Birmingham & Black Country

Church to use Pokemon Go 'to spread message of Jesus'

Pokemon Go City Road Methodist Church
Image caption City Road Methodist Church in Birmingham has had a number of Pokemon Go players turn up unexpectedly in the last week

A church that has been caught up in the craze over an augmented reality game hopes to use its new-found fame to spread the message of Jesus.

City Road Methodist Church in Birmingham is one of the real-life locations used as 'gyms' in Pokemon Go, where users can train virtual monsters.

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

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

Church steward David Hallam said it is "a great opportunity" for the church.

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Image copyright Google
Image caption City Road Methodist Church in Birmingham is a 'gym' in Pokemon Go, where users can train their virtual monsters

He said the church had been receiving "strange" phone calls for a week prior to the game's launch, and only realised they were an unwitting part of the game when a man turned up on their doorstep.

"We all looked at each other and said 'Well, let's offer him a cup of tea," he said.

"He was there afterwards and he said 'This is phenomenal for your church, people will be coming from all over the world,' and we thought... if this is going to happen, we've got to respond.

"We... beat ourselves up [thinking] how do we appeal to younger people - we have committee meetings, and here they are on our doorstep. Well, welcome in!"

Mr Hallam said the church would look at opening an online chaplaincy or Pokemon meeting to help people interested in learning more.

"We don't know yet, but there are amazing challenges here," he said.

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