A CATHEDRAL canon is travelling to Barack Obama’s inauguration to discover the new president’s effect on people of faith.
Following a request from the BBC for him to report on the momentous event, Canon Chris Chivers will set off on Monday January 12 to visit cities including Boston, New York and Philadelphia.
He will attempt to discover the views of ordinary Americans before covering the inauguration ceremony on Tuesday January 20.
A few hours after the ceremony Blackburn Cathedral's Canon Chancellor will broadcast his experiences on BBC Radio 4.
He is also covering the inauguration for South African newspaper the Cape Times.
A regular contributer to the Guardian and Independent, he became involved with journalism while in South Africa in 1999. He said: “I became intrigued with journalists there who had seen many horrors. I’ve sort of moonlighted as a journalist ever since, and loved doing it.
Although Obama is the first US president to have a non-religious upbringing, Canon Chivers believes he inspires faith.
He said: “Of course it’s significant that he’s the first black president but I think it is far more important that he has worked at the bottom with grass roots communities.
“His father was an atheist and his mother, an anthropologist, studied religion but was not a believer herself.
“He only came to faith much later in his life when he saw how it impacted on black communities at the bottom of the pile and said ‘there must be something in this’.
“During the election his whole approach was based on faith.
”It’s the source of his message ‘yes we can’. His whole outlook is using that faith to solve problems many see as impossible to solve.”
Canon Chivers said Obama had ‘doing faith like jazz’ approach.
He said: “It’s the improvised faith of my generation.
“We tend to look at faith, decide which parts we accept and make our own and also decide which parts we cannot use.”
Canon Chivers is hosting a lecture on the subject following his return at Blackburn Cathedral.
The talk, entitled Yes We Can: Doing faith like jazz in the age of Obama, takes place on Wednesday January 28 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.
His report on the inauguration can be heard on BBC Radio 4 at 9.45am on Wednesday January 21.