On the Octave of Ashes-to-Go (the observance formerly known as Ash Wednesday), Covenant brings you exciting news of a new venture. (NB: Satire.)

CUPERTINO, California and NASHOTAH, Wisconsin — February 25, 2015

Apple®, the Episcopal Church, and startup Pius Communications today announced an exclusive partnership that teams the strengths of each in consumer mobility technology through a new class of ecclesial apps — bringing Pius’ e-worship capabilities to Apple Watch®, iPhone®, and Apple Carplay®.

The new partnership aims to redefine the way Christian discipleship is done, address intractable demographic trends in the Episcopal Church, and catalyze technology-led ecclesial change. Initially, the partnership will focus on three ground-breaking capabilities:

  • a new class of ten mobile apps, developed exclusively for the Episcopal Church by Pius Communications, including ground-breaking Eucharist-to-Go (TM) and Baptism-to-Go (TM), apps which enable the busy disciple to enjoy hassle-free, on-demand sacraments without risky entanglements or time-consuming commitments.
  • a set of unique data-driven apps for clergy grounded in Pius’ Just-in-Time Sermon Analytics (JITSA), enabling preachers to tailor homiletics and teaching to consumers in real-time based on bio-feedback collected via proprietary iWorship® biosensors.
  • personalized Holy Word and Holy Folks iOS apps. The first empowers consumers to select favorite texts from Scripture and other authorities and to block texts they find personally offensive. The second revolutionizes commemoration of saints by allowing consumers to crowd-source both selection of saints and ordering of the liturgical calendar, storing local selections as playlists.

The new iWorship for Apple Watch Suite (TM) was designed in an exclusive collaboration between the Episcopal Church, Pius Communications, and Apple, Inc., leveraging the strengths of each company. The Episcopal Church has long been on the forefront of consumer-driven worship and is the recognized global leader in innovation and adaptation in the ecclesial sector. Pius, a high-tech venture led by industry pioneer Seauschle Gosspl, brings more than 850 consultants and mobile software developers to the partnership. The partnership’s products will run exclusively on Apple’s iOS devices, and will take advantage especially of biofeedback and video features of Apple’s new Apple Watch®.

“We think innovative apps like Eucharist-to-Go and Baptism-to-Go will revolutionize the way we do church, allowing us to reverse long-term demographic trends by meeting people where they are,” said Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. “The Episcopal Church welcomes everyone, and these technologies allow us to knock down the walls that exclude people who are too busy to gather in a building by empowering them to worship when they want and how they want, with the mere flick of their wrist.”

Developed and field tested in the Episcopal Diocese of Springfield under Bishop Dan Martins, Eucharist-to-Go (TM) relies upon an ancient practice called adoration, in which one encounters the Real Presence of Jesus by gazing upon consecrated bread. Users invoke the app by flipping their wrists into the position of prayer, and images of consecrated bread and, optionally, wine are displayed on the Apple Watch® or via Apple Carplay®. The app will store preferences for the types of wine and bread displayed, providing far more flexibility than is possible in a parochial setting. “The Episcopal Church needs to keep up with the times. Our market studies show that most people think kneeling is a demeaning, antiquated practice, and the majority of our congregants can no longer do it anyway due to orthopedic issues,” said Martins. “Eucharist-to-Go has helped our diocese reverse our decline, increasing the number of people whose lives we touch by 300%. And we’re able to do that anonymously and gently, without invading people’s privacy. We think this is a much more charitable way to do church.”

Baptism-to-Go (TM) works similarly. Version 1.0 enables images of baptism by immersion only, with selection of many of the top rivers, beaches, or cathedrals in the world available as in-app purchases. The current version only supports Trinitarian baptism, but future versions will allow consumers to choose which Persons of the Godhead they want included in their baptismal formulae.

Announced at Apple’s inaugural Spiritual-But-Not-Religious (SBNR) Developer’s Conference in January and available to selected clergy on April 7 2015, iWorship for iOS will launch at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City on June 25.

For more information regarding the Apple and Episcopal Church solutions, please visit iWatch iWorship.

The featured image is “September 9?” (2014) by concept artist Martin Hajek. It is licensed under Creative Commons. 

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This suggests a great spin-off blog: “The Living Onion.”

From your mouth to God’s ears, Charlie.

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