Friday, July 3, 2009

Call and Response on Twitter

As many of you know, the Urban Abbey has a presence on Twitter. I have been using this micro-blogging tool since early in Lent to provide excerpts from morning and evening prayer. The Twitter feed for the Abbey has become quite popular and is now followed by over 750 people, many of whom have become regular attendees at our "Twitter Prayer Services."

Last week, one of our followers suggested we experiment with a more interactive form of prayer, specifically Call and Response. We chose the Celtic Daily Office as the text to use for our experiment since it has explicit Call and Response sections. A date and time was announced and we held our first real-time, online Call and Response prayer service last Saturday, June 27.

The experiment was a great success. I posted the "Call" phrase, e.g. "Out of the depths I have cried to You," and approximately ten or so followers on Twitter posted, in response, "O Lord, hear my voice."

The experiment seemed to be working so well, I decided to continue the Call and Response format into the next section of the prayers that are entitled "Expressions of Faith." I posted the first part of each sentence and the followers responded with the second section. The result looked something like this:

Abbey: "Lord, You have always given bread for the coming day;"
Followers: "And though I am poor, today I believe."
Abbey: "Lord, You have always given strength for the coming day;"
Followers: "And though I am weak, today I believe."

This pattern continued through the rest of the faith expressions section, and by the time I called for prayer requests, my sense was that the Twitter followers had become a true community. I noted expressions of thanks and blessings passing between the followers as the prayer time ended.

Because our Call and Response experiment was such a success, we've decided to repeat it tonight. Reminders are being tweeted throughout the day along with a link to the text. If you wish to join us, we will start around 9:00 pm EDT. Go to to sign in and follow along. We look forward to seeing you at tonight's service!

Raima Larter, Abbess, The Urban Abbey

1 comment:

Sue said...

Hi, Raima. I participated in the latest call-and-response and it was indeed a community of worship as I follow some of your other followers, so we would all post the same response one after another. Twitter is indeed a wonderful way for people who are geographically separated but spiritually in resonance, to connect and share worship. I value physically worshipping on Sunday as well and reading Daily Office prayers myself, but appreciate the Urban Abbey's daily communal prayers as something that enriches my spiritual life.