Leeds & West Yorkshire

Web baptism connects West Yorkshire with New Zealand

Janet and Chris Wordley with Matthew and laptop
Image caption Using webcams, Yvonne could play a full part in the baptism from New Zealand

An unusual baptism has been held at a West Yorkshire church, with one of the godparents taking part despite being thousands of miles away.

Yvonne Atkin was able to join in the service for her seven-month-old nephew, Matthew, at St Mark's church in Utley, while sitting at home in New Zealand.

Miss Atkin made her promises as godparent using a webcam and a laptop.

Vicar Derek Walmsley said: "Technology is often used for bad things, but this is a good way to use it."

Janet Wordley, who lives in Silsden with her husband Chris, wanted her sister Yvonne to be godparent even though she lived on the other side of the world.

Technical aspects

As a former computer systems designer, Mr Walmsley said he was well prepared to make sure the service could go ahead despite the distances involved and an 11-hour time difference.

"Integrating this into a church service was a bit different," he said.

"We had the baby, we had the font, we had the mum and dad and another godparent.

"Then we had the camera pointing at us."

Mrs Wordley said everyone was very happy with the service, which passed without a hitch.

Mrs Wordley said: "We are really delighted that the link worked.

"My sister is such a great distance away and it was a long way for her to come.

"This way she was able to see everything and even take part."

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