Cyber church disrupted by ‘Devil’

The world’s first online 3-D church, The Church of Fools (TCOF), recently had a face-off with a visitor posing as the Prince of Darkness himself.

Simon Jenkins, editor of Ship of Fools, the online magazine and community that launched TCOF as a three-month experiment on May 11, said that on the day of the confrontation, he was logged onto TCOF disguised as a church warden. Suddenly, he encountered another character logged in as Satan ranting at the church’s pixellated pulpit.

According to the Church of Fools Web site, when Jenkins asked Satan what he was doing, the fiend demanded, “Who is this who dares approach the Evil One?”

“Well . . . I’m the church warden,” Jenkins replied.

“Ah . . . ” the devil said, before becoming, as Jenkins put it, “disappointingly repentant.”

Jenkins said anyone logged in as a warden has access to a “smite button” which is “capable of visiting an Old Testament-style logout on the unrighteous” by ejecting people who log in to the church simply to cause trouble. It was unclear whether he tried to use this button during the encounter.

At press time, the cyber church reported that attendance had reached a record high: 41,000 visitors in 24-hours.

“The reason was a phenomenal second wave of publicity about the church which went all round the world” because of the devilish assaults, Jenkins said.

The TCOF, which is sponsored by The Methodist Church of Great Britain, but is not officially part of a single Christian denomination, said it has received many e-mails of support for its endeavors.

But on the TCOF Web site Jenkins noted that one of the strangest, and “maybe the most heartwarming” offers of support during the church’s problems with disruptive visitors, arrived via a message from a self-confessed Satanist.

After shouting a lively “Praise be to Satan!” the Devil-worshipper wrote, “I have been a Satanist all my life and would never have pulled any such thing. So, for all the immature twits within the Satanic community, you have my sympathies as I truly hope to see you fix the problem soon. Best of luck, Sincerely, Satanist with a heart.”

The church is now offering morning and evening prayer services in U.K. time every day.

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