Daily Archives: July 7, 2022

Music producer-turned-priest puts on DJ-led worship services

The Revd Simon Stride, Curate at Holy Trinity, Stalybridge, in Cheshire has had a passion for dance music since his early teens and his combined interests in theology and dance music have helped guide his spiritual direction through his adult life.

Since his early days as an ordinand, Simon has led DJ worship ranging from Christian clubland-style events complete with strobe lights and smoke machines for youth congregations – to ‘chill-out’ compline services, using soundscapes and atmospheric music tracks to help people meditate on scripture.

“I feel it’s part of my calling to use the skills I learnt in this area as part of worship – to enable people to connect with God through dance and electronic music,” he explained.

“We’ve also started seeing more young people bring their friends to these church events for the first time.”

Simon even ran a ‘Resurrection Rave’ with headlining DJ, Bazz Morgan (Velocity of Light).

“We wanted to create something that would attract young people to church and also communicate the Christian message and the meaning of the Resurrection,” he explained.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

(Church Times) Mission to Seafarers director to become Archbishop of Canterbury’s chief of staff

The Archbishop of Canterbury has appointed the Revd Ijeoma Ajibade as his next chief of staff, Lambeth Palace announced on Thursday.

She will succeed David Porter, who is due to stand down in November, but who will remain on the Archbishop’s staff in a part-time post focused on strategy (News, 29 April).

Ms Ajibade, who is 56, has been the regional director for Europe at the Mission to Seafarers for the past six years. She was ordained deacon in 2010 and priest the following year after training at the South East Institute of Theological Education. She also has degrees from the University of Nigeria, South Bank University, and Heythrop College London.

After her ordination, she served as a non-stipendiary minister at St Mary Abbots, Kensington, for four years. During this time she was made an honorary minor canon of Southwark Cathedral. She was granted Permission to Officiate in the diocese of London in 2014, and the diocese in Europe in 2017.

Ms Ajibade begun her career in local government, working in areas including audit and special investigations, housing advice and homelessness, and welfare benefit administration. She also spent 12 years working for the London Assembly on Assembly Scrutiny, and for two previous Mayors of London (Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson) on economics and business policy.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE)

Keep up momentum on highlighting abuses of freedom of religion and belief, bishop Philip Mounstephen urges

The Bishop of Truro, Philip Mounstephen, told a global summit on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) hosted by the UK Government, that there had been some good progress in some areas made since the publication of the review in 2019, but ‘much’ still needed to be done.

“The challenge going forward is to keep up the corporate momentum that has developed around this issue because this is a really, really significant global issue,” he told a panel session of the Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief in London today.

“We must not let it sink back into the place that it was before, largely ignored and overlooked.”

Asked what his advice would be to Parliamentarians, Bishop Philip said: “My key message to Parliamentarians would be: understand what the main drivers behind freedom of religion or belief abuses are – we are looking at totalitarian regimes, religious fundamentalism, militant nationalism – these are really serious issues that must be addressed. So please Parliamentarians, make this a bipartisan issue, espouse it across the political spectrum.”

In his remarks during the panel session Bishop Philip welcomed the creation of the UK Freedom of Religion or Belief Public Forum made since the publication of the 2019 report.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution

(Local Paper) South Carolina automakers can’t meet demand as supply chain woes hamper production

South Carolina’s automakers are building cars as fast as possible, but computer chip shortages and other supply chain issues have limited the number of vehicles making their way to U.S. dealerships and, ultimately, buyers’ driveways.

Volvo Cars, which builds the S60 sedan at its $1.2 billion manufacturing campus in Ridgeville, said it sold 8,434 cars to U.S. customers in June — a 31.2 percent decline in sales from last year. Sales are down 20.7 percent during the first half of 2022.

“Demand for our cars remains strong but inventory challenges continue,” Anders Gustafsson, president and CEO of Volvo Cars USA, said in a written statement.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Corporations/Corporate Life

(Economist) Who’s afraid of TikTok? The world’s most exciting app is also its most mistrusted

With its wholesome dancing and lip-syncing videos, TikTok once billed itself as “the last sunny corner on the internet”. Since launching just five years ago the app has brought a warm glow to its 1bn-plus users, as well as an icy dash of competition to the social-media incumbents of Silicon Valley. With its rise, a part of the tech industry that had seemed closed to competition has been cracked wide open.

Yet even as TikTok delights consumers and advertisers, others believe the sunny app has a dark side. ByteDance, its owner, has its headquarters in China, whose government is addicted to surveillance and propaganda—making it a worrying place for a media app to be based. As TikTok’s clout grows and as elections loom in America, there is a brewing bipartisan storm in Congress over its supposed role as a “Trojan horse”.

The hype about TikTok is justified—and so are the concerns. The app has transformed competition in social media. Yet unchecked, it presents a security risk to the Chinese Communist Party’s enemies. Finding a way for TikTok to operate safely in the West is a test of whether global business and the global internet can remain intact as us-China relations deteriorate.

Beneath TikTok’s simple interface lies fearsomely advanced artificial intelligence (ai). Its knack for learning what people like helped TikTok sign up its first 1bn users in half the time it took Facebook. In America the average user spends 50% longer on the app each day than the typical user spends on Instagram. TikTok’s revenues are expected to reach $12bn this year and $23bn in 2024, drawing level with YouTube’s. Young creators are flocking to the app—along with some older ones. This week The Economist joined TikTok (no dancing, we promise).

The effect on competition has been dramatic. In 2020 American trustbusters sued Facebook, now known as Meta, for its alleged dominance of social media. Today such worries look eccentric; Meta has been particularly hard-hit as tech stocks have taken a beating, and the firm is re-engineering its products to mimic TikTok. America often accuses China of copycat capitalism. Now the boot is on the other foot.

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Posted in --Social Networking, America/U.S.A., Asia, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology

(NYT front page) Troubling Signals, Yet Still Cleared to Buy Guns

The suspect in the shooting, Robert E. Crimo III, 21, had drawn police attention more than once, and despite warnings about his troubling behavior, had gotten a firearm license and bought several guns.

How a young man who had sent troubling signals managed to end up with a semiautomatic rifle in Illinois is a question that is haunting not only the survivors of Monday’s deadly massacre in Highland Park, a Chicago suburb. It is also a question of federal importance, coming just days after President Biden signed into law the most significant gun legislation passed in decades.

As details of Mr. Crimo’s past continued to emerge, and as a judge ordered him held without bail on murder charges on Wednesday, it remained unclear whether the horrific episode revealed weaknesses in state restrictions on guns, or in the limits of even potent safeguards in a system that ultimately relies on the judgments of people — the authorities, families, observers.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Psychology, State Government, Violence

A prayer for the Day from the Church of England

Almighty God,
you have broken the tyranny of sin
and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts
whereby we call you Father:
give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service,
that we and all creation may be brought
to the glorious liberty of the children of God;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church of England, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

I love thee, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.

–Psalm 18:1-3

Posted in Theology: Scripture