The Rev. Tim Ross has canceled Twitter Communion.
Planned as a live worldwide event to evoke Christian unity, it eventually fell victim to unintended controversy. Ross, a retired Methodist minister in Worthing, England, had hoped Christians from various traditions around the globe would gather at their computer terminals on Aug. 14 and take bread and wine (or grape juice) if their beliefs allowed. But Methodist authorities asked Ross to call off the event because it comes at a time that the denomination is still trying to figure out the proper use of the Internet by the church.
Ross stressed that he wasn't outright forbidden to hold communion by Twitter, the microblogging website that limits "tweets" to 140 characters, but he was strongly requested to cancel for now.
"It was never my intention to be controversial much less confrontational. The whole point of Twitter Communion was to offer the Christians around the world the opportunity to step beyond their differences, to meet in fellowship and love and to celebrate the common-union we all share through Christ’s body and blood," Ross writes on the Twitter Communion website.
The series of short tweets that will constitute a prayer for Christian unity will take place at the same time Twitter Communion had been scheduled for, Aug. 14 at 5 p.m. EDT in the United States.