Concern expressed over BBC changes

In a letter to the BBC's Director General, the Methodist Churchhas expressed 'deep concern' over the announcement of immediatestructural changes to the BBC's Religion and Ethicsdepartment.

The Manchester-based Religion and Ethics team will be combined withthe BBC's Factual department and the newly formed Factual andReligion 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 ofstructural changes to the BBC's Religion and Ethicsdepartment.

The Methodist Church would like to express our gratitude for theoutstanding work of the BBC in the field of Religion and Ethics, ontelevision, on radio and online. The BBC's creativity and authorityin their engagement with a vast range of ethical issues, faithgroups and life stories not only reaches individuals to whom thesematters are important, but also resources public awareness anddebate, enriching the life of the nations.

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

We would like to express our pastoral concern and offer ourprayerful support to all staff directly affected by these changesas 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