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The Ghost in the Machine – Meeting God and the Other in Social Media

11 Mar 2013

Rev Rachel Mann will give the 5th St Anselm Interfaith Lecture on Tuesday, 23 April 2013 (7pm) in St Anselm Hall chapel.

What does identity mean when you spend large parts of your life on twitter, facebook and other social media? Is there any space for God, let alone traditional human life, in digital space? These are the kind of questions that keep Rachel Mann – priest, theologian and obsessive social media user – awake at night. This lecture explores the nature and shape of God and identity in the digital age.

Rachel Mann

Rachel Mann grew up in Worcestershire before fleeing north to study philosophy at Lancaster University. Following a period working in Jamaica, she returned to the UK in order to undertake further study in the philosophy of mind and language. In the mid-nineties she worked as Teaching Fellow in the Philosophy Department at Lancaster before a sense of vocation led to a move to inner-city Manchester in church-related community work. She’s been based in and around Manchester pretty much ever since.

A guitarist and singer for over 25 years, Rachel is currently a member of Metal band, Kingdom of the Blind. She began writing in the late nineties and is known for her feminist liturgical theology, work on cultural history and has been a regular contributor to The Church Times as well as a published novelist. She writes on music, particularly Metal and is a freelance writer Prog Magazine and The Quietus amongst others.

Ordained into the Church of England in 2005, Rachel is priest-in-charge of St Nicholas Burnage. In October 2009 she was appointed Poet-in-Residence at Manchester Cathedral. She acts as lead person for the Cathedral’s International Religious Poetry Competition and also helped establish the annual ‘Manchester Sermon’, a collaboration between Manchester Literature Festival and the Cathedral. In Summer 2010 Rachel came to international attention as a result of her comments on metal music and the Church. As a result she was the subject of debates in The Telegraph, The Guardian, across the internet and was interviewed by international radio and the music press.


The lecture series is named after St Anselm of Bec who was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109. Called the founder of scholasticism, he is famous as the originator of the ontological argument for the existence of God and as the only archbishop who openly opposed the Crusades.  His most famous utterance is that ‘God is greater than any of us can conceive/imagine’ and this honoured dictum still characterises the exceptional international and interfaith community that is St Anselm Hall today.

St Anselm Hall is on Kent Road East, off Conyngham Road and Dickenson Road, Victoria Park, M14 5BX.

Light refreshments will be served after the lecture.