Thursday, 5 July 2018

Now for the Good News....

One evening this week I actually watched a news bulletin on TV; something I haven’t done for years!  Normally I glean what’s going on in the world from the BBC News website. 

This particular ITN broadcast began with the words: ‘Tonight we begin with some good news…’  It then went on to say the Thai youngsters had been found safe and well in a cave.

Of course, ITN and BBC bulletins could, if they wanted, begin every evening’s broadcast with some good news; instead, in these days of ‘half glass’ empty journalism the editorial preference is to skew the news to the negative, thus giving the impression of a ‘bad world’ view.  It simply need not be this way and it baffles me why only ‘bad news’ is deemed to sell papers and boost ratings.

Well, this week I’ve come across a number of ‘good news’ stories locally.

On Monday I was taken to lunch by an AFC church member to her Livery Company in the City of London.  These ancient institutions do so much good in terms of training, education and support of their various skills and interests.  On a recent ‘Circle the City Walk’ we popped into St Paul’s Cathedral and learnt that it has recently been renovated throughout without a general public appeal simply because the Livery Companies in the City each made generous donations.

On Tuesday I attended the AGM of The Chiltern Child Contact Centre.  This organisation meets at AFC two Saturdays each month and creates safe, welcoming space for children to meet up with ‘non-resident’ parents.  I was so impressed by the commitment of the volunteers who make these Saturdays such a positive experience for those involved.  This organisation brings stability and hope to many fragile families and is such a ‘good news’ expression of society at its best.

This evening I’m attending another AGM, this time of The Sycamore Club.  This is another organisation holding its weekly gathering at AFC, offering a day of activities for those suffering with dementia so that their full-time carers can have some well-deserved time for those other activities that help ‘balance’ life.

I think these three events say so much about that which is ‘good’ in our world.

A few years ago I attended a clergy lunch at which our guest was the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury; he also happened to be our local MP.  He was a little late and upon arrival told us he had been detained at No.10 because the Prime Minister had called in a few cabinet colleagues to thrash out what it really meant to be a ‘Big Society’.  It didn’t pass us by, the irony of announcing an idea and then trying to define it afterwards!!

Well, as you might imagine, us clergy that lunchtime were quite vocal in our discussions with the poor cabinet minister.  We collectively expressed our view that, in our experience, the ‘Big Society’ could be found in almost any church!  Groups of dedicated, self-giving and compassionate people volunteering each week to enable supportive clubs and societies to function. 

It’s a ‘Good News’ story in every sense of the word!  Worthy of top billing after the bongs of Big Ben at the 10 o'clock daily news bulletin!

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