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WATCH: Lakeland church goes digital

A Cumbrian church is embracing the new media age by allowing people to post their prayers digitally and have them projected onto a wall in the church.

St Michael's and All Angels in Hawkshead has installed specialist equipment that will also allow the congregation and visitors to share their prayers with members of a church in Hackney in London. Kim Inglis went to have a look.

Praying in the digital age

Digital prayer Credit: ITV Border

A Lake District church is partnering up with a London congregation as part of a pioneering digital prayer project.

Specialist equipment has just been installed at St Michael's and All Angels in Hawkshead allowing people to type in prayers that are then projected onto the church's interior wall.

In coming weeks a link will also be created to allow the prayers to be shared with members of the Church of St Peter de Beauvoir in Hackney in London.

"It struck me immediately as a very exciting idea. I had never heard of anything like it before, yet it was simple and intriguing.

"I think that people are looking to see what kind of relationship develops between Hawkshead and a very different community in Hackney.

"We're also interested to see if people like to pray in this way. People have come to this church to pray for centuries but never before has it been connected digitally with another church. It will be interesting to see how people respond to that; that the things they pray for here are also being prayed for in Hackney."

– The Rev John Dixon, vicar of Hawkshead with Low Wray and Sawrey
St Michael's and All Angels in Hawkshead Credit: ITV Border

Two months ago John was approached by a team from Project CEDE (Creating and Exploring Digital Empathy), which includes input from the University of Lancaster, Sheffield University and the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis from University College London.

Among the key aims of CEDE are the exploration of ways to make digital communication more empathetic and the reduction of isolation across communities, groups and individuals.

The digital installation includes four votive candles which light up when a prayer is registered on a touch screen device near the church's entrance.

Within a few minutes the prayer is projected onto the wall of the church and is framed within special artwork which has been designed to mirror existing pictures in St Michael's. The prayers continue to cycle through as new ones are added.

The four candle prayer system has been in place for two weeks and so far John says there has been real interest shown.

He added: "It's wonderful to see how everybody - and especially younger people - have come into the church and really engaged in the prayer process through this project.

"We live in a media age and anybody coming to this church under a certain age is very familiar with new media. People communicate all the time in this way and there's no reason why the church should be any different."


Bronze bishop's mitres recovered

The bronze bishop's mitres recovered Credit: ITV Border

Two bronze bishop's mitres that were stolen from a Carlisle church have since been recovered.

Both items, which were the latest in a series of thefts at St Cuthbert's church, were found close to a restaurant in the city centre.

But the church is still set to close its doors until CCTV has been installed.

Church closes doors after string of thefts

The bronze bishop's mitres, the latest items to be stolen from the church Credit: ITV Border

A church in Carlisle is closing its doors for a month following a series of thefts.

St Cuthbert's, on Blackfriars Street, will be open for services and pre-arranged events but will be closed during the day to visitors until CCTV is installed.

Two bronze bishop's mitres are the latest items to be stolen from the church.


£100,000 grant to fund church roof repairs

St Cuthbert's Church, near Kendal, has won a grant that will fund roof repairs Credit: ITV Border

An historic church in the south lakes has received almost £100,000 towards the cost of roof repairs.

St Cuthbert's Church in Kentmere, near Kendal, was awarded the money from the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund.

The church was founded in the 1400s and has strong connections to St Cuthbert. It homes a yew tree that is said to be 1,000 years old.

The money covers approximately 80% of the funding required for repairs, leaving £20,000 still to raise.

The Cumbrian who designed one of Britain's first mosques

Plans for one of the first purpose-built mosques in in Britain have been restored - and they were originally drawn up by a man from Cumbria.

The 90-year-old drawings have been returned to their former glory by Cumbria County Council's Archive Service.

Thomas Mawson Credit: ITV Border

The plans were originally made by Thomas Mawson from Windermere, a notable architect who built the mosque for the Ahmadiyya Community in London in 1925.

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