Updated: Wednesday, 1st April 2020 @ 9:43pm

Converted photo booth becomes Pray-O-Mat, providing 'spiritual retreat' at Manchester university

Converted photo booth becomes Pray-O-Mat, providing 'spiritual retreat' at Manchester university

By Helen Le Caplain

The UK's first Pray-O-Mat was installed at the University of Manchester last week.

Over 300 pre-recorded prayers and incantations in 65 different languages are available on the free-to-use machine via a touch screen.

The project is led by Dr Ralf Brand, Senior Lecturer in Architectural Studies at the Manchester Architecture Research Centre (MARC).

He said: "Though the Pray-O-Mat is a bit tongue-in-cheek, there is a serious message to what we're doing.

"Successful multi-faith spaces do not need to be flashy or expensive. In many places a small, clean and largely unadorned space can serve adequately.”

The specially converted photo booth gives Manchester's citizens on the go somewhere to pray.

Christian options include "Our Father" in German, English, 'American' or Low German.

Buddhist and Islamic benedictions along with Aborigine devotional songs and the solemn chanting of an orthodox Jewish congregation cater to other faiths.

Many of the prayers were collected by German Pray-O-Mat creator Oliver Sturm, with some taken from radio archives.

The machine is situated in the entrance to St Peter's House, Oxford Road, and anyone is welcome to have a try.

The conversion of the German “Gebetomat” into an English “Pray-O-Mat” was partly supported by the Goethe-Institut, London.

The research project, on whose initiative the prayer machine came to Manchester, is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

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