Looking back at an article by Michael Lucas in a 1994 "Pilot" Magazine, it is interesting to note how times have changed. I would say that there is no "above average interest" in religion in its more organised forms in Jersey today, although the large numbers that flock to "Health, Mind and Body" events and "Evening of Clairvoyance" presentations indicate that the staunchly materialist outlook of the more fervent and notable atheists (such as Richard Dawkins) have not really taken hold.
It is also interesting to note that the topics in the discussion programme - "ordination of women, listed buildings, overseas aid, religious education and Sunday trading" are still very much in the news today, and it is a shame that since the demise of BBC Radio's "Talkback" programme on Sundays that there seems to be no wide forum for public debate on these or other matters of social justice.
Upon Reflections by Michael Lucas
Channel Television is the ITV broadcaster to the Channel Islands. With only 144,000 residents in the Islands, the station is by far the smallest in the network. Channel Television has served the Islands for 30 years and on 1st January 1993 began a new ten-year licence period.
Throughout its history religious programming has formed an important part of Channel Television's local output. In essentially conservative Islands, religion remains a vital part of the lives of many in the community. In October 1989 a church census counted 13,000 Channel Islands adults in church, approximately nine per cent of the entire population.
Those who profess a religious persuasion are very largely Christians and apart from a small synagogue and a Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall in Jersey, all public places of worship are Christian. The Anglican Church is predominant, but there are also strong Roman Catholic and Free Church communities.
Channel Television reflects the above-average interest in religion in its local programmes. This is achieved through day-to-day coverage of religious events in news and news magazine programmes. There is also a short reflective programme every Sunday lunchtime. This usually takes the form of a Gospel-based message designed to be thought-provoking and uplifting.
However, the mainstay of Channel's religious programmes is seven half hours, monthly from October to April each year. The series was relaunched in October 1992 and is now taking the form of discussion programmes.
The discussions have a "religious' issue as their base and Islanders with a particular knowledge or experience are invited to form a four-strong panel. Issues discussed in the present series include the ordination of women, listed buildings, overseas aid, religious education and Sunday trading. The programmes are transmitted in peak-time.
Channel Television has always enjoyed the support of its religious advisers who: work" on a voluntary basis for the company as well as attending regular meetings. At least one adviser is attached to each religious programme and their views are also often sought on news items which have a religious significance.
Channel television's advisory panel is six-strong and comprises a representative of the Church of England, the Roman Catholics and the Free Churches from both the Jersey and the Guernsey Bailiwicks.
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