April Fool ... and a matter of loyalty

By Jonathan Bartley
April 1, 2007

Today is April 1st, and traditionally known as April Fools Day in the UK, it's the day when people play jokes on one another.

We were racking our brains trying to think of a joke news brief to post on the Ekklesia web site... ideas we came up with included:

1. The Church of England has decided to rebrand itself - it felt it could no longer claim to call itself THE church OF England (as it is really only "A church IN England") so it was going to have a national consultation on what it should call itself

2. That St Paul's Cathedral was going to have a monthly "Mosque Day" on a Friday

3. That given no one knew what to do with the unelected bishops in a reformed House of Lords there was going to be a "Bishop Idol" competition when all the prospective bishops appeared on national TV, did their bishop thing, and then everyone texted in with their votes.

...but then we got a call from the BBC's Radio 4 Sunday Programme. They said that, as is the tradition in many newspapers, TV and Radio, they were going to run a spoof story on today's programme, and would be like to be in on the joke?

Of course, we leapt at the chance! The story was of a church which had introduced a "swipe card" or "loyalty card system" to check that people were turning up to church services. The difficulty the church was having was that parents were sayng their were attending the church in order to get their children into the local church school, but had no way of checking up on them, and believed that many were just saying they were coming...

The thing is of course many parents do attend churches just for this reason...a bit close to the truth perhaps...anyway, it will be interesting to see how many people rubbing the sleep from their eyes early on Sunday morning are taken in by it.

You can listen to the programme here

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