Good­bye to Fleet Street

The Church of England - - Comment -

News­pa­pers no longer come from Fleet Street but jour­nal­ists still re­gard St Bride’s as their par­ish church. Me­mo­rial ser­vices for de­ceased jour­nal­ists are usu­ally held there. In­evitably the re­tire­ment of the Rec­tor, the Ven David Meara, at­tracted at­ten­tion in the press, in­clud­ing a long in­ter­view in The

Times. One of his in­no­va­tions at the height of the Iraq War was to in­tro­duce an an­nual me­mo­rial ser­vice for jour­nal­ists and their sup­port staff killed in the line of duty. In The Times he re­veals that fel­low mem­bers of the clergy ex­press dis­taste when he tells them he is in­volved with the me­dia but says this is ‘mis­guided’. The church will never get its mes­sage across if it adopts a siege men­tal­ity, he warns. Com­ment­ing on the di­verse range of people St Bride’s at­tracts, the archdea­con de­scribes Cle­ment Freud’s fu­neral in 2009 at which Bono sat next to Gor­don Brown with Stephen Fry just across the aisle. Si­mon McBur­ney who played the archdea­con in Rev rang Meara for ad­vice. “You need to be a bit evil,” the real Archdea­con of Lon­don replied. “The archdea­con is a bad man to the bishop’s good man.” As the se­ries pro­gressed, McBur­ney ap­peared less evil. Per­haps that’s the way it is in life. But Meara was un­able to get the ac­tor to drop his pec­toral cross. “I told him archdea­cons don’t wear pec­toral crosses but he wore it any­way.”

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