not attend church tweeting and posting that they will be going to next Sunday’s service to “read this Bible everyone has been talking about,” and to “see how fast the Wi-Fi is.”