We began in 2004. Initially a project of Ship of Fools, the 3D experiment ran until September of that year (one month longer than initially planned.) In this initial period the core community that was to become the Church of Fools (later St Pixels) began to take shape.
The 3D Church attracted a lot of interest, so as well as the original members joining from the Ship of Fools there were a significant number of new faces amongst the community. It wasn’t long before it was realised that the community building around the Church of Fools project had a distinctive flavour, and it ultimately moved to its own website under the name of Church of Fools. The experiences of community in the 3D environment were something that most people wanted to return to, however for a variety of reasons the original software solution was not considered suitable for continued development. However, a community is bigger than its software, and things didn’t stop there.
“I gained so much from St Pixels, Some wonderful friends and a lot of insight. I seem to have grown a great deal.” W
With the plans for running a 3D Church on hold, the focus of the community switched to “2D” – with a bulletin board and chatroom becoming the major meeting points of the community.
To some of us, the 2D period felt a bit like an exile. But it was during this time that we reflected on our experience and became much more of a stable, welcoming community. We learned to learn from each other and our different backgrounds, in bible study and general discussion – which did sometimes get heated. We began to care and pray for each other. We found authentic ways of worshipping in our regular chatroom prayer services. Some of us even began to meet occasionally and discover how unimportant our appearances can be.
“St Pixels was for me a very safe place.” M
In May 2006 we moved to new software and became “St Pixels” and began the development of a completely new 3D environment, the first stage of which is was a new integrated church chatroom, courtesy of support from the Methodist Church of Great Britain. The rest of the website was also started afresh with new ways of relating (for instance the Blogs) along with a redesign of old favourites (such as the Bouncy Castle).
“So many happy treasured memories all the way back to the Church of Fools. Friends for life, most of them friends never met in real life.” C
In April 2009, St Pixels Ltd came into operation – a company owned by its members, registered in the UK for convenience, with membership worldwide.
In May, 2010, we again moved to new software. This offered us much greater flexibility in live worship as well as offering some new features on the website. We also introduced Peer to Peer Dicipleship groups.
“[St Pixels] broadened my spirituality more than I think I ever will realize.” P
In 2012, we relocated to our new home on Facebook, an opportunity to reach out to where people were already gathering.
“I was trying to come to terms with becoming a carer... I was unable to get to my church much and St pixels became my church.” D
The last St Pixels service in Facebook took place on the 22nd November 2015, and the limited company was wound up in January 2018. However, the community stays in touch via its Facebook page and Twitter account.
“I have this community-- past and present -- to thank for my sanity. Thanks for being there when things were darkest, and there to celebrate at their brightest.” J