I write this at the end of a deeply surreal week during which a humorous story and grainy photo went from being a Facebook post to a genuinely international news item. It was a very bizarre experience, seeing the story about the owl who failed to the deliver the rings at a Sherston wedding turn into a feature in virtually every British newspaper. Then there were the interviews on local radio, Radio 5 Drivetime, Radio 2 and, oddly, Radio Ulster.
What have I learnt?
1) The media love photos, humour, animals, weddings and interestingly, the church.
2) That when the media take an interest in something, it is good to be as helpful as possible. If you do that, you can engage positively with the story and even shape the way it is reported. This was really important to me as I wanted to put over a message about God valuing our creativity and personality, about weddings being able to be individual as well as part of an institution, and the church being welcoming.
3) That a story like this develops very quickly and also fades very quickly. You have to be ready to respond to enquiries as soon as possible to keep on top of it.
Much of the power of this media circus has been due to the internet, which can spread the word instantly. It is easy for me to forget that when I was first ordained 13 years ago, the internet did not really register in most people’s lives. When the Rev’d John Morgan was ordained 50 years ago, the world and the church were very different, and I look forward to hearing his stories about ministry over the years. He and Marjorie have been a great blessing to us in the Gauzebrook Group, and we pray for them. I for one know that, if God grants me another 37 years in active ministry, I will consider myself blessed if I have anything like the same faith, energy, humility and grace as John.