Church of Fools was a four-month experiment in online church launched by Ship of Fools in May 2004. The project, which I managed, was sponsored by the Methodist Church and the Bishop of London, and built by Specialmoves, the new media agency which produced The Ark for us in 2003.
As far as we know, Church of Fools was the first project in which 3D virtual world technology was used to create an immersive online church experience. Visitors were able to enter the church, move around, talk to others, pray and take part in regular services.
On Sundays, our services featured preachers drawn from a variety of church traditions. They included the Bishop of London, the US sociologist Tony Campolo, and Canon Lucy Winkett of St Paul’s Cathedral, London.
On average we recorded 7,337 visits per day, and on Day 9 of the project, there were 41,000 visits to Church of Fools.
The experiment attracted worldwide media interest, including reports in Newsweek, Reader’s Digest and the BBC.