An Anglican priest desperate to keep bums on pews has hit on a wizard wheeze to keep the dying religion going in the 21st century.
Halifax Anglican Reverend Lisa Vaughn, has noticed that people are no longer scared into church by the idea of a God that tortures people for eternity and has decided to use another idea which was popular in the Middle Ages.
She is asking users of mobile phones and other technological gadgets to bring them over the weekend for a special blessing.
The idea is based on an ancient English tradition in which agricultural workers brought equipment to church for prayers. She realised that laptops, mobile phones and electronic readers were the “farm equipment” of the 21st century.
The big idea is not to ask the God which created the universe not to let mobile phone calls drop, as that would take a miracle as likely as water into wine if you own an Iphone 4. Besides the Iphone is made by a rival god and the Christian god is jealous of others and tends to order genocide.
What she is hoping is that the congregation will look at their phones as helping them to be best Christian and the best person in their conversations, in their communication.
She said that she would be fine if a bunch of atheists with technical problems turned up over the weekend.
A report prepared for the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia that was published in February said the church was declining faster than any other denomination. This is mostly because being Anglican means the strongest thing it has to say is “always wear an anorak” and “start the day with a nice cup of tea”. Apparently these days people want no religion at all, or something so extreme you have to be incredibly stupid to think it is a good idea. Apple fits into both categories, so it is incredibly successful.
Vaughn wants to experiment with different ways to spread the word, dismissing critics who might find her irreverent.
She has a concept that uses the Apple iPod, using the tag iPray. A band of parishioners performs at the weekly “Jesus & Jeans” worship service.
The pastor had a past career in journalism, and she says her motto is “don’t be boring” and thinks that the only problem with Christianity is the packaging, which she thinks needs a make-over.
“There may be people who say this is silly, blessing a phone,” she acknowledges. “But we’re really blessing the person. It’s reminding people that God is with them in their work, in their play. And [they] need to be mindful of that. It’s not just once a week or only on Christmas,” she told the local rag.