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Pokémon Go: Church of England becomes PokeStop

The Church has said the game was "a good way to start a conversation that may lead on to other things".

SOURCES BBC LONDON 17 JULY 2016 18:00 h GMT+1
Pokemon GO, Pokestop Pokemon Go can be played in many locations - even Downing Street / Reuters

The Church of England is throwing open its doors to players of the online game Pokémon Go by making some of its churches Pokestops.



The augmented reality game - which is attracting millions of new players - involves finding virtual Pokemon characters in different real locations.



Several churches have now signed up to become a Pokestop for people to visit.



The Church has said the game was "a good way to start a conversation that may lead on to other things".



It has issued guidance to churches around the country, encouraging them to attract players into their local churches.



The game launched in the UK on Thursday, and has proven popular with people around the world.



Church locations which have been been registered on the game as Pokestops include St Stephen's in Rednal, Birmingham, Hope Church in Islington, north London, and St Mary's Episcopal cathedral in Glasgow.



A Pokestop is a location where players have to visit to get certain items they need to play the game.



The Church's digital media officer, Tallie Proud, issued guidance to churches on Thursday.



Anglican church annonces Pokemon GO



In it, she said: "Pokemon Go is therefore giving churches around the country a great opportunity to meet people from their area who might not normally come to church.



"You might also spot people standing outside the church on their phones who may be playing the game and at your 'PokeStop'."



Church communities have been encouraged to place welcome signs outside, hold so-called "Pokeparties" for players - one is planned for Christ Church in Stone, Staffordshire, on Friday evening.



One Pokemon player, Matthew Newbold, 22, from Peterborough, tweeted:"Pokemon go makes me such a better person. Had a charity coffee on my hunt for Pokémon at the church"



However, the church also warned of the potential danger to young people playing the game.



"Whilst we would encourage churches to engage with those playing the game, be they adults or children, we also understand the concerns that the NSPCC have raised with regards to keeping children safe.



"Our first priority as a church should be to provide a safe place for children and vulnerable adults with regards to Pokemon Go," said its guidance.



Earlier this week, City Road Methodist Church in Birmingham signed up to becomeone of the real-life locations used as "gyms" in Pokemon Go, where users can train virtual monsters.



It has put up a sign saying: "Jesus Cares About Pokemon Gamers".



 



City Road Methodist Church in Birmingham has become a virtual gym for Pokemon Go players


 


POLL
Pokémon GO
Should churches become PokéStops?
Yes, it is a great opportunity to have conversations with youth coming through our doors.
49%
No, people should not enter temples just because they are playing a game.
36%
I don't know.
15%
This Poll is closed.
Number of votes: 89
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Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.