Rocking in Pennsylvania at “Christian Woodstock”

creation1.jpgMOUNT UNION, Pa. – It was muddy, it was loud and there were a lot of smiling, happy people offering free hugs and praising Jesus.

The Creation Festival drew around 70,000 people to rural Pennsylvania last month to listen to Christian music, ranging from hard rock to R&B, hip-hop and punk.

Check out the Reuters story on the festival along with an audio slideshow of pictures by Mike Segar, who got his feet wet to catch the moment when nearly 200 people were baptized in a pond. 

Now in its 30th year and growing bigger every year, the festival is in many ways like any secular summer music festival — thousands of young people camping out, getting muddy in the rain and eagerly hunting down their heroes for autographs.creation3.jpg

But these music fans wore T-shirts with slogans such as “Virginity Rocks” and “Mosh for Jesus.” To read more about the unusual merchandise on offer, click here.

Egypt to press ahead with adhan unification – but quietly

A muezzin calls Muslims to prayer, 20 August 2007/stringerIs Egypt’s Ministry of Religious Endowments planning to blindside people by quietly implementing an unpopular project to unify the adhan, the Islamic call to prayer?

That’s certainly the impression I got when I recently spoke to one of the ministry officials in charge of the project to enquire about its status. There has been talk for years about how chaotic and noisy it is to have each mosque in a city call out “Allahu akbar” at slightly different times, in quite different voices, sometimes in different musical keys and different tempos. A project unveiled two years ago to have one centralised call to prayer seemed to officials to be the answer.

The official was cagey at first, refusing to be drawn on whether the plan was going ahead or had been suspended, and refusing to give an ETA for the mythical unified adhan.

Singing and dancing welcome pope on DC streets

Crowds welcome Pope Benedict in Washington, 16 April 2008/Jonathan ErnstThe Washington Post carries an interesting story today examining how American Catholics are split when it comes to music — many older parishioners are partial to folk-style songs written in the 1970s, while many younger members want Gregorian chant and other older forms of music.

But a third style of music ruled the streets of Washington today, as thousands gathered to view the Pope’s motorcade. Several predominantly Latino church groups brought drums, tambourines and guitars to accompany energetic songs that would not have sounded out of place in a South American soccer stadium. Click here to listen.