|PIC1|The live broadcast on Sunday morning was filmed at three different venues and relayed to over 200 church centres and school halls across the Diocese of Sydney from the Hawkesbury River in the north to the Shoalhaven in the south.
In the Blue Mountains alone about 700 people gathered at Wycliffe Christian School's auditorium in the village of Warrimoo.
Some churches reported record numbers of attendees at their church for the event.
It was estimated that up to 50,000 people saw the broadcast, which is kickstarting Sydney Anglican efforts to befriend and then deliver a copy of the Gospel of Luke to every household in their region.
|PIC2|Hosted by experienced media professionals Glenn Daniel and Samantha Boog at Kellyville Anglican Church, the broadcast also featured a live cross to well-known children's entertainer Colin Buchanan performing at Engadine Anglican Church, and interviews and prayers from a Mandarin-speaking and 'easy english' congregations at Campsie.
Letters from world famous evangelist Billy Graham and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd indicated support for the Connect09 campaign extends beyond Sydney.
"In these times of uncertainty and financial difficulty, we can be prompted to stop and reflect on our lives, our purpose and our priorities," Mr Rudd wrote.
"In this context, Connect09 is well-timed to help people across Sydney and surrounding areas in re-assessing these fundamental questions."
Dr Graham wrote of his delight to hear about Connect09 and to inform Sydney Anglicans of his prayers for "the Lord's blessing on this great venture".
Tied into the launch was the introduction of the Good News Parcel Company DVDs by children's entertainer Colin Buchanan.
According to Colin "Dodecadillions" of the DVDs â which contain a gospel presentation for children â will be available to give away to schools, preschools and neighbouring families this Easter.
Another live cross saw Campsie Anglican profiling their Easy English congregation, which attracts a high number of non-Christians who come along to improve their English, and broadcasting a prayer and Chinese New Year message in Mandarin.
The Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, gave the address on Jonah 3 and 4.
He revealed findings of a survey conducted among Sydney Anglicans that highlighted the two fears which most hold us back from talking to others about Jesus: rejection, and not knowing what to say.
While Jonah had the same fears, the Archbishop encouraged his listeners: "You conquer fear as a Christian by your faith in a sovereign God who is in charge of all thingsâ¦ We can trust him to be at work before we arrive."
Calling Sydney Anglicans to confidence in the power of the gospel, Archbishop Jensen urged us to take the opportunity Connect09 presents to reach our communities.
"Our obedience to God leads to blessing for other people," he asserted.
Conversations around a barbeque lunch at the main Kellyville venue after yesterday's Big Day In program give a strong indication that Connect09 is spurring Sydney Anglicans to take courageous steps out of their front gates and into the unknown of their streets and neighbourhoods.
"I think Big Day In was professional in every way and you could tell that there had been a lot of organisation behind it," said young mum Kirsty Miller.
"I liked it that people from our congregation were involved in the prayers â it wasn't just using our building but it was involving our congregations as well."
Musician Diana Blythe particularly enjoyed Garage Hymnal's performance and the Archbishop's address, which called Sydney Anglicans to courage and trust in the face of our greatest fears.
"It challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and love my neighbours better than I have been," she said.
Tech boost to churches
The technological innovations required for the Connect09 campaign's ambitious launch event will have long-lasting implications for ministry.
Sydney Anglicans are set to be leaders in 21st century-style evangelism thanks to the dramatic boost in church IT and video capabilities delivered by The Big Day In.
Many churches have been busy upgrading broadband internet and digital TV connections to their church buildings in order to participate.
It is estimated that half of parishes involved used the webcast, while the other half viewed via the Australian Christian Channel's digital TV broadcast.
"Around 25 percent of churches have used the project to upgrade IT infrastructure in some way," says Anglican Media's Russell Powell, who organised the event.
With so many churches improving their digital video capabilities, the opportunity will now exist to deliver quality video-based evangelistic resources directly to the church pew.
"I have found that churches really understand the need to improve our act technologically. Many have mentioned the possibility of doing this again â perhaps even an evangelistic video webcast," Mr Powell says.
Indeed Anglican Media Sydney will be further building on these improved capabilities by launching a new video-based platform called SX Digital, delivered to every church as a DVD and via the internet.
"SX Digital is really a whole new platform," says New Media manager Mark
"Churches have been embracing video in services for a number of years, but up until now ministry workers have had to scratch around for good content or generate it in-house."
From March, SX Digital will be delivering an expanding range of video news, apologetics, illustrations, notices and other biblical content.
"Church workers will be able to pick from a wide variety of material specifically designed for use in church services," Mr Hadley says.
By Natasha Percy and Jeremy Halcrow
Anglican Media Sydney