. Drama in seven scenes
By Eve MacAdam
ENTERPRISE and, I imagine, a good deal of hard work by the religious advisers of two Independent Television companies, ABC and ATV, has gone into their scheme for seven Lent and Easter Sunday morning services.
"Sunday Morning Services" don't sound as if they could produce original ideas for television, but the surprising fact is that these resourceful men really have come up with something new, something unique.
I would like to describe their plan as it struck me, and that is as a kind of drama with two acts, seven scenes and various places of worship taking the part of "characters" expressing certain propositions.
The "drama", if I may call it that, is entitled, in the first act, "Man Loving God", and in the second "God Loving Man", and seeks to demonstrate various aspects of the Christian's life.
It asks, How does a Christian live ? He belongs to an economic and political society, is one of millions of people in the world, yet claims to live differently. What, then, is the Cheistian pattern of life ?
An attempt is then made to show throup,h,four services in different places of worship that "any following of this pattern belongs in part to the human will. It happens when a man who is captivated by the Christian ideal, desires its achievement above everything else. When he works for this, he adjusts his life in home, industry and country accordingly."
Under the title " In the Civic Community", a civic service was transmitted on March 3 from Leeds Parish Church. It was attended by the Lord Mayor and members of the Corporatioq. The following Sunday, March 10, in the Catholic Church of St. Edmunds, of Airedale, Yorkshire, Low Mass was celebrated showing how the Christian tried to adjust his life "In Work and Industry". This church was recently opened to serve the mining area of Airedale. On the Sundays of March 17 and 24. transmission of services entitled "In Personal Life" and "In the Family" will carry on the theme in a Methodist Church in Hereford and in Anglican Manchester Cathedral.
The services on Passion Sunday, Palm Sunday and Easter Day cornplete the statement under the common title of "God Loving Man".
In this part of the " drama" Christians contemplate how God has loved men when "He initiated this pattern of life through the living and dying of Jesus Christ."
On ,March 31, under the title "God Becoming Man", Mgr. Tomlinson will celebrate a Dialogue Mass from the only Pre-reformation Catholic Church in London, St. Etheldreda's, Ely Place, Holborn.
Multum in parvo
Most people agree that the bane of television journalism is superficiality, caused, I think, in an effort to say too much too quickly.
With the formation of Television Reporters International, a team of top commentators have joined forces in an effort to provide authoritative coverage of world events.
"Arab Ferment", their new series, is about the upsurge of nationalism in the Middle East. ATV presented the first of its three reports, "Egypt—a Land Awake" on Sunday night.
At first this seemed to be an admirable report, but second thoughts suggested that Robert Kee, its reporter, was throughout working against the clock, trying to fit in all he saw, heard and photographed in Egypt. My guess is that what we saw on Sunday was a fraction of what was left on the cutting-room floor. and, if this is so, it seems a great pity.
Kee was given only half an hour and needed an hour. Four items in the report were so good they each deserved a half-hour programme. Those were the pieces on the Aswan dam, and the 800 Russian technicians; the Suez Canal, better run now than ever it was; the haunting film sequence of ex-King Farouk's palace; and, the highlight of the report, the interview with President Nasser in which Kee elicited important statements on Egyptian policy over oil. the Yemen and Arab nationalism.
This glowing report on Egypt today needed qualification, and had Kee more time I feel sure he would have given it. He had no time to go into the effects of, Egypt's population explosion., which, in the eyes of informed observers. has resulted in little overall rise in the standard of living of the fellahin. Also Kee might have indicated to what extent the team chided officialdom. Egypt is under a dictatorship, and however benign, dictatorships usually make sure reporters only see what they are meant to.
The pitiful business of clearing up the aftermath of war was brought home to everyone who watched the documentary by Wilfred Greatorex, "The Third Front" (BBC, Sunday), about the Red Cross.
It was of great interest historically; Napoleon was evidently among its first supporters, but Florence Nightingale was not enthusiastic about it. "The study of the Red Cross is the study of neutrality, and Geneva's files have grown in proportion to man's inhumanity to man," were statements that remained in the mind, and in the mind's eye horrifying pictures of helpless children and old people in shattered towns.
Curiously enough one picture of a building in the Red Cross centre of Geneva was more affecting than almost all the others. This was the office of the "Tracing Agency". Started in 1871 to trace missing. people, "about fifteen million eases have been dealt with, but no one knows how many names arc here." To give viewers some idea of the enormity of the task, it was stated that under the heading of the "British Army" there was listed missing under one name alone— that of Smith-45,000 men,