11am today on Radio 4, there's a 30m programme following the work of a pioneer missioner to Telford, allegedly 'the most godless town in Britain'. Mark Berry, has taken issue with the title of the programme, as has the local bishop. Very good article about it on the BBC website, which covers wider fresh expressions/church planting work, and sets the programme in context.
Mr Berry said he had taken issue with the title of the documentary because he believed church attendance did not accurately reflect the number of Christians in Telford
“It’s absolute nonsense,” he said.
“The number of people attending church does not make a place more or less Godless. God doesn’t live in churches.
“Hopefully the documentary will reflect the work we are doing. My role is not to get more people into church, but to engage with people in the 20s and 30s and serve the community.”
The programme is the 'choice of the day' for Radio 4, so you'll be able to listen again to it via the link above for the rest of the week, or catch up with it on IPlayer.
after hearing it: hmm, not very encouraging!! All sorts of questions in my head as a result, probably for blogging another time as various deadlines to hit today. Sympathetically presented, but raises the serious issue of how missional fresh expressions really are, or whether those which are more 'alternative worship' based are more like safe houses for folk who are already Christian but just a bit bored with what they currently do.
Update: Mark Berry, who was featured in the programme, blogs at Way Out West, and has an interesting take on the way the BBC handled his work in Telford.