06 July 2006

New Head of BBC Religion and Ethics

Today's issue of The Methodist Recorder reports that Michael Wakelin has been appointed Head of Religion and Ethics at the BBC. The BBC's Press Release can be found here.

Wakelin, a Methodist Local Preacher, has been the series producer of BBC's Songs of Praise for the last five years. He replaces Alan Bookbinder - a self-proclaimed 'open-hearted agnostic' - who stepped down from the position in March 2006.


Lorna said...

tell me Pam what IS a local preacher in the UK methodist church - is it a lay speaker (in UMC terms?) i-e someone who is authorised to preach (without getting a salary) but who is not authorised a minister and therefore doesn't 'do' the Eucharist and isn't licensed to marry people etc.

In any case having a practicing Christian (instead of an agnostic) sounds like it might be an improvement - though given that England is multi-racial and multi ethnic I would guess (and hope)that the BBC's policy is to offer a wide range of programmes not only Christian! I do not believe that all faiths are equal but I do think that we can learn from others, and moreover I love finding out what other people think and believe, and why :)

PS re your comment over at my place - I think the Anglican /SD you mentioned does have the right approach - provided there's time set aside for God too. That's something we all need to work harder at protecting IMHO - so that we minister from the overflow and not yesterday's manna.

PamBG said...

Lorna, yes, I think that the role is the same as a lay speaker. One big difference - to me, anyway - is that Local Preachers go through a national training that takes a minimum of 2 years and they have to write 4 papers at an A-level standard. In the US, people have told me that they have been accredited after a weekend course.

I'm sure Michael Wakelin is much more qualified than that; with a BA in theology he'll have the equivilent of many ministers. And he has been with the BBC for many years, if you read the press release.

I think it IS good having a professing Christian in the post. The cynicism about religion seemed evident to me after the appointment of an agnostic - with all due respect to Michael's predecessor.

I agree with your comment about having time set aside for God. I doubt that's a problem in the case of this particular individual. For me it's the "stuff" I have in my life - the "I must be productive" stuff - that gets in the way of spending time with both people and God.

Sandalstraps said...

There are local preachers in the United Methodist Church, as well. You have to go through a program, and then you get a local preacher's liscence, which allows you to serve in a church, and to adminster sacraments in that particular congregation as a part of your appointment, but in no other congregations.

This differs considerably from lay speakers, who go through district or conference level training, and then are certfied to speak but not administer sacraments or serve appointments.

PamBG said...

Sandalstaps, how does that differ from a local pastor then?