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'God help our smartphones,' vicar prays

Plough Monday ploughed under

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A London clergyman has brought a medieval ceremony of the Church of England into the 21st century by blessing his flock's smartphones, laptops, and iPods.

The Revd Canon David Parrott of The City's 17th-century St Lawrence Jewry church told The Times that he wanted to update the ancient tradition of Plough Monday, when farmers would bring their plows to church to be blessed on the first Monday after after Twelfth Night.

"When I arrived a few months ago I looked at this service and thought, 'Why do we have a Plough Monday?'," Canon Parrott reasonably asked, noting that it was the rare St Lawrence Jewry parishoner, indeed, who made his or her living behind a plough.

Today's laborers, Canon Parrott reasoned, were more likely to toil over laptops and to share their workaday woes with fellow cyber-cottiers by means of BlackBerries, iPhones, and the occasional Android phone.

And so Canon Parrott arrayed the altar of St Lawrence Jewry with, according to The Times, four smart phones and two laptops. In the inclusive tradition of the Anglican canon, one laptop ran Mac OS X and the other Windows.

Asking his congregation to hold their smartphones above their heads, Canon Parrott intoned to the Ultimate Sysadmin: "By your blessing, may these phones and computers, symbols of all the technology and communication in our daily lives, be a reminder to us that you are a God who communicates with us and who speaks by your Word."

And in a tone of reverent supplication, he supplicated: "May our tongues be gentle, our e-mails be simple, and our websites be accessible."

Amen to that. ®

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