Church of England Launches Alexa Skill to Reach the Masses
The Anglican Communion News Services reported that the Church of England has launched an Amazon Alexa skill to reach people with a message of Christian faith and provide information about the church. Rapid adoption of smart speakers has created a large new digital channel for reaching consumers and in turn Christian believers and others seeking information about the faith. The Alexa skill includes access to:
- Daily prayers, meal graces and the Lord’s Prayer
- Christian faith resources from Church House publishing and Pilgrim’s Way
- Information about churches near the Alexa skill user
The announcement indicates that it will also provide answers to common questions such as, “What is the Bible?” “Who is God?” and “What is a Christian?” Bishop Stephen Croft commented:
“More and more people are most comfortable operating in a digital and AI space, and therefore we as the Church need to be there, operating in that space, doing our best to translate the wonders of the Christian faith into language that is accessible and meaningful.”
A Mainstream Channel to Reach People
Consumer brands and media companies have already discovered that smart speakers represent a new mass market communication channel that reaches people in their homes. Strategy Analytics data show that nearly four million smart speakers were sold in the U.K. in 2017 and OC&C Strategy reported household penetration reached 10% in the country. That number is expected to rise to 48% in 2022.
Given the current smart speaker presence and growth rate, it is not surprising that churches and other faith-based organizations are looking to take advantage of the new digital channel. In the U.S., dozens of Christian radio stations and a few churches have launched Alexa skills. An Amazon search in the Alexa skill store for the term “Christian,” produces 318 skill results in the U.S. and 151 in the U.K. The Church of England doesn’t plan to stop with Alexa and indicated it would move to support Google Home and Apple HomePod in the future.