Thursday, July 26, 2012
UK Priest Welcomes Olympic Media to Fleet Street, the traditional home of British Journalists
By Michael Ireland
Senior International Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
LONDON, UK (ANS) -- When we think of the people behind the Olympic Games we tend to think of the athletes or perhaps the coaches and an army of volunteers. But we don’t always think about the journalists who come from all over the world to report on the Games.
According to Lizzy Millar, a journalist trained by the National Council for Training in Journalism, [the national body in the UK responsible for accrediting reporters] who has extensive experience reporting in the UK and United Arab Emirates (UAE), there are in fact 20,000 journalists who are covering the Olympics and Paralympic Games.
“That’s about the population of the Cornish town of Newquay,” she writes.
Millar, who represents 2K Plus International Sports Media, says that one priest aims to champion the work of journalists by providing them a spiritual home and center for pastoral support at his parish church -- and a reminder of why there are in London.
The Venerable David Meara, who is Archdeacon of London, welcomed the world’s sports media at a special service at his church of St Brides in Fleet Street.
“For more than a century, St Brides has been a church for journalists working at Fleet Street, the former hub to many of the UK’s national newspapers, including the defunct The News of The World,” Millar writes in an e-mail to ASSIST News from the site of the 2012 summer Olympics.
Speaking to 2K Plus’ Norman Brierley, the Venerable Meara compared sporting achievement to spiritual growth.
He said: “There is a link between sporting achievement and giving glory to God and this certainly comes across in St Paul’s quote in 1 Corinthians 9 in which he talks about running the race to win the prize...a verse that has been used to base the Olympic motto on. The image of running a race to win the prize is one of a life of faith. There is a parallel between the sporting and the spiritual life and we can certainly use one to remind us of the other.”
The Reverend Meara, who is himself a former cross-country runner, said he hoped the Olympic Games would inspire many people to follow their dreams as well as unite the nation, Millar stated.
Sir Michael Parkinson, one of the UK’s favorite TV chat-show hosts, welcomed the congregation in his capacity as president of the Sports Journalists’ Association, Millar said.
Sir Michael spoke of the importance of sports journalism as a means of communicating across borders. At the church he lit a candle that will continue to burn until the end of the Paralympic Games on September 9.
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