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Alexa, how many Church of England questions have you been asked?

by Michael Ford last modified 30 May, 2019 04:41 PM

A year after its launch, The Church of England’s award-winning Alexa skill has been asked more than 75,000 questions, new data has revealed.

The smart speaker skill was originally launched with prayers, explanations of the Christian faith and details of where to find the nearest church for local events and services based on location.

The data also reveals a trend of highest numbers of people using the skill in the evening. As a result of this, the Church’s Digital and Church House Publishing teams added a wider range of mealtime, evening and night prayers during the year.

More family prayers have also been added, and integration improved with A Church Near You, the national church finder tool, to show maps of where the nearest church is. A range of videos have also been added to bring the Christian faith to life and showcase the social action work of churches across the country.

In a typical week people ask the following questions by topic area:
Read today’s daily ‘EasterPilgrim’ reflection – 16%
Say a prayer – 40%
Explore the Christian faith – 31%
Share a grace before a meal – 6%
Where is my local church? – 7%.

The skill is average 4.2 out of five stars on the Alexa store with comments such as "Love it - great example to the kids on how to pray."

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.

"The skill will soon be updated with Daily Prayer for Thy Kingdom Come, allowing people to take part in daily services."

Adrian Harris, Head of Digital at the Church of England, said:

"We are pleased with the levels of engagement in the first year of launching the skill, which was built in just three months in 2018. The skill has also been recognised at a number of leading digital industry awards. Working in close partnership with Church House Publishing, we have responded to feedback from users by adding more family prayers and content at Advent and Christmas 2018 and Lent 2019.

"In the months to come, we hope to make the content developed available on other platforms. UK smart speaker usage doubled in 2018 to more than 9.5 million monthly active users so 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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