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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 August 2005, 05:33 GMT 06:33 UK
Vicar stunned by sermon surfers
The Rev Leonard Payne
The Rev Leonard Payne said response had been overwhelming
Thousands of people have downloaded a Suffolk vicar's sermons after he posted them on the internet last month.

The Rev Leonard Payne, Vicar of St Nicholas' Church in Wrentham, said the response had been overwhelming after he posted them on the Apple iTune store.

"We were stunned. Within a short period of time, over 2,000 people had downloaded one of them," he said.

At one point demand for the sermons was so great they had to change servers, Mr Payne said.

In the last five days of July, over 230 copies of our talks have been delivered, an incredible reaction to the work of a small rural congregation
The Rev Leonard Payne

The church in the small rural parish first developed its own website where the sermons could be accessed.

It was set up so people who could not attend church could download and listen to sermons at home.

But Mr Payne said that by re-engineering the audio stream the church has been able to lodge the sermons on iTunes.

"In the last five days of July, over 230 copies of our talks have been delivered, an incredible reaction to the work of a small rural congregation."

Diocesan communications director Nick Clarke said: "This is another example of how the church is embracing technology to keep its message relevant for a 21st Century audience.

"It's about doing church differently for a diverse and obviously hungry audience."


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