Stephen and his wife Linda live in Kirkham and for 13 years Stephen managed the Face To Face Homelessness Charity merging it into Fylde Coast YMCA some ten years ago. As Housing Director at the YMCA, Stephen was responsible for developing various community projects including The Credit Union and Fylde Counselling Service.
Reflecting on his former appointments in East London and Newcastle-on-Tyne of working as Methodist Minister, Hospital Chaplain and part time tutor with the Urban Theology Unit in Sheffield, Stephen is clearly committed to encouraging individuals and communities to be honest about their hopes and needs and finding how faith in God can help them be met in Body, Mind and Spirit.
|Stephen is our Minister but is already known to us and well known on the Fylde Coast having lived and worked in Fylde for 18 years and prior to that he was a Minister in Blackpool.|
Recently I switched on and heard ‘Netflix tells us what to watch. Amazon tells us what to buy. We are losing the ability to think for ourselves. I’m not sure what the speaker said next because my mind was going in all directions. Was he right? Having switched on half way through the programme I wasn’t sure where he was coming from.
A couple of minutes into programme the presenter helpfully reminded listeners he was interviewing the author of a book on AI, artificial intelligence, and the use of algorithms. The author reeled off how algorithms decide if we are eligible for a loan, a low or high risk for insurance, whom we should consider as marriage partners.
Earlier I had been writing a talk on the different names given to what I do many times each week. Sometimes I am asked to ‘speak’, others to ‘preach a sermon’, give a reflection, address, speech. Whatever it is called it is an opportunity to make people think about a particular aspect of life and try to both broaden and focus their thinking with the introduction of other people’s and biblical perspectives. Encouragingly people often comment I have made them think sometimes indicating my words have complicated rather than simplified matters.
People used to say accountants ruled the world, it seems others now think it is algorithms but I have always believed it to be God who does so in love for what he/she has made. You decide!