Rev. Lisa Vaughn is inviting Blackberry addicts, iPhone worshippers and users of mobile phones and other technological gadgets to bring them in this weekend for a special blessing. “It’s not just about please don’t let my cellphone drop calls today,” says the pastor of the Anglican parish of St. Timothy, on the road to Peggy’s Cove, somewhat near Halifax, Nova Scotia. “It’s about, you know, help me to be the best Christian, the best person I can be in my conversations, in my communication.”
Vaughn is holding offering this decidedly contemporary blessing service this Sunday on the Labour Day weekend. "I think they traditionally used to call it Plough Monday, where people used to bring their farming equipment and tools to the church to be blessed," said Vaughan of St. Timothy’s Anglican Church in Hatchet Lake. "Most of us live with our cellphones and laptops and BlackBerrys and all that kind of stuff. I mean, those are just daily tools for us."
A youthful woman with short hair and a past career in journalism, she says her motto is don’t be boring. “The gospel message is as relevant as it gets,” Rev. Vaughn says. “How do we package it is the question. This message of Christ is the most important thing but the packaging needs to change.”
Vaughn recently read about a church in London, England, that expanded its blessings to modern workday devices. It struck a chord with her, not least because she’s quite the wired person herself. "We have three laptops and three tabletop computers in our house," she said. "I’m about to buy some kind of smartphone. I just haven’t decided what it’s going to be!" Vaughan also uses Facebook to connect with friends and her congregation, and she plans to open a Twitter account for St. Timothy’s.
She acknowledged the Internet has its share of problems and presents a side of the world that might seem incompatible with the church. "But I think it’s a wonderful tool," she said. "I think God is blessing it in all kinds of ways and we shouldn’t be afraid of it as Christians. We need to embrace it. That’s where a lot of our folks are — they’re emailing, they’re texting. And if that’s where they are, that’s where we should be."
The blessing itself will include the hope that we’re patient and kind in our communications with each other during the often hectic workday, Vaughn said. "And, as well, that it’s productive, that it’s life-giving, that it’s supportive to the community as a whole."
While the services are meant to be a fun way to celebrate Labour Day, there’s a serious spiritual point to be made, she said. "It’s also a reminder for people that God is present, not just one hour per week on a Sunday morning or evening. We make decisions every day about our work and our words, and in that we’re not alone."
This is a great idea! Think about the amount of time we spend on our Blackberrys, iPhones, netbooks and other gadgets. And how often do we misuse these devices, killing time on foolish things or look at things that we wouldn’t want everyone to know that we were viewing. Prayer should intersect with our daily lives. So I say “Kudos to Rev. Lisa Vaughn.” Since you might not be able to make it to her Halifax-area church on Sunday, get your device now, hold it close to the screen, hit this link to a video of the blessing and bow your head (and after the commercial, you will be blessed). God bless you and your device.
*This blog posting is a re-edit of content from the excellent articles written by Oliver Moore for The Globe and Mail and John McPhee for The Chronicle Herald. Please see their articles for original copy.
This marks the second time in just two weeks that I’ve posted an article related to Terence Bay, Nova Scotia! I pray for God’s blessing on Don Symes and hope that he is recovering well in Terence Bay from that horrible ordeal in Libya.
Here’s how you can find out more about The Anglican Parish of St. Timothy, Hatchet Lake and St. Paul, Terence Bay.