The Church of Fools is to be primarily sponsored by the Methodist Church of Great Britain. The online church will be launched on May 11, 2004 as an experiment for three months.
The Church of Fools is a complete virtual church environment where visitors will log on as an animated figure. Users will be allowed to move their character around the digital pews and pulpit to interact with other users through speech bubbles. A real minister logged on as a cartoon double will lead the services. When service is not being held, the church will be open 24/7 for prayer and discussion.
“The Methodist Church is trying to meet the challenges of the present day. We want to seriously engage in the ‘missing generation’ of under-40s and explore new and fresh forms of being church. The Internet is a major source of information, news and debate, and we feel it could be a way of involving people in church life.” said Jonathan Kerry, coordinating secretary for Worship and learning at The Methodist Church.
Kerry also commented that, “The Methodist Church logo will appear prominently onscreen in the Church of Fools, and online visitors will be able to find out about the Methodist Church and why we are engaged in the project. The church will also provide discussion topics and there will be a link back to our official website.”
The Methodist Church will be contributing almost $9,000 to the Church of Fools as its primary sponsor. The Epworth fund, which exists to support connectional initiatives, will be providing this money.
Church of Fools will be launched at the 20th National Christian Resources Exhibition, at Sandown Park, in Esher, UK, on May 11.