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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Dana Gardner, Elizabeth White, Jnan Dash, Kevin Jackson, Peter Silva

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Faith and Technology Find Common Ground

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- The world of technology – entertainment, media and internet – are experiencing a surge in the themes of faith and spirituality.  Big box office titles this year include "Heaven is for Real," "God's Not Dead," and "Son of God."  The last film is a second Scriptural-based project by Mark Burnett, of "Survivor" fame, following the success of his 2013 TV mega-miniseries, "The Bible."

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140813/135756

Social media pundits are encouraging ministries to use sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to advance their reach to people around the world. The Vatican officially entered the social media realm with Pope Benedict's first tweet in 2012.  Pope Francis followed suit with his Twitter request "I ask you to continue to pray for me," and posing for a selfie that went viral in August 2013.  To date, Pope Francis has more than 4.3 million Twitter followers.

Programmers are using their technological skills to directly support Christian-based initiatives. Websites such as WeRaise, similar to secular counterpart, Kickstarter, are aiding charitable and church communities in bringing projects to fruition.  A crowdfunding platform by Wheat Ridge Ministries, WeRaise offers leaders the ability to fund new health and human care initiatives around the world.  Since Wheat Ridge Ministries has the infrastructure needed to back such a platform, it has taken away some of the risk for potential projects.  Says WeRaise manager, Abigail Miller, "I love what crowdfunding is doing for seeding new ministries. Grant recipients can find support to do a project that's been on their heart.  We look at it as using technology as a tool."

Technological tools promoting faith also exist for smartphones with the newest iOS application launching August 2014 at the App Store.  "Branching Out in Faith," an app compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch is a gratitude journal and prayer calendar. Integrating current technology, the app combines an interactive user experience and social media capabilities with these daily practices yet is unlike other innovations previously available. "Branching Out in Faith" allows users to choose a prayer seed to plant, drag it into virtual soil then watch as a tree grows and flourishes, simulating the users' prayer growth. Users can then share those requests with their circles.  Founder Cynthia McGarity says, "I wanted to create something positive for smartphone users; something that was inspiring and beautiful.  Our generation is so entrenched in social media.  I hoped to combine this habit with recording daily gratitude and reaching out to others through prayer. When I see that a friend has shared on Facebook something for which they're thankful; or posted a prayer seed planted for a person in need, I feel perspectives shifting.  Hopefully these positive changes will have a ripple effect on our use of technology as a whole."

BOIF Features:

  • Record and share your daily gratitude
  • Choose calendar dates for prayer needs
  • Organize your prayer life with start & end dates 
  • Set alarm reminders for prayers
  • Pick from a selection of 10 seeds
  • Watch the faith tree grow on your screen
  • Share prayers with email, Facebook & Twitter 
  • Assess your journey with the grove of grace

To purchase Branching Out in Faith, or get more information on this iOS application, please visit the App Store or the Branching Out in Faith website.

Media Contact: Cynthia McGarity, Cynthia Branches Out, 562-754-7851, [email protected]

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SOURCE Branching Out in Faith

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