End is nigh for hymn books as churches go hands-free with new iTunes app

By Valerie Elliott, Mailonline

Hymn books could soon be a thing of the past as churches switch to high-tech services with the words on giant screens, assisted by an iTunes app.

The fashion for ‘hands-free worship’ has led to a decline in book sales. But it is said to have improved the singing, as congregants look up at a screen instead of down at the page.

Some vicars also prefer screens because they are less likely to spread germs and are said to be environmentally friendly.

Experts in the Church of England estimate that about a quarter of its 16,000 parish churches have projectors or large flatscreens.

Thomas Allain-Chapman, the Church’s publishing manager, said: ‘There is a growing trend for screens in churches.

It’s at least 20 per cent and could be a third. It’s happening everywhere, even in some traditional rural churches.

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