Church Service with live twitter/text messaging – #smlb

barstep Really enjoyed the service at St Michael Le Belfrey tonight. I felt that the congregation was really trusted to make a contribution. #smlb

Last night our church encouraged live tweets and texts during the service and selected messages were displayed on screens for the congregation to read.
We were encouraged to send in things we felt were important, songs that could be sung and things we felt God was saying to the church. It created a very exciting and refreshing service.
We still had scripture readings, preaching, prayer and music. But the live input from the large congregation gave a new dimension to the event.
There is usually some lively Twitter traffic during a Sunday Evening Congregation using the hashtag #smlb. Last evening we used the same hashtag but in the knowledge that the messages might be publicly displayed.
After the service one of the churchwardens said it was like live radio rather than the usual prerecorded programme. Another likened it to a radio phone in.
You can see all the messages by searching on the hashtag. I hope we do it again.

Making the media the (wrong) message | Ekklesia

Marginalisation? I think not. Negotiating the wider media environment is certainly a challenge for those who are used to controlling ‘god slots’, but it is much more worthwhile than talking to yourself.

As for media concerns, there are plenty – the role of corporate owners, the lack of reporting of development issues beyond emergencies, the gap between new media haves and have-nots, and so on. This is where faith groups, alongside others, have an opportunity to raise concerns and offer alternatives in a constructive (and non self-interested) way.

A fair summary of how Christians should approach the representation of Christianity and the church in the media, with a pertinent challenge at the end.
Prompted by the Synod debate about alleged marginalisation of religion by the BBC.

Anyone for a bit of holy shoplifting – on behalf of the poor you understand?

Father Tim Jones

Father Jones said some people had little option but to turn to crime

A priest from North Yorkshire has advised his congregation to shoplift if they find themselves in hard times.

Father Tim Jones, the parish priest of St Lawrence and St Hilda in York, said people should steal from big chains rather than small businesses.

He said society’s attitude to those in need “leaves some people little option but crime”.

However the Archdeacon of York said: “The Church of England does not advise anyone to shoplift”.

North Yorkshire Police described the sermon as “highly irresponsible”.

‘Catastrophic folly’

A force spokesman said despite people getting in difficult situations “shoplifting or committing other crimes should never be the solution”.

“To do this would make the downward spiral even more rapid, both on an individual basis and on society as a whole,” he said.

I would ask that they do not steal from small, family businesses, but from national businesses, knowing that the costs are ultimately passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices
Father Tim Jones

Speaking to his congregation on Sunday, Father Jones said: “My advice, as a Christian priest, is to shoplift.

“I do not offer such advice because I think that stealing is a good thing, or because I think it is harmless, for it is neither.

“I would ask that they do not steal from small, family businesses, but from national businesses, knowing that the costs are ultimately passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices.

“When people are released from prison, or find themselves suddenly without work or family support, then to leave them for weeks and weeks with inadequate or clumsy social support is monumental, catastrophic folly.

“We create a situation which leaves some people little option but crime.”

‘Important issues’

Speaking later on BBC Radio York, Father Jones said his intention had not been to rally people to shoplifting, but to encourage people to give more to charity to avoid those in need from becoming so desperate.

“If one has exhausted every legal opportunity to get money and you’re still in a desperate situation it is a better moral thing to do to take absolutely no more than you need for no longer than you need,” he said.

However the Archdeacon of York, the Venerable Richard Seed, said: “Father Tim Jones is raising important issues about the difficulties people face when benefits are not forthcoming, but shoplifting is not the way to overcome these difficulties.”

Father Jones made the news in May 2008 when he made a protest about Playboy branded stationery being aimed at children. He went into a local stationers and threw the Playboy merchandise on the floor.


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Sadly this well intentioned shock tactic can only backfire … although I admit to similar thinking recently. I was in Coney Street when I saw swarms of police officers apprehending shoplifters outside the ‘big shops’ in town. Couldn’t they have been better deployed protecting the homes of the citizens of York rather than the business interests of the large commercial chains. The little they lose through shoplifting is tiny in proportion to the loss of personal belongings caused by burglars. 

Peter Gibson to receive Honorary Freedom of the City (From York Press)


ALL his life, Peter Gibson has lived in the shadow of York Minster. The great Gothic cathedral is visible from the window of the small sitting room of his tiny Georgian mews cottage, in Precentor???s Court. It can be seen from his bedroom above and from the attic above that, where he still sits to hand-write his lectures and papers.

Outside his old-fashioned wooden front door, the Minster???s West Face rears up in its full Gothic majesty: inspiring, imposing and a little overwhelming.

Mr Gibson has given his working life in the service of this cathedral and a little part of him is woven into its very fabric.
Peter is also an Emeritus Churchwarden of St Michael le Belfrey – and he’s great fun. A very good friend.

The Vatican’s Playlist on myspace music

Starts with Uprising by Muse …. and it’s perfect – what else would you expect from The Vatican?
“This playlist is a perfect mix of classical, world and contemporary music. The genres are very different from each other, but all these artists share the aim to reach the heart of good minded people.”