General Secretary of the Methodist Church responds to BBC consideration of non-religious voices on Thought For The Day

The General Secretary of the Methodist Church has responded tothe BBC Trust consideration of non-religious voices to be includedon Radio 4's Thought For The Day.

Martyn Atkins, General Secretary of the Methodist Church, said:"Faith-based communities have a distinctive voice, and largenumbers of people listen to Thought For The Day for that veryreason, so I would be saddened to lose those crucial few minutes ofspiritual reflection. I recognise, however, that faith-basedcommunities do not have a monopoly on 'thoughts'!

"The BBC as a public broadcaster has a challenge to represent avariety of views in society, and it is important that this slotremains available as a pause to reflect on spiritual or ethicalissues. Sometimes it serves to reassure, sometimes to challenge,but it is a vital space in the middle of a busy newsprogramme.

"Methodists are not afraid to be challenged about what we believe,and we are not threatened by hearing secular voices on Thought forthe Day. But we, along with other Christians, will hope to continueto be given opportunity to speak of the things that matter sodeeply to us."