Chorley United Reformed Church has become the first church to advertise on Google Earth by painting a huge cross on its car park.
Chorley URC cross - with Rev Martin Whiffen in the overalls
The white cross measures 25 x 10 metres and is thought to be the largest such cross in the UK and the first feature in Britain created specifically to be picked up by Google Earth's aerial photographs.
The church's minister, Reverend Martin Whiffen, said: "We thought it would be a fun, modern and effective way of advertising the church and, with it, the town. A lot of people use Google Earth to help them explore Britain and the huge cross will draw their attention to us, and hopefully the work we do."
"Contrary to the dowdy, old-fashioned image many people have of the Church, Christians have always been the first to use new technologies to share the gospel. The Church had the 'cross' and 'fish' as logos before the concept was even thought of. The Church was also the first to use mass media in the form of printing.
"In our current age, Christians were amongst the first people on the internet. My previous church was winning awards for its website at a time when even big firms like John Lewis or Tesco had little if any presence on the net. Our cross is just the latest example of exploiting technology to share the Good News.
"We thought long and hard about what image to paint. We considered the church's name, Chorley URC, or its logo, but in the end we thought the most effective witness would also be the simplest. The empty cross is instantly recognisable and is a powerful witness to Jesus' resurrection.
"We hope that the idea will be taken up by Christians across the UK, even the world. Imagine if every time someone visited Google Earth they saw a host of crosses dotted through our towns, cities and villages. It would be a reminder that the Church, like its Saviour, is very much alive. Remember, though, that Chorley United Reformed Church was the first!"
April 11th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Claire Musters