Voice-controlled app answers questions about God

A voice-controlled app called Alexa has answered tens of thousands of questions about the Christian faith since it was launched last year.

The Church of England says so far more than 75,000 people have engaged with its app (or skill), “Alexa Skill”.

People with a smart speaker, such as an Echo, or with Alexa on their phones, can access the skill by saying “Alexa, open the Church of England”.

They can then ask theological questions or request prayers or information.

The pre-recorded responses are provided by male and female clergy and lay people.

The Church of England says each week about 40 per cent of users request a prayer, while 31 per cent use the skill to ask questions such as “what is faith?” Seven per cent ask about church locations and six per cent ask Alexa to share a grace before a meal.

The skill is soon to be updated with a daily prayer for global prayer movement Thy Kingdom Come.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said: “The aim of the Alexa skill is to help users to know more of the love of Jesus Christ, to enable regular churchgoers and those exploring faith to connect with God in another way and at a time that’s right for them.

“My hope and prayer is that this will encourage many more people to make a pattern of daily prayer and Bible reading the foundation of their lives as disciples of Jesus Christ.”

Adrian Harris, Head of Digital at the Church of England, hopes to make the developed content available on other platforms.

He said UK smart speaker usage doubled in 2018, with over 9.5 million active users each month.

“We’re excited about the opportunities to use the technology to help people grow in their Christian faith, to bring people to faith and to connect them with a local church.”


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