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Pokémon Go lure event 2016: An emerging church strategy?

A church in Cambridge is now more than just a PokéStop. It recently launched a lure community event and it is now catching much more than Pokémon – it has attracted regular church visitors.

St Mary's Church in Haverhill's Market Square started the weekly Saturday event on Aug. 6, reported Cambridge News. The event was spearheaded by Tracy Sevenoaks.

(Reuters/Mark Kauzlarich)A virtual map of Bryant Park is displayed on the screen as a man plays the augmented reality mobile game ''Pokemon Go'' by Nintendo in New York City, U.S. July 11, 2016.

When the mother of two realized that their church was a PokéStop, a place where Pokémon appear and can be caught, she had an idea. Sevenoaks thought opening the church to the community through a Pokémon lure event would be a good opportunity to help people with socializing issues. 

"Lures" can be bought while playing the game. The lure attracts Pokémon, which in turn attracts people. If there are more people in a lure area, more Pokémon should appear in the game.

Sevenoaks said Pokémon Go helped her autistic son, Sam, to go around the community and improve his social skills in a matter of weeks.

The community event had 40 visitors on the first Saturday and 50 on the second.

According to Christian Today, the Church of England (CofE) on the other hand, is encouraging members of the congreagation to offer snacks and wifi to Pokémon Go players who visit churches.

In the report, CofE stated that the game was "giving churches around the country a great opportunity to meet people from their area who might not normally come to church."

"Place welcome signs outside: encourage them to come inside and offer them drinks and snacks," the church reportedly said. "The game also uses a lot of battery so why not create a battery charging station? If you've got it, let them connect to the church's wifi."

Members were also advised to learn how to play the game so they can start conversations with the visitors.

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