Radio Humberside’s presenters doesn’t appear to be happy if their interviews fail to include a little twist - it can certainly makes them more interesting but I suspect they sometimes deceive themselves into thinking it demonstrates more journalistic insight and probing than it really does.
Last time I appeared on its Sunday morning programme it was to talk about the appeal for a new heating system in St Nicolas’. I’d got across the few prepared sentences to carry the message I wanted (they aren’t the only ones who labour their way through the predictable ploys in these interviews) when the presenter finished by asking me what I was giving myself. He obviously thought this was the killer question, and I don’t think he had the first idea what a proportion of the regular and special giving particularly in some small churches actually comes from the hidden pledges and gifts by clergy and their families which they do not trumpet.
So, yesterday, I wasn’t surprised when an interview about the previous day's celebration of the ‘faith in action’ of the North East Lincolnshire churches finished with what the interviewer may have thought was an equally incisive question but which probably showed that he didn’t think listeners would really believe the churches display faith in action. He asked ‘But how easy is that relationship between church and community to keep the church up to date with what is going on, to keep it in touch with the community and what it needs?’. ‘Doesn’t everything I’ve just said answer that question?’ was the answer I’m grateful to have had the restraint not to give.
The annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity event was a whole market inside Grimsby Minster with at least a dozen stalls each supplied by one of the church-sponsored organisations in Grimsby or near by which is responding to the needs of the community around us. From Harbour Place (the initiative of one Catholic nun years ago still feeding at least thirty homeless people every day) to the Rock Foundation (the initiative of an independent church recently to provide worthwhile activities and work for those with learning difficulties) it would appear there is quite a lot of evidence that we do have our fingers on the pulse of the changing and pressing needs of the community.
To be fair, those of us on the Executive of Churches Together put on the event because we were not sure people in our churches fully appreciated the cumulative impact on our community numerous such organisations are making. We invited along the new Bishop of Lincoln and the new Chairman of the Methodist District, along with one of the Catholic Vicars General and a senior independent church representative, to give messages of encouragement (and to be impressed by what we are doing - our ploy and motivation being as transparent as that of any Radio presenter), and the picture is of the Bishop speaking at the event.