‘Social media trends, but Jesus is always with us’ says Wanstead church youth worker

PUBLISHED: 12:00 02 July 2017 | UPDATED: 14:17 03 July 2017

Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook can be your church. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire.

Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook can be your church. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire.

PA Archive/PA Images

The creator of Facebook said he hopes to turn the social media website into a “church” which could “bring the world closer together.”

Mark Zuckerberg said he hoped people could find the “purpose and support” online that older generations receive at church.

He said: “It’s so striking that for decades, membership in all kinds of groups has declined as much as one-quarter.

“That’s a lot of of people who now need to find a sense of purpose and support somewhere else.”

He added, “People who go to church are more likely to volunteer and give to charity - not just because they’re religious, but because they’re part of a community.”

The billionaire said that he wanted the site to fill the gap previously occupied by religion.

He said: “If we can do this, it will not only turn around the whole decline in community membership we’ve seen for decades, it will start to strengthen our social fabric and bring the world closer together.

“As I’ve travelled around and learned about different places, one theme is clear: every great community has great leaders.

“Think about it. A church doesn’t just come together.

“It has a pastor who cares for the well-being of their congregation, makes sure they have food and shelter.

“Leaders set the culture, inspire us, give us a safety net, and look out for us.”

But Rebecca Kemal, youth worker for the Parish of Wanstead, said she questioned the effectiveness of Mark’s vision.

She said: “In church, you can’t unfriend your enemy, you pray for them.

“We don’t kick out the awkward, the broken, or the angry or hurt, whereas Facebook has made it more efficient to remove people.

“I know church isn’t perfect; in fact it’s very messy, filled with broken people who make loads of mistakes.

“But Jesus doesn’t reject people, He loves them. Facebook says it wants to bring the world closer together, but has made it easier to glean people who don’t fit in with what you want in you group.

“That’s not what Jesus would do. Jesus welcomes in the rejected, the lost and the unwanted.

“Jesus loves everyone, whereas Facebook suggests you should choose who to love. Mark wants Facebook to set the culture, to change the standard of community and to influence the world.

“He wants Facebook to be Jesus and church for people.

“Am I against people getting support in online groups? No. But in the end there is a reason social media trends, but Jesus is always with us.

“There’s only one that will be eternal.”

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