Page last updated at 05:48 GMT, Wednesday, 2 September 2009 06:48 UK

'Godcasts' for Bible study group

iPod Mini
The podcast is available from the church's website and iTunes

A Bible study group in a south Wales church is using podcasts to let others listen in on their discussions on the scriptures.

Members of St Catherine's Church in Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taf, produce a podcast of their meetings which can be downloaded from their website.

The Reverend Marcus Green had heard of other churches podcasting sermons but wanted people to hear discussions.

One follower of the group's musings listens in from Florida in the USA.

Mr Green said: "I think the way we think about the Bible together, the way we chat about our faith, it's a lot of fun.

"Some members of our church are housebound, can't get out, some of them miss sometimes.

"Something like this helps them know they're still loved, they're still part of this, and this blesses them."

The group generally meets at lunchtime and one member will read a passage of scripture, which will then be discussed.

This forms the basis of the podcast - or "Podcaths", as it is called.

One group member, Stuart Franklin, thinks it raises questions ordinary church members might wonder about.

"I think on a Sunday, it's a different environment. You're there and you're listening to something, you're not an active participant.

"Whereas here, if you're not sure about something, you can ask about it."

What impressed me the most about this podcast is I felt a real part of the group
Chris Perryman

However, the group does not just confine itself to the writings of the bible.

Fellow member Joyce Stephen explained: "Things that are current in the newspapers, I can say 'what do you think about that?'.

"We can relate it to the teachings of the bible. It really is amazing what we've got out of these meetings."

'Part of this community'

John Murphy, 85, is now housebound through ill-health and cannot attend services anymore, but listens to the discussions on the podcast.

"I think a very important factor in church life is that they look after people like myself who attended church all my life, and have been very much part of church life," he said.

"Along with many others now that we can't get to church, we're still made to feel part of this community."

A listener from just slightly further away than Mr Murphy is Chris Perryman, an American who visited St Catherine's on a trip last year.

He downloads from his home in Orlando, Florida.

"What impressed me the most about this podcast is I felt a real part of the group," he said.

"There was energy, there was enthusiasm, I felt very much like I was there. It was comforting.

"It is definitely going to be a ministry to me should they continue and I'm able to listen to them wherever I'm travelling."

"Podcaths" is available from the church's website and online music store iTunes.

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