Archbishop Andrew Hutchison gestures during the taping of his fifth Web cast, videos broadcast on www.anglican.ca.
About 4,000 people from 31 countries have viewed the Web casts of Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, primate (national bishop) of the Anglican Church of Canada since it was launched last October as a vehicle for communicating with Canadian Anglicans about issues affecting their national church.
While a majority of viewers are Canadians (85 per cent), the Web casts, called +Andrew: Conversations with the Primate, have attracted viewers from every continent, except Antarctica, said Web manager Brian Bukowski. In Canada, the Web casts (there have been five so far) have been viewed in every province and territory.
Produced by Anglican Video, the Web casts — videos that are broadcast on the Internet — are archived on the national church’s Web site, www.anglican.ca so that viewers may watch or download them at any time. Viewers are invited to comment via e-mail with the primate.
Archbishop Hutchison said he is “delighted” at the initial results. “I’ve heard from people all over the country; wonderful responses,” he said. Most of those who have logged on identify themselves as 35 years old and under. “That’s their medium,” he said, adding that, “Quite surprisingly, there have also been senior citizens.”
The primate said that while the Web cast is still in its “infancy,” it has been a useful medium for bridging what he has termed a “disconnect” within the church. “My only disappointment is how difficult it is to make it known,” he said, noting that during his visits to dioceses (he visited 14 of the church’s 30 dioceses in his first six months of office) many Anglicans were not aware of the program.
Why should Anglicans view the Web casts? “I think simply to be informed Anglicans,” said Archbishop Hutchison. “What is their national church up to on their behalf? This is, in part, our way of being accountable to the church; in part, underlining some of the challenges that are before the church, and in the case of the tsunami, offering a little pastoral advice.” (The primate reflected on the theological meaning of calamities following the recent tsunami that hit parts of Asia and Africa in his fourth Web cast taped in January.)
The primate’s October Web cast about the Windsor Report published by the Lambeth Commission, set up by the Archbishop of Canterbury to find ways of maintaining unity within the Anglican Communion, was the most widely viewed Web cast, said Mr. Bukowski. “It’s been consistently viewed since.”
The primate said succeeding Web casts would focus on the issues surrounding the native residential schools agreement, and youth initiatives from the national church.
The Web casts, the first of their kind initiated by a church leader to foster dialogue, are taped monthly and typically run for 12-15 minutes.