On the Airwaves...

I haven't posted for a fortnight (two weeks for those of you on the other side of the Atlantic) as I have been a little busy (understatement) over the past few weeks with paperwork (I love January), funerals (it's the season) and preparing for a broadcast service last Sunday morning on Radio Ulster.

We only got asked about the broadcast mid January... Usually you get a couple of month's notice (didn't ask why they were running so late with their arrangements) but the fact that they were late in coming to us meant that they were a wee bit more lenient on the timeframe for getting the broadcast script finalised and approved. They generally like it a full 10 days ahead, but I actually only finished it lunchtime last Friday...

Saturday night we had the rehearsal then Sunday morning everone turned up more than an hour earlier for morning worship and we went out live at 10.15am. Until next week (13th February) you can still hear it through the BBC's listen again facility here.

Of course, being as hyper-critical as I am I could spot 4 problems/mistakes in the first 5 minutes... and 3 were down to me... But we got through it all in the allotted time... I even managed to squeeze my sermon into little more than 11 and a half minutes... That's the length of time it usually takes me to clear my throat! But as I told the congregation, if they expect a sermon of that length every week, they needn't expect me to do anything else only prepare to preach!

But the feedback from both those attending and those listening has been very positive... With people from as far away as North Carolina being very complimentary about the whole thing. So if I haven't responded personally, please accept this as a generic and heartfelt "Thanks".

The experience however, has reminded me again of the enormous privilege that such broadcasting opportunities are. One member of the congregation reflected on that point with me on the way out. As I said to them, although it is good to have dedicated Christian broadcasters like Premier or UCB, it would be a shame if their existence and the increasing pressure from secularists resulted in a decrease in the religious broadcasting output from the BBC, and independent terrestrial/free-to-air broadcasters.

There has been some debate recently about the BBC's religious output, including some discussion at last week's Church of England Synod, and there are economic pressures on independent broadcasters which are causing them to cut back on investment in religious output, so we should never take such opportunities for granted. Over the airwaves we reach a much wider "congregation" than will ever darken the doors of our churches, although it does take something really creative to prevent many people who don't attend church from tuning to another channel the nano-second that the God-slot begins... For many people, however, who have had a lifetime of attending church but are no longer able to do so it is a lifeline... But I hope it is never seen as a preferable alternative to meeting together with other Christians, no matter how high quality the broadcast is...

The last time we hosted the live BBC broadcast about 3-4 years ago one lady arrived in church just as the service was ending. She had her cup of tea with everyone else, then as she was leaving she said:
"Sorry I was late, but I was listening to a really good service on the radio, and I didn't really want to leave it to come up here!"

I didn't know whether to feel complimented or insulted. I laughed...


Anonymous said…
Does it appear that a Methodist sermon/service/radio broadcast is on its last legs.

Does the Methodist Church on its last legs, wish to be obsorbed by the C.of E.

The Rev David Gamble "we are prepared to go out of existence, not because we are failing or declining??? but because it serves the Lord!!! In what way?

If the Lord is in charge of his own church and we would hope he is, because he answers prayers given up there, what did he do or say to indicate this.
You Revs are in touch with God daily-- so is this not a shock then? Have congregations been told some time ago--but the news just broken to the public.

The churches separated 200 years ago. Reconciliation tried but the Meths were rejected and humiliated.
but (they)C of E need help now?
SO...think about it.

After-all, all churches are going out of business fast, so why not in a last fling /dying breath tell them were to go "on their own" and gain some respect.

This is all part of the merry-go- round of religion today and when everyone has a light head everyone will all fall down.


PS. has Jerry Adams got religion. see his tv prog

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