Concern expressed over BBC changes

In a letter to the BBC's Director General, the Methodist Church has expressed 'deep concern' over the announcement of immediate structural changes to the BBC's Religion and Ethics department.

The Manchester-based Religion and Ethics team will be combined with the BBC's Factual department and the newly formed Factual and Religion department will be managed from Birmingham.

The full text of the letter follows:

7 February 2009

Dear Mr Thompson,

We write to you to express our deep concern over the recent news of structural changes to the BBC's Religion and Ethics department.

The Methodist Church would like to express our gratitude for the outstanding work of the BBC in the field of Religion and Ethics, on television, on radio and online. The BBC's creativity and authority in their engagement with a vast range of ethical issues, faith groups and life stories not only reaches individuals to whom these matters are important, but also resources public awareness and debate, enriching the life of the nations.

We are seeking your reassurance that under the newly formed Factual and Religion department this work will not only continue to the high standards already set by your dedicated team, but will be given the space and resources to creatively develop.

We would like to express our pastoral concern and offer our prayerful support to all staff directly affected by these changes as they make this transition.

Yours sincerely,

Revd Dr Martyn Atkins
General Secretary of the British Methodist Church

Revd Stephen Poxon
President of the British Methodist Conference

Mr David Walton
Vice-President of the British Methodist Conference

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